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It is easy for a professional or certified project management resource in the corporate world to explain at length what exactly project management is and most of his audience can relate to it. However the challenge is to simplify the concept of project management, so that every initiative in business or home environment is treated like a project for better results – It could be cleaning your back yard in one day or finding a new good institution for yourself or being trained on audit before the next appraisal.
When execution of a task and initiative has dependency on multiple factors and stakeholders, is it a good idea to treat it like a project? Yes and No. Even if you can do it all by yourself, involving others can provide you required perspectives to take an informed decision. You do not necessarily need a project charter that captures activities to be carried out, ownership, roles and responsibilities etc. The most important element in project execution is to set milestones to check progress of the project.
If your first milestone was to list all good schools in your area - before others in your team research, contact, seek feedback, visit, pick forms, prepare you to clear online tests, submit fees and complete admission, where do you think you stand in this project if the very first milestone is pending until the admission has begun.
It is undoubtedly a project mismanaged and you will probably end up finalizing an institution just to meet the deadline and not lose your academic year. Each time you fail in achieving milestones, you go a few steps backward from your final goal.
When a project is managed well, the productivity of each contributor can be easily assessed and held responsible.
One was supposed to list the institutions; another was expected to gather feedback about them, one of you was supposed to visit selected institutions before taking a call on which one to finally settle for. As individuals involved in the project know what their deliverables are, with a common goal and executed without stress.
Even if all things are done right – and the time frame is not maintained, it is project failure depending upon the impact the delay can cause. The key component in any project is maintaining time against all odds.
Going by out example, you can imagine the rest
You need to know when to start implementing your plan. More important than that is to know when to stop analyzing the plan to make it full proof and start with its execution. You can involve others as project progresses depending upon need of the hour however delaying execution imagining crisis and other unforeseen factors will only hinder the project.
Leader drives the project for best interest of all. He is the one who just knows if project fails - how it will impact and how severe the consequences can be.
Functionally, even if it is you who is supposed to list those institutions for your own admission however if you do not seem to be bothered much, the one who knows how it will affect your life takes the lead and replaces you with someone who can do what was allocated to you.
When a task – big or small –you can foresee is a little too much for you to handle all by yourself. Find the right resources, test their interest, set expectations regarding output, fix time and get started.