This collection was submitted for publication and is copyright to
Jason Westland, ©2009
Published April 2010

Introduction | The 5 Goals of a Project Manager 
How to Manage Projects Step-by-Step | How to Create a Communications Plan
How to Write Great Project Documents

How to Manage Projects Step-by-Step

Projects can often be chaos. To remain focused and achieve success, you need to work in a step-by-step manner. That way, you will have complete control over every action you take. So read on and learn.

You have a choice in how you manage projects. If you manage in an unstructured fashion, then much of your time will be spent fire fighting and trying to control the project scope. This is known as "project chaos".

Instead, if you manage in a more structured step-by-step fashion, then you can control the project delivery and ensure it proceeds according to plan. So here's how to do it.

Define the Project Roadmap

At the start of the project you need to define the Roadmap. This is a diagram that shows the major steps that need to be taken to deliver the project from start to finish. Another name for this is the "Project Life Cycle"(or Project Life Span, Editor). Every step is clearly defined and the steps are placed in a logical order, from Project Initiation to Project Closure.

After creating your Project Roadmap, get buy-in from your Project Sponsor and then clearly communicate these steps to your team. That way, everyone knows what has to be done to deliver the project, from start to finish. Our MPMM web site includes a complete Roadmap for projects.

Base your Plan on your Roadmap

If you haven't done so already, create a detailed Project Plan that lists all of the tasks needed to complete the steps in your Roadmap. If you have already created your plan, then review it to ensure that all of the roadmap steps are listed in your plan and that your plan is perfectly aligned with your Roadmap.

That way, by following the steps listed in your plan you can ensure that you follow the roadmap and never deviate off track. You can then avoid lengthy delays and costly overruns, which are common with projects.

Use your Roadmap to Keep Control

Print your Roadmap out and put it in a visible place so that your team can see it. Every time a change is raised, refer back to your roadmap to determine whether it should really be implemented.

By constantly referring to your Step-by-Step Roadmap, you can easily identify the impact of changes, risks and issues on the project. And you can see at a glance whether they are going to have an impact on your ability to deliver your project on time.

A clear step-by-step roadmap helps you make decisions on the fly, while still remaining focused on the end objective. And you can use it to report on your project progress to your project sponsors. It also helps you show your team the progress of your project to date to boost motivation and morale.

So take the first steps by getting your team together and creating a Project Roadmap that lists the major steps that need to be completed to deliver your project. Then plan your project based on your roadmap, print it out and stick to it. By doing this, you'll help your team remain focused on the tasks at hand and improve productivity.

The 5 Goals of a Project Manager  The 5 Goals of a Project Manager

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