A collection of valuable thoughts and information by Elvin Peria
All of life is a series of projects. A project is a complex task. It is often called a multitask job. This type of job requires the coordination of efforts of several people, each of whom is responsible for a part of the job, with every part of the job being necessary for successful completion. Your ability to handle these multitask jobs is a critical skill for success. All achievements of consequence are complex, and they involve the cooperation of many people.
The Key Management Skill
A study by Stanford University of the qualities that companies look for in promoting people into the position of chief executive officer concluded that the ability to put together a team to accomplish a task was the single most important identifiable quality of an executive who was destined for the fast track in his/her career. Your ability to put together teams to do multitask jobs, ability to complete complex projects, and visible qualities of leadership will determine the course of your career as much as any other factor. It will enable you to multiply yourself times the talents and efforts of others, and accomplish vastly more than you could do on your own.
A Learnable Skill
Project management is a learnable skill, like riding a bicycle. It can be divided into a series of steps, each of which you can master, one at a time. In managing any project, you begin by defining the ideal desired result of the project. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? What will the project look like if it is a complete success? Start by defining a successful completion of the project, the ideal desired result.
Start at the Beginning
Once you are clear about your desired result, you then start from the beginning. Determine what you are going to have to do to get from where you are to the completion of this project, on schedule and on budget. Determine a specific deadline or target to aim at. Make sure that it is realistic and achievable.
Assemble the Team
Bring together all the people whose contributions will be necessary for the success of this project. Sometimes you need to assemble a team before you can even decide upon the ideal result and the schedule. Remember that people are everything. Take ample time to think carefully about the people who are going to be the team members.
Share the Ownership
Instill ownership of the project in the team members by sharing the job with them. There is a direct relationship between how much a person feels a sense of ownership for the job and how committed he is to making the project a success. One of the key jobs of management and leadership is to instill this feeling of ownership in each member of the team, so that each person feels personally responsible for the accomplishment of the overall project. You accomplish this by discussing every detail of the project with the people who are expected to carry it out.
Develop a Shared Vision
A shared vision is an ideal future picture of success that everyone buys into. How do you develop a shared vision? You sit down and work with the team to answer the question, “What are we trying to accomplish?” You encourage everyone to contribute, visualize, and to imagine the ideal outcome or desired result of the project. Once this vision is clear and shared by everyone, you move on to the development of “shared plans” to achieve the vision.
Set Schedules and Deadlines
Once you have a shared vision and shared plans, and everyone knows exactly what is to be done and what the ideal results will look like, the next step is for you to set a deadline for project completion based on the consensus of your team.
Create a List
Create a to-do list and write down every task, function, and activity that must be completed, right down to the smallest job. Make it easier for yourself-get the project finished on time and break the project down into individual jobs and tasks as much as you can.
Organize the Project
Organize the different parts of the project in two ways: sequential tasks and parallel tasks. You organize by sequence when you determine which jobs must be done before other jobs can be done, with each task in order. Sequential organization is necessary where a particular task requires that another task be completed before it can be started. In almost every case, before you do anything, you have to do something else first. Organize the tasks sequentially with a logical process of activities from beginning through to the end of the project.
The second way to organize the tasks is through parallel activities. Parallel activities exist when more than one task can be done at the same time. Two or more people can be working on two or three different tasks independently of each other.
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