Almost anything in this world can be viewed as a “project”, whether it’s something as simple as a trip to the grocery store or more complex like building a company from scratch. No matter the scope of the project, it will need to be managed in some way. Without proper project management, how does a collection of tasks navigate from beginning to end?
A project always needs a clear-cut path to reach its end goal. And when you look at the big picture of any project path, there are four main steps to take. And really, it doesn’t matter if you’re utilizing an automated system or an actual human being to manage a project, the basic steps are always the same.
The first thing you always do when creating a project is envision it at the completed stage, right? “I want to generate the first million for a startup company,” or “I’d like to host a community event.” This phase usually involves a lot of brainstorming about the desired end result. At this point, you should be less concerned about exact steps needed to reach the end goal and more focused on creating an ideal vision. Once that’s accomplished, it’s time to move forward and start thinking strategy.
Devising a Plan and Setting Timelines
This step is the body of the project. It’s where all the inner workings are created and where all moving pieces are put into place.
Think of project management timelines as the creation of life. Once an embryo forms, it needs time to develop. It needs bones, organs, veins, blood, muscles, and so on, in order to get to the end result – a human being. A timeline is set (9 months) for the embryo to transition into a functioning human being. During this 9 month period, everything is formed based on the plan that has been put into place since, well, the beginning of the human race.
When a fetus skips integral steps in the development process, what happens? The effects can be unthinkable. Likewise, a snowball effect could develop if even one critical step in the project management timeline goes awry, with the end result being a total deviation from the original vision.
Executing the plan is the heart and soul of project management. Keeping the project on its path of completion is a job that requires much attention. Think of a project manager like oxygen to the body, allowing blood to flow to each part. Without oxygen, blood flow stops and the body cannot function. Similarly, it’s almost impossible for plans to remain organized without an actual project manager or project management tool in place to keep the team on target and on deadline.
Trello is one of my favorite options for helping to manage not only day-to-day life priorities, but also projects on a much larger scale. Although not a fully automated system, a board in Trello can be customized to fit almost any project. I have applied this system to everything from a household cleaning schedule to running a real estate transaction coordination business. It’s one of the most versatile tools that I’ve found to date. And it integrates with plenty of other programs, allowing users to have everything they need right at their fingertips.
This step: it’s what you worked so hard to achieve. After all the planning and managing, you finally reached that goal. The importance of properly managing tasks is crucial not only in a professional setting, but also in everyday life. The more thorough your plan and management style is, the smoother the journey to the end vision.