Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category
By Jeanne Willson
If you don’t believe me, perhaps you’ll take the advice of an expert “Ninety seven percent (97%) of all failure is due to the System and not the person.” – W. Edwards Deming
We all get overwhelmed at times with so many projects and being “on the go.” I have a close friend who refers to it as ‘plate spinning.’ For example, you have five important projects you are working on. All the folders are sitting on your desk and you are in the throws of making some valuable headway. Then, all of a sudden, you remember you need to follow up with a networking contact. Now, where did you put their number?
Work ‘On’ Your Business, Not ‘In’ It
The key factor to not missing this important contact and others is to set up a system. Systems can be defined as; ‘putting together a sequential series of events with a specific outcome.’ It is part of shifting your thoughts from ‘What am I working on’ to ‘How am I working.’
To set up a proper system you need to know three things:
1) What process requires a system?
2) What is my intended outcome?
3) How do I achieve my outcome?
One great way to solve the puzzle of ‘what process requires a system’ is to choose a task that you do repeatedly. An example is in-person networking.
Sample System for Networking
Scenario: You went to a networking meeting and you made a connection with a fellow small business owner who you would like to get to know better.
Define the three things you need for your system:
1) What process requires a system?
Following up with networking connections
2) What is my outcome?
Set up a meeting
3) How do you achieve your outcome?
Setup This System!
A. Collect business cards
B. Write on the back where/when you met
C. Within 24 hours:
1) Add them to your email (and email marketing) database
2) Connect with them on LinkedIn
3) ‘Like’ their Facebook business page (and their personal one if that is part of your FB strategy)
4) Follow them on Twitter
5) File their business card
D. Email them a ‘great to meet you’ note and ask if you can get together to get to know their business better
E. Look up their website and learn a little more about what products and services they offer
F. Than 48 hours before your meeting, send them a quick, detailed reminder email about your meeting (ie: ‘Look forward to getting together at your office on Thursday at 10am to learn more about your business’)
G. Meet with them and determine how you can do business together or become a referral source for each other
This may sound like a lot of steps. However, once you start implementing it the steps become a simple, automatic routine.
This week, choose a task you do over and over and you could use a system to achieve greater efficiency. Set up the step-by-step sequence of events and then…follow it!
Chet Holmes sums it up this way; “the key is learning and practicing pigheaded discipline and determination.”
I like the way he thinks! What do you think?
About the Author
Jeanne Willson is the Director of Markbeech Marketing, a virtual marketing department for small businesses. She is a small business marketer, entrepreneur, social media manager, blogger, speaker and professional graphic designer. Join her on Facebook: http://facebook.com/MarkbeechMarketing and Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarkbeechMktg.
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Project managers need to know the status of a project (whether it is a research study or a marketing campaign) at all times, which requires frequent communication with the project team. At the same time, project managers need to alert team members to any changes, issues or problems as quickly as possible.
The project manager’s job is to know the tasks each team member is responsible for accomplishing and make sure everyone is working on tasks within the scheduled timeline to keep the project moving forward. The project manager also needs to be sure suppliers and consultants supporting the work are staying on track.
This requires regular communication from the project team and the suppliers regarding status, issues, and changes that may affect other team members and the project as a whole. Regular communication is important to keep on top of major milestones and help react and diffuse potential roadblocks.
A good guideline is to create communication venues that allow for daily updates and weekly review and planning sessions. However, every project is different and reviews may be needed more or less frequent depending on how quickly decision are required.
For most projects having a weekly team meeting with internal resources is a good way to keep everyone up-to-date on the project status. A separate weekly “touch base” meeting with clients is also suggested strongly. Although there may be times when little or no movement takes place on a project (e.g., while a study is in field), it is important to keep these lines of communication open with the client and the internal team.
Depending on the complexity of the program and the items that need to be discussed on each week’s agenda, schedule 30 minutes or more each week. If the agenda is light, the meeting can be adjourned early or meetings can be lengthened if the agenda is full that week. We suggest that even with a light agenda, the weekly client meeting not be cancelled. Always give the team a touch point with the client and allow for last minute issues to be discussed and resolved or a plan to be put in place as needed.
Organizational culture may dictate how teams communicate amongst themselves. If the communication style is working, great don’t fix what isn’t broken. However, if communication is a problem, you’ll need to find new and hopefully better methods. Emails, meeting notes, and task checklists with status updates are all examples of ways to keep everyone updated.
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