It is not enough to create a To Do List for your own actions.
Your plan must take account of everyone involved and accommodate their needs and expectations too.
Making sure that everything goes to plan is a collective responsibility. It is a team effort.
Every project requires integration, synchronisation and co-operation across the organisation.
A focus on these important factors will help to ensure success.
Rule 1. Organisation and delegation are essential
– clear leadership and direction instils confidence
Set out the purpose and objectives of the project and provide
as much relevant information as possible. Getting “buy-in” from the start is important for morale and motivation.
Always precisely define roles and responsibilities for every team player. Avoid confusion before it arises. Ask each individual to check that they fully understand their brief and encourage questions up front.
Stress that it is better to ask for clarification than to keep quiet!
Adopt the mantra of Management by Exception and plan accordingly. Make sure everyone knows that you as leader will delegate tasks and no longer be directly involved, unless a deviation from the plan is considered necessary.
Create clear communication channels and rules for reporting. You need to be kept informed but not deluged with data. Design a team structure and communications protocol so that only the essential stuff will filter up to you. The routine decisions should be taken at the appropriate level as specified.
Rule 2. Time spent planning saves time later
– investment in planning reduces the risk of failure
A thorough specification that includes everything is the ultimate To Do List! As long as you delegate the tasks that others can do, your workload will remain manageable.
As project leader, you must concentrate on the strategy for success, as that is your personal responsibility.
First, though, you must ensure that the action plan covers every detail.
You must be realistic about your resources, to minimise operational risk. Taking on a project when you know there is not the capacity to handle it is just storing up trouble.
However hard it may be, you must resist pressure from your superior (internal manager or external client) and avoid agreeing to something which you know cannot be done. You will always be blamed if it goes wrong and it will be too late then to admit that you had reservations from the start!
Effective planning inevitably includes making provision for “exceptions”. At almost every event there will be guests with special dietary requirements and this is an example of an opportunity to exceed expectations with proactive planning. These guests will have been through many tedious conversations with waiting staff or event managers because their needs have not been properly anticipated.
Providing advance notice to all concerned about exceptions allows them to work with you in finding solutions. That in turn helps to prevent friction and disruption.
Finally, checking and reconfirming each element with the relevant people further reduces the risk of failure. Project planning, for live events or any other activity, relies on mutual understanding and agreement between “stakeholders”, regardless of their level of authority.
Every project team member must have clear and complete information regarding their contribution and how it fits into the overall plan, in order to appreciate the significance of their actions.
Rule 3. Efficiency is not an accident
– close attention to detail is vital in the planning phase
It is your responsibility as project leader to ensure that every team member has adequate training and knowledge to be able to manage their tasks. Cutting wage costs by using lower-graded staff means compromising standards and risking failure.
Issuing clear instructions may seem an obvious requirement, but communication is never as easy as we think.
Making sure the message is fully received and interpreted correctly can help to avoid problems later. It is better than finding out later that correct procedures have not been followed and having to rectify the problem.
Expect the unexpected and you will not be disappointed! However many times you have managed a similar event or project before, there is always a risk that something will occur that is beyond your control. In fact, combining your previous experience with careful research will enable you to be better prepared for the occasions when things do not go entirely according to plan.
Meticulous contingency planning will allow you to deal calmly and quickly with unexpected situations. The impact will be minimised and your aims and objectives achieved as intended.