Simplify the way you work. This has been QuantumPM’s tag line for many years and we absolutely believe in it. Our Project Management consultants want to offer you a better way to start 2015. Here are some ideas on how to get a fresh start on your projects and everything else you do at work?
Laurie’s thoughts: Organizing your work life
Whew! The craziness and fun of the holiday season is over and now it’s time to get organized and ready for the year at hand. I have a lot of cleaning up to do – sorting, tossing, organizing and all the other things we all do at this time of the year. But, I don’t want to just de-clutter my “stuff”, I also want to focus on ways I can simplify my work life (and personal life) so I can find more time to enjoy the things I love and learn something new. There are many approaches to this; here are my top strategies for getting it done. It’s time for a fresh start so let’s get going!
- Clarify what you’re doing and why. Are your goals for the year clear? Do you know your part in the bigger picture and how you can make an impact on your job and the organization? If yes, congratulations! Now write it down and review it periodically to stay on track. If not, now would be a good time to have a discussion with your boss and teammates to clarify those goals. Once defined, break them into actionable steps and communicate them with your teammates so everyone has the same vision. Focusing an organization to move in the same direction, with the same goals, takes effort. But if you communicate clearly and help people understand their place in the plan, you may actually get there!
- Review company processes and figure out what’s working and what’s not. If it’s working, leave it alone. But if there are issues with processes you’ve been using and people seem confused, it’s probably time to re-evaluate and refresh them. It’s a huge waste of time and energy to keep doing the same thing, in the same way, just because it’s always been done that way. Take time to rethink common processes to make them more efficient and easier to follow and then communicate the changes to your team. It’s a great feeling and relief when your ship is sailing smoothly and people are on board with what they need to do! Solid processes will make that a reality.
- Look ahead at what’s coming to help avoid problems. What does the year ahead have in store for you? None of us have crystal balls but we can anticipate things on the horizon that could affect our workload. Don’t wait to the last minute. Evaluate upcoming issues now and set up some preliminary plans on how to address them. It might be a new customer, a teammate going on leave, or a company certification that needs to be completed. Whatever it is, analyze the potential impacts and work with your teammates to identify how you can mitigate the situation. Planning ahead is a great way to relieve stress and save time!
The common threads in all of these strategies is to communicate and work with your team. Don’t try to solve issues in a bubble. We each have our own unique perspectives and when we collaborate and bring those perspectives together, a lot of valuable ideas and solutions can be realized. Make this a year where you get organized ahead of the game and stay there!
Rose’s thoughts: Simplification isn’t simple
As usual, Laurie put some great ideas together about getting organized in the New Year. The same techniques can be used for your projects but I’d add an emphasis on team communication. It’s critical and key to keeping your projects organized and on track. As Project Management consultants, when we look at projects, communication is the one factor that is usually done poorly and can derail the entire project. But that’s just one area to improve on. webhosting info Here are some things you can do to keep your projects moving forward in a positive way in the New Year.
- Talk about your project – People are often much more receptive to hearing about changes at the beginning of a new year. Since every project is going to change the way things work for someone, there is no better time to let people know what’s happening on your project than now. A very wise person once told me that major changes need to be communicated seven times in seven different ways. The bottom line is that all of us are very busy and messages can easily be missed, ignored, or misinterpreted. So start talking about your project now and then keep sharing information! Communication needs to be interesting, engaging, and delivered in a variety of ways so that it is actually heard and understood as intended. Take advantage of the New Year as one more reason to let people know what’s going on.
- Project scope – The beginning of a new year is a great time to refresh this message. People have been enjoying the holidays and they probably haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the project. When you communicate, make sure that the message you send is crystal clear: what’s in scope, what’s not in scope, and what’s changed.
- Clarity of roles – It’s a new year, is it time to organize a bit differently? Often the start of a year brings new budgets, changes in roles, and other opportunities for a fresh start. Take a look at your team with a critical eye. Is it time to organize things in a new way? Do you have the right skill sets working in the right roles? Is there a way to change things up and possibly be more effective?
- Make the most of every day – Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions for your project? Perhaps it is time to start some new habits. For example, agile projects often start each day with a quick meeting to discuss each person’s plan for the day and make sure everyone is on target. Would that work for your team? If not, is there something else that would?
- Manage conflict – The beginning of a year is a great time to make sure that any disagreements or serious conflicts have been resolved. People really are more receptive to change at this time of you so take advantage of the opportunity. Don’t let it slip away!
To simplify the way you work, take a fresh look at your projects, communication techniques and operational work. The beginning of a year is a perfect time to start fresh. The changes don’t need to be big to have a big impact. For helpful tips on managing your resources read Managing Resources without Losing Your Mind.
QuantumPM is a Microsoft Gold Partner specializing in project, program, and portfolio management products and services