Today’s blogpost has one key theme: Project Management. It also has a “silly sub-theme” (SST): Business MadLibs. And oddly enough, they somehow manage to fit together. Here at Whiteboard Consulting, our mantra is always to make things simple and easy for our clients to apply back at the workplace instantly.
Yesterday I was talking to a friend, and I blurted out: “We sort of do business Madlibs!” (I may just be that brilliant and creative). We help people by only making them think about what is important. We provide all the structure and tools to make it easy. Just fill it out and GO!
Have you ever heard the following?
- “We never get anything done on time.”
- “What do you mean I was supposed to do that? I thought Finance was doing that? They never follow through.”
- “Our timelines as are always so tight we never have time to let everyone in the company know, they’ll figure it out when we implement.”
- “Well, I thought there was a possibility this might happen, but I didn’t really think about what we would do if it actually did happen”
Most growing organizations do hear these kinds of statements. It’s normal. But, it’s not OK! You can easily eliminate this negativity and blame game with some simple project management techniques (no PMP required!) Pssst! This also improves your workplace culture and employee engagement.
Read on for Whiteboard Business MadLibs: The Project Management Edition.
The key components of project management are: Clearly Defined and Delegated Roles and Responsibilities, Risk Management, Strong Communications Plan, and Time Management.
Below are TWO tools you can use to take ANY activity in your business to make sure it is implemented better, faster, and cheaper: a mini project charter and a project plan. The Charter addresses roles and responsibilites, risk management, and communications. The Project Plan addresses Delegated responsibilities and Time Management.
1. A mini project charter. This can be a 5 minute exercise or a much longer one depending on the breadth and depth of the activity you are working on. The key themes are:
- Scope & Creeps: What is in and out of scope for this? What are you doing? What is this NOT fixing/addressing etc. This makes expectations clear for everyone.
- Roles & Responsibilities: What are the accountabilities for people working on this? Who is managing the project versus providing technical subject matter expertise?
- Governance Structure: Who is responsible for making the decisions?
- Stakeholders: Who needs to be consulted? Who is responsible for implementing a component? Who just needs to stay in the loop?
- Risks and Impacts: What are the possible risks to not implementing on time or on budget? What is the likelihood of those happening? Have you thought of some ideas to help mitigate those risks?
2. A project plan with clearly defined and delegated roles and responsibilities.
Quickly and simply, a project plan is easy as a,b,c,: a) identify the task, b) identify who owns the task, and c) when are they going to have it done.
A project plan helps you organize and use your time well and identify where tasks may be dependent on the completion of other tasks, and most importantly document who is going to complete the task. You’d be amazed at how a person’s name next to a task makes them instantly accountable for it and worried if they don’t complete it on time! Here’s a quick and easy sample you can use:
Just “Madlib” it and put in your tasks, owners, and dates! Start high level, you can always get more detailed as you go.
Now, some of you are thinking, “WOW that’s alot of work I don’t have time for this nonsense. I just need to get it done.”
Think of the possible outcomes if you don’t use basic project management in your next activity:
- poor communication
- lost time
- extra budget on expensive consultants
- lack of job satisfaction
The list goes on and on! But spending just an hour or two up front can make all the difference.
Give it a go and tell us what you think! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org/staging or tweet us @whiteboardcons using #betterfastercheaper.
Until Next week!!