Managing a Project in Five Easy Steps

—Jourdan Strain |
Managing a Project in Five Easy Steps
Jourdan Strain,

You may have a brilliant idea, but do you know how to turn it into something real? Managing a project can feel daunting, but with the right planning and know-how, you can get that idea out of your head and into the world where it belongs.

1. Clearly define your project

The first step to realizing any idea is defining where you are now and where you want to go. Before you kick off your project, ask yourself a few important questions:

  • What am I trying to solve?
  • How will I know this project has been successful?
  • What will this cost to execute?
  • What do I need to complete this project?
  • What roadblocks might I encounter along the way?
  • What smaller milestones make up my larger project?

As you get a clearer picture of your project and your goals, you’ll start to understand the different elements that will go into making your project a success. You’ll also be able to anticipate (and resolve) problems before they derail all of your hard work.

2. Choose the right people for the job

Now that you’ve got a clearly defined project, it’s time to assemble the dream team. Whether your team is composed of coworkers, vendors, or freelancers, make sure that each member of the team has the correct level of expertise to deliver their piece of the project. Team members should be given specific, actionable goals that they can be held accountable for throughout the project. 

3. Find a place to collaborate

In today’s workplace, your team is probably not working in one physical space. You may have vendors across the country, freelancers overseas, and coworkers who live life on the road. To make sure every person on your team is on the same page, it’s crucial to have a one-stop location where the team can see deliverables, due dates, assignments, and progress. Microsoft Planner is BrainStorm’s application of choice to keep projects easy to visualize and even easier to manage. 

4. Give your projects a start and end date

It probably goes without saying that your project needs a timeline—but it’s equally important to give your smaller milestones their own start and end dates, too. It’s easy to fall behind and think you have plenty of time to catch up, but the reality is that one small missed deadline can clog a workflow and bring your project to a screeching halt. Set deadlines early and follow up on them every step of the way to keep your project running smoothly.

5. Monitor progress daily

Projects that get delivered successfully and on time have one thing in common—they didn’t get there on their own. Projects need constant monitoring, shepherding, and troubleshooting to stay on track. Applications like Planner can automate some of the process, but it falls to you as a project lead to make sure everything goes according to plan. Check in regularly on each piece of the project, know what problems are standing in your way, and communicate often. It’s better to be overinformed than to realize you’ve done too little too late.

Any project (big or small) requires careful planning, the right team, and clear milestones. Remember that the project is yours to conquer and yours to make amazing. You’ve got this.

Better known around the office as “The Queen of No,” Jourdan can actually be sort of pleasant once you get to know her. When she isn’t distracting the Marketing team with music video ideas, Jourdan is probably stalking the Barefoot Contessa, pretending (poorly) to enjoy exercise, or Netflix binging with her husband and goofball of a dog.
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