There are many checklists for getting a project started – goals, time, measures, resources, task definition are on many of them. What do these checklists miss in assuring a successful project start?
Here are some things to reflect on as you initiate a project.
Open Space and Blue Sky
In your plan, have you made provision for open space that will foster creativity and innovation? You can do this by building in open space opportunities for the team to consider the project and what may be possible.
Handling The Unexpected
Many good project management plans build contingencies into their timelines and budgets. Do you have a process for handling disruptions and unforeseen events? You can create a process by which you and your team can identify and respond to the unexpected in an effective way.
Have you considered means to keep your project in balance for its duration? Think of a wheel – you align it so that it does not wobble. Balance is dynamic as opposed to static. You can address balance by setting, at the start of the project, the elements of balance (for example, not burning out, communication, problem solving) that you want to maintain and creating a way of periodically checking in on the project’s level of balance.
Problem and Weakness Ascension
Many team members are reluctant to identify problems and weaknesses until they reach the point where they are showing up on project timelines or budgets. At the start of a project, team members should know that early identification of problems and weaknesses is encouraged and contributes to success. You can do this by creating a “judgment-free” process for raising problems and weaknesses, as soon as they are identified.
Space for The Unknown
Beyond handling the unexpected, it is good to have a healthy respect for the unknown. You cannot anticipate all that will happen during a project. You can address the unknown by acknowledging its presence at the start. In doing this, team members will not feel pressure to stay on a planned course, even when circumstances have changed. By making space for the unknown, accommodation can be made to reset the course, when needed, in a timely and efficient way.
In future posts, I will go further in each of these areas. I’d enjoy hearing from readers if you are addressing any of these project elements and what you are finding about their usefulness.