It’s hard! How do you decide exactly what needs to be done to complete your creative project?
Or which part to do first?
This simple Project Planning Checklist will help you quickly decide exactly what needs to be done and in what order.
In the previous posts we looked at how setting objectives lets us effectively manage and complete our creative projects.
But while setting objectives gives us an overview of our project, to make our plan really effective we need a step-by-step breakdown of our tasks.
Brainstorm your How: Determine Your Project Activities and Order
The Project Objectives from the previous exercise tells us what we want to have happened by the time we finish our project; what we want to have done, achieved or made by the end. Our ‘creative destination’.
Now we’re going to clarify the steps we need to take to reach this destination and any resources or information we need to help us get there.
We’re also going to cross-check our ideas to make sure we anticipate and plan for any possible glitches.
(If you haven’t written your Project Objectives, do that first.)
4 Step Project Plan
It’s time to wrestle that complex project into submission!
Work your way through these four steps and by the end you’ll have a detailed breakdown of the steps you need to take to complete your project - and the order you need to take them in.
Grab a pen or your favourite digital device and let’s go!
1. How will you achieve your Objectives?
2. What do you need?
Now you’re going to analyse what your idea(s) would need in terms of time, information, tools and advice.
If you have more than one idea you’ll be able to compare their viability in order to decide your best route forward.
A. ANALYSE YOUR IDEAS
If you have multiple ideas, repeat A for each one.
B. EVALUATE YOUR IDEAS
Now you have an overview of what each of your ideas entails. Ask yourself,
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a clear idea of how you’re going to go forward.
Now it’s time to outline the sequence of actions necessary to complete your project.
3. Sequence your Actions
Great you’re almost there! You now have a schedule. There’s just one final step.
You’re going to present and explain the ideas you have for completing your project to someone else!
4. ‘Present’ your Proposal
This sounds much grander than it is. All I’m suggesting you do is explain your project to a trusted other.
Doing this helps you discover any gaps in your strategy which might cause problems later.
If you don’t have anyone to present your project to, then present it to yourself out loud and let your ‘other self’ play devil’s advocate by looking for holes in your strategy.
Once you’ve done your ‘presentation’, ask yourself,
Be Prepared to Adjust Your Plan
Congratulations. You have a solid plan for the completion of your project and the achievement of your vision.
However, for your plan to be effective, you must use, review, maintain and update it constantly. This means you need to be prepared for your plan to change.
It’s a creative project after all!
The ideas and decisions you make now, may alter significantly as your project develops.
(If you do find yourself thinking about making big changes, mid-way through your project, analyse your new idea - and the time and resources needed to implement it - in the same way as we did above.)
So now you have not only a clear set of objectives for what you want to achieve with your project but a roadmap to follow.
In the final part of this series, we’ll look at how reviewing your project at the end, can help you not only improve the efficiency of future projects, but hone your creative direction.
In the meantime, download your:
FREE Simple Project Planning Checklist