Eight Steps to deliver on budget, on target and on time

When I started thinking about how to write How to Manage a Great Project, I wanted to make it as simple as I possibly could – but no simpler.

I also wanted to include as much as possible of the content and style of my successful training programmes and seminars – because I know that they really work. People find them compelling and come away with real insights and practical tools.

But the structure of a training course needed a little more of a framework to it, so i devised eight steps to follow… knowing full well that projects are iterative. In the real world, project managers will have to cycle back and refine steps at different stages of the project. But it seemed to me that for novices, a step-by-step approach would make more sense than a stage-by-stage approach, with all of its repetition, or a thematic approach (favoured by formal methodologies like PRINCE 2 and bodies of knowledge like the PMI’s) which does not set out how to proceed, if you are really new to project management.

So, here then are my eight steps:

Step 1: What do You Want?
  • Define what your project is and is not, with goal, objectives and scope
  • Base these on clear requirements
  • Add detail with specifications
Step 2: Does it Stack Up?
  • Build a robust business case
  • Support it with a solid investment appraisal
  • Support rigorous decision making
Step 3: Who Cares?
  • Pay attention to the needs and perceptions of your stakeholders
  • Put in place good governance
  • Communicate relentlessly
Step 4: How will You Get What You Want?
  • Build a plan, sequence and schedule
  • Figure out the resources you need
  • Decide how you will get the quality right
Step 5: Who Will Help?
  • Build a team
  • Allocate work
  • Manage and lead your team
Step 6: What if it goes Wrong?
  • Plan out as much risk as you can
  • Identify risks throughout
  • Apply the six strategies for managing risk
Step 7: How is it Going?
  • The monitoring and control loop
  • Control inevitable (and surprising) change
  • Report on progress
Step 8: How did it Go?
  • Handover your finished project
  • Close down in an orderly fashion
  • Say ‘Thank You ‘

Here is a poster that I created. You can download this poster as a full colour A4 pdf file by clicking on the image.

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