As an entrepreneur, we are faced with loads of projects on our docket. Whenever we can systematize a process, it actually simplifies the flow and increases productivity. Here are the six phases of project management that will help you establish a clear vision and accomplish your lofty goals.
Phase 1: Research
Before you begin any new project, it’s always a good idea to do your homework. This can apply to any project from a blog post to an online course. Validating your idea before you invest your time, money, and energy is crucial.
For example, if you are writing a blog post, it is a good idea to utilize Google’s Keyword Planner.
You can research which names and phrases are most requested. This helps you be strategic with your blog title, as well as keywords within your post for better online search rankings.
For the online course validation, for example, make calls or conduct a poll to your ideal client base with specific questions regarding your new concept. It can be more than revealing. Testing if there is an audience for your creation is one of the easiest ways to complete the prep work in this initial phase.
Phase 2: Render
Once your research is complete and you’ve validated your project idea, it’s time to plan it out. In this planning stage, one key element is commitment. You can not underestimate enthusiasm. When you are “all in” from the start, it catapults the project and makes the work engaging…for you and your team. Creating a blueprint of your project including a realistic timeline, objectives, team members, etc. is crafted at this stage.
For an in-person speaking event, for example, it could include writing your outline, brainstorming your audience demographics, or organizing a location for the event.
I would suggest highlighting your desired completion date, the reasons why you are dedicated to the project, and how you want to feel. Having these bullet points handy through the process will ensure your success and follow-through.
Phase 3: Rev
Okay, now that you’ve researched and validated your project and entrusted a plan, it’s time to take action. Action is often the hardest part in the game for some, but it is one of the most the most rewarding in the end.
Chunking similar pieces of the project and accomplishing them in one batch is a great way to save time by being in the zone. Studies show that when you do multiple tasks that are not similar it leaks energy and reduces efficiency. Get ahead of that right from the get go.
For example, if you are creating slides for your webinar presentation, collect all the graphics at one time vs. piecemeal. Your creative juices will already be in the flow and it will feel so satisfying to be able to check off a section on the “to do” list.
In the Rev phase, it’s helpful to have accountability here. If you are managing a team, check out Asana (a project tracking app) OR for solopreneurs, Things is a fast and easy way to keep track of your tasks and due dates.
The main thing in this phase is to keep the momentum going.
Create mini-milestones that have associated rewards to keep spirits high. “Rewards” can be anything from a Starbuck’s coffee to a new, colorful scratch pad. Everyone likes to be noticed and acknowledged (including yourself). 🙂
Phase 4: Reap
Now is the time to soak up all the goodness from your hard work. Really take the time to complete this phase and the two following. In so many organizations, after the initial project is initiated and executed, it is simply closed.
I feel for longevity and to prevent burnout, it’s really important to honor the harvest.
This could be celebrating your first live workshop, brewing a cup of tea to relish testimonials, or patting yourself on the back for crossing a financial threshold after a big launch.
Whichever… hanging out here in the “satisfaction mode” for a little bit, before rushing along to the next thing will serve you very well.
Phase 5: Review
Ok, after you’ve enjoyed a little feet up time with your favorite latte, you’re ready to get back to business. Debriefing the project is invaluable. Many times, people skip this phase for reasons like lack of time, fear of being blamed, or indifference (like well, it either worked or it didn’t).
This phase holds a beautiful learning experience that until you’ve “been in the ring,” you can’t possibly experience. We all learn from our mistakes, usually the bigger the fall, the more ingrained the learning lesson is. And that’s ok.
I recommend documenting what worked awesome that you want to repeat, what could have been improved on and how, and what totally didn’t work and why. Taking the extra time to unwind what was spun into motion totally improves how you tackle the next project, and the ones following that.
You are fine tuning your process here…give yourself that opportunity.
Phase 6: Rest
Ahhhhh…..the final phase. Again, in most project management models you will never see this as one of the phases! However, I feel it is just as important as the others.
Depending on the length and scope of the project the duration of this stage varies. For example, after writing an eBook you may want an hour break (depending) vs. a grueling campaign launch that might actually require a couple of days off to recoup.
Respecting yourself and your team before rushing into the next project is ideal. In some organizations this maybe a luxury. However, for my solopreneurs, you will find that if you look at each project as a wave – with a beginning, a build-up, a peak, and a stillness you will be better equipped to jump back in the waters.
Wishing you big success in all of your projects. I’d love to hear from you – what tools do you use to stay on track during the phases of project management?
Until next time…breathe joy,
Hi! I’m Kc. I mentor help women solopreneurs build, grow, and optimize their holistic businesses so they can help more people, work less hours, and live abundantly.
When I’m not online, you can find me in the backyard garden or with my fluffy cat, Bini.