May 21 2019 0Comment

The Five Essentials of Leading a Project

A well-run project is a thing of beauty to see. Everyone knowing their role, what needs to be done, the order and flow of the tasks needing to be accomplished, finishing on-time and on-budget.  What is the secret of team leads that make this kind of outcome possible?

In the thirty years I have been leading teams professionally and for volunteer organizations, I have found there are five basic components that are essential to successfully taking a project from inception to completion. Those five basis components are as follows.

  1. Communication
    Communication is essential to any project. Everyone on the team needs to understand the expectations and the scope of what is to be accomplished. Communication takes on many forms: daily reports/updates, clearly written scopes of work, emails, texts, calls, travel arrangements, drawings, etc.
    Do your team members understand what is expected of them and how they are to carry out their work?
  2. Organization
    Going into a project It is important to plan your work and work your plan. Having a flow to the work is fundamental to bringing a project in on-time and on-budget. Having a work breakdown structure helps organize a project effectively. What is the timeline? In what order does the work need to be performed? Who is going to be responsible for what? Are all the materials on hand? Are there materials that need to be ordered? How are people getting to where they need to be? What time is the team starting? When is the work day ending? These are just a few of the items that fall under project organization.
  3. Delegation
    Projects are team efforts. Teamwork is not an accident. No project is ever a one-man show. No one can carry the full load of a project on their own. There are simply too many tasks to accomplish. Delegation is critical to the success of any project. Hand off tasks. Provide instructions and information. Be specific. Motivate. Make certain team members are able to carry out the task. Ask if they are having any problems. Hold team members accountable. Set deadlines. Remember, many hands make light work.
  4. Documentation
    Documentation is a critical piece of the puzzle. If it is not documented, it did not happen. If you have a call with team member, client, general contractor or other people associated with the project, follow up with an email documenting the talking points of that call. Same goes for any conversation relating to the project. Have a reporting process in place. Daily updates, site readiness reports, pictures, issues encountered as well as the resolution of those issues, and a final project summary are all examples of needed and effective project documentation.
  5. Goal Setting
    Having goals and clearly communicating those goals is extremely important to the success of any project. If you do not have a method of measuring what is being done, how do you know if you are being successful? At the start, make it clear as to what is to be accomplished by the end of the project. At that start of each day, set goals for the work to be done that day. At the end of the shift, review what has been accomplished. Assess where you are vs. where you wanted to be. Based on that information layout the goals for the next day. Let the entire team know what is going to be happening each day and what is expected of them. Shooting randomly in the dark does not yield the right results. Having a focus of what needs to take place enables the team to lock on the target and make it happen.

Five simple yet essential, components that will help your projects to run smooth, keep team members up-to-speed and brings about successful results.

 

David Plekkenpol