The following article outlines the steps of project implementation that all project managers should take to bring a project to fruition. Follow the links to see examples of a project proposal and a project budget, and get a rundown of the major project management software applications.
Project Implementation is a Process
Managing a project is a process. It consists of a series of orderly steps that if carried out properly will maximize resources, ensure effective communication among project personnel and the project's clients, and contain enough flexibility to handle the unexpected bumps along the way. In fact, one of the biggest detriments of the success of a project is how effectively the project manager carries out this process of project implementation.
For the inexperienced project manager, having an implementation plan that outlines the tasks needed to complete a project is essential. The following is a brief guide to the basic steps of project implementation. Keep in mind that all projects regardless of industry and scope, will generally follow the same structure.
Step 1: New Project Managers Should Seek Guidance
First-time project managers should find someone who can guide them through the process of completing the project. Ideally, this adviser should be someone in a similar business since that person may also benefit from the project and thus be more motivated to help. Where this is not possible, the manager should seek counsel from any individual who is experienced in project management in general. Even in this case, however, this consultant should at least be familiar with the industry and/or type of project.
Alternatively, the project manager could seek forms of self-education and guidance by reading informative articles or attending a webinar.
Step 2: Acquire Appropriate Project Management Tools and Software
In order to facilitate project completion, project managers should ensure that the proper supporting infrastructure is in place. This includes: communications devices and software, computer hardware, and any software specific to project management.
There is actually a large (and growing) selection of project management software and tools designed to aid the manager who must complete a project. Click here for a rundown of some of the best project tracking tools. Many of these apps are free and relatively easy to use
Step 3: Clarify the Details of the Project
One of the first tasks assigned to the project manager is the creation of a project proposal. Included in the proposal should be the following:
- What will the project accomplish, or what are its goals?
- What is the time frame for project completion?
- What is the project budget?
- Who will be involved in completing the project along with assigned tasks?
- What method(s) will be used to complete the project?
- How will project uncertainties be dealt with?
Step 4: Communicate Job Responsibility Among Project Team Members
Often, several individuals may be working on a project with each offering their own input. Where there is a team of people assigned to complete the project, then all members should be clear about their assigned roles and duties. There should also be a system in place to ensure that everyone is updated regularly throughout the project schedule. This task plan is referred to as the work breakdown structure or WBS. Project managers should also take into consideration any differences in culture and geographic separation.
Step 5: Make Sure a System is in Place to Monitor Progress
The project manager must establish a plan to measure the project's progress and efficiency in order to determine whether additional information or resources are needed to complete the project, whether resources should be shifted around, and occasionally whether a new approach to the project should be taken. The main focal points for any project manager include: performance management and quality control, as well as how well the project personnel are adhering to the estimated time frame and monetary budget.
Step 6: Document Project Information
Providing easy to understand and accurate documentation helps to ensure that all parties involved are clear about the project's goals, the time frame for project completion, the task agenda, and the budget throughout the duration of the project. The manager should also carefully record any project assessments made along the way as well as any problems encountered or changes that were initiated.
Step 7: Communicate with Upper Management and Project Clients
Aside from regular meetings with team members, the project manager is also responsible for ensuring that supervisors and/or clients are kept well-informed throughout the project's progress.
In short, with a little planning and effort, even inexperienced project managers can implement a project effectively and greatly increase the chances that the project will be a success by utilizing these steps of project implementation.