I was on the phone speaking to another colleague the other day and they were inquiring about my previous work as a Project Manager for Braathe Enterprises, a consulting firm in Upstate New York. This colleague was beginning a new job as a project manager and was absolutely overwhelmed at how they should approach organizing their project team & tasks to suit their client’s objectives.
This colleague inspired me to create a post that details the Life Cycle of organizing a project in the role of a Project Manager.
So how do you organize your project team and achieve your client’s goals and expectations?
Step 1: Define the Scope & Objective of Project
One of the first steps I take when starting a project whether for a business client or a non profit fundraising initiative is to have a one-on-one meeting with a client, CEO, or supervisor. It’s important that everyone is on the same page in terms of what goal the project team will be working towards. This initial meeting is also a great time to inquire about the size of the project team, any cross-functional teams who will be involved in the project, as well as the duration of the project.
Step 2: Develop a Business Plan
I love writing business plans for two reasons:
- It organizes everything spoken about at the initial meeting
- It serves as a guide throughout the project to make sure everyone is working towards the same end goal
I like writing business plans in outline form because as the project progresses I may make changes to different tactics used and can easily write little side-notes in the margins of the outlines.
Take a look at the Business Plan I created during my time as a Project Manager for Braathe Enterprises:
(Click Image For Link)
Step 3: Delegate Tasks Based on Project Team Skillset
Recruiting is an important aspect of developing a successful project team. After all, it is the project team who will be the ones to carry out tasks to client satisfaction, or not.
For Braathe Enterprises, one of the firm’s goals was to recruit interns and develop their talents so that they could be productive additions to project teams. One idea I had to attract top level intern talent was to host recruiting events at local colleges. Additionally, the firm also had an online application and resume submission process which allowed me to assess the skill set of interns.
From having this knowledge of the different kinds of talent interns who applied to the firm had (marketing, graphic design, or IT experience), I was able to delegate tasks & schedule working hours for interns according to business needs.
Step 4: Ensure Project Task Are Executed (as outlined in Business Plan)
As I stated previously, the business plan prepared in Step 2 of the Project Manager Life Cycle serves as an essential guide in keeping the project team on schedule, meeting deadlines, and creating status reports & presentations to superiors.
When I conducted weekly one-on-ones with my project team of interns, I found that my business plan helped when problems occurred for interns in their completion of tasks. The business plan served as a helpful aid during the learning experience that interns had when working on the project team.
Step 5: Adhere to Established Quality Standards
In continuing in my example on how business plans helped to keep my project team on task, business plans also help when client expectations are less than pleased. In a way, the business plan works as a receipt which states where during the initial meeting, the project manager and client mutually agreed on the overall goal and objective.
One great advantage of sticking to a goal is that a goal is static. What is changeable are the tactics used to accomplish the goal. In the event of a client’s less than stellar reaction to project outputs, certain tactics used can easily be swapped out for more effective ones.
For example, a main goal for Braathe Enterprises was to experience an increase in company profile views & social media platforms. One tactic that I used was to create content on the company blog & and share the content on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
While our overall goal was being reached in terms of engagement with our blog, I felt that we could climb even higher. So I swapped out the tactic of focusing solely on Twitter and LinkedIn for sharing blog posts, and instead uploading visual images related to the firm’s brand to Pinterest. These images also linked back to our company blog. As a result of this changed tactic, views increased 20% in just a couple of weeks.