Thursday, August 15, 2013

How to Manage Complex Projects Easily

Not every business project for your company is going to be a "walk in the park."

There is going to come a time when you need to tackle a complex project. Whether that involves shipping and selling in multiple countries or starting up an assembly line to build a product in volume, you'll be dealing with many issues involving several departments.

However, don’t despair as there is a way to manage complex projects easily. Here's how:

Step 1: Set Your Goals

What is the goal of this complex project? The answer to that question could be something as simple as "build a new website" or "increase traffic to existing website." Within that goal should be some tangible items like due dates, sale expectations and/or specific benchmark numbers. Once you've established clear objectives then you know what you're heading towards. The challenge is not to deviate from that path no matter how "big" things may become.

Step 2: Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Once you've shared your goals with the team you should open the floor for discussion. Here is where you'll learn if and when your goals are actually obtainable. There is nothing wrong with pushing your staff to do their best but that doesn't mean becoming unrealistic. Although it's a great goal to earn a million dollars by Friday, it might not be practical. This is the time to brainstorm out idea to help move things along. If your staff knows they can share concerns and ideas then your project will only be strengthened.

Step 3: Set a Budget

What is this project going to cost? That's an extremely important factor to consider. You should have a budget set for the project that everyone can fall in line with. Don't hesitate to pad that budget with a contingency fund "just in case."

Step 4: Set an Action Plan

You already have an overall business plan for your company. Now drill down and apply those same principles to this new project. The project plan should be worked out enough that you could hand it off to anyone in your company and they would be able to follow it without asking questions.

Step 5: Encourage Out of the Box Thinking

Sometimes a project becomes complex because we don't know any other way to do things. When you get stuck on implementing a specific item it might be time to step out of the proverbial box for some original thinking. This type of creative problem solving has been a huge asset to many businesses.

Step 6: Set Up Tests

No matter what you're working on, you can't go from "start" to "finish" without testing the end result. For instance, if you're building a new website with an ecommerce component then you should definitely build in a testing phase to work out all the kinks in the system. Only then can you call a project truly ready to launch.