Project Management That’s as Easy as 1,2,3 - Plan, Schedule, Deliver

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In my blog Plan For Success, I talked about the importance of planning for successful projects and how chaos can quickly ensue if plans aren’t in place up front.  There is one major benefit to this approach which we will explore further in this blog with a typical example. Planning ensures projects can be started quickly but also efficiently by following the right solution not the perception of what should be done.

Projects can typically come about from a recognition that something needs to be improved such as increase revenue, improves sales figures, improve website traffic, product development to meet a customer requirement, improve enquiries, improve customer service. The list could be endless – in business there is always a desire to improve and that desire will lead to projects that need to be scoped out and managed.

If I take just one of those listed – Improve website traffic. What would you typically do if you were to dive straight in and not plan out the requirements. The initial starting point might be to do more advertising, be it pay per click, social media targeted advertising or any other source of paid advertising. You might take a different approach and instead of going down the paid route, you increase ways to get organic traffic to the site.

Neither approach is wrong and both have their merits. My point is, if planning isn’t done to think this through then the wrong decision can be made. The approach taken needs to suit the business and the target audience and what is likely to make them take action. 

Planning this out requires asking questions such as:

  1. What’s the starting position – number of web visitors per week or month and what does that mean in terms of enquiries or sales
  2. What are we aiming to get to? Either an average number of visitors per month or a percentage increase or from an alternative view - what number of enquiries or sales are required and how many web visitors are required to meet that target
  3. How are you currently driving traffic to the site – paid or organic or both and which approach is the most effective
  4. Which pages or messaging work on the site 

These initial questions establish the current situation, where you want to be and what is currently working or not working. It also determines more on the scope of the project. The ultimate outcome is to improve visitors to the site but the above exploration determines whether an increase in visitors will yield any better results. For example, the question on pages and messaging that are working will tell you whether an increase in visitors will make any difference to the overall outcome.

The ultimate outcome of improving website traffic could be an increase in visitors or an increase in conversions. Once that is established, the scope of the project and the possible ways to address this become clearer.

To dive in and get started would probably have resulted in automatically going down the route of one of the possible solutions. Planning ensures the right option is taken.

In terms of effective project management, once the best solution is established, the resultant tasks can be listed to achieve that, resources are assigned and due dates agreed upon.

This is just one example of a situation where the aim is to improve upon something. The process remains the same regardless of the focus.

Plan 

  • Explore the current situation
  • Establish possible solutions
  • Choose the most appropriate to meet the ultimate goal
  • List tasks required to make it happen 

 Schedule

  • Assign resource
  • Agree due dates

Deliver

  • Monitor progress
  • Address any issues as they arise
  • Complete the project

These 3 steps add up to Simple, Effective Project Management.

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