Running projects can seem like one of the most difficult parts of any business. The risk of it all going wrong can lead to you thinking that it is better to simply try and avoid any sort of project.
Yet, projects are often necessary to deal with new processes, emerging technology or recent legislation. They can also help you to make the most of your opportunities to grow and earn more income.
Therefore, you should think about the steps needed to ensure that you run smart, efficient projects every single time. Thankfully, this isn’t as difficult as you might fear.
Adopt a Methodology
The first point you need to be aware of is that there are many different ways of running a project. Some of the most popular just now are PRINCE2, Agile, Scrum, RAD and Waterfall.
It should only take you a short time to understand the main differences between them all and to work out which approach could suit you best. The good news is that you can change from one to another later on if you think that you made a good choice initially.
The industry you work in will go a long way to determining the methodology that you choose. However, it also comes down to personal preference and what you feel most comfortable with.
Set Up a Project Team
You then need to arrange for your staff to learn how to use your chosen methodology. This means getting them PRINCE2 training and certified, sending them on an Agile course or doing whatever else is necessary to get them up to speed on your chosen methodology.
Unless it is a very small company, it probably suits you to set up a dedicated project team. This will keep all of the expertise in one place and allow the team to grow and develop their skills over time.
In a lot of projects, you will need to call on end users to help out and might even put some of them into the project team on secondment. However, this doesn’t detract from the need to have specialist project staff.
Good communication is one of the keys to making this project team work. They need to talk to each other and they also need to let the business areas know what is going on. This can’t be a secretive, isolated part of the company that is shrouded in mystery.
Give the Project Team the Support It Needs
Setting up a trained project team that works to a clear methodology is a strong start. It doesn’t end there, though. This team still needs help and support in order to function to its full capacity.
In many cases, projects fail because of a poor relationship between the project team and the stakeholders or the end users. This means that establishing good internal relationships and a clear way of working together should be a priority.
They need to know that project sponsors and stakeholders are on their side and keen to work together. Holding some team meetings and events with everyone involved is likely to break the ice and let people get to know each other better.
Choose Your Projects Wisely
You should now be ready to handle your first projects professionally and without major problems. The final hurdle to get over is that of choosing the right projects.
If you have set up a new project team with inexperienced staff then it makes sense to start them off gently. This could mean a short, simpler project that will help them grow in confidence.
After this, it is all about prioritising your needs to choose the most important projects that you have the budget and the capacity to handle. There is no sense in stretching your team too thin to take on more work than they can comfortably deal with.
Choose a smart, sustainable way of running your projects and you will soon discover that it brings you big business benefits.