Itching to get that new project off the ground? Check out our tips on how to go about it!
Projects - they come in all different shapes and sizes. They can be activated across most industries and sectors, from a multi-billion pound project such as HS2, taking decades to complete, to an office refurbishment that takes a matter of weeks.
Whatever job you find yourself in, whichever sector you choose, the chances are you'll be involved in many projects over your career, both major and minor. And if you want to climb that career ladder, you might even find yourself orchestrating some of those projects yourself, as Project Manager or Operations Manager.
If that's the case, you'll need the right tools to implement those projects, so that they go smoothly and don't run into any difficulty or come up against obstacles that could have been pre-empted if you'd had a better idea of how to approach it.
With this article at your fingertips, you'll possess the necessary equipment and know-how to approach any project implementation with confidence and motivation, instilling an energy into your team that will filter down throughout the project and beyond.
First things first though, let's be crystal clear about what a project is and what project implementation means.
The definition of project implementation
A project, as defined by the Collins English dictionary, is “a proposal, scheme, or design… a task requiring considerable or concerted effort.” To phrase it another way, it's an undertaking of some sort, conducted alone or as part of a team, that involves careful planning and research in order to achieve a specific goal.
The implementation of that project is a way of putting a plan into action that delivers those targets, by way of finalising what the end goal is and working your way through all the phases to reach it, by coordinating resources, monitoring team performance, reaching deadlines, and keeping within budget. Whatever the final outcome, whether it's producing goods for customers or a particular service for a client, the project implementation plan has to be the first port of call.
Why is it so important to create a project implementation plan?
If you're leading a project, you want to ensure it goes well and achieves set objectives while keeping your team happy and motivated. Being organised is key to this… but so is being realistic. What looks great on paper almost never turns out the way it's expected. Thinking ahead, and planning for any challenges or issues, will show your flexibility and how easily you adapt to change. So it's wise to avoid any up-and-coming issues, such as ambitious timelines that can't be met, unrealistic deliverables, and a lack of overall clarity.
This is where having a project implementation plan comes into its own, as it can reduce these occurrences by detailing targets, deadlines, potential costs, and the resources required. It's a plan that the team needs to adhere to, in order to perform their tasks to a high standard and achieve targets while overcoming any obstacles along the way.
10 tips for creating a successful project implementation plan
So, what are the stages of project implementation and what makes a successful project implementation plan?
Listed below are 10 project implementation phases that are recommended for any type of project.
1. Determine the requirements of the project
Sounds simple, but you've got to have it clear in your own head what the project is all about and what's needed to get to the end. This means collaborating with stakeholders to determine those requirements, assessing the plan, and ensuring all of those involved have a clear understanding of what's required.
Top tip: Establish a plan that meets client, stakeholder, and senior management expectations.
2. Define the project scope
This is basically what the project involves, and who's doing what with regards to deliverables, tasks, costs, and goals. Once these are established, it will give an overall view of the value of the project. This can vary from company to company, but a general rule is that it's the total of all required resources and how much it will cost the company, along with benefits you can't quantify, such as sustainability, brand image, and goodwill.
Top tip: Check out this TopCV article for more detailed information on project management activities.
3. Dissect the scope
Breaking down the scope into manageable chunks will make it easier to digest and to assign resources to different areas. This step is crucial, as it can simplify the planning, facilitate coordination, and improve on project efficiency.
Top tip: Keep stakeholders involved at every stage, so you can better manage expectations.
4. Carry out comprehensive research
Before going any further, stop and consider how confident you are in knowing all the facts about this project. If you don't, conduct some detailed research.
Top tip: Eliminate guesswork before committing to any project by taking a deep dive into all related resources, so you're 100% clear on what's what going forward.
That means gathering all stakeholders together in a room to bash out what's needed, what's expected, and what's required as an outcome. Asking straightforward, yet tough, questions about the process, deadlines, organisational structure, and any other pertinent detail, is paramount at this stage.
Top tip: Schedule this meeting before the project gets underway, so you're sure from the outset what's required of you and your team.
6. Lay out project activities into a viable order
List activities and functions, sequencing them in the correct order. With some projects, you can go from A to B to C to D in an orderly fashion. In others, some tasks have to be completed before others can begin.
Top tip: Coordinate tasks that can be performed simultaneously, to minimise the time taken and get your service or product to market faster.
7. Estimate time, resources, and cost
Calculate how long the project will take based on various factors, locate your resources - some of which may have to be acquired as a one-off - and estimate costs as accurately as you can.
Top tip: Assign resources for a finite amount of time, so they aren't being wasted on your project with nothing to do when they're needed elsewhere in the business.
8. Build a project team
Choose those members of staff that you can rely on and who have the experience and skill set to steer the project successfully, getting things done to deadline while maintaining a high quality standard.
Top tip: If you don't have a Business Analyst within your team, it might be worth considering bringing one on board to determine project / market fit and to ensure the project adds value.
9. Incorporate KPIs and key performance metrics
These will help with steering the project in the right direction, while tracking performance across different areas of the business.
Top tip: Have a look at TopCV's key performance metrics article for added inspiration.
10. Finalise the project implementation plan
Phew, you've nailed it. Now your project implementation plan is in order, document it on a knowledge management system.
Top tip: Make sure you share the final documentation with colleagues, stakeholders, and all relevant parties, so everyone is up to speed with what's going on.
How to show project implementation knowhow on your CV
Now that you've ingested this article, you'll be raring to go with your project implementation plans.
But if you're planning on changing jobs, how do you go about reflecting your project implementation talents and project management skills on your CV?
Sprinkling key phrases that relate to project management and project delivery throughout your CV will set you on the right path initially. Try including it in the Core Competencies section underneath your Professional Profile.
It could look something like this:
Project Management | Project Planning | Project Delivery | Full Project Lifecycle | Risk Mitigation | Change Management | Problem Resolution | Stakeholder Engagement | Process Management | Team Building | Team Development | Staff Engagement | Process Mapping | Client Engagement | Budget Control | Scope Definition | Strategic Planning | Leadership |
Below are general bullet points that can be customised within your Career Summary.
- Maintained client communications throughout the duration of each project, to ensure a seamless transition
- Provided an escalation point for clients and staff on all complex technical and valuation-related projects
- Reformatted the Agile methodology guide to include changes to the project lifecycle, which led to the acceleration of development and the capture of best practice from subject matter experts
- Ensured team members had the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver the project, by developing a comprehensive training programme in collaboration with Product Managers
If you're after a great new position that's project-orientated, you'll want to have a CV that shows off your skills in this area. Not sure how to go about it… even after reading this article? Don't despair. Help is at hand with TopCV's free CV review. It will provide you with the pointers you need to get your CV into tip-top shape, including all your project implementation talents. Head on over to the TopCV website for a further look.