OK so you’ve been asked to run this fantastic project at work – you’ve been given a budget and group of colleagues that will help you. But this is your first project and unsurprisingly you’re a little daunted. Well don’t worry – running a project can be a pretty terrifying experience first time round what with the mix of supplier, customer and budgetary responsibility. Being asked to run a project can cause even the hardened first time business exec to want to run away and hide. But implementing successful projects isn’t down to luck and using the right tools and practices can help even the novice project manager deliver on time and on budget – here we list our 5 must haves for project managers – we’d love to hear your suggestions too (please use the comment section).
1/ Clear statement of requirements
Ensure that before you commence your project you have a clear brief of what’s expected. This may be in the form of a customer requirements list or definitive brief – it’ll also state when the project should be complete and how much it will cost (ideally with a business case stating the financial goals) – whatever the format the statement of requirements is your checklist of what you must deliver and when so make sure it’s clear and understood.
2/ Detailed plan
The most powerful tool that a project manager can have, spend time to design your plan – ensure you capture the resources and dependencies for each task – plan how long each step will take and what it will deliver – once completed ask your customer to sign it off approving the delivery date and ensure that you develop an adequate change process (which include the customer) should any amendments be required.
3/ Risk Management system
Capturing and mitigating risks is part of any project manager’s job. Create a list of all the risks that may impact your project – think about the impact and probability of occurrence – now think of an action plan to mitigate the risks now set a regular date in your diary to review.
4/ Issues Log
An issues log is a list of all issues that crop up during the lifetime of your project. It’s used to ensure that problems are captured, given owners, monitored and closed down. Storing an issues list centrally will allow project stakeholders visibility into your project whilst giving an idea for resource implications.
5/ Customer sign off
Customer sign off is crucial in any project – there may be various stages in the project that may require customer sign offs for example you may pilot your project deliverable or have a process of customer acceptance. In some circumstances sign off empowers key stakeholders to agree that the project is providing in a acceptable manner allow you to proceed with the next stage of the project.