In the book "How to Run Successful Projects III, The Silver Bullet", Fergus O'Connell identifies ten steps to structured project management:
- Visualize the goal
- Make a list of jobs
- There must be one leader
- Assign people to jobs
- Manage expectations, allow a margin of error, have a fallback position
- Use an appropriate leadership style
- Know what's going on
- Tell people what's going on
- Repeat steps 1-8 until step 10
- The Prize
These ten steps help make project management consistent, predictable, and repeatable. The first five steps are about planning your project. The last five are about implementing the plan and achieving the goal. These steps are based on 25 years of research into why some projects fail and others succeed.
I like to checkpoint any project I do against these steps. I find that when a project is off track, I can quickly pinpoint it to one of the steps above and correct course.