It’s one thing to create a detailed master plan but executing that plan is a whole different story. Execution involves carrying out a plan and the act of execution is fundamental to any project. In fact, the ability to execute a plan successfully is one of the primary responsibilities of a project manager. The problem, however, is that it can be challenging to measure and manage a concept and convert these concepts into actual behaviors. When it comes to executing a plan, things rarely go exactly as planned, which is why managers need to be able to adapt in order to carry out their plans. Oftentimes, managers get lost in this process and they end up doing things they wouldn’t want their employees to do. They break some of the most important project planning rules such as clear communication and collaboration. Consider the following tips for executing a project plan successfully.
Stay Focused on the Goal
It is important to stay focused on your goals in order to make decisions that support these goals. Otherwise, it’s easy to stray and get lost on other details. In order to define your goal you need to start by asking yourself, “What do I want to accomplish and how can I go about accomplishing it?” Be specific about your goal and make a note of the specific steps needed to reach it. Focus on steps that are measurable so you can actually measure your progress along the way. As you begin working to execute your plan, say no to activities, tasks, reports, or projects that do not directly support your plan.
Communicate Clearly and Effectively
Before you begin executing your plan, you want to communicate it to everyone who needs to know. This includes other team members, stakeholders, vendors, partners, and executives. Do not make the mistake of leaving people out of the loop. Everyone that is involved should be informed of everything that is going on as well as any changes that need to be made along the way. You need to constantly remain in communication with your team and keep them informed of any hurdles or challenges as well as the status of the project.
Stay on Budget
Just as you wouldn’t expect a member of your team to overspend, you also need to be cognizant of your budget at all times. Create a budget during the planning phase and be sure to keep this in mind as you work to execute your plan. If for any reason, this budget needs to change throughout the process, be sure you share that concern with other team members before making any decisions that will impact the budget.
It’s not enough to simply set goals and share them with team members. In addition to sharing these goals, it is important to pair them with deadlines. Deadlines change our behavior because they motivate us to get things done. Without deadlines, it’s impossible to determine how long it will take to execute your plan. Instead, you need to set deadlines at the beginning of the project so employees know exactly what needs to be done and when.