Project planning

Project Planning and Execution: Plan twice, execute once

Have you ever started, what you thought, would be a small task but found it was, instead a fairly large project?

As an example, that note you made on the sticky pad that says update website. Now that certainly is a project because most of us know, updating your website is not a singular task. It’s really a continuous project. And that project needs a plan. So, let’s use “update website” as our example.

Now, if you’re like most small business owners you have a ton of things to do every day and it’s possible that the last time you updated your site was weeks ago. So, this update could be the tweaking of 3 items or the complete reorganization of 5-10 pages.

Knowing that this may take a while it’s best that you make a basic project plan which will help you walk through the tasks needed. The plan doesn’t need to be overly detailed. It’s just a well thought out road map of what you plan to do and how you plan to do it.

To begin with, all good project plans start with 5 or 6 steps that need to be covered. I’ll group those steps into two groups to make it easier:

Step 1: information gathering, organization & prioritization

Step 2: budgeting, scheduling & resource selection

Information gathering involves reviewing your website for old and inaccurate information. Start at the homepage, then go to your top five pages. (If you don’t know what you top five pages are we can help you). Once you’ve visited and analyzed the pages you plan to update you’ll need to organize and prioritize the pages. You can work on the pages with the most required changes or rewrite first and save the small changes for later or vice versa. I like to take care of as many pages as possible first (especially those high-profile pages) and then take my time to focus on the few pages that need more in-depth changes.

After you’ve completed the audit of your pages you’ll need to figure out how you’ll complete this project. Taking your busy schedule into consideration you should estimate the amount of time you’ll need to complete these changes. Do you have a full day, or even two, to complete the changes or do you plan to devote small amounts of time over a long period to complete them?

You may feel that your time is better used dealing with your customers. So you might want to consider budgeting for an outside resource to take care of the updates for you. If that’s the case, you’ll need to ask for estimates based on an hourly basis or a project bases. It all depends on the amount and extent of the work.

If you chose an experienced resource you can, usually, expect professional service, timely feedback, dedicated project monitoring and status reporting, and hopefully, accurate testing and quality assurance practices. We’ll address this further in our next post.

So as you can see, even a small project involves many steps and each step may involve multiple tasks. So, the next time you plan, make sure you plan twice and execute once. It will save you time in the long run.

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