Have you ever been involved in the effort to select, buy, install, and configure a new system (lighting, sound, church management software, etc.)? If so, you know how much time, money, and work is involved. One way to make that less painful next time is to use a project management process.
What is project management? Project management involves using a standard process to plan and manage all tasks related to achieving a successful outcome. Essentially, this is a way to organize your team and all the tasks involved so you finish on time and within budget.
There are seven steps to making your next project a success:
Step #1: Clarify the Vision
Determine what you want to accomplish with this project. What is within scope and why is now the time to take on this effort? This is also when you need to determine the budget and approximate timeline for the project.
Also, assign a staff member to be the project manager. This is the person responsible for developing the plan, keeping the team on track, and providing general oversight of the project.
Step #2: Develop the Plan
An essential part of the project manager's role is to develop a project plan. The plan is a collection of all the tasks the team must complete to finish the project.
The project manager should talk with each member of the team to determine this list of tasks and deadlines.
Step #3: Assemble the Team
Decide who needs to be on the team to perform tasks or weigh-in on decisions. This may include staff members and volunteers.
Step #4: Execute the Plan
Here's where the team starts doing the work and completing tasks from the project plan.
It's tempting to start with this step since it's where you make visible progress. However, if you skip the previous steps, you'll end up trying to plan the project as you work. That's like trying to build a plane while it's in mid-air.
Take the time to complete the first three steps, making planning mistakes on paper instead of in real life. You'll save time and money when you plan carefully.
Step #5: Monitor & Report Progress
Your senior pastor or another member of the church leadership team will want to know how the project is coming along. Keep the appropriate leaders updated with a weekly progress report.
The project manager can use a tool such as Asana, Trello, or Basecamp to assign tasks and receive updates from the team.
From there, he/she can update church leadership on the team's progress.
Step #6: Complete the Project
This is the fun part. It's where the team's hard work results in a finished product.
Step #7: Lead Post-Project Activities
While the new system may be in-place, you're not quite done yet.
Before you move on to the next project, make sure you do the following:
Celebrate the win Enjoy the moment and celebrate as a team.
Conduct a lessons learned meeting Pull the team together and discuss what went well and what to improve for future projects.
Create a project notebook Use what the team developed for this project to make future projects easier. This could include the plan, vendor contracts, lessons learned, training materials, and other documents.
Project management isn't something we immediately think of when it comes to ministry. However, using these steps can help us support ministry in a more efficient and effective manner.