Is there anything more reviled than practice, or preparation? No one is enthused by the repetitive, drudging, nature of practice. There’s no glory, no accolades, or even recognition for the hours spent sweating, training, repeating the same things again and again and again.
It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters. – Paul “Bear” Bryant
Project management is not sports, and doesn’t require the same level of physical exertion, sweat, blood, or tears that sports do. But it DOES require planning, and preparation. No project just bolts out of the gate and hits the home stretch with ease. You need to plan your project properly, and prepare the team to be ready for whatever can come your way.
If you fail to prepare, you’re prepared to fail. – Mark Spitz
Project teams – however professional they may be – require preparation, and maybe practice, to hit the ground running.
- You want to map out the project for them – show them the complete roadmap, and how they fit into it. Linda in software development should know that Bob in QA and Ashley in Marketing are dependent on her finishing the code by that particular Thursday – BEFORE the project starts. This lets Linda structure her workflow accordingly, and keeps everybody primed for their role with no delays or unforeseen “Oh I didn’t know we needed this done this week!” disasters. This kind of “game planning” lets you map out the project from day one, keeps everyone on task and on target, and addresses a key point where mistakes can happen.
- You want to have contingency plans for your dependencies in place. Dependencies are where your project is most vulnerable, and where delays can start to cascade and threaten the project entirely. You must have contingency plans in place, that your team knows how to implement. Instead of needing to waste valuable time in meetings to deal with a crisis, you’re able to just roll over to the contingency plan without missing a beat.
- You have your game plan, and your contingencies in place. You also need to have your team on board. Don’t take this for granted! Buy in from the team is crucial for any plan to succeed. If the plans you’ve put together have your team grumbling and unenthused, change them. You need them on board, excited, and ready to take the plan to delivery.