If you want to become a reputable entrepreneur, then delivering projects on time is critical. Not doing so can have the opposite effect on your business.
If you want to see your business burn to the ground quickly, then become a serial deadline misser.
In fact, you’ll find this is an issue with a lot of companies around the world. According to executive leaders, a lack of clear goals is the most common factor in project failure.
And in the UK, only 37% of teams report completing projects on time more often than not.
Project management is an issue for various reasons. In some instances, it’s due to not having the right technologies and processes. This is also why you’ll find many companies adopting automation.
It helps to free up time so it can be used to handle more important tasks and projects.
But completing projects is another story.
So that’s what we’re going to focus on today – how to complete a project from beginning to end.
Let’s get started!
Get All the Details Written Down
You never want to start a project without having all the fine details and requirements. So the first thing to do is get the necessary data from your client.
Reach out to your client via email or phone to gather the information. You can come up with a list of questions to help you understand what they’re looking for.
You need to know the goals of the project and how you can reach them. For instance, if you’re creating a website, you need to know whether you have to do the graphic design, wireframing, functional specifications, front-end development, and/or back-end development.
Knowing all of the tasks you must perform to complete the project will give you the scope of the work you need to do. Document everything so you won’t forget.
From here, you can begin the planning.
Structuring the Tasks to Complete
Now that you have the list of tasks needed to complete the project, it’s time to organize it all. One way to go about this is to group the tasks.
For instance, if you’re building a website, then you can group together tasks, such as graphic design and front-end design. By doing this, you’re able to organize what to tackle first.
Having a long to-do list may overwhelm you and make it more difficult to knock out the tasks. Instead, you can work on tasks that are related to one another so you’re killing two birds with one stone.
Like in the example – once you do the graphic design, you can work on the front-end design of the site, which also involves choosing the colors and uploading logos.
It makes sense to group together all of the design tasks in one category and the back-end and functionality testing in another.
It’s also a good idea to create sub-tasks for each of your tasks. This will create a hierarchy of what needs to be done first, second, and third.
Take a logical approach to the structure of your project so your team can swiftly blow through them.
Determine the Cost for the Project
The best way to break this down is to assign a cost for each of the tasks on your list. This is likely one of the toughest parts of managing a project.
Now, it’s important to note that you should add wiggle room for your quote. Because chances are, you’re going to get it wrong.
Either it’s going to be underestimated or overestimated. This is why some contractors decide to give a rate range.
One way to come up with the price is to look at your past experience. How long has it taken you to complete similar projects?
If you’re using a time-tracking software or timesheet, then you can use this to figure out your rates. Another option is to ask your peers what they charge for similar work.
The internet is another great resource for finding such information. Worst case, you can come up with an hourly rate and offer to track the time spent on the project so it’s fairly compensated.
Make sure to get a written agreement regarding the project and the rate, signed by you and your client.
Set Objectives and Goals
Next, it’s time to establish the milestones. These are made up of your objectives and goals. The goals will consist of what needs to be done.
For instance, if you’re working on an advertising project, then a goal would be to get more website visitors. Then the objective would indicate how this will be done.
An example would be to build a pay-per-click ad campaign on social media and Google.
Once you have all of your goals set, it’s time to put them into action.
Finding Your Team
If you have a large project that requires outsourcing, then it’s time to look for your team. In order to get a team filled with the right talent, you must identify what skills you need.
Look over your project details, goals, and objectives. This will tell you what experts you need to complete your tasks. It’s also important to keep in mind the rates they’ll charge.
It needs to fit within the scope of your project rate. So as you’re searching around, let them know what you can pay so everyone’s on the same page.
It’s best to go with a flat rate so that there are no problems. In fact, this will boost productivity, since they’ll work hard to get it done by the deadline and get paid quicker.
Monitoring Your Project
Once the project starts, it’s important to keep a close eye on it. You need to keep watch of all the tasks and activities to ensure things are on track.
This includes ensuring tasks are completed correctly and milestones are being met. Are there hiccups and wrinkles that you need to iron out?
Maybe you need to rearrange who’s working on what. Or maybe you need to let go of a contractor and replace them with someone with more efficiency.
It’s better to catch this in the beginning than to find out near the deadline.
Expect for there to be adjustments along the way.
Project monitoring isn’t something you want to take lightly. This is how you’ll ensure your client’s expectations are being met.
However, if you aren’t able to do this yourself, you can always hire someone to do it for you. Just be sure they are well-acquainted with the objectives, guidelines, and goals.
What will make matters easier is using software to help monitor the project. For instance, you can use project management tools to document the process and track the progress.
There are tools you can use to create tasks, assign tasks, and track time spent on each task.
Not only will this help you to oversee what’s being done and by who – you also ensure things are getting done on time. You can monitor the efficiency of each of your team members to see who’s slacking.
Then there are other tools that can help engage your team. For example, Slack is excellent for quick communication and file sharing. You can even use it for group chats.
Requesting Client Feedback
You don’t want to wait until the end of the project to get feedback from the client. It’s a good idea to request feedback throughout the project so you can ensure you’re going in the right direction.
Consider submitting content for the client to review at each milestone. Having a completed project returned for mistakes that could’ve been avoided is time-consuming, expensive, and bad for your reputation.
Use the feedback you get to make improvements so you deliver a project your client will love!
Completing the Project
After reaching all of your milestones and goals, it’s time to wrap up the project. But before you send it off, you want to check it to ensure it’s all in order.
One last edit, proofread, or glance over is all you need. You don’t want to send in a project that has missing components or flaws.
Then send it off to your client to get their final feedback.
After it’s accepted, all you have to do now is wait for payment. You can submit a professional invoice using a platform like invoicely. You can also set it up so that payment reminders are sent.
Learn from this project so you can bring more value and insight to your future projects.
Jumping Into Your Next Project
Whether you’re about to start your first project or the 100th, having a clear plan is vital. You’ll find that structure is the key to making your project run as smoothly as possible.
Plus, your client and your team will love you for it.
As a freelancer, you want to make the best impression on clients. So use this guide to come up with a process for project management that’ll ensure satisfactory results every time.
Then let us know about it in the comments so you can help others do the same!