Overcome the initial barriers
When talking to businesses that want to get started with projects, one of the most common approaches towards finding a project methodology and project management tool is: “No, we’re not ready for that yet”. I do not believe this is the right approach, since you are missing out on significant benefits that you could gain by using a project methodology and project management tools, even at this early stage. So, here are some tips for how to get over the initial barrier of not feeling ready to start working with projects.
1. Ensure a well-reasoned document structure
Initially, make sure to focus on the most important aspects of the project and start off with a straightforward approach to keep it manageable. Start with the documents that you will constitute the base of your collaboration. Create a smart folder structure, without complicating it too much. This structure could be based on different project phases or different areas within the project. Make sure that this structure, with the assigned folders, is set up already from the start. Then, simply get to work! Once the project is up and running you can advance your structure. Essentially, it is important to see your project from a document perspective and to ensure that there is a sensible structure of the documents. With the documents in order, the project members can easily store what they are working on and collaborate efficiently.
2. Start with a simple project model
Moreover, I do not believe it is necessary to put a lot of effort into choosing a complicated project methodology. At least initially, when starting the project. Start with a simple approach, perhaps by choosing a generic project model that is composed of just a few steps. You can then expand this model later. Another obstacle for working with projects is the common misconception that managers and teams need education and certifications of project methodologies. This is not how it works! There is no need to complicate it further than just choosing a simple project model and start working. As your project expands you may feel a need of more advanced project methodologies and tools, but this is something you can adapt to in a later stage in the project.
3. Collect fundamental information of each project
When working with projects, it is important to determine the level of fundamental information to gather. Instead of generating an information overload, keep to some key aspects about each project. It may be who the project manager is or what business area the project concerns. Avoid collecting all conceivable information, as this would complicate the project work already from the start. If you have a tool that supports a gradual build-up of information, it is easy to build on your information and add information areas in later stages of your project.
4. Capture value from surrounding activities
To achieve momentum of your project work, try to make the most you can of the available information. An example would be the status report, where you monitor project progress. Another possibility is to actively work with issues and information that arise during the project work. This will help to not complicate the projects more than necessary and extract further value of the project tool you are using.
5. Achieve results through structured collaboration
The key to getting started on projects is a focus on getting results through structured collaboration. Do not start too complicated or too large. Focus on what matters, and not on selecting the right project methodology. Make sure to first get the project up and running, with an approach in which you can gradually expand the support and needed functionality for each project phase.
Good luck with your projects!