Often times a project will be presented to you when it is in the “infancy stages.” In other words, you’re given an idea or a concept but you are expected to make a plan and implement it on your own. Knowing how the project cycle works will aid you in developing a plan for your project. Simply model your plan in the following format and you’ll be well on your way:
1. Identify the actual problem the project needs to solve. Have a meeting with your team and brainstorm for ideas on how the project should be handled. This is a great time to discuss your main objective, the risks associated with each alternative, and the time frame you are working within.
2. Preparation involves formalizing a plan, perhaps even sending it back to upper management for approval before you can begin to implement it. You’ll put the exact details of your plan in writing so that you have a formal document to work from.
3. Implement and supervise the implementation of the plan. Assign members of your team to perform specific tasks, monitor their progress and efficiency; and pay attention to the overall effectiveness of the plan you have developed.
4. Complete the project and summarize the end results in a report you can submit to management. Depending on the scope of your project, this may mean turning in the actual project or merely putting together a project summary report detailing the outcomes.
5. Evaluate the end results. Did the project cycle plan you implemented allow you to achieve your goals? Do you need to make changes to the process for future projects? The evaluation process enables you and your team to determine what changes need to be made in order to ensure the success of future projects.
Following a set model will give you the ability to control the project while at the same time exercising your communication and decision making skills as you work with your team. Plug your next task into the project cycle and let us know how it turns out.
Originally published: 30 September, 2008
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