The secret to project management is working out what you have to do before you start doing it.
How many times, when you were starting on a problem solving task, have you launched yourself into solution mode instead of analysing the problem, only to regret your haste later?
When you rush into a job, you often realise, after you’ve committed to one course of action, that there are other and better ways you could be doing it. Sometimes, you even discover that you’re working on a solution to the wrong problem.
Making sure you understand the problem, before you start thinking about possible solutions, is probably the most important part of project management.
Another critical step is developing a project plan – and writing it down.
Projects come unstuck when you either rush into them or fail to plan how you will go about doing the job.
It’s no good having the plan in your head either. Having a documented plan encourages accountability, and gives you a way to measure and report your progress – even when you’re working on a personal project.
If you’re new to project work or curious about how project management principles could help you get things done more efficiently, Everyday Project Management is an easy to read introduction to project management.
What does this crime writer know about project management?
Quite a bit, actually. I spent twenty years working on projects in banking and government before turning my attention to a life of crime, and I use those principles to manage my writing projects.
Peter Mulraney is the author of the Everyday Business Skills series.