Saturday, February 14, 2015

Project Management 101

Our motto is, We Serve!  And there's few that do it better than Lions!  We line up to help at every activity, wherever there's a need, we're there.  But secretly we're thinking, how much longer before I need to come up with a project to lead....?

For many, SERVING brings a fear (a reluctance?) of having to lead a project at some point.  There's the fear of not knowing what to do or how to do it.  And what if the project goes bad, then what?  What if it's a failure?

These are all valid fears and even the most experienced project manager will have them.  But if you go in prepared, with goals and a timeline for what needs to be done and by when, chances are good things will go smoothly.

If you haven't attended any LCI on-line webinars yet, Managing a Service Project would be a good start.  What is "project management?"  It's a process of strategic planning and organization of the successful completion of a project or an event.  Ugh.  But SERIOUSLY, what is it???  It's having a goal, knowing your timeline for getting things done, having your team in place using their skills to your advantage.  It's being flexible when something doesn't go the way you think it should and it also means having a backup plan for those times.  Basically, it's being prepared.

First, select the right service project:

  1. Determine the needs in our community.  We can do that by filling out the Community Needs Assessment Form.
  2. Ask ourselves, does it align with LCI's PURPOSES?  
  3. Ask, can it be completed?  Will you have the people, expertise, and funds to make it successful?  Be realistic.  
Second, define the project.  What will it include and what will it accomplish?
  1. What's the purpose of the project, the "why"?
  2. What are the goals -- "a prettier town."
  3. What are the deliverables?  Define a team member for each goal.
  4. Have a completion/event date.  Have a timeline and sub-timelines for each deadline.  Identify what consequences may occur and how you can prevent them from happening.  The better you are at defining the project, the better the completion date will be met.  Make sure every team member knows their deadlines. 
Third, make your plan.  Create a map of how to proceed. The majority of your time spent on this project should be spent on planning.  This is vital.  You must identify the who, what, where, when, and how.  Prioritizing must differentiate from the "must do's" with the "nice to have's." 
  1. Identify critical risks, the "what if's."  Anticipate problems and have a backup plan.  
  2. Develop your timeline, your budget, your deadlines, and your plan for risks.  If you're having trouble with your timeline, start from the due date and work backwards.  
  3. Assemble your project team, your committees -- logistics, food, advertising, etc. -- considering skills of each member.  But work as a team.  
  4. Define the role of different team members, Communicate with your team.
Fourth, execute your plan.
  1. Monitor progress based on your timeline and deadlines.  Discuss, review status reports, make sure you're within budget.  Frequent communication is vital.  
  2. Make adjustments when necessary.  Have a Plan B in place.  
Fifth, evaluate the project once it's complete.  Bring out "the book" that has all the details and determine successes and failures and whys.  This book should have all the details in it.  
  1. Review your results.  Did it go according to plan?  Did it come in under budget?  What were the successes and the failures?  How accurate were your timeline dates?  
  2. Analyze overall success.  What worked and what didn't.
  3. Document lessons learned for next year.  
  4. Celebrate!  Have a social!  Thank everyone on the team!  Prepare a certificate of appreciation!  Put a press release in the paper, highlight your event with LCI pr share with your district.  
Mostly, have fun!  For every risk, there's a solution.  Be prepared and organized, have your timeline in place, all the details written down, questions answered, and your project should be a success every time!  

We Serve!
Lion Nancy 

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