Designing the process vs. Running the process

Stop and think about this for a moment. Most of the work you do falls into one of two broad categories:

  • Routine work
  • Project work

Routine work is where the focus is on execution. The plan, the process, the inputs, and the outputs are usually already worked out. This is one more of the same.

The focus tends to be on how many, how fast and checking that quality doesn’t suffer as the speed and volume increases.

Project work on the other hand is a totally different thing to manage and do, let alone excel at.

A project has two kinds of activities, planning and execution. It is just like a routine work, but this time the plan is newly created (or adapted from a previous project but either way it needs to be looked at in the context of the project).

Project work cannot be done by individual contributors alone. It requires a decision-maker involved so that the plan can be done first, or at least started. If you have a project at work without an executive, the CEO or Founder involved then you are going to be in trouble. 

What does it mean to create a plan for the project you ask? Many different things to make different people, but essentially, something that boils down to a written set of steps of who is going to do what by when, to achieve what outcome overall, in the context of team-wide agreements.

How principles relate to project plans

Every work team, and project has principles that operates within. In most cases these are encoded at the organisational level, but where you have projects that include contractors, or others in the team who are “external” to the organisation you would be better off looking at what those principles ought to be and at least make sure they are clearly written out. As David Allen has famously said while explaining the concept of principles: “I can deliver your project on time and under budget, but is it OK to burn out the team?” And that’s exactly what we mean with principles.

Other useful principles might be doing the work to also build trust and long-term working relationships with the client (which you should be doing), doing work that builds up people and your team’s capabilities, and doing work that has long-lasting values and benefit to the world (if you can do all of these you are amazing!).

You also need a clear, well-defined outcome for the project itself. You know by now that here at Thanexa we are all about “outcome-based focus” for our work - the shortest path to getting work done that matters

With that in mind, envision wild success not just some ho-hum ok we got by thing… but wild, positive success. Cannot go into the reasons why right now but try it out, you’ll see that this kind of outcome changes the conversation for the better.

Finally, you will need some kind of action steps (notice I didn’t say tasks?) assigned to people in your team, and get on with doing the work.

The key here is to:

  1. Plan at the start
  2. Start working
  3. Refine the plan
  4. Refine the actions
  5. Until done.

Putting it all together 

Hopefully next time you need to start work on a new project, you make sure that you cover off with the rest of the team, the outcome (imagining wild success), you have the principles of the project clarified, have a decision-maker available (if it's not you) to ensure that the plan and the decisions required to get it doing are covered off and finally agreement from the team on who is going to do what by when. 

If you do these things, you'll be well on your way to have a successful project delivered - and the journey will be smoother too. 

If you need software to help you through this, and to guide you to the save accomplishment of your project while keeping things organised and everyone informed along the way, then use what we use, and try Thanexa today

A true gem of a tool for team collaboration and project management

If you are after a tool designed to make plans happen effortlessly; and instantly translate them into actions people are happy to work on, try out Thanexa. It's been a true game changer for us and our clients around the world.

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