Five Simple Steps to Conquering a Big Project

By Michelle Symonds

A lot of the time, committing oneself to a large project presents a problem that isn’t the commitment itself – It is actually starting, and keeping going, that can be difficult. Motivation, for example, plays a large part of the success, or failure, of any project and it is isn’t alone in being a productivity killer.

Here are some tips that, hopefully, will help you to become more productive and get that project into a runaway success.

  1. Identify the ObstaclesWhat exactly is that is preventing you from getting started? Are you the prime procrastinator? Is the size of the project intimidating you?

    Get a second opinion from somebody you trust or has been in a similar position. Talk through the project with them, they may be able to see something that you cannot. Maybe you overlooked a perfect jumping off point that your friend just spotted.

    When you recognise what it is that is preventing you from moving forward, you can begin to fix the problem

  2. Know Your Objective

    In the beginning, you may collect and research so much data and information that entire days go by without any real work being done. Then, one day, you finish your project and look back at the data you collected and think ‘well, that’s a wasted week I’ll never get back’.

    Think of your objective, and think of how much preliminary work you estimate you actually need. It can be an enormous time and resource saver.

  3. Know When to Say Stop

    You need to recognise that perfection is not always a requirement, learn when to step back and say ‘good job guys’. The Devil is in the detail and it is perfectionism that is likely to get you bogged down, and keep you there. Artist say that a piece of work is never truly finished, because perfection cannot be attained – learn from that, don’t allow yourself to become fixated on the minutia of a project and delegate tasks that don’t need to be done by you.

  4. Milestone Rewards

    Deadlines are a great motivator, and rewards for meeting them are even more likely to get results. A well-motivated, and rewarded, team is one that is more likely to get the project completed on time and to a high standard.

    Even if it is just you on your lonesome working on that big project, promise yourself a night out with a significant other as a reward for a job well done.

  5. Turn Insecurities to Your Advantage

    People can very often be more afraid of letting somebody down, than they are of being tough with themselves. This can be used to your advantage, by delegating work and stressing how important those particular task are. Milestone rewards are a great motivator, but so is the fear of failing somebody that has just placed their faith in you.

Just a few small tips that will hopefully encourage, and motivate you and your project team. Never neglect the importance of motivation as a project management skill; it plays a huge part in the overall success of a project. One of the ways to motivate a flagging team on a long-tern project is to invest in training and continuous professional development (CPD). Project management courses can often be combined with CPD, for example with the Association for Project Management’s Registered Project Professional credential, to re-invigorate all team members

Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.

There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.

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