Thursday, July 9, 2009

Practical Project Management for Leaders

As the leaders of our teams it is important for us to carefully plan out our projects to ensure the start on time and are successfully completed.

Many of us are used to managing a to-do list, prioritising the events and working our way through the list. Project management is quite similar, with a few small changes. Lets go through the basic steps.

Project management requires us to look at the overall project and break it down into all its major steps. Once you have these steps look to see if there is an obvious sequence to complete these. If there is a path then arrange these in this order.

Take these tasks and examine them one at a time. Look at each step within each of these major tasks, and insert any interrim tasks to make each of these major tasks complete. This will leave you with list of all the small steps you need to manage to get your project completed.

Next task is to now look at each one of these tasks and assign a time for the task. If you don't know then find someone who knows how to do the task and ask them for an estimate of the time required.

Now lets look at this list, we should have a list of every task and an estimate of the time it will take. Between each major task insert some time as a buffer, this will give you some breathing space for those inevitable little dramas.

Next take your list and add two further columns, one for personal resources required. Can this task be done by one personal or are several required. Does this task need someone with special skills. This column is going to help us identify who will be doing the task. The next column is a space for you to list out all the materials you need to get this task done.

Common errors people tend to under-estimate are:

Preparation time
Materials shortages
Skilled personnel.

Re-examine you list, have you got all the steps, have you identified all the skills, materials and resource for the job. Are there any obvious bottle-necks? What can you do to clear the way?

With some time spent in the planning stage your project management will lead to a successful project and this will ensure your team comes out on top.

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