Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How to plan a project

I love the planning stage of any project, should have been a project manager. I used to use Microsoft Project for these jobs, but now I use tables in Word, it makes it run so much smoother. More importantly, being organised and having a plan stops all the stress and apathy, gives me energy as I feel on top of it all and drives me forward. Maybe I am also a frustrated school teacher as I also love writing out lists on whiteboards!  Or maybe, I am just your average, garden variety procrastinator!  You think!?

This is my thought process for the project.  At first it all seems so daunting. How will I get from this mess

to this?

Break it down!  No not MC hammer style, but pull apart the project into jobs/tasks.  Still sound daunting?  This is how I do it.  I go and stand/sit in the area and just look.  I then start writing each item that needs to be done.  I don't try and organise them in any order, just a random list of every task to be done.  Like a brain storming session.  As I come up with tasks, it becomes evident that before a certain task can be done there are others that will come before it.  Here is an example:

The project is to have my sons old room turned into a storage room.  Here is the start of my random list as it all popped into my head.  Note that I started with the fun bits :-)

  • Buy shelves to go around the outside of the walls (this led me to the next few tasks)
  • Set a budget for the project
  • Collect pictures and inspiration to make a mood board
  • Measure room - making note of window, door and wardrobe (but before I could even get in there to measure I had to ...)
  • Move out every item in the room.  (what will I do with this stuff?)
  • Get boxes and garbage bags ready for the clearing
  • Sugar soap walls
  • Fill holes in walls and sand
  • Brush off cobwebs and dust off walls
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint walls
  • Pull up carpet
  • Select and order new carpet
  • Organise items to be stored in boxes/crates and label
  • Put all shelves together and set up
  • ... and on and on
I then sort the tasks into an order that makes sense, numbering them - so we are painting before the new carpet goes in, the room is measured before I buy the shelves (which I kind of haven't done, I bought them ages ago in a fit of passion!) - you get the gist of where this is heading.

Then I create a table in Word with 4 columns and allocate each task to one line

Description of task

Who will do it
When will we do it

Pull up carpet

Mr K & I

Print it out and stick it near where we are working.  Feels good to be able to tick off tasks, and sometimes I can get tasks done before the schedule if I am aware it needs doing.  Like the next time I am at the shops I gather boxes and buy garbage bags.  Or on an outing we call into a carpet store.  Sounds simple, but this is how it works for me.

Next post will be the actual planning I did for the 7 stages.

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