By Brian Tracy, President, Brian Tracy International
It is important that you never trust to luck when you plan a project. Hope is not a strategy. Remember the words of Napoleon, when he was asked if he believed in luck. He said, “Yes, I believe in luck. I believe in bad luck. And I believe I will always have it, so I plan accordingly.”
There are four main problems in project management. Each of them can be avoided by taking the time to think carefully before embarking on a new project.
How to Avoid These Problems
Plan your projects visually. One of the most powerful methods for designing and project managing is called “Storyboarding.” It originally was developed by the Walt Disney Corporation to plan cartoons and movies and eventually was used in every part of the business.
On a storyboard, you create a visual image of the project, mounted on the wall, so everyone can see it and comment on it. You begin with a large corkboard. You then get boxes of pins or thumbtacks and stacks of 3x5 and 5x8 index cards. Get several felt pens with different colors. You then are ready to begin.
Across the top of the storyboard, write the major parts of the project plan in one or two words, on 5x8 index cards, with the colored felt pens. These are very much like the titles of the chapters of a book, and are called “headers.” You may have anywhere from three to 10 different headers as the main parts of the project.
Under each of the headers, place 3x5 index cards. You list an individual step in the completion of the task on each of the 3x5 cards.
When you are finished, you will have created a visual representation of the entire project, showing what needs to be done, and in what order. You then can write the name of the person who is responsible for each of the jobs on the card listing the job.
With this layout, you can move headers and job descriptions around. You can change their order and schedule. You can change the person who is responsible and the deadline.
You also can use storyboarding with a sheet of paper. You can write a series of larger boxes across the top and then write a series of steps in each of those tasks in boxes underneath. The more visual you can make the project and the project plan, the easier it is for you to see relationships between the various tasks, and to make whatever changes are necessary to assure that you complete the project on time.
Brian Tracy is the author of “Full Engagement!: Inspire, Motivate, and Bring Out the Best in Your People.” He has written 50 books and produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on management, motivation, and personal success. He is the president of Brian Tracy International, as well as Internet business learning portal Business Growth Strategies.