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Simple project management

Most people don’t do big things—they are afraid. Seeing the big picture may help.

The anatomy of a project

Projects often start off full steam ahead, but a poor project management process results in poor communication, wasting of time by trying to put out fires, and delivering a final product that is over budget, late, or off scope. The below process will save time, money, and give you and your team freedom to do higher quality work.

start, plan, approve, execute, finish, review

Start

Without vision a project has no soul. You have to have a stage where you think, ponder, and pray that through this project you’re going to make something that is great. During this time of starting it’s important that you ask all of the questions that need to be asked to guide the project (If you subscribe to this sites feed, or follow me on twitter I’ll post the document that I use to start projects in the next few weeks).

Plan

During this stage you’ll want to make sure that you have a well defined set of deliverables (I usually call this a scope), a timeline, and a budget.

Approve

One of the BIGGEST mistakes people make on projects is that they don’t get buy in from the right people. I can’t help it. When I’m excited about something I show everyone that I know. Even as I write this I’m trying to stop myself from sharing the secret link to the new MarsHill.com site we’re developing.

It’s so important when you have a great project that you get the right people to sign off on it, and be excited about what you and your team are working on. Please, please, please take my advise and think about all of the people that could possibly have an opinion that effects your project and get their buy in early. It’s way easier to have advocates than critics.

Execute

This phase is different on every single project that you’ll partake in. The main thing is that you need to make sure that everyone you’re working with has a crystal clear understanding of the timeline, the scope, and the budget. Messing up any of these is a quick way to put your project in danger of death.

Finish

Celebrate. When you’re done—make it a milestone. It will set up your team to make a habit of pushing hard to the finish line on each project.

Assess

It’s important that at the end of each project you take some time to reflect as a team on the wins, the loses, and to learn from the process. The beautiful thing about projects is that the whole team learns, grows, and is more prepared for the next project at the end.

In conclusion

I know this is a 10,000 foot view of project management, but I wanted you to see this first so that over the next few months I can zoom in on each of these sections and start creating a guide for you to learn about managing projects. I would love any input that you have—please feel free to ask questions—it would help us all.

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