Most projects need a simpler process

Here’s a common scenario: you’re handed a project to start, which you have to juggle along with lots and lots of other work (without having been given enough, if any, project management training).

And you may find yourself cutting corners.

Or are you a manager who is trying to get your team of non-project managers to adopt consistent processes?

Project management really doesn’t need to be difficult

Whether you’re either of those (or someone who simply values their time and energy), it’s clear that what you don’t need is the resource-heavy project management methodologies that demand lots of training and administration. Unless that is, your project is seriously big.

What you do need is a process that is simpler and quicker. That doesn’t require training. That doesn’t ask you to spend more time filling out paperwork than actually planning and delivering your project. That will still help you hit deadlines, stay within budget and deliver big benefits to your organisation.

All you really need is a handful of vital steps

The good news is that you can strip back professional project management processes to the absolute basics in just six steps (as this guide outlines with practical advice and templates).

These steps are:

Step 1: Discover what the project needs to achieve
Understand why your project exists (its purpose) and its objectives. This will guide your decisions throughout the project.

Step 2: Find out who is involved and what they want
Identify your stakeholder and gather their requirements. Benefit from the collective knowledge of the team.

Step 3: Decide on what you’ll deliver
Create your scope document and present it to your stakeholders in a meeting. Get everyone on the same page and collect vital feedback.

Step 4: Schedule the tasks
List your tasks, find out how long they will take, assign them to people and get a realistic finish time.

Step 5: Manage the work and complete the project
Monitor progress, report on the status and deal with any changes. Keep on top of everything and keep stakeholders in the loop.

Step 6: Learn lessons
Run a retrospective meeting to learn lessons from the project. It’s a valuable opportunity to identify improvements.

You need a practical process with a practical tool

Using a complicated process, as well as an overly complex project management tool that requires lots of training (such as Microsoft Project), just doesn’t work for most projects.

Put it this way: would you use a sledgehammer to crack a nut?

Apply the steps in real life

If the six steps outlined above are just what you need, you can read more about them in The Six Step Guide to Practical Project Management.

Or, you can go ahead and apply the six steps in real life using a trial version of MindGenius and templates that accompany the guide.

In other words, there’s nothing stopping you from getting that project started, and making it a success.

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