The most important part of any project management plan is the proposal. The project proposal is an outline of the tasks and responsibilities. It is a cohesive document that you present to management and team members. It identifies the scope, short-term goals, long-term objectives, and budget details. Here are the core components of effective project proposals.
Determine the Structure
Take a quick look at the project to determine the planning resources you need. Use a spreadsheet or dry-erase board to track smaller projects. However, assignments that involve multiple people demand a project management software application. The initial setup time for these applications and alternatives to Microsoft Project may seem prohibitive but save money in the long term.
Recruit Your Team
You may be able to choose your team, or management may assign them to you. Either way, understand everyone’s skills, talents, and responsibilities. Make sure that everyone understands the priority of their job responsibilities. Talk to your staff to make sure they can take on additional responsibility. Asking employees to work on two or three high-priority projects simultaneously sets them up for failure. Consider redefining their role to make them more effective.
Identify Key Stakeholders
Write down all of the members of the team. Make sure they understand their roles and responsibilities. Key stakeholders include:
- Management team
- Project manager
- Team members
As with anything, effective communication is essential. Write down your communication plan with employees. Many project management software applications have built-in tools that allow team members to send messages individually or to the group. You can also create an email group for your team members. Establish a meeting schedule for the entire assignment. Determine status update procedures.
One of the best ways to motivate employees is to get their buy-in. Meet individually and as a team to get their input. Make sure that employees have the resources they need to complete their tasks. Use your timeline to create a workflow chart that tracks progress.
Call a meeting and ask all employees to predict internal or external challenges that may impact your project. Ask them to brainstorm solutions to these possible scenarios. Some events that may impact your timeline include:
- Accounting may be slow to respond during tax season.
- Inclement weather can limit staff’s ability to report to the office.
- Scheduled vacations may delay timelines.
- Employee turnover can stop development until replacements are hired and trained.
Project the Cost
Creating a project budget is critical. Distribute funds appropriately. Set aside money for unexpected changes or expenses. Maintain control of your spending so that you do not go over budget. Communicate with team members and management if you see excessive expenses.
Prepare for the End
No project is complete until after the post-mortem. Make notes throughout the timeline to review successes and failures. Great post-mortems help you make better decisions on future projects.
You are now ready to kick off your project. With these guidelines in place, you are a step closer to successful completion.