TrailBlazing: A Tale of Project Management

wooded trail

Imagine finding yourself lost in a forest, it would probably be a very confusing, frustrating and stressful situation that may take a lot longer than you had originally expected. Getting out of the forest would be much easier if you had a marked trail to help guide you along your journey. What if I told you that trying to complete a project without any type of project management is the same as being lost in the forest. You don’t have a path clearly laid out in front of you guiding you to the next step and leading you to the end goal. Without a path, a project can also be very confusing, frustrating and stressful and take a lot longer than you had originally expected, as well. Wouldn’t you rather take the time and make sure your journey is smoothly mapped out in front of you?

Wait, there’s a map?

How do we make it out of the forest safely? We PLAN! Planning is the biggest part of a Project Manager’s job. As a Project Manager, believe it or not, I have plans to help me plan. Making processes for your projects is a step above a marked trail, it’s like having the map of the forest! The processes will outline all the parts of the project and how they flow from start to finish. Some of the benefits of having processes for your project are: reducing risk, stopping scope creep, helping meet deadlines, and making sure all participants in the project know what they need to do and what will come next.  Once you have the processes in order, you can move on to marking your trail.

Marking your trail.

Now that you have your map to follow, you need to set up your project. Taking the time to review the needs of your client and project is going to be helpful in this next step. Some projects may add extra trails along the way, so you will need to plan for them as well. Here at RedTree, we set up all of our projects into phases. At the end of each phase, there is a deliverable. The phases will vary from project to project, but mostly consist of: Discovery Phase, Design Phase, Development Phase, Review Phase, and lastly, the Launch Phase. We will then break these phases down even further by using tasks. These tasks will all come with a description of what is to be done, any reference materials, and what the next steps are.

Following your trail and having help along the way.

The nice part about having a project manager is you don’t really have to worry about paying attention to the trail markings on your own. They are the ones who will guide you through the journey, make sure you know you’re not alone, keep everything moving along and make sure that no one gets left behind.  As we complete the phases and present the deliverables, the project manager will keep you informed of what is to come next along your path. The biggest responsibility for the project manager is making sure that the project is being completed on time and on budget. During this part of the journey, having open and transparent communication is key. All parties involved need to make sure they are being honest about progress and getting each other deliverables/needs.  If we don’t have open and transparent communication during this part of the project, it is very likely that the project will fall off the path. This again will lead to confusion, frustration, stress, and the journey taking longer than expected. Following this trail together is a true partnership and making it to the end can’t be done if one side is not helping.

Making it out of the forest.

By having processes and thoroughly setting up the project, we are ready for any bumps that may arise along your journey and can help prevent them from being big enough to throw us from the path. Making sure to review the work that has been done both internally and externally will also help mitigate any issues that may arise. Once you are happy with how the journey has gone, we are ready to leave the forest. Leaving the forest can also be a little scary, but just because we have finished the project, doesn’t mean you are all on your own now. We will make sure you have the knowledge to carry on from here and feel comfortable reaching out if you need our expertise. We are always happy to be your guide on your next adventure.

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