Most people would agree that the most important part of any project is the planning phase. As with most things in life, it is worth taking a little time to dream up creative ideas, assess the risks and dedicate as much time to planning as is possible! Here’s an empowering approach to creative project planning…and a few travel pics to inspire your very own blue sky thinking!
START WITH CREATIVE CONCEPTS: Make sure that there is enough time for you to dream, get your creative team together and generate ideas. Don’t be afraid to suggest ideas, even if they sound a little silly. In the words of Dolly Parton “Dream More” There is always time to drill down and assess which ideas are worth pursuing, don’t be afraid to use your imagination, this is where blue sky thinking comes in!
DETERMINE WHETHER THE PROJECT IS FEASIBLE: It goes without saying that you should never attempt a project that is not feasible. However, deciding on the feasibility of projects is not always easy. Getting the balance right can be difficult; the last thing you want is to set your team on an unachievable endeavour.
All projects start as ideas or concepts. Not all ideas are good ideas – some are not important enough, others are not feasible or appropriate. Some ideas end up being put on hold until they can be completed at a more appropriate stage. So, how do you determine what projects are the most important?
Here is the list of the general process that you should follow…
List everything – To start off with, list all of the project ideas and current projects that are your responsibility. This can often lead to even more ideas or proposals that can be embarked upon. However, you should not pursue something just because it is on the list.
The need – Next, determine the need or opportunity for every project on the list. Why is the project required? Outlining the need will help you to determine just how important the project is.
Estimate budgets and delivery dates – This will help you to determine the time and cost required to complete one project compared to the rest. Your budget needs to be as accurate as possible. If you require outside assistance, for example, IT support, make sure you get a quote and that this is included in your budget. Making the right decision depends on having the right information.
Judge feasibility – Now you are ready to judge the feasibility of all of the projects on the list. You can use the information you have gathered to make your decision regarding the feasibility and the projects you are going to take on.
Establish the possibility of failure and the risks – You also need to determine the risk associated with the project and how probable failure is. In most cases, relatively low-risk projects equate to high feasibility. If large amounts of money are involved, however, there can be high risk and high feasibility.
Review – You should review the project list, feasibility studies, objectives, goals, and risks. This review should involve the potential project team, as well as all stakeholders, experts, and superiors. The more complicated a project is, the more vital it is to get the opinions of other people.
Eliminate unfeasible projects – You should now eliminate any projects that are inappropriate or unfeasible. There are a number of reasons to eliminate a project, including:
- Risk can jeopardise the possibility of success
- Inability to act quickly enough
- Outcomes that will violate existing legislation or policies
- Lack of strong sponsorship or support
- Objectives and goals that are in conflict with long-term objectives and goals of the business
- Lack of time, skills, money, and other resources that are needed
- Select and act – Last but not least, select the most important projects, and act on them. Now is time to get started!
USE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TOOLS: Once you have determined whether your project is feasible, the next step is to source the right tools needed for the project. There are so many great project management tools out there today, including those whereby you can create task lists, which can be ticked off as you go along, as well as being assigned to different people and dated too.
MONITOR AND REVIEW: When it comes to creative projects especially, you need to constantly monitor what you are doing. Go back to your original project plan so that you can tweak it and edit it as you go along. After all, very few projects stay the same all of the time.
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”—Christoper Reeve.