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THE SIX STEP GUIDE TO
PRACTICAL
PROJECT
MANAGEMENT
“If you’re looking for some real-world
guidance, then The Six Step Guide to
Practical Project Management will help.”
Dr Andrew Makar, Tactical Project Management
3
4
56
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT
FOR EVERYONE
If you think managing projects is too difficult, think again.
We’ve stripped back project management processes to the
basics – to make it quicker and easier, without sacrificing
the vital ingredients for success.
Every day, people are handed
projects to deliver. Those people
may not have been given much, if
any, project management training,
and have to juggle lots of other work
from their day job. They may end up
cutting corners.
Is that you? Or are you a manager
who is trying to get your team of
non-project managers to adopt
consistent processes?
Either way, this guide will help.
We’ve stripped back professional
project management processes to
the absolute basics. We’ve made the
process simpler and quicker, without
sacrificing the vital ingredients for
a successful project – to hit your
deadlines, stay in cost and deliver
big benefits to your organisation
(and career).
In fact, we’ve gone one further.
Often, people think they need to
use an overly complex project
management tool that requires
lots of training. Or they end up
using something that may be
close to hand (such as a spreadsheet
or a word processor) but just isn’t
up to the job.
As well as giving you a simple
process, we’ll also give you a chance
to go ahead and apply what you’ve
learned in practice with templates
and guides using our simple project
management tool – MindGenius.
So, when it comes to getting the
job done quickly and easily, there’s
nothing stopping you.
- Share guide -
GO AHEAD AND DO IT
Once you’ve read about the
steps, you can go ahead and
run a project. You can try out
MindGenius for all these steps.
Download a free trial and
templates to help you run a
project from start to finish.
The rest of this guide will
go into more depth on each
of the six steps, but here is
a quick summary of what's
coming up.
1 Understand why your project exists (its purpose) and its objectives. This
will guide your decisions throughout the project.
DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PROJECT NEEDS TO ACHIEVE
2 Identify your stakeholders and gather their requirements. Benefit from
the collective knowledge of the team.
FIND OUT WHO IS INVOLVED AND WHAT THEY WANT
3 Create your scope document and present it to your stakeholders in a
meeting. Get everyone on the same page and collect vital feedback.
DECIDE ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DELIVER
4 List your tasks, find out how long they will take, assign them to people
and get a realistic finish time. Visualise your timeline with a Gantt chart.
SCHEDULE THE TASKS
5 Monitor progress, report on the status and deal with any changes. Keep
on top of everything and keep stakeholders in the loop.
MANAGE THE WORK AND COMPLETE THE PROJECT
6 Run a retrospective meeting to learn lessons from the project. It's a
valuable opportunity to identify improvements.
LEARN LESSONS
- Share guide -
Download the trial and templates
PROJECT MANAGEMENT DOESN'T HAVE
TO BE COMPLEX OR INTIMIDATING
Dr Andrew Makar of Tactical Project Management, who has
15 years of experience as a PMP-certified project manager
and of leading non-project managers, says people today
don't have time for overly complex processes
Many people are entrusted with
the mantle of ‘project manager’,
often regardless of whether they
are interested in the role. There
is an entire industry aimed at the
project management profession
with hundreds of thousands of
certified project management
professionals, yet projects get
delivered every day, with and
without certified project managers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m Project
Management Professional (PMP)
certified and actually enjoy a
healthy discussion on proper
project management processes.
However, project management
doesn’t have to be overly complex
or intimidating, as described in
project management textbooks.
One of the best executives I ever met
prided himself on not having PMP
certification, yet he was responsible
for his organisation’s enterprise
programmes and projects.
He acknowledged that project
management processes, tools and
techniques were important, but just
as vital are communication and
common sense. He trusted his team
to pick the right tool for the job and
adjust the processes to meet the
project needs.
People don’t have time today for
overly complex processes producing
reams of documentation and
checklists. They need to deliver
projects, not paperwork.
The project management
industry provides processes and
techniques to improve project
quality. However, these need to
be adjusted to fit your project.
If you’ve inherited the mantle of
‘project manager’ and are looking
for some real-world guidance, then
the The Six Step Guide to Simple
Project Management will help you
get started. After all, you’ve got
projects to deliver.
- Share guide -
STEP ONE
DISCOVER WHAT
YOUR PROJECT
NEEDS TO ACHIEVE
SUMMIT
When you’ve been given a new project to manage, there are
some essential pieces of top-level information you’ll need at
the very start of the process.
STEP ONE: DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PROJECT NEEDS TO ACHIEVE
This information will:
•	 Ensure you understand what is
expected of you	
•	 Help you make the right decisions
throughout the project
•	 Explain the project to
stakeholders and set their
expectations
You’ll need to define the following:
Purpose
You need to understand the reason
for the project, such as the problem
it aims to solve or the benefits it
will bring, as well as what you will
deliver to achieve this.
Objectives
You will need to list the project’s
outcomes – what you want the
project to have achieved after
it is delivered.
Key requirements
You’ll need to identify the
top-level requirements under
the three headings:
•	 Scope: What should the
project deliver?
•	 Time: Is there a date this
needs to be delivered by?
•	 Cost (or resources): What’s the
budget? What personnel are
available?
You should also find out which
are flexible: can either the scope,
timeline or cost be changed? Or is
there one which should be fixed?
Your purpose and objectives will act
as your ‘guiding light’ throughout
the project. You’ll need to refer to it
regularly to make sure you’re making
the right decisions, so you should make
sure that they clear and specific.
- Share guide -
Major milestones
As well as recording the start date,
you should also record the end date
you should aim for, only if you know
it at this stage, as well as any other
key deadlines.
Project team
You should find out at this stage
who is available to help out with
the tasks that will be needed to
deliver the project.
STEP ONE: DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PROJECT NEEDS TO ACHIEVE
I remember working on one
project where the running joke
was that the project had launched, yet
the project charter [as project start-
up documents are often called] was
“almost ready to be signed”. It consisted
of a 45-page Word document that no
one would ever read in great detail or
even sign off. The project still delivered
on time and was successful. This
example begs the question – was all
that process really needed?
Dr Andrew Makar, Tactical
Project Management
- Share guide -
Discover what the project
needs to achieve (and
more)
You’ve learned all about the first
step of project management:
finding out what the project needs
to achieve. Now you can go ahead
and do it in real life.
We’ve provided you with a free
template to allow you to document
the information you need.
It’s part of the package of templates
that accompany this guide, which
will help you put what you learn
into practice.
Download the trial and templates
STEP ONE: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES)
- Share guide -
STEP TWO
FIND OUT WHO
IS INVOLVED
AND WHAT
THEY WANT
The success of your project is not just about following the
right process, it’s also about involving the right people in
the process.
STEP TWO: FIND OUT WHO IS INVOLVED AND WHAT THEY WANT
These people are your stakeholders
and they have valuable input –
information, insights, views and a
fresh perspective. In other words,
they can play a vital role in making
sure you don’t miss anything
important.
It’s also important that you keep
them on side, so they support your
project rather than block progress.
Identify your stakeholders
You need to find out who is affected
by your project or has the power to
make the project succeed or fail.
Sometimes the list will be very short,
and other times it may be longer.
And sometimes it may take you
a few minutes of thinking alone
to make the list, and other times
you may need to brainstorm with
colleagues. But it’s vital that you do
it. Leaving someone out could be
seriously damaging to your project.
- Share guide -
Find out what they need
Once you’ve identified your
stakeholders, you need to talk
to them, to find out what they
need from the project (their
requirements).
Each stakeholder may need the
project to do different things
and will be able to offer different
expert insights.
There are many ways you can get
their input. The most valuable is
the meeting – where you get all the
stakeholders together in the one
room to brainstorm. It’s a chance
to benefit from the collective
knowledge of your organisation in
the one session.
Failing that, you can also conduct
interviews. This gives you a
good depth of information, but it
takes more time. You may want
to prioritise the most important
decision makers and subject
experts for this.
The least engaging method of
all is email – only to be used as
a last resort or for low-priority
stakeholders.
It’s crucial that you are as
comprehensive at this stage as
possible. Anything you miss here
may derail the project later on.
By recording information in
sessions using the right software, you'll
save time and energy from retyping (and
making sense of hastily written notes),
compared with using whiteboards or
post-it notes. You can use MindGenius
for this – it’s easy to capture information
quickly. By using a projector or big
screen, everyone can see the information
you capture, and you can even start to
group and analyse the information in
collaboration with stakeholders, saving
you even more time.
STEP TWO: FIND OUT WHO IS INVOLVED AND WHAT THEY WANT
- Share guide -
Download the trial and templates
Find out who is involved and
what they want (and more)
You’ve found out that it is critical to
find out who your stakeholders are,
so you can ask them about their
requirements.
We have a template for you that
will allow you to do just that. In
fact, we have a range of templates
that accompany this guide, which
you can use with a free trial of
MindGenius.
Download a free trial of the
software, as well as all the
templates that accompany this
guide.
STEP TWO: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES)
- Share guide -
DECIDE ON
WHAT YOU NEED
TO DELIVER
STEP THREE
One big reason projects fail is due to the fact that what
the project will deliver has been poorly defined and not
effectively communicated to stakeholders.
STEP THREE: DECIDE ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DELIVER
You need a crystal clear idea of
this, so you know what you need
to achieve, you can measure your
progress and your stakeholders
know what to expect.
Create your scope
Once you’ve gathered all your
requirements, you need to then
translate these into what your
project will deliver (the deliverables)
to meet those requirements.
The list of deliverables is typically
called a scope – which sets out the
boundaries of your project.
Make sure your deliverables
are clear, to avoid stakeholders
being disappointed that their
interpretation of the deliverables
doesn’t match the reality.
Get agreement on the scope
You should get your stakeholders
together in a meeting, to ensure
they all understand and agree.
Make sure nothing is hidden –
which can happen if you just hand
someone a document (people
can miss things). Your goal is
absolute clarity, and to get valuable
feedback.
Present the scope visually and talk
through each part (MindGenius
is great for this – feel free to give
it a try). It gives stakeholders the
opportunity to spot gaps and to
allow you to ensure that they don’t
miss or misunderstand anything.
41%
OF PROJECTS FAIL DUE TO CHANGE(S)
IN SCOPE MID-PROJECT
Source: PWC PPM Survey 2014
- Share guide -
Decide on what you’ll
deliver (and more)
You’ve read about the need for
creating a scope, which outlines
what the project will deliver.
Now, you can go ahead and create
your own scope document using
MindGenius and a helpful template
(just one in the pack of templates
that accompany this guide).
Download a free trial of the
software, as well as all the
templates that accompany
this guide.
Download the trial and templates
STEP THREE: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES)
- Share guide -
SCHEDULE
THE TASKS
STEP FOUR
One of the most common mistakes an inexperienced
manager of projects makes is being overly optimistic
about when the project can be delivered.
STEP FOUR: SCHEDULE THE TASKS
What may seem a reasonable
timeframe may turn out to be
wildly ambitious. You will only know
what is realistic when you create
an estimate of how long your tasks
will take with the personnel at
your disposal, to give you a more
accurate completion date.
List, estimate and
assign your tasks
Once you have approval from
your stakeholders on what your
project will deliver, then you can
start to list the tasks needed for
each deliverable.
For each task, you should estimate
how long it would take. Then,
you should assign that task to
someone – whether that’s you or
one of your team.
If you use a tool such as MindGenius, you
can create and adapt your Gantt chart
quickly and easily. By adding dates to
each of your tasks you then unlock the
ability to automatically turn your map
into a Gantt chart. It is easy to adapt, for
example, if you need to change the dates
or sequence of tasks. You can also assign
people to tasks.
- Share guide -
You then need to look at whether
the people who have been assigned
tasks are either under or over
allocated. For example, you may
need to move the schedule or
reallocate work if you have two
tasks for the one person at the
same time.
Because you have the durations for
each task, and those are in the right
sequence and position, this now
gives you your plan and estimated
delivery date.
Visualise your timeline
with a Gantt chart
Gantt charts are an ideal visual way
to see your project schedule clearly.
Creating your Gantt chart starts with
arranging the tasks into a logical
order and including the durations
for each. You can then link the tasks
– does one need to be completed
before another starts?
You may find that some tasks don’t
depend on others and can be done
anytime and that sets of tasks can
run in parallel with other sets. This
can shorten the project’s overall
timeline.
Try using MindGenius for your project
schedule. Download a free trial of the
software, as well as the templates that
accompany this guide.
Download the trial and templates
STEP FOUR: SCHEDULE THE TASKS
- Share guide -
If the project management tool you use isn’t flexible with scheduling, the project
manager can spend hours, if not days, trying to tweak the schedule to fit the project
management tool constraints. For one project, I spent more time allocating project
team resources to high-level tasks in a meaningless project schedule just so everyone
could record time. I maintained a separate schedule for all the real project tasks,
but needed to do duplicate administration in a separate system.
Project management just doesn’t have to be this hard.
Dr Andrew Makar
Tactical Project Management
- Share guide -
MANAGE THE
WORK AND
COMPLETE THE
PROJECT
STEP FIVE
The only way it will happen is
paying close attention to
progressing each task. Then,
before you know it, you’ve delivered
what you said you would.
Monitor the progress
Make sure you are on top of your
tasks and if other people have
tasks, check with them regularly to
make sure they are on track. Pay
attention to your milestones, such
as the completion of a phase or
deliverable.
If you or other team members are
encountering problems, make
sure you address them as soon as
possible, to minimise any delays.
Everything’s planned, your stakeholders are happy, the
work is scheduled and the people are assigned to the tasks.
That can only mean one thing – that you are ready to deliver
your project.
STEP FIVE: MANAGE THE WORK AND COMPLETE THE PROJECT
Report on the status
Whether weekly or monthly, you may
need to report on progress to key
stakeholders – such as your boss.
You should only be reporting on the
highlights – the top level deliverables
or milestones. A colour-based system
can help:
•	 green for ‘everything is great and
we are on schedule’,
•	 amber as a warning (but
stakeholders don’t need to panic –
the projects team is dealing with it)
•	 red for ‘there is a problem and
you need help from the wider
stakeholders to resolve the issue’.
- Share guide -
If you follow all the steps in this
guide, then your project will do
much more than cross the finish line.
Derek Jack,
co-founder of MindGenius
Deal with any changes
With the best will in the world,
changes are inevitable. And, even
if you’ve done everything right
when planning, you may encounter
unforeseen problems or spot
opportunities – and responding
to these will have an impact on
your project.
You may need to draft in more
people to help, reduce what your
project will deliver or you may have
to accept that the project will run
late. Crucially, you should let your
key stakeholders know and get
their approval.
Complete the project
Once the last task is complete,
and you’ve delivered everything
that is expected, then the project
is complete. Remember to
congratulate yourself and the
team on the big achievement.
Derek Jack, co-founder of
MindGenius, said: “If you’ve followed
all the practical steps in this guide,
then your project will do much
more than cross the finish line. Your
organisation with see big results and
you, your team and the project will
be judged a success.”
The end of the project isn't the end
of the story though...
STEP FIVE: MANAGE THE WORK AND COMPLETE THE PROJECT
- Share guide -
Manage the work and
complete the project
(and more)
Delivering a project, as you’ve
read, is about keeping on top of
tasks, reporting status and dealing
with changes.
We have a template that will help
you with all of that. It’s part of a
pack of templates that will help you
with the other stages too. And you
can get free access to MindGenius
to use them.
Download a free trial of the
software, as well as all the templates
that accompany this guide.
Download the trial and templates
STEP FIVE: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES)
- Share guide -
STEP SIX
LEARN LESSONS
When the last tasks have been completed, and the project
has been delivered, that’s often the end of the story. But
it shouldn’t be.
STEP SIX: LEARN LESSONS
Make sure you act on the information
from the retrospective, rather than let
it gather dust. At the very least share
the information with the rest of the
organisation so they can apply those
lessons to their projects.
Whether the project was a success
or not, there will always be lessons
to learn for the next time.
It’s human nature to want to move
on once something is finished, but
failing to review the project means
you will end up repeating the same
mistakes again and again, even on
very different projects.
Lessons learned sessions (or
retrospectives), to identify what
went well and what did not, can be
done at various stages throughout
the project or, at the very least, as a
final review.
- Share guide -
Learn lessons (and more)
It’s important to learn lessons from
the experience of planning and
running your project.
We have a template that will give
you the structure to do that, and you
can use it in MindGenius, which will
help you to manage and record the
retrospective meeting.
Download a free trial of the
software, as well as all the
templates that accompany
this guide.
Download the trial and templates
STEP SIX: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES)
- Share guide -
Projects made easy
MindGenius is a practical project management tool
that helps individuals, teams and organisations
plan, deliver and monitor projects more effectively.
www.mindgenius.com

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The six step guide to practical project management

  • 1. THE SIX STEP GUIDE TO PRACTICAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT “If you’re looking for some real-world guidance, then The Six Step Guide to Practical Project Management will help.” Dr Andrew Makar, Tactical Project Management 3 4 56 2
  • 2. PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR EVERYONE If you think managing projects is too difficult, think again. We’ve stripped back project management processes to the basics – to make it quicker and easier, without sacrificing the vital ingredients for success. Every day, people are handed projects to deliver. Those people may not have been given much, if any, project management training, and have to juggle lots of other work from their day job. They may end up cutting corners. Is that you? Or are you a manager who is trying to get your team of non-project managers to adopt consistent processes? Either way, this guide will help. We’ve stripped back professional project management processes to the absolute basics. We’ve made the process simpler and quicker, without sacrificing the vital ingredients for a successful project – to hit your deadlines, stay in cost and deliver big benefits to your organisation (and career). In fact, we’ve gone one further. Often, people think they need to use an overly complex project management tool that requires lots of training. Or they end up using something that may be close to hand (such as a spreadsheet or a word processor) but just isn’t up to the job. As well as giving you a simple process, we’ll also give you a chance to go ahead and apply what you’ve learned in practice with templates and guides using our simple project management tool – MindGenius. So, when it comes to getting the job done quickly and easily, there’s nothing stopping you. - Share guide -
  • 3. GO AHEAD AND DO IT Once you’ve read about the steps, you can go ahead and run a project. You can try out MindGenius for all these steps. Download a free trial and templates to help you run a project from start to finish. The rest of this guide will go into more depth on each of the six steps, but here is a quick summary of what's coming up. 1 Understand why your project exists (its purpose) and its objectives. This will guide your decisions throughout the project. DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PROJECT NEEDS TO ACHIEVE 2 Identify your stakeholders and gather their requirements. Benefit from the collective knowledge of the team. FIND OUT WHO IS INVOLVED AND WHAT THEY WANT 3 Create your scope document and present it to your stakeholders in a meeting. Get everyone on the same page and collect vital feedback. DECIDE ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DELIVER 4 List your tasks, find out how long they will take, assign them to people and get a realistic finish time. Visualise your timeline with a Gantt chart. SCHEDULE THE TASKS 5 Monitor progress, report on the status and deal with any changes. Keep on top of everything and keep stakeholders in the loop. MANAGE THE WORK AND COMPLETE THE PROJECT 6 Run a retrospective meeting to learn lessons from the project. It's a valuable opportunity to identify improvements. LEARN LESSONS - Share guide - Download the trial and templates
  • 4. PROJECT MANAGEMENT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE COMPLEX OR INTIMIDATING Dr Andrew Makar of Tactical Project Management, who has 15 years of experience as a PMP-certified project manager and of leading non-project managers, says people today don't have time for overly complex processes Many people are entrusted with the mantle of ‘project manager’, often regardless of whether they are interested in the role. There is an entire industry aimed at the project management profession with hundreds of thousands of certified project management professionals, yet projects get delivered every day, with and without certified project managers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m Project Management Professional (PMP) certified and actually enjoy a healthy discussion on proper project management processes. However, project management doesn’t have to be overly complex or intimidating, as described in project management textbooks. One of the best executives I ever met prided himself on not having PMP certification, yet he was responsible for his organisation’s enterprise programmes and projects. He acknowledged that project management processes, tools and techniques were important, but just as vital are communication and common sense. He trusted his team to pick the right tool for the job and adjust the processes to meet the project needs. People don’t have time today for overly complex processes producing reams of documentation and checklists. They need to deliver projects, not paperwork. The project management industry provides processes and techniques to improve project quality. However, these need to be adjusted to fit your project. If you’ve inherited the mantle of ‘project manager’ and are looking for some real-world guidance, then the The Six Step Guide to Simple Project Management will help you get started. After all, you’ve got projects to deliver. - Share guide -
  • 5. STEP ONE DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PROJECT NEEDS TO ACHIEVE
  • 6. SUMMIT When you’ve been given a new project to manage, there are some essential pieces of top-level information you’ll need at the very start of the process. STEP ONE: DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PROJECT NEEDS TO ACHIEVE This information will: • Ensure you understand what is expected of you • Help you make the right decisions throughout the project • Explain the project to stakeholders and set their expectations You’ll need to define the following: Purpose You need to understand the reason for the project, such as the problem it aims to solve or the benefits it will bring, as well as what you will deliver to achieve this. Objectives You will need to list the project’s outcomes – what you want the project to have achieved after it is delivered. Key requirements You’ll need to identify the top-level requirements under the three headings: • Scope: What should the project deliver? • Time: Is there a date this needs to be delivered by? • Cost (or resources): What’s the budget? What personnel are available? You should also find out which are flexible: can either the scope, timeline or cost be changed? Or is there one which should be fixed? Your purpose and objectives will act as your ‘guiding light’ throughout the project. You’ll need to refer to it regularly to make sure you’re making the right decisions, so you should make sure that they clear and specific. - Share guide -
  • 7. Major milestones As well as recording the start date, you should also record the end date you should aim for, only if you know it at this stage, as well as any other key deadlines. Project team You should find out at this stage who is available to help out with the tasks that will be needed to deliver the project. STEP ONE: DISCOVER WHAT YOUR PROJECT NEEDS TO ACHIEVE I remember working on one project where the running joke was that the project had launched, yet the project charter [as project start- up documents are often called] was “almost ready to be signed”. It consisted of a 45-page Word document that no one would ever read in great detail or even sign off. The project still delivered on time and was successful. This example begs the question – was all that process really needed? Dr Andrew Makar, Tactical Project Management - Share guide -
  • 8. Discover what the project needs to achieve (and more) You’ve learned all about the first step of project management: finding out what the project needs to achieve. Now you can go ahead and do it in real life. We’ve provided you with a free template to allow you to document the information you need. It’s part of the package of templates that accompany this guide, which will help you put what you learn into practice. Download the trial and templates STEP ONE: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES) - Share guide -
  • 9. STEP TWO FIND OUT WHO IS INVOLVED AND WHAT THEY WANT
  • 10. The success of your project is not just about following the right process, it’s also about involving the right people in the process. STEP TWO: FIND OUT WHO IS INVOLVED AND WHAT THEY WANT These people are your stakeholders and they have valuable input – information, insights, views and a fresh perspective. In other words, they can play a vital role in making sure you don’t miss anything important. It’s also important that you keep them on side, so they support your project rather than block progress. Identify your stakeholders You need to find out who is affected by your project or has the power to make the project succeed or fail. Sometimes the list will be very short, and other times it may be longer. And sometimes it may take you a few minutes of thinking alone to make the list, and other times you may need to brainstorm with colleagues. But it’s vital that you do it. Leaving someone out could be seriously damaging to your project. - Share guide -
  • 11. Find out what they need Once you’ve identified your stakeholders, you need to talk to them, to find out what they need from the project (their requirements). Each stakeholder may need the project to do different things and will be able to offer different expert insights. There are many ways you can get their input. The most valuable is the meeting – where you get all the stakeholders together in the one room to brainstorm. It’s a chance to benefit from the collective knowledge of your organisation in the one session. Failing that, you can also conduct interviews. This gives you a good depth of information, but it takes more time. You may want to prioritise the most important decision makers and subject experts for this. The least engaging method of all is email – only to be used as a last resort or for low-priority stakeholders. It’s crucial that you are as comprehensive at this stage as possible. Anything you miss here may derail the project later on. By recording information in sessions using the right software, you'll save time and energy from retyping (and making sense of hastily written notes), compared with using whiteboards or post-it notes. You can use MindGenius for this – it’s easy to capture information quickly. By using a projector or big screen, everyone can see the information you capture, and you can even start to group and analyse the information in collaboration with stakeholders, saving you even more time. STEP TWO: FIND OUT WHO IS INVOLVED AND WHAT THEY WANT - Share guide -
  • 12. Download the trial and templates Find out who is involved and what they want (and more) You’ve found out that it is critical to find out who your stakeholders are, so you can ask them about their requirements. We have a template for you that will allow you to do just that. In fact, we have a range of templates that accompany this guide, which you can use with a free trial of MindGenius. Download a free trial of the software, as well as all the templates that accompany this guide. STEP TWO: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES) - Share guide -
  • 13. DECIDE ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DELIVER STEP THREE
  • 14. One big reason projects fail is due to the fact that what the project will deliver has been poorly defined and not effectively communicated to stakeholders. STEP THREE: DECIDE ON WHAT YOU NEED TO DELIVER You need a crystal clear idea of this, so you know what you need to achieve, you can measure your progress and your stakeholders know what to expect. Create your scope Once you’ve gathered all your requirements, you need to then translate these into what your project will deliver (the deliverables) to meet those requirements. The list of deliverables is typically called a scope – which sets out the boundaries of your project. Make sure your deliverables are clear, to avoid stakeholders being disappointed that their interpretation of the deliverables doesn’t match the reality. Get agreement on the scope You should get your stakeholders together in a meeting, to ensure they all understand and agree. Make sure nothing is hidden – which can happen if you just hand someone a document (people can miss things). Your goal is absolute clarity, and to get valuable feedback. Present the scope visually and talk through each part (MindGenius is great for this – feel free to give it a try). It gives stakeholders the opportunity to spot gaps and to allow you to ensure that they don’t miss or misunderstand anything. 41% OF PROJECTS FAIL DUE TO CHANGE(S) IN SCOPE MID-PROJECT Source: PWC PPM Survey 2014 - Share guide -
  • 15. Decide on what you’ll deliver (and more) You’ve read about the need for creating a scope, which outlines what the project will deliver. Now, you can go ahead and create your own scope document using MindGenius and a helpful template (just one in the pack of templates that accompany this guide). Download a free trial of the software, as well as all the templates that accompany this guide. Download the trial and templates STEP THREE: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES) - Share guide -
  • 17. One of the most common mistakes an inexperienced manager of projects makes is being overly optimistic about when the project can be delivered. STEP FOUR: SCHEDULE THE TASKS What may seem a reasonable timeframe may turn out to be wildly ambitious. You will only know what is realistic when you create an estimate of how long your tasks will take with the personnel at your disposal, to give you a more accurate completion date. List, estimate and assign your tasks Once you have approval from your stakeholders on what your project will deliver, then you can start to list the tasks needed for each deliverable. For each task, you should estimate how long it would take. Then, you should assign that task to someone – whether that’s you or one of your team. If you use a tool such as MindGenius, you can create and adapt your Gantt chart quickly and easily. By adding dates to each of your tasks you then unlock the ability to automatically turn your map into a Gantt chart. It is easy to adapt, for example, if you need to change the dates or sequence of tasks. You can also assign people to tasks. - Share guide -
  • 18. You then need to look at whether the people who have been assigned tasks are either under or over allocated. For example, you may need to move the schedule or reallocate work if you have two tasks for the one person at the same time. Because you have the durations for each task, and those are in the right sequence and position, this now gives you your plan and estimated delivery date. Visualise your timeline with a Gantt chart Gantt charts are an ideal visual way to see your project schedule clearly. Creating your Gantt chart starts with arranging the tasks into a logical order and including the durations for each. You can then link the tasks – does one need to be completed before another starts? You may find that some tasks don’t depend on others and can be done anytime and that sets of tasks can run in parallel with other sets. This can shorten the project’s overall timeline. Try using MindGenius for your project schedule. Download a free trial of the software, as well as the templates that accompany this guide. Download the trial and templates STEP FOUR: SCHEDULE THE TASKS - Share guide -
  • 19. If the project management tool you use isn’t flexible with scheduling, the project manager can spend hours, if not days, trying to tweak the schedule to fit the project management tool constraints. For one project, I spent more time allocating project team resources to high-level tasks in a meaningless project schedule just so everyone could record time. I maintained a separate schedule for all the real project tasks, but needed to do duplicate administration in a separate system. Project management just doesn’t have to be this hard. Dr Andrew Makar Tactical Project Management - Share guide -
  • 20. MANAGE THE WORK AND COMPLETE THE PROJECT STEP FIVE
  • 21. The only way it will happen is paying close attention to progressing each task. Then, before you know it, you’ve delivered what you said you would. Monitor the progress Make sure you are on top of your tasks and if other people have tasks, check with them regularly to make sure they are on track. Pay attention to your milestones, such as the completion of a phase or deliverable. If you or other team members are encountering problems, make sure you address them as soon as possible, to minimise any delays. Everything’s planned, your stakeholders are happy, the work is scheduled and the people are assigned to the tasks. That can only mean one thing – that you are ready to deliver your project. STEP FIVE: MANAGE THE WORK AND COMPLETE THE PROJECT Report on the status Whether weekly or monthly, you may need to report on progress to key stakeholders – such as your boss. You should only be reporting on the highlights – the top level deliverables or milestones. A colour-based system can help: • green for ‘everything is great and we are on schedule’, • amber as a warning (but stakeholders don’t need to panic – the projects team is dealing with it) • red for ‘there is a problem and you need help from the wider stakeholders to resolve the issue’. - Share guide -
  • 22. If you follow all the steps in this guide, then your project will do much more than cross the finish line. Derek Jack, co-founder of MindGenius Deal with any changes With the best will in the world, changes are inevitable. And, even if you’ve done everything right when planning, you may encounter unforeseen problems or spot opportunities – and responding to these will have an impact on your project. You may need to draft in more people to help, reduce what your project will deliver or you may have to accept that the project will run late. Crucially, you should let your key stakeholders know and get their approval. Complete the project Once the last task is complete, and you’ve delivered everything that is expected, then the project is complete. Remember to congratulate yourself and the team on the big achievement. Derek Jack, co-founder of MindGenius, said: “If you’ve followed all the practical steps in this guide, then your project will do much more than cross the finish line. Your organisation with see big results and you, your team and the project will be judged a success.” The end of the project isn't the end of the story though... STEP FIVE: MANAGE THE WORK AND COMPLETE THE PROJECT - Share guide -
  • 23. Manage the work and complete the project (and more) Delivering a project, as you’ve read, is about keeping on top of tasks, reporting status and dealing with changes. We have a template that will help you with all of that. It’s part of a pack of templates that will help you with the other stages too. And you can get free access to MindGenius to use them. Download a free trial of the software, as well as all the templates that accompany this guide. Download the trial and templates STEP FIVE: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES) - Share guide -
  • 25. When the last tasks have been completed, and the project has been delivered, that’s often the end of the story. But it shouldn’t be. STEP SIX: LEARN LESSONS Make sure you act on the information from the retrospective, rather than let it gather dust. At the very least share the information with the rest of the organisation so they can apply those lessons to their projects. Whether the project was a success or not, there will always be lessons to learn for the next time. It’s human nature to want to move on once something is finished, but failing to review the project means you will end up repeating the same mistakes again and again, even on very different projects. Lessons learned sessions (or retrospectives), to identify what went well and what did not, can be done at various stages throughout the project or, at the very least, as a final review. - Share guide -
  • 26. Learn lessons (and more) It’s important to learn lessons from the experience of planning and running your project. We have a template that will give you the structure to do that, and you can use it in MindGenius, which will help you to manage and record the retrospective meeting. Download a free trial of the software, as well as all the templates that accompany this guide. Download the trial and templates STEP SIX: NOW DO IT (FREE TEMPLATES) - Share guide -
  • 27. Projects made easy MindGenius is a practical project management tool that helps individuals, teams and organisations plan, deliver and monitor projects more effectively. www.mindgenius.com