If one thing is for sure, change is always happening. Nothing ever goes as planned. Because of this, it’s important that you organize your projects in such a way that you’ve already factored in the very fact that upheaval and change are going to happen. It’s just the way life, and business, is.
If you have a fixed system for setting up and organizing every project that you do, you’ll avoid a lot of problems from the start. It might seem boring to create a system for everything but the truth is, if you want to keep projects on track through upheaval and change, you’re going to have to have a system in place that helps avoid problems. If for every project you have the right documents, the right time line, and the right process set up from day one, you’ll avoid so many problems.
If more than one person is involved in a project, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open (and yes, have a set process for that communication to occur). It doesn’t matter if you need to communicate with someone who is on the East Coast or the West Coast; if you have a process in place on when, where and how to communicate, everything will go more smoothly despite interruptions and change.
If other people are involved in the project, it’s important that everyone is on the same page. Everyone needs to understand the system, use the right tools, communicate effectively, and respect each other. The only way this happens in a team environment is if proper training is available to the members. Training can actually prevent upheaval and change from derailing a project.
Use the Right Tools
It’s imperative that you invest in the right tools to manage products seamlessly. Tools like Basecamp.com, which is an online project management system, are great for not only managing projects but also for managing individuals who are working on projects. Plus, if you know that your team is scattered to the winds, using a cloud-based system makes more sense than using a system that will not work well remotely.
Establish Project Milestones
If each project has milestones with set dates and an understanding of these responsibilities for all the members involved in the project, it’s easier to keep a long-term project on track. Create very specific windows where you can catch things going off the rails before it’s too late. If you’re paying attention you can get everyone back on track easily with a few reminders of the upcoming milestones.
Evaluate Metrics Often
With each project completion it’s important for participants to evaluate every aspect of the project so that you can determine whether or not there could have been some things done differently or better. If so, incorporate those changes to the next project. Being willing to change is an important aspect of staying on track with a project, no matter what is going wrong.
Finally, if things are really out of control it might be time to ask for help or let go of help. It depends on what is causing the upheaval and change. If it’s an issue with technology, perhaps you need to use alternative tech until the problem is worked out. If it’s a problem with a person, maybe they need a time out to deal with their issues. If it’s a problem with you and your personal life, hire someone to help so that you don’t drop the ball and this too shall pass.