We often hear the saying that goes ‘a castle started out as a single brick’. However, there is another rare yet important saying that goes ‘it takes a single crack to make a castle collapse’. Most of the time, we tend to overlook on small things that will eventually cause harm to the company. For example, proper project management, whereby projects are executed according to the requirements towards meeting desired goals, be it in terms of end product, budget, and timeline. We might have a multi-million dollar idea, but without proper management, it will become a disaster. In this pandemic era, where most of us are required to work remotely, proper project management is more crucial than ever. Details of the project need to be laid out clearly and tasks need to be distributed accurately; failure to do so will result in jeopardy.
Most common yet most overlooked error in project management. Miscommunication occurs when instructions and expectations are not clearly distributed, potentially leaving some team members out of important information, or misinterpretation of messages. Hence, the project was not executed according to the actual requirements.
2. Timeline drag
As a consequence of miscommunication and errors of project execution, tasks in the project need to be redone. This leads to a prolonged or dragged timeline - for instance, tasks meant to be done within 2 weeks now require an additional 2 weeks to complete. A delayed timeline is not only a waste of time, but also of resources.
3. Budget burst
In business, time is money. When a project requires additional time, it definitely requires more funds. Requesting for additional funds is not as simple as justifications need to be presented. The approval process, which involves many parties including management, investors and clients, may contribute to a further delay in timeline.
4. Disappointed investors
A delayed project timeline, leading to requirements of additional funds may stir disappointment in the stakeholders of the project. The trust and confidence that was built during the project pitch suddenly crumbles. Matters turn for the worse if the stakeholders view your company as a hassle, or a failure, eventually cutting ties with you.
5. Bad reputation
The business cycle is not as big as we think it is. Your reputation, good or bad, will spread like wildfire among the business network - imagine a frustrated client giving a negative review about the experience with your company! Salvaging a damaged reputation will require a lot of agonising effort; it is best to avoid it in the first place.
‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’. Planning and management is crucial in a project. All facets of the project must be clear and accurate instructions, expectations, the project timeline, and budget. Developing and implementing a long-term project can be tricky. Keeping mental tracks of the tasks, deliverables, stakeholders, and of course, the almighty budget, takes tremendous effort.
After years of experience running countless programmes and projects, Me.reka has gathered all our learnings and expertise into a base in Airtable, called the Me.reka Project Management Tool Kit. In our experience, the dynamic functionality of Airtable will allow you to easily organise and streamline the process of managing and tracking the progress of your project. The Me.reka PM Tool Kit is a comprehensive management toolkit developed by Me.reka. Projects can be managed swiftly using the toolkit as it is equipped with useful functions for goal setting, task distributions, as well as progress and budget tracking. With your goals displayed front and centre, the Me.reka Project Management Tool Kit effectively enables you to cascade your project strategy to transform your larger vision into action through Tasks and Sub-tasks. The change log, communication tracker, and a tab solely dedicated to stakeholder analysis shall put you and your team on the right track to a successful project.
Components of the Me.reka Project Management Tool Kit:
1. Project team
The Project Team function displays the name, photos, and roles of each team member. Each team member will also be aware of who they are reporting to. This way, they will know what to do and who to refer to. The team members listed here can be linked to other tables, allowing multi-reference of your team members throughout the PM Tool Kit.
The Goals section ensures the project is moving towards the desired path, at the desired time. This table would be where you plan and outline your project. It is linked to the objectives, activities, outputs, and outcomes tables. This table has been designed to allow you to fill up these fields through the Logical Framework, rather than going through the respective tables and filling those up manually.
3. Activities and Tasks
The team is assembled, the goals are set, now it is time to get to work. There are three different categories for this function - Activities, Tasks, and Sub-task. Activities are created based on Goals. Tasks are created based on Activities, and Sub-tasks are created based on Tasks. Everything is maneuvered towards achieving the Goals of this project so that it will not go astray. This is where you would list and track every action that is required to complete your Task, and therefore your Activity. This table is where the Gantt Chart App pulls its data from. Using this table, you will be able to assign specific Sub-tasks to team members, link specific Sub-tasks to Tasks, as well as add and track expenses and collaterals related to Sub-tasks.
4. Communication Tracker
One of the components of a project that is most likely to go haywire are the collaterals. The Communication Tracker has been designed in a way that only links a collateral to an Owner if there is a Sub-task associated with it. A separate Gantt Chart for the Communications Tracker can be found in the Communications Dashboard.
5. Budget and Grant Release Tracker
Other than meeting objectives and deadlines, a project also needs to meet the budget. To ensure that the project is not going overboard on the budget, this function allows users to allocate expenditure according to each Sub-tasks. Every dollar and cents can be traced and justified. A Summary of the Budget spent can be found in the Master Dashboard.
6. Meeting Agenda Tracker
This table is used to record and track the meetings, which can be set up with proposed meeting dates and link to the Sub-tasks, Tasks, and Activities that need to be discussed during the project, making the objective of the meeting clear. Every single meeting, be it with clients, partners, and mentors are recorded and can be set up using this function.
7. Change Log
Changes are inevitable in projects. Be it changes in team members, tasks, budget, even goals. Recorded changes are not only important for tracking, but it also serves as evidence that the changes are agreed upon, which is crucial especially when you are working on year-long projects whereby there might be change of team members and decision makers involved. Managing a project, big or small, takes a lot of time and energy. Me.reka Project Management Tool Kit is not a magic spell that will make everything appear, but it will definitely make everything easier. Improve your project management experience today with Airtable. Available for download to meet your project management meeting needs.