Have you defined the activities required to reach the objectives of your project?
Let’s go back to the initial project plan you developed which has specific objectives and results you want to achieve. In this stage, we have to breakdown each objective into manageable actions and activities that you will put in place in order to actually accomplish the expected results. Therefore, for each project objective, you should think of 2–5 key actions that you will do in order to reach that specific objective. Quality beats quantity. This means that it is often better to do two key activities that have significant impact, rather than lots of small activities. Think of activities that will contribute to the change you want to achieve in your project. Furthermore, consider the long-term change you envision, and identify activities that can make these changes sustainable even after the project concludes. During the project implementation, always ask yourself if what you are doing is contributing to the objectives of the project.
Can these activities be carried out within the project’s timeframe and budget?
Ensuring adequate financial control and time management to achieve project objectives is key for good project management. Note that the activities you identified should be within the budget you established for your project. Once you start implementing the project you have to make sure that the expenses are not surpassing your budget. Revisit your budget constantly. Furthermore, remember that you developed an estimated timeframe for implementing your project? Now, you have to incorporate these activities into your timeframe to create a work schedule, deciding when you will carry out each activity and how long they will last. As you start implementing your project, you can use this schedule to verify what has been completed or not, and to check if your project is on time or delayed. This way you will also be able to monitor the progress of your project.
Who will be in your team and what will they be doing?
A project is not always an individual endeavor. If you are part of an organization, then probably other members will participate in the project. Another possibility is that your organization will partner and work together with another organization (or with various organizations). Therefore, before the project begins it is important to define the roles (who does what) and responsibilities (who decides what or is accountable for what) of each team member. Also, it is necessary to clarify who is the project manager, as this person will ensure that all project processes are working smoothly together. Finally, consider that you might need to hire additional people if the project requires specific skills not found in your organization.
What other stakeholders are involved?
Your project will not be implemented in isolation. There will be external stakeholders participating, whether it be the community where you are working, the donors who are funding your project or the government authorities. Keep in mind that you must coordinate with them in order to ensure adequate project implementation. Therefore, take the time to identify all the stakeholders involved, their relationship with the project and how you will work with them throughout the implementation.
What could go wrong in your project and how would you handle it?
Basically, this refers to risk management. It is very likely, that you will face some obstacles and hurdles while implementing your project. Though not everything can be controlled, it is important to identify what risks could affect the project and to have a plan on how you will respond to them (just in case). Risks can range from being political, technical or financial. Therefore, try to list events or aspects that could potentially affect your project, and determine what can be done to mitigate them as well as potential response mechanisms.
Want to learn more?
How to implement a call for action on Facebook
- Gantt Chart
What is a Gantt chart for project scheduling?
- Microsoft Office
Timeline and schedule templates
- Project Connections
Team organization and assignments template
- UN Women
How to start delivering your project, pp. 117–120
Gantt chart template for Excel
How to create a basic Gantt chart (Doug H video tutorial)