Start your project off on the right foot with this module, which helps you create your project goals and design the processes you will need to achieve them.
Getting started on a new project can be both exhilarating and daunting. Even if you know what you are trying to achieve, developing SMART Goals will help ensure what you do aligns with why you are doing it!
As Napoleon Hill said, “Goals are dreams with deadlines!” So make sure that you create SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals for your project.
Group (i.e. “batch”) long lists of tasks into categories for better organization.
Be sure each task is doable and will move the project forward. Create benchmarks (“staged accomplishments”) to help you track your progress. These will help you measure success and decide where you may need to modify/adjust your project plan.
Knowledge is Power!
If you are looking for some personal development books that’ll help you through your project journey, here are our top picks! Read them for free at York Libraries!
Atomic Habits by James Clear
Make Time: How to Focus on What Matters Every Day by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Here is a S.M.A.R.T Goals Worksheet to get you started.
Projects are inherently collaborative activities. Your project is likely to involve participants, funders, audience members etc.. Rather than assuming you know what they need and expect, take the time to ask them, at this stage, to prevent misunderstandings later. This is especially important if you engage with people from marginalized communities or who identify differently than yourself.
Don’t assume others’ needs and expectations. Ask them!
Prioritize your stakeholders according to their interests, influence and level of participation.
Avoid missing stakeholders by involving your team in the brainstorming process.
Be sure to assess the role each stakeholder plays in the project.
Here is a quick read about why your stakeholders matter and how to conduct an analysis.
If you're looking for a more in-depth explanation, read the PDF linked below.
On the other hand, if you just want an overview of what you need to know, check out this video!
Grouping your stakeholders can help you prioritize them. Try this Power Interest Grid!
What You Need
Every project requires resources like people, materials, expertise, and money to name a few. To create a solid foundation for your team, be sure to fully understand the people working with you on the project as they are your most important resources! Learn about their skills, knowledge, and motivations for being involved, as well as what role(s) they would like to play.
Form a group charter that will help your team stay aligned with your project.
Identify and use your team’s superpowers!
Doing a S.W.O.T analysis can save a lot of sweat!
Find the sweet spot between what you want to do and what you realistically can do.
It is very important to set team expectations. Group contracts can help you with that. Here’s how you can make one!
These group charter templates will help your team establish some ground rules, goals, roles, and responsibilities to get the project started. Be sure to check out the examples!
Creating a Project Plan
Once you've carefully considered your project goals, stakeholders, and resources, you are ready to put all of this into a project plan. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and that your project stays on track. Being organized is such a lifesaver!
Anticipate project resources, costs, and constraints.
Break the project into smaller milestones with deadlines to make the process less overwhelming. Celebrate when you hit a milestone!
Keep everyone in the loop using collaborative platforms.
Making a Plan
Looking for tools to help you plan? The Communication & Planning Tools Guide provides many of the resources you’ll need.
Eisenhower Power Matrix
Not sure what to do first? Learn how to prioritize tasks using the Eisenhower Power Matrix.
Planning a project doesn’t have to be a complicated process. York offers a simple Project Plan Template, or you can browse this project planning resource to download a template: https://toggl.com/blog/simple-project-plan-template
These free collaborative platforms offer options to help your team communicate efficiently and effectively: