As we head into spring and summer and are planning our field or summer projects, have you checked out some tools that may be available to you or are you one of those organizations or individuals who do so by the seat of your pants? Project management and planning is one of the keys to success and without it, you may get lost on your way or wake up one morning asking yourself whatever happened to the plan?
A lot of people think that project management should only be used for major projects. This is not so. Project management can be used for smaller projects as well and it is actually recommended that before you start using project management on a large scale, you try out some techniques with a smaller and simpler project. This can be anything from organizing your staff Christmas party to conducting a survey. You have to start with some simple questions:
- What is your end goal?
- When do you want the project to end?
- Who is going to be involved?
- Who is going to do what?
- What are your key milestones in the project?
- What is your budget?
Once you answer these questions, you can then start planning. It is important to remember that part of your planning will be the inclusion of all of those involved. If you do not involve your team, it will become a team of one or “I” (and there is no “I” in Team), and you will find buy in by team members much more difficult to achieve.
There are many tools out there to help you succeed with projects. They are mostly relatively easy to use and provide the means to get to success. One tool that I recently had recommended to me is “Basecamp”. It can be found at www.basecamp.com. This tool allows everyone on the team to access your documents, emails, etc. via one site and saves on numerous emails and revisions of documents going back and forth. They also have a 60 day free trial.
Another tool that is common is called a Gant Chart that tracks your milestones and keeps you on track. There are many versions of the Gant Chart that can be found on Google.
These are only two of many project management tools. Try them on for size and don’t forget, if you don’t use project management now or if you are starting a new project, try using some tools. A carpenter would be hard pressed to build anything without tools.