Langevin Blog

4 Simple Steps to Manage Any Project

February 18th, 2013

Computer and filesI don’t know if you can relate, but for many of us, the thought of managing a project is usually accompanied by fear and plenty of anxiety. You see, I’m all about the big picture! I can envision what I want the future to look like but please don’t ask me to think about the details. Unfortunately, I’ve heard that “countless, unseen details are often the only difference between mediocre and magnificent.” I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be mediocre!

Successful project management really comes down to two things: documentation and communication. Thankfully, Langevin has incorporated these items and developed a Project Management Cycle that works for any project you’ve been asked to manage. And let’s face it, when you manage a project well, your overall credibility goes up in the organization. Specifically, the Cycle is made up of the following 4 steps:  (1) Concept, (2) Planning, (3) Execution, and (4) Close-Out.

The Concept phase is all about “Do you get it?” Do you have a clear understanding of the big picture and what has been asked of you? Here’s where you identify the deliverable, the audience, the updates and documentation required, your scope of authority, and expected politics. You also write the project’s objective statement, identify the overall project risks, conduct a stakeholder analysis, and clarify what organizational support is required for the project to succeed.

In the Planning phase, you’re putting it all together, meaning you’re breaking it down into pieces and figuring out who is doing what. More specifically, you create a work breakdown structure, estimate time, identify staff and resources, identify constraints, chart the schedule, and select vendors.

In the Execution phase, you get it done. Now, at this point, you probably aren’t doing the work, but, just as important, you are supervising the project’s development. You assess the project status, take appropriate action, conduct meetings, build team cohesiveness, and of course, resolve any conflict that may develop.

In the Close Out phase you examine the finished product. Specifically, you edit the materials, validate, deliver the product, and document the lessons learned.

I’ll admit that project management is near and dear to my heart these days because I’m managing one of the biggest projects of my life – MY WEDDING! Yes, I was filled with a bundle of nerves and anxiety until I pulled out my Langevin Project Management Manual. The four steps have simplified my life!

So, how does the Concept phase fit into my wedding? I have to be clear on the end result, my scope of authority (I can’t forget my fiancé in all this), and the expected politics! Can you say, “Seating Chart?”

I’ve also begun the Planning phase, thinking about the venue, caterer, flowers, music, photographer, and guest list, just to name a few.

I’m not in the Execution phase yet but trust that my facilitation and communication skills will come in handy (and save me from any bridezilla moments).

I’ll have to get back to you regarding the Close Out phase but I’m confident that the finished product will be fabulous!

Many thanks to Langevin for giving me the tools to plan a successful wedding! Check out our Project Management Course and you too, can benefit from many successful projects back on the job.

Marsha

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