Monthly Archives: May 2011

Turning Your Projects into Successes

1. Is it a project? Will this piece of work have a defined beginning and end? Yes – then it’s a project; no – then it’s not!
2. Understand what you want to achieve and why.
Try to express this in three or four short sentences.
What benefits the project will create? List the financial and non-financial benefits.
3. Estimate the costs
List all the items which will be needed. Don’t forget hidden internal costs such as your time. Some costs may occur annually, so categorise costs as once only or recurring.
Compare the estimated costs to the benefits. Calculate how long it will take for the benefits to repay the cost. Is the project really worthwhile? Are there alternative solutions which may be more cost-effective? Consider whether for every £1000 invested in this project the cash could be used more effectively elsewhere – the chances are you’ve got a shopping list of different projects you’d like to run but can only afford a limited number of them.
4. Create a timeline.
Think about what you and others will need to do to achieve success. What will be the sequence of tasks? How long will each take and what effort will be needed? Some tasks may need others to be completed in sequence; others can be completed at any time.
5. What can go wrong? What would be the consequences? All projects have risks. They need recording. Find someone to take responsibility for each one. If something goes wrong what will be done to rectify it? And who will do it? Identifying possibilities and solutions now can save a lot of heart ache later.
6. Does this project interlink with any other projects or activities in your business?
7. Who will be impacted by the project? These are your stakeholders. They may be internal or external to your business – customers, suppliers, staff etc. You need to consider their needs and expectations. Creating a good relationship with each stakeholder enhances likelihood of success. Ignoring a stakeholder’s opinion during the project may have disastrous consequences later. Their thoughts may differ from yours but their perspectives can be a key driver making the difference between success and failure.
8. Once you’ve identified your stakeholders take them on the project journey with you. No one likes surprises, so keep them up to date with your thoughts, progress and plans. Remember communicate, communicate, communicate.