One of the primary challenges of being a business owner is the project planning process. Sure, you love taking on new projects; but not every project ends with the same results you anticipated. More often than not, business owners find themselves starting projects with high hopes and ending with disappointment. Sometimes without even knowing when and how things went wrong. To help you avoid that fate and instead end your projects on a high note, here are a few tips you should keep in mind before tackling your next project.
Be Prepared To Ask Questions
Every project, no matter the subject matter, should start the same way – with questions. Questions lay the foundation for sharing information. They can help you start the brainstorming process for defining your project. When you take the time to ask meaningful questions, and really think about their answers, you are one step closer to having a successful project.
Know And Be Able To Explain Your Project
Knowing and being able to explain your project is one of the most important parts of the project planning process. If you think about it, it is pretty much impossible to work on something if you don’t know what it is. Knowing your project will help you as you begin to think about start dates for tasks, budgets for services, resources that you might need, and the always important deadline for your project to be complete.
Have An End Goal
Taking the time to set an end goal for your project can help you determine the tasks needed to complete it. It can also help you see the risks that you might encounter along the way. To deal with these risks, we encourage our clients to set mini-goals. These mini-goals break down your end goal into several, less intimidating goals, spread out over the life of your project. These goals serve as little markers, along the way, to show you that you are on the right path.The completion of each mini-goal helps get you one step closer to completing your project. Mini-goals also serve another purpose, they help you prioritize. One of the places businesses can fail when planning for their next project is not taking the time to prioritize what is necessary to accomplish their end goal. In other words, where should you focus your attention? Is your project dependent on developing the best content? Acquiring the largest budget possible? Or reaching the earliest deadline? Taking the time to know where you should focus your attention will help you determine where to focus your resources.
Know Your Team
Every project is only as good as the team behind it. Just as you should plan your project, you should plan your team. Take time to determine your project’s team and discuss their roles. Taking the time to layout everyone’s responsibilities will help keep your team accountable. It will also give you a greater chance of accomplishing your end goal. Another key to accomplishing your end goal is effective communication. This means that you should encourage open and honest feedback among your team. It also means, that no matter your role on the team,you should be open to listening to feedback.
Last but not least, we must stress the importance of patience and flexibility. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Sometimes projects don’t reach completion because they were too big. Just as you have mini-goals, you can have mini-projects. As you begin the project planning process, make sure that the project you are planning is obtainable. Sometimes your initial project idea maybe too large to accomplish right now. If you come to this conclusion, we suggest that you try to break the project down into several smaller projects,spread out over a longer period of time. This way you can still accomplish your initial end goal, and get the added benefit of being able to develop it evenmore. Just like your initial project, each mini-project will get its own end goal, project team, and project planning process.
Bonus Tip – No Two Projects Are Exactly The Same
Many business owners fall into the mindset that their new project will produce the same results as a previous project, because they are the same kind of project.Nothing could be further from the truth. Although you may have completed a similar project in the past, you should never skip steps when planning your new project. Your new project should be handled as if you are tackling this type of project for the first time. Every project is a learning experience, so we encourage you to learn from past projects. But always remember that every new project deserves detailed planning.