Top Tips for Project Management
Something that always sticks with me, from the old days of being a Bid Manager is that “if you fail to plan you plan to fail.”
It seems simple right? No!
We don’t always allow ourselves the time and space to properly plan for any project or distinct piece of work that we are doing. Whether it’s planning an event or planning to complete a complex grant application, it’s amazing that we don’t always naturally want to give ourselves those essential minutes to plan.
The thing is, on those occasions when I do give myself time to properly plan for my project, I feel so much better for it, often reducing that feeling of enormity that settles in when you know you have a million things to do in a short space of time.
So my three top tips for using simple project management tools are;
1.Set clear roles and responsibilities! Make sure that if you are fortunate enough to have people to help you with your project that they understand their role and what you want them to do or achieve for you. And, don’t forget to write them down and circulate.
2. Create a project plan. We are lucky that in this age of technology there are a lot of free open source project management tools to help you create Gantt charts and the like, but a simple excel spreadsheet can do the job too, especially if you are sharing with other people who might not have specialist software or the inclination to learn about new software.
3. Don’t forget about lessons learnt. If you are fortunate to look back at lessons learnt from a similar project then don’t forget to use the start of a project as a good opportunity to look back and learn. You might have been involved, but even the best of elephants forget things that could have a big impact on the success of the project. If you don’t have lessons learnt, perhaps you can find lessons learnt from other organisations through case studies or reports. And most importantly don’t forget to debrief and create your own lessons learnt at the end of your project, they will be invaluable in the future should you ever implement your project again.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about useful project management tools to help you and your charity in a project, check out all of the learning opportunities available on our services page.
Amber Shotton is the Head of Membership and Learning at the FSI.