Entrepreneurs

Council Post: Taking On A Major Project? Keep Your Team Organized With These Nine Strategies

It’s often said that “the devil is in the details”—and getting them wrong could mean the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful project.

If you’re working on a major project requiring attention to fine details, it’s important to keep your team organized and to have a plan in place. You may also benefit from prioritizing certain tasks and holding team members accountable throughout the project’s life cycle.

To help you maintain organization during a complex project, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council explain some key strategies for keeping your team on the right track.

1. Define Milestones

Defining milestones and maintaining consistent velocity through weekly or biweekly sprints is an excellent way to keep the pulse on the project continuously. Larger projects are actually easier to manage compared to quick build-outs. The margin of error on a small assignment can easily go five to 10 times the entire project itself, while allotting an appropriate buffer for a larger build allows for some safety nets. If in doubt, approach the project from different perspectives. Do a simple functional analysis and break down the main components. Devise a use case diagram—What are the roles and entry points of important actions that the system supports? Set milestones for key initiatives within the project. Plan for vacations or any time off for team members. You’ll be good to go in no time! – Mario Peshev, DevriX

2. Prioritize Tasks

Get your priorities straight. Working on a large project with a team requires a laundry list of tasks to be completed. Quite naturally, some tasks would be of more importance than others. Depending on the nature of the project, the team or both, there’ll be some shuffling on the priority list. But in my experience leading a team on complex and daunting projects, I believe some tasks remain a high priority across the board. The first would be attitude. Team dynamics and leadership’s approach to problem-solving tends to be the overwhelming factor in the success of a project. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

3. Ensure The Team Understands The Vision And Purpose

One strategy I’ve found to be helpful for large and highly detailed projects is ensuring a clear vision and purpose for the project. It can be difficult to stay motivated if a team works on a project with no vision or purpose. Make sure the team clearly understands the result and what they are trying to accomplish. The vision and the outcome should be evident before you even start, and the team should work within that vision. I also like to use a project management application or software where everyone can look at the work, discuss it and more. Another way that I prefer to get anything done is to take a break from it. When you come back, you’re refreshed. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

4. Break Down Large Tasks Into Phases

It’s important to break down large projects into phases. With a task-oriented outline, you can map out important details to prevent them from being overlooked. Psychologically, the tasks will seem less daunting, and your team can feel accomplished when phases are marked “complete.” Share the outline with all team members so each person can be another pair of eyes to ensure nothing is incomplete. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design

5. Create Clarity And Accountability

Clarity and accountability are the two saving graces for any large, intricate project. I am a firm believer in delineating a task down to ridiculous detail, assigning it to one person with a deadline to manage the task in depth and making sure each task is extremely clear to every person involved—not just the individual performing the task. When all people can see every moving part, clearly understand their individual tasks and have public accountability with a due date to complete it, the process is highly effective. Clarity is kind to all, and when we keep things clear and with bite-size chunks, large projects get completed with excellence and in a timely manner that allows us to make big moves as a team with ease. – Nic DeAngelo, We Buy Loans Fast

6. Schedule Weekly Meetings

A weekly meeting, scheduled at the same time every week, works well for us. We discuss the next moves forward for the project and assign who is in charge of making those things happen by the next meeting. We document everything in an email, including the tasks and who is assigned to them. Then, at the beginning of the next meeting, we do a check-in using the email and discuss who was responsible for making those things happen. As we check off all the completed tasks, we talk about how to move the project forward and assign the next tasks to be due the next week. It’s a great way to keep the project moving forward, maximize the efficiency of the time spent together each week and keep everyone fully aware of their role in the project and what is expected of them for the upcoming week. – Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo

7. Define Processes For Next Steps

Large projects with numerous moving parts and key details can undoubtedly be difficult to manage. While organization tools and project management software such as monday.com or Teamwork help break big projects down into smaller pieces, they’re only as good as the people using them. Because of this fact, it’s important to create a well-defined process that’s documented for all team members to quickly reference whenever they’re unclear about what their particular next step is. For example, once the team member turns in a deliverable, do they check off the task as “complete” or leave it for their project manager to mark as completed once they’ve reviewed the work? Making these tiny details clear in a procedures document seems daunting, but it can save your company innumerable wasted hours and downtime. – Richard Fong, Assured Standard

8. Create A Project Plan

One strategy you can use to keep yourself and your team organized is to create a project plan. This plan should include all of the tasks that need to be completed, who is responsible for each task and when the task is due. This will help you stay on track and make sure that everyone is on the same page. It’s also important to keep communication open with your team so that everyone is aware of any changes or updates to the project. To enable all this, use a solid project management tool with all the features you need to make things work. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

9. Utilize Project Management Software

My team and I use Asana for project management. It allows us to view the project in a list view or timeline view so we can toggle between tasks and big picture items. We can also create columns for each team member’s topic of discussion during meetings, create sections for things to table and identify what are high-priority items. We are then able to assign each line item to a member of our team with a due date. Each team member can change the way they view the project based on due dates, priority levels or just the tasks they are responsible for. When a task is complete, each member can modify their settings to receive a notification daily, weekly or none at all. Asana’s mobile and desktop apps are simple, user-friendly and have options to personalize aesthetics. – Givelle Lamano, Lamano Law Office

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