The simple way to really progress a project
It’s the middle of October and exactly the time of year when we’re all muttering “where has the year gone?” while looking quizzically at the list of projects we nutted out way back in January and wondering why so many remain incomplete.
Of course we know why they didn’t get done. We got busy doing the day-to-day stuff, and the projects slid down the priority list, falling off it completely by mid-year.
So how can we make our projects happen in a speedy way?
My number one tip is to hold a weekly project meeting.
Now I do realise that holding a weekly meeting sounds neither exciting nor revolutionary. But it works, it really does!
The success of the weekly meeting is threefold as it:
- 1. Creates accountability and get’s people working on their activities – you only need to turn up to one meeting having not done your stuff to not make the same mistake again.
- 2. Keeps the project leader to the timeline – often projects degenerate because the energy and commitment wanes at the top.
- 3. Provides a forum to deal with issues early.
If you are thinking of adopting the weekly meeting, here are some tips for maximising its impact:
- Hold the meeting at the same time every week so that it becomes a habit.
- Diarise it for the foreseeable future to eliminate “diary clash” excuses.
- Invite the whole project team and accept no excuses for non-attendance.
- Keep the meeting short and punchy.
- Have a simple agenda:
- * Team to report back individually on their activity over the past week.
- * Team agree on actions for the next week.
- * Team discuss roadblocks or agree to take them off line.
- Make sure the project leader gets the weekly actions noted in writing – no cheating!
Of course, the other benefit of the weekly meeting is that you get to quickly work out whether the project is actually something you want to be working on. Many projects languish because they can; no one notices they stalled because they weren't really that important to the business.
Much better to kill these projects swiftly than let them die a slow death. If you are investing in weekly meetings and plenty of activity you will quickly be in a position to decide whether the project is worth the bother.
So in practice, for the New Year list of projects, why not start the weekly project meetings now? You’ll get a maximum of 11 in!
Julia Bickerstaff's expertise is in helping businesses grow profitably. She runs two businesses: Butterfly Coaching, a small advisory firm with a unique approach to assisting SMEs with profitable growth; and The Business Bakery, which helps kitchen table tycoons build their best businesses. Julia is the author of "How to Bake a Business" and was previously a partner at Deloitte. She is a chartered accountant and has a degree in economics from The London School of Economics (London University).