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Ten steps to project management
by IAPO at 4:41PM Thursday 08 November 2012 (News)

If you wonder how project management can support your organization’s projects, or how to improve your current approaches; here are some insights to successful project management. With a pressing agenda, frequent enquiries and tight deadlines, project management may seem like a rather complicated and burdensome approach to delivering your project. However, applying a project management methodology will enable you to avoid project failure. Read these ten steps to successful project management.

1. Define the project scope and requirements
Project Start-Up: Do you have a viable and worthwhile project?
Write down the scope of the project and get it formally signed-off. Before you begin the project, you must demonstrate that there is a need for it. In project start-up you must ask “Do we have a viable and worthwhile project?” Answering this question honestly will avoid wasting resources.

2. Break it down
Project Initiation: What are steps need to be broken down and planned to ensure a successful project?
Once the scope of your project has been signed-off, write down in detail each stage and component of your project. The purpose of initiating a project is to draw up a ‘contract’ in the form of a Project Initiation Document (PID) between the CEO/Director/Board and the Project Manager, so that there is a common understanding of the project.

3. Ensure your PID is:
S
pecific Measureable Achievable Realistic Time-bound (SMART)
This information can be agreed formally or informally. This provides documentation of acceptance of the project being viable and encourages the project manager to take control and ownership of the project.

4. Write the plan
Create a project plan with detailed information about each activity in your project, including the timeframe when the activity will be done, its deadline for completion, the task leader, budget and any resources required. Good plans cover all aspects of the project, giving everyone involved a common understanding of the work ahead – what, how, by who and when.

5. Create a timeline
Being able to visually see where your project is can be of great benefit to all involved. Being able to look at a timeline and point out where the team is can be a useful reference tool and motivating for the team.

6. Create a communications plan
Good communications are essential to ensuring that everyone involved has the information they need for the project to be successful. Once you know what communications will be needed you can make sure that time for this is included in the plan.

7. Team work
Organizing the team can be vital to the success of a project. The project needs the right people in place to make decisions. The project management team needs to represent the interests of all those who will be involved. The project team should have the range of skills that are required by the particular project.

8. Schedule an appropriate number of meetings
The right number of regular meetings is important to keep the project on track. Don’t meet too often so that they become monotonous, or not often enough so that concerns may be dwelled on; try meeting once a week and adjust as necessary. Create an agenda for each meeting with concise minutes and tasks. Make sure that the right people are at each meeting.

9. Record and acknowledge progress
As the each stage of the project is implemented ensure that progress is recorded and acknowledged. The implementation of a project involves managing the delivery of outcomes and controlling stages of the project.

10. Close your project
One of the defining principles of a project is that it is finite – it has a start and an end. If the project loses this distinctiveness, it loses some of its advantages over purely operational management approaches. A clear end to the project is always more successful than the natural tendency to drift into further activities and modifications. It is recognition by all concerned that:

  • The original objectives have been met
  • The current project has run its course
  • Either the operational regime must now take over or the outcomes from this project become outputs into a subsequent project or into a larger programme

A structured method for project management can bring:

  • A method that is repeatable
  • Build on experience
  • Ensure that everyone knows what to expect, where, how and when
  • Early warning of problems
  • Being proactive, not reactive, but also able to accommodate sudden, unexpected events

IAPO members can read more information about project management on the Patients’ Exchange.
If you would like more information about project management or are not sure where to start email: caroline@patientsorganizations.org.

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