By Tim Vaux
To maximize your company’s project results and achieve strategic objectives, a highly coordinated effort is required. It’s not of any value to have staff propose and carry out projects if they aren’t aligned with strategic direction. There are “nice to do” projects and there are “must do” projects and it takes disciplined leadership to know the difference and exercise control. I’ve also witnessed projects that are little more than “make work” for the individuals involved with little or no value resulting.
The following checklist is meant to ensure your projects are purposeful:
Is your company committed to using project management properly?
In most companies, several projects are underway at any given time. They may be focused on production, packaging, processing, operations, logistics or marketing among others. There must be a commitment to the art and science of managing these projects in order to get the most “bang for the buck.”
Is there a formal policy for preparing project charters?
Since projects are the means by which company strategies are executed, it is important that they are guided by the company’s philosophy, strategy, and intent. Project charters are the vehicle for doing this. Charters should answer basic questions. For example, “In what ways will the project enhance overall company goals?” The charter covers topics such as who the stakeholders are, methodologies, scope, timelines, responsible parties and a summary of the plan.
Do you have the right people on the project team?
A multi-functional team is required for any given project to ensure all relevant viewpoints are expressed and valued in order to have complete “buy-in” from those affected by decisions made along the way. Although I generally don’t include the company lawyer on the team, it’s important to review progress and results with him/her so that any legal implications are covered.
How can the project team stay on track and not go off on tangents?
Milestones need to be built into timelines. This gives the team as well as management a chance to assess the work done to date against objectives and to make sure the work continues to be aligned with the project charter and company objectives.
Are audits built into the plan?
Once a project is complete and the team disperses, everybody celebrates and moves on. That is the problem with many projects. Implementation of the plan is critical to success. Without proper execution, the entire effort can be a waste of time and valuable resources. An audit plan must be part of the implementation. There is no set time frame for these audits, but the project leader along with company leadership must assess results against expectations on a regular basis. Six months, a year and two-year audits are common. If the audit is built into the project and the company culture allows for this critical step, more of your projects will result in success
The Skilled and Experienced Team at FreshXperts is Available to Help You with Project Management Best Practices.
Contact us when you have issues related to project management and we can assist in helping you align that work with your overall company’s strategic objectives. If you lack the internal resources to accomplish that yourself, we stand ready to help.