1: Start with the Real Business/Organization Needs
No projects should start without a real business/organization needs. A good way to identify problems or opportunities is through measuring the gaps between your organization’s goals and your current status and speaks with data.
2: Formulate Creative Solutions (Projects) to Close the Gaps
Creativity and uniqueness are prerequisites of successful projects. The more unique and creative your projects (solutions to close your gaps) are, the more they are staging for success. It is also important that you really address the underlying issues/opportunities that can give you maximum pay off.
3: Conduct the Feasibility Study by Measuring “Achievability”
Do the project feasibility study. Ask yourself two key questions: “Can we do it? (Achievability)” and “Should we do it (Benefits)?”.
4: Know Your Project Stakeholders and Engage Them Early
Project stakeholders are those who are actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by execution or completion (outcome) of the project. One should identify all your project stakeholders and classify them according to their influence and interest to the project.
5: Define Clear and Measureable Project Mission/Purpose
Define a clear and measureable project mission/purpose. A good project mission answers both “what (are we going to deliver?)” and “why (are we doing this?)” of the project.
6: Have a Capable and Committed Project Team in Place
The project sponsor, project manager and core team members who have shared goals and commitments are absolute necessary for the successful completion of the project. The organization must ensure that the project team has the capability, budget, time and other necessary resources for planning and execution.
7: Do Project Planning
There is a saying that “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Get your project core team involved in the project planning activities. Make sure you answers 5Ws (What, Why, Where, When, Who) and 2H (How, How Many) after the project planning is completed.
8: Manage Schedule, Cost, Risks, Issues, and Change
Identify inter-dependencies among various project deliverables/tasks and develop your project schedule. Keep your eye on project critical path (the longest path on the project network) and make sure they complete on time.
Have an active risk log to manage all key risks. Identify all key issues as they happen and list them down in the issue log. Prioritize the issues (using Important and Urgent matrix) and assign the owners with specific deadlines to address them.
Projects are bound to face changes. Assess the impact of change and putting in-place a change control process to prevent unnecessary changes that are not beneficial to the project. Project costs are best tracked and managed at the individual work package level. Last but not least, have a contingency budget for your project for those unknown risks that could happen.
9: Continuously Manage Project Stakeholders
The key to stakeholder management is Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate! The needs and expectations of project stakeholders must be proactively identified and their issues/concerns must be addressed promptly.
10: Measure Results and Capture Your Lessons Learned
The last and most important golden rule in project management is to systematically measure your project results against your stated goals. Evaluate your project results to capture lessons learned so that you can continuously improve your project management capabilities.
We hope you found the summary of Ten Golden Rules of Organizing Projects useful. I will be glad to tell you more. Wish you all the best with your project endeavors!
Naing Moe Aung, PMP
Naing, an entrepreneur and hands-on project manager, is the founder and director of Project Decision®, the premium project management training, consulting and coaching firm based in Singapore. Naing has trained hundreds of executives, managers, engineers, and project managers from private and public companies, not for profits and governments. Naing is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®), the project management profession's most recognized and respected global credential by the Project Management Institute (PMI®) headquartered in the USA.