Project management is not just a skill for project managers, it is expected that more and more roles will implement these practices on a day-to-day basis. However, there are many types of project management to choose from, depending on the needs of the particular project. A common style is waterfall project management.
Waterfall project management has a well-defined process that is followed from start to finish. In this style, each task is completely completed before the next task begins. Waterfall project management, while less flexible than some methods, is great for projects with multiple steps but fewer variables.
For example, imagine a production line – one part needs to be completed before it can be appended to the next. However, this method does not only apply to one production line. Many tasks and processes follow a similar path. Using these methods, you can easily get a bulky project under control.
Start of project
For example, suppose you are responsible for making sure that the annual budget update process goes smoothly and that each department updates their numbers and submits the correct forms on time.
First of all, you want to have a project start. Here you need to identify some important information, such as: B. all stakeholders involved, specific deadlines to be met and the necessary steps to be taken. Your push should be thorough; After all, you want to create a plan that you can stick to from conception to completion.
Outline each stage
Now you should outline each phase. In this example, most of the initial tasks must be completed before the next can be performed. So let’s think about what that might look like.
- Update the forms from last year.
- Draft guidelines for the budget update process.
- Email each department manager with the form and process guidelines.
- Leads fill out forms and submit them.
- Check the submitted forms for accuracy.
- Cooperation with the department may lead to the correction of errors.
- Send the completed forms to the manager for review. – Due on May 18
You may want to keep track of more specific details under each major point. That’s fine as long as each task cannot be completed until after the previous task has been completed. Example: Bullet 2 could look like this:
- Update the forms from last year.
- Update dates and titles in existing forms.
- Let the supervisor check.
- Make changes.
- Have the finance department sign you out.
In this case, each sub-task must be completed in the correct order before the higher-level task can be checked off. While you don’t wanna be also grainy, As you document every single tiny aspect, it should be as detailed as is useful to you. This is your working document, so it should have a level of detail to help you and those you work with keep track of the progress of the project.
There are two ways to do this. You can either work forward or backward.
To work backwards, you need to keep track of your end date. In this example it’s 5/18. Let’s say today is April 18th and you have 30 days to complete the task. You now know what time to work and can fill in the dates for each task along the way. We therefore assume that you would like to have at least a week to review the submitted forms and work with the department to correct any mistakes. That means department heads have to submit their forms by May 11th. Assuming you want to give them 2 weeks to fill out everything, that means you have to send the forms to them by the end of April. This process can help you determine how much time is available for each step to ensure you meet the target date. In general, it is advisable to leave some slack. If 5/18 is the due date, try to get everything done a few days in advance in case something takes longer than expected.
To work forward, you need to make a little more guesswork. If you don’t have a specific or particularly tight due date, you can look at each task and estimate the time it will take to get it done. This way, you will eventually get a completion date for the project.
In some cases, you may need to do a bit of both. If, after working backwards, you find that you should have started two weeks ago, then you need to look a little ahead and figure out where there is room to cut the time allotted for some tasks. If you feel that the schedule is not achievable, this detailed outline is an excellent resource to provide your manager with to discuss the deadline extension.
Follow the project
In general, it is advisable to keep a document in which you can follow the progress of the project. You can use a more complex project management program like Asana. Or you can create an Excel spreadsheet or even a Word document. In general, you want to include each task, its due date, a progress update (not started, in progress, completed), and space for comments.
In addition, it is best if your project tracker is somewhere in a shared area. That way, others can check the status of the project without going to you directly. It is possible that the deadlines change or new tasks emerge. That’s fine, but be sure to update your project plan and data to reflect this. In general, waterfall project management isn’t ideal for projects with many variables, but a few small tweaks here and there shouldn’t derail an entire project.
Then review the project plan
As with any task, you want to check how the project went after that. Did you stick to the plan? Did you have to make a lot of changes? What went well What went wrong Ask yourself and other stakeholders questions to get a feel for what worked and what didn’t.
If this project is repeated every year, you’ll want to take notes so that the process can be improved over the next year. Even if they don’t, you may find valuable insights that can be used to improve other future projects.