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How To Successfully Apply Project Management To Your Chapter

[Written By WatchTheYard.com Guest Writer, Cicely Rue]

Running your chapter is similar to running to a business. To remain in good standing, you must accomplish a set of goals (initiatives). Although you do not get paid for completing the goals, you are required to submit reports so headquarters can ensure your chapters are adhering to national’s guidelines. With the end of the year reports, you are judged against other chapters within your organization. Have you noticed it is always the same chapters who win?

Maybe your chapter has good ideas and hardworking individuals, but for reasons unknown you guys can’t seem to get right. You plan in advance, well a little in advance. Everyone completes their tasks, eventually. However, my question to you is… how organized and controlled is your project planning process? You answer that by asking yourself, “Are all the team members completely aware of the goals and their personal duties prior to execution of the project?” If you cannot answer yes to this question then your project planning process is unorganized and out of control.

Fear not, your problem isn’t something a little project management cannot fix. Project management is a well-developed process that guides team members through the process of completing a project efficiently with minimum risks. The benefits of project management are increased effectiveness in project planning, better chance of the project being completed, and it improves growth and development within your team. To enact project management, you must follow seven important steps.

  1. Have a meeting with team members to identify the project purposes. During the meeting you will discuss steps 2-5.
    1. You want to clearly identify the objectives to ensure the team’s goals and final product aligns with your organization’s values. For example, your objective can be one of the initiatives that align with the project.
  2. Determine the goals
    1. Based on the objectives(s) listed above determine your goal. Remember to established smart goals. Make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Establishing smart goals ensures that you and your team members are not overloaded or working on unnecessary tasks.
  3. Determine the proper steps
    1. Discuss the budget, non-tangibles needed, and tangible items that are needed. Develop a checklist. Once that is determined, assign the task to a specific person within the team. To ensure the task is correctly completed, assign the duty based on talent and strength.
  4. Create a project schedule
    1. Once you know everything you need and who is doing what, you must assign strict deadlines. Strict deadlines are they key to success in any project management. It holds individuals accountable. It also allows you to see the project as a timeline, not just a list of tasks.
  5. Assess the risk
    1. To ensure there are minimal problems during the planning process you have to perform a risk assessment. As a team, determine hiccups that can occur in any of the steps. If you find any (which you always should) determine how the potential problem can be rectified. This helps you to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances which may be damaging to the project.
  6. Before the project’s due date, put it all together, and finalize it. Clear up any issues and last minutes changes.
    1. Have a second and final meeting to formalize the work. Compare the budget to what was actually spent. Review the final products and non-tangible items for a quality.
  7. After the project is perform and executed, sit down with your team to discuss what could have been better.
    1. Here you want to measure the attendance, response from the audience, and overall quality of the program

Project management is tedious at times. However if implemented correctly, you get into the swing of things it becomes effortless. Running a chapter, balancing schoolwork, and participating in other extracurricular activities is stressful. Therefore it is important to limit you amount of stress by perfect planning though project management.

If your chapter already has a successful workflow, please share your steps, tips and ideas below to help other chapters!

 

This guest post was written by Cetarracca Rockwell of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. | She is a freelance writer, author and blogger whose work can be found at  CicelyRue.com

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