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Really Simple Project Management

Updated on September 12, 2008

Really Simple Project Management

 

Really Simple Project Management

You know how it feels when you are really busy doing lots but getting nothing done?

You start something get distracted, do a bit of some thing else get, distracted etc. You get the picture. So we try follow all the old tricks:

Keep a Diary

Setup 15 minute timeslots for all those things you need to do. Check off those items that are complete. But the 11.15 slot cannot be completed because something else needs to be done first. Example pay the utility bill but the utility bill has not arrived yet. Why? Because you ran out of time yesterday and did not go to the post box. Sounds familiar?

Do Lists

So we draw up a schedule of do lists not dissimilar to the diary approach. We List everything that needs to be done. Now we categorize those lists into categories:

  • Critical must do
  • Must do but can wait
  • Not so essential
  • Nice to be able to do

Now we prioritise the list and check off the items as they are done but phone calls and unplanned events soon interfere with your plans to do things.

The Complex tasks

Here we have an activity that is not a single item but has many items so which cannot take place until another activity takes place. If you have multiple resources eg it is a family activity you can allocate role players (other family members) to take responsibility for tasks. Some tasks can take place in parallel and have an impact only on completion of the last parallel activity. This starts to get kind of difficult to manage.

How to manage this Complex Project

  • Define the end goal

Make a statement of what is required and why. Also state how long this should take.

Commit this goal to writing and get all the stake holders to agree on the initial motivation and end goal.

  • What will the project cost?

Define all the resources needed to complete the job. If you are painting the house draw a requirements list e.g. paint, colours needed, estimated number of cans required, brushes rollers, ladders.etc . commit this requirements list to writing and tote up the costs.

Decide if you can afford the project. That is once you made the requirements list and cost is the project still feasible? Nothing is worse than enthusiastically starting an initiative and running out of resource halfway through.

  • Who will be involved?

Define who will do what. Define each role player and their task. Example Fred will clean the brushes every day. Jane will prepare the woodwork around the windows and skirting boards. Commit this to writing and get everyone to agree their roles and responsibilities.

  • Draw up a schedule.

List all the tasks start dates, estimated length and finish dates.

Set up achievable targets (Milestones)

List all the dependencies (you cannot paint the woodwork until the woodwork has been prepared).

List the parallel tasks.

You may want to put this into a project schedule like Microsoft project or you can google "Free Project planning software". Download one of them

Let it calculate the the time it will take.

Draw up acceptable agreement criteria (sign off's) for each milestone.

Draw up a completion sign off agreement.

Yes - plan the end at the beginning!

  • Agree Project Kick off date

Have a project kick off meeting and agree a start date.

Make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities

  • Measure Progress

Once the project is underway measure progress by calling regular meetings and look at progress against the milestones. If milestones are missed, set up a catch up plan or agree to delay other milestones and adjust your milestones accordingly.

It might be useful to minute these meetings to record who needs to do what and by when and use this and the updated project plan to evaluate progress.

Draw up a list of risks and issues.

Example : Fred is sick, brushes are not getting cleaned, make a contingency plan. Mary you are not too busy yet please help wash the brushes. You get the general idea

Be honest in your progress measurement.

  • Complete The Project

When the agreed completion criteria are met, sign off the project completion agreement. Write a report on what went right and what went wrong ( lessons learned) so that should you do the same thing in the future you will know what to do and what not to do.

This is really simple project management and can be used effectively for most small projects and with some modification larger ones too.

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    • Louie Jerome profile image

      Louie Jerome 8 years ago from UK

      Good idea to get my business organised. The trouble is that I make plans, etc and then don't stick to them! I'm a great project organiser when other people do the work.

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Louie Thanks for stopping By and commenting. Maybe the ideas here will help you. Try it?

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      This was the perfect Hub to accompany my first cup of coffee this morning. What a motivator! And what a reminder of what I haven't been doing to get a stalled project moving forward. I agree with Louie Jerome, I'm a great organizer when other people do the work, and in this case I'm the only one on the project.

      So I decided this morning, after reading your Hub, that I'm going to divide myself into a few team members and assign them tasks. So long as one of the pieces of me is the PM, we all just might get the job done sooner than later!

      Best regards, Sally

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Sally

      Glad I was able to inspire you. This makes my hub worthwhile. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. BTWI can almost smell that coffee!

    • B.T. Evilpants profile image

      B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

      I find that I get much more done by delegating. Although sometimes I need to resort to super-delegating. That leaves plenty of time for golf!

    • Just_Rodney profile image

      Rodney Fagan 8 years ago from Johannesberg South Africa, The Gold Mine City

      Great hub, requires the planning and foresight to expose these inconsistencies which quagmires the previous haphazardly completed project, with budget overruns etc.

      Thanks for the hub.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 8 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      hummm..I come from a "List making family" we even have lists when we have a big dinner..so & so does the dishes..and this one sets the table..and that one makes the gravy...etc. so it has carried over into my dailey life...all my life. If I forget a list each day...hee hee lol nothing gets done!! run around like a chicken with my head cut off...Very smart hub and especially to those who never make a list..hmmm which seems weird to me...Thanks -Ma :o) hugs

    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Great advice. Sometimes easier said than done, but, actually you broke it down pretty well. I admit, like BT, I like the delegation part. The better you are at delegating the more time you ultimately will have. Now I just need some people who will do what I delegate to them and I'm golden. Nice hub, Sixty.

    • Sally's Trove profile image

      Sherri 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      I'm not sure that the better you are at delegating gives you more free time.  As the PM, as the delegator, you have responsibility for the project to whomever hired you.  So you are the lucky one to go to the 7:00 A.M meetings, the power lunches, and the after-work cocktail socials (for the sake of the team as well as your own visibility and therefore continuing employment).

      On the other hand, it does give you more time to go out and find the next project!

    • Shadesbreath profile image

      Shadesbreath 8 years ago from California

      Sally, seriously, I freaking OWN at going to cocktail socials... like, like... a groundhog wallowing in a heap of dirt... it's just so me.

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

      BT a golf playing Universal President. Great! But remember you  carry the can. I guess your Antlers can carry the can leaving your hands free for golf.

      Rodney Glad you are back. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      G-Ma Nice to know that you are organised and in control. Thanks for stopping by and  commmenting.

      Thanks for your valuable omments Shades much appreciated.

      Yes Sally Marketing is hell hic hic burp burp!

      Shades adding a groundhog to the pit. Now theres a thought! A wallowing, Tequila dirinking, canape eating ground hog hic,hic burp, burp. Of course it is nearly spring here, so a ground hog is entirely apt.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

      I am taking notes!! I've been loaded with many small projects; my problem is that I need to multiply myself...not much can be delegated; I do intend to bring in 2 assistants...training is crucial!!!

      great organizational - completion tips here - this should save me.....but I'll need to DO IT. LOL reading isn't enuff???

    • Shalini Kagal profile image

      Shalini Kagal 8 years ago from India

      A wonderful reminder to those who have made notes once upon a time and forgotten how - and an inspiration to those who never have! I'm getting myself some notepads - hello organised life, here I come!

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

      Hi Marisue

      You can give yourself multiple roles and responsbilities and then setup dependencies thus determining what needs to be done and in what order. It simply a means of organising what needs to be done. Or you could do things in parallel like tying a broom to your belt while you are cooking thus sweeping the floor at the same time or putting cloths under your shoes and polishing the floor while serving dinner (LOL just kidding),

      I aim to get you thinking about organising then hopefully doing too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Always appreciated.

      Shalini Thanks so much for reading an commenting.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      Great hub, and good advice. If only I were better organized I'd be Prime Minister by now! LOL!

      Seriously though, once the kids are back to school I shall have a little more free time, and I've some major projects to get in hand. Your hub will serve as inspiration when I next decide to read the paper or do a Sudoku instead of keeping focussed.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Great tips for staying on track and I have found I do have to make a schedule before hand or I will not stick with a project. I end up doing multiple things at once if I do not make a plan. Thanks for inspiring me.

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

      Amanda thank you for stopping by and commenting. I am so pleased to be able to help people in my own small way.

      Sweetie Pie I am humbled to know that I can inspire people by sharing some knowledge. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Much appreciated.

    • hsofyan profile image

      hsofyan 8 years ago from Indonesia

      Good tips. But, often the Boss does not read the presentation script detail, except on finance.

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

      hsofyan Too true but good project management is about escalation and responsiblity. that is why role allocation and acceptance of roles a is such an important part of project management.

    • kea profile image

      kea 8 years ago

      Great synopsis! I recently got my PMP certification and reading your hub is a breath of relief...it's not rocket science! Now, if I can just get my management to understand.

    • DennisBarker profile image

      DennisBarker 8 years ago from Newcastle Upon Tyne,UK

      setting goals and prioritsing tasks is essential on hubpages, and most other places, if you are to get things done efficiently.I enjoyed thhis hub and reading the comments.

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

      Kea isn't that always the case. Give them this hub to read!

      Thanks for for stopping by and commenting. Much appreciated!

      Congrats on you PMP and hope it serves you well!

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 8 years ago from South Africa

      DennisBarker Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your comments and as I always say, the comments enhance the hub.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I like your succinct overview of Project Mgmt! I'm right there with you on the planning and list making. It's the doin' and measurin' that gets tough. Cheers!

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

      PegCole17 It is so true. Doing and measuring is the hard part. thanks so much for stopping by and commenting

    • nadine_stowne profile image

      nadine_stowne 7 years ago

      Great thoughts and advice. I've found the first hurdle to get by is getting organized enough to delegate well and not just getting behind and then doing a dump. A well organized hand-off with objectives and specific check-in points or a standard meeting time seems to work well for me.

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

      Nadine thanks for your input and for stopping by.

    • mcjohan25 profile image

      mcjohan25 7 years ago

      With this article, it will help me become organize...Thanks for this great hub...

    • projectmanageresp profile image

      projectmanageresp 7 years ago

      Very organize steps...Finally, I come across to a hub which advices a more relaxing way of project management...project management is just not that simple...whew...nice to read this one...thanks

    • projmanager_role profile image

      projmanager_role 7 years ago

      Cool! Great article...

    • editor profile image

      editor 5 years ago from Mars

      Just published an article on PM and saw your related hub. I agree that it is so important to keep things simple as the project can soon get out of control. It's also important for small business owners to get into the habit to managing even small projects, I believe it'll give them the edge on their competitor in time.

    • sixtyorso profile image
      Author

      sixtyorso 5 years ago from South Africa

      So True!

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