We know that a problem – or in this case, the project’s scope – well stated is half-solved. No matter how you do it, it pays to be clear about your objectives, scope, budget, and methodology right out of the gate. One way to do this is through a meeting or forum, depending on who your project is ultimately going to serve.
For example, you’re tasked to build a website for a particular company. You should then confer with the company’s decision-makers to know what they want their website to include, including how they would like the information to be presented, the overall tone or theme of the web pages, among others. Or if you’d like to build an app specifically for people who are differently abled, you might want to meet with a focus group comprised of special education teachers, psychologists, and other learning specialists.
Carefully select the members of your team
Once you’ve clearly defined the scope of the project, identifying the talents needed to execute your vision becomes easier. Carefully select the individuals who will make up your team, and delegate tasks and activities to people best suited for each. Proper task delegation can come off as a show of confidence in your team members’ inherent abilities, which then boosts morale and becomes instrumental in bringing about the best possible project results – a domino effect, if you will.
Outline your goals and keep them SMART
Having a clear idea of what to expect for a final product allows you to create short-term goals. Outline goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. After delegating the appropriate tasks to your team members, have each of them list down subtasks that will serve as milestones towards their final goal, and then, let them set their own deadlines for each milestone. These deadlines, of course, have to coincide with the project’s overall time targets.
Going back to the example of designing an app for children with learning disabilities, a SMART goal could be: To create a questionnaire with 10 questions probing into the needs of dyslexic children in Kindergarten-level arithmetic by November 30, 2014.
Manage your data
Data storage is getting more and more affordable and more easily accessible. However, with easier accessibility, security issues arise. While most cloud-based data management solutions keep a close eye on data security, which is one of their major selling points, things can sometimes get out of hand. To be doubly sure, it’s imperative that you manage file permissions, document ownerships, and monitor data versions on a consistent basis.
Engender internal motivation in your team
When it comes to motivating teams, awarding members for good performance takes the cake over punishing those that underperform. As each team member achieves a milestone, recognize their accomplishments through team R&R (rewards and recognition) sessions, or even one-on-one, as knowing their contributions are valued by the company makes people more inclined to perform. Also, it’s worth noting that some individuals may like the attention of being acknowledged publicly, and some prefer to have their accomplishments recognized by their leaders privately.
Manage your resources wisely and prudently
Book or acquire the resources you will need before diving headfirst into the project. Resources include budget allocation, venues in the case of focus groups, conferences or events you’ll need to hold, tools that your team members will require, and human resources in the case of third-party specialists and consultants. Booking resources ahead of time can also help you more easily manage your project’s budget.