Once you see potential for a project, begin planning. Every successful project starts with a well thought out project plan. There are many elements that come together to form a great project plan. The first step to creating a successful project is to have clearly defined project goals.
Create Project Goals
Take into account that the stakeholders in the project are you audience. Stakeholders are the people affected by the project. People to consider include the person funding the project, as well as those who will reap the benefits. It is important that you speak with everyone involved to assure that the project plan is complete and considers all the stakeholders.
On campus, important stakeholders often include students, faculty, staff and departments like Campus Operations, Student Programs, and Faculty Commons. Create a list of stakeholders and then conduct interviews to understand their interests.
Your Project Goals should reflect the needs of your stakeholders, while still achieving the overall vision of the project.
From your goals, you should be able to come up with a list of needs and yields for the event or project: What does the project NEED to be successful, and what kind of benefits will the project YIELD for the stakeholders. Keep this list in mind when planning your project.
Create a Project Schedule
One of the most important tools you can use in ensuring the success of a project is to a project schedule. It is vital that you consider the aspect of time in the implementation of projects. Things do not always go to plan, so being able to produce a flexible schedule is important. Leave time for things such as purchases and installations to follow through, as these tend to include outside vendors.
The project schedule will often come in the form of a task list. When making this task list, be sure to include:
- Time needed to accomplish a task
- Resources needed
- Person responsible for completing task
This will ensure that everything needed to see the project through is organized and you can hold people accountable for their tasks.
Make a Budget
Budgeting your project is a very important step in the planning process. A well thought out budget is will help ensure that money is not the issue when it comes to implementation. Often people are far too optimistic when budgeting, resulting in too small of a budget to get the project done. When budgeting a project, be sure to consider the following (some may not apply to the type of project you are working on):
- Time and persons needed
- Installation Costs
- Consulting Costs
- Tax and Shipping
With many projects come risks. It is important to be aware of potential risks and how it is that you will go about fixing the problem should something go wrong. Some common risks for projects include:
- Time and Budget not large enough
- Vendor drops out
- Stakeholders unhappy
- Unclear roles and tasks
- Unexpected project requirements
- Person not held accountable for task
- Poor communication
Once the risks are identified, you should consider what it is that would cause that to happen, as well as what you can do in case of disaster, and plan accordingly. Be sure to consider risk management when creating a project schedule, as risks are often what cause projects to get off schedule.
We have a risk management committee to help assess projects and find possible risks that may have been overlooked by the project committee.
Now that you have a project plan, have contacted stakeholder, and developed a budget considering risk management, you are now set to get funding for the project! For information on how to get a project funded, please visit out Get Your Project Funded page!
Last Updated April 8, 2014