So … you’ve been charged to manage a project. Where to begin? You might be inclined to just dive straight in. I mean, why not start addressing some of the simpler project management tasks right away?
Experienced developers will recognize that as an agile approach. But it’s not right for every initiative.
It may not seem enjoyable right now. But, later you’ll be very glad you paused here to arrange your project tasks into an organized outline. What’s more, we’re about to show you how to refine your project management process.
Consider Established Ideas from Experts
Before that work begins, consider the general model we’ll be following. Many project managers recommend dividing project management process tasks into six main phases or steps.
Aside from the fact that the hexagon appears in nature repeatedly — what’s so magic about the number six? Well the fact is, there’s no reason your process can’t have seven – or even five – steps as long as they all make sense for your specific project management process.
All the same, here’s one generally accepted/traditional model:
Those seem fairly logical and self-explanatory, right? The first area is foundational — and each step moving rightward generally builds on the ones before it. Developers generally consider this a “waterfall” approach.
On the upside, having an outline with your specific tasks organized into steps like these will offer great clarity. On the downside, just about now you might be realizing how much more work there is to do!
Well, fear not. We’ve managed literally hundreds of jobs over the years. We understand how important process, structure and methodology are toward helping you achieve optimal results for your projects.
Adapt Their Models To Create Your Own Set of Action Items
Spark Creative definitely borrows key ideas from traditional project management process approaches. In fact, we organized our services into categories that make a bit more sense for the projects clients ask us about most. Our six main areas flow in order from left to right and correspond to the main choices on the navigation bar above.
Case Study: How To Reorganize Website Content
Here’s a little background intel. Before we built the latest iteration of our site, we sat down to envision the kind of online asset we’d want to build on going forward. The prospective website we were planning certainly needed to accomplish a range of objectives. Considerations like:
- The ability to add content easily
- Social Media optimization (and adaptability)
- Responsiveness for mobile devices
- Search engine optimization (SEO), and
Chances are, requirements for your project will vary. Folks who ask us for copywriting or content will probably want to zero-in on tasks within the Plan and Write areas. A company that needs to implement a “product landing page that’s responsive for mobile devices” may need more services from the Develop area. And, marketing professionals – who we collaborate with often – may rely on us for a combination of services from the Write, Design, and Promote columns. So, your project management process will be quite unique to you, as well.
Outline A Set Of Tasks Unique To Your Business Needs
You know what’s great? We’ve done a good amount of your prep work already! To quickly generate an outline for your next project, here’s one way you could proceed:
1. Think Big
What would you like to accomplish with this project if budgets and time were not an issue at all? Spell out your main objective in a sentence or two. Also, feel free to jot down “must have” requirements; Those are usually top-of-mind. For instance, consider this goal:
2. Build A Checklist
Click through the submenu options here (on Spark Creative navigation bar, above) beginning from the first section, “Plan.” Then explore each area, moving rightward along the navigation bar. Note which items are tasks you’ll want on your checklist. You definitely won’t need them all. But, reviewing these items should prevent you from omitting something important.
3. Evaluate Your Draft Outline
Next, review the list you’ve drawn up. Essentially, that’s your rough project outline! A few of those action items might now seem like overkill. So, trim those away if you like.
4. Apply Ratings
This next step is pretty crucial. You’ll want to rate each “action item” with one of three levels of importance. I like to use “A,” “B,” and “C.” It should be easy to see what the “A’s” are, so those labels should come to you pretty quickly. After you’ve done that, apply the “B’s” and “C’s” as best you can. No need to labor over those. In due time, they’ll become more clear.
5. You’ve Outlined the Project’s MVP. Request A Proposal/SOW
Once that’s finished, savor the moment. Because it’s likely the items labeled “A” now define your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)! Once both your team and ours have a clear understanding of your MVP deliverable, we can generate a proposal – complete with budget ranges – for your team to review. From there, we can refine it into a Statement Of Work (SOW) that both teams agree with and approve.
You’re Ready! Begin Executing That Plan.
Hopefully, this short exercise in sketching out your own project management process will help you take the first step toward completing your next big project. This advice can be applied toward working with almost anyone. But, I’m ready to help as needed.
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