Bringing structure and processes in your projects and your business, maybe that doesn’t seem like a very sexy topic to you. But it’s still very important if you want to run your projects smoothly and efficiently. So let’s talk about a few steps you can take right now in your current daily activities to make your work in your projects much more easy and much more structured so you feel confident and in control.
Organize your project documents in a very structured way
Let’s start with step number one. Before you start with a new project, it’s very important that you organize your project documents in a very structured way. So create a clear folder structure which you communicate with your project team as well.
For example, start with a main project folder and name that folder the same as the project’s name or number. Within that main folder, you can create sub folders based on the disciplines that are working in your team.
You can name the sub folders for example, project management, product management, logistics, quality, purchasing, marketing or sales.
Or you can organize them according to the different phases you have in your project. For example, you can label your folders:
- Project idea phase
- Project concept phase
- Implementation phase
- Launch phase.
Also within those phases you can add the different disciplines you have on your team.
I advise you to create a logical folder structure that works for your project. Next to the fact that you can easily trace back where you stored your project documentation, you can share documents with your project team members much more easily because everybody will know where they can find what. Everything is very clearly outlined.
Kick off your project by bringing clarity
When you kick off your new project, you explain your folder structure to your team. So everybody knows where they can find the documents they need, or where they can find the documents needed for review.
Set up a very clear and well-planned project team meeting structure
When you’ve chosen your project team members, you invite them for a weekly core project team meeting. And you will plan this meeting as a repetitive event in their calendar. So when they accept the invitation, they have accepted it for the coming months.
I would put the end dates of your recurring meetings when you think the project will end. Make sure your project team meeting is scheduled in their agendas and nothing can come in between. Otherwise, you run the risk, team members not joining because other meetings are planned in your time slot. And what happens then is that your projects get delayed because people cannot give their feedback or input on time.
So plan your core project team meetings ahead and fix those dates in everybody’s calendar as well.
Really make sure that you note down all the action points coming out of these core project team meetings
So open up a spreadsheet document during your meetings and add the action points. Also add who is responsible for every action. In another column, you can add the deadline when this action point needs to be finished.
In the next column, you can add the status of every action point: open, closed, or started. You can also add a column where you can indicate the level of priority of a specific action. Is it a high priority, medium or a low priority? When people struggle in getting their work done, you can indicate their priorities.
I would also add a column where you can note down some important comments.
Add a separate worksheet in your spreadsheet with ‘Decisions’.
Log all the decisions you make in your project. So if you make a decision to deviate from the scope of the project, or to delay the project or you need to spend more money, note this down in your spread sheet. Capture who was present when this decision was made, a detailed description of the decision and the date of the decision. In this way, you can always go back in your meeting minutes and find what was decided.
3 important steps for you on How to bring structure and processes in your projects
- Create a structured folder setup for your new project. So you can easily find documents and share with your team members to properly set up your core team meetings.
- Organize your core project team meetings in a structured way on a weekly basis and plan these meetings ahead in everyone’s calendar.
- Capture all the action points from your project meetings in a project action list.
During your core project team meetings, you open the project action list, you go through all the action points with your team members, you close what can be closed, you comment what needs to be commented, and you can give a clear follow up on these action points.
In this way, you have a structured approach for your project team meetings, you have a document that can guide you can support you, and provide you with all the information. Save this project action list in the correct folder in your folder structure. So for example, in your project management folder, you have a folder with project team minutes, and there you archive your project action list file.
So I hope these three tips help you in managing your projects more efficiently. If you would like to learn more, in the next few weeks, I’m going to go into more detail on making your days more efficient, and your actions more effective as a product manager or project manager or business owner. So keep in touch and subscribe to my podcast or my weekly newsletter so you don’t miss any tips or tricks.