Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Business 101 | 0 comments

You know why we have tools?  We have them so that we can fix things before, during and after they get messed up.  Many of the difficulties that threaten to exterminate our businesses are fixable.  You have to have the right tool set, though.  You have to not only have the tools, but also know how to use them.  I’m not talking about hammers and nails here, people – It’s about knowledge and poise.  Knowing how to access a problem, the people involved, and seek a solution.  When planning seems simple for business projects, it usually is.  You know the phrase, “if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is?” Apply that every day in the workplace.
Your planning to avoid problems starts with division.  Division of tasks brings strength to your team.  By creating smaller tasks to accomplish a bigger goal, you help eliminate the weakness.  For example, for a good 10 years, I made marinara sauce in the restaurant.  The plan wasn’t just “make marinara,” but rather had tasks separated such as cutting the vegetables, peeling the tomatoes, chopping the basil, then we made marinara.  By breaking down the workload, it made the plan easier to see the end game with the necessary steps to get there.  Business projects are no different.  They’re more in depth than making a sauce, but the principles are there.
But what if your project is failing?  How are you going to pull it out of the dirt?  What are the signs?  Thinking that a project will be done in a short time is a bad sign from the start.  Completing these extensive projects usually takes twice the time and money allotted to it in the first place.  National surveys show that almost 75% of projects end up that way.  Doesn’t make them failures, just points to the fact that we think we are ready, when in fact, we might’ve missed a few steps along the way.  Missed deadlines, slowing production and multiple revisions are a recipe for disaster.  These are all signs that your project is in trouble.
The most common reason that projects end belly up is a collapse in the attempt to evolve real requirements.  Good planners should pinpoint the crucial components of the project – the workers.  Incorrect people with a perfect plan will fail every time.  Proper staffing is an important detail in the project manager’s responsibilities.  You must look for a team that is balanced.  If everyone is good at computers, but lacks people skills, it’s one sided.  If you have “too many leaders, and not enough followers,” you are in the wrong direction yet again.  Avoid these tilted concentrations.
When guidelines for projects aren’t documented and followed, your team will try to reinvent them.  When steps are outlined and very clear, you can justify when a person isn’t within the guidelines.  If they lack, then people will try to cut corners in trying to get the same results, thus taking your project in the wrong direction.  A way to minimize this from happening is to create progress charts for your personnel.  Documenting team and individual progress will ensure that people stay on track, and that they receive praise for it.  On the flip side, it’s easier to reprimand when you have specifics to point out.  This helps you by letting you see all the ups and downs along the way and if change is needed at any given time.  If you aren’t able to keep your plan on the cutting edge, then it becomes old news, quickly, and without the proper direction it so desperately needs.
Your best results, planning and problem solving are rarely produced by a single individual’s act of heroism.  They come from a team that chooses to act as one, rather than many.  When teams work together, projects move quickly.  They also add quality to your products during the process, rather than trying to add once it’s completed.  Working closely with your personnel is the best tool in seeing a project follow through.  It’s one thing to delegate tasks, and another thing to check on them as well.  When I was working in kitchens as a line cook, my delegation in daily prep was only as good as my ability to check on the progress. No other challenge in your project’s management is greater than having an overall picture of the end goal. Focus on your team’s mission and arm yourself with the tools to see it to the finish line!  #Business101