Monday, 12 September 2016

Last & Final Steps 7 & 8

7. Effective communication -

When we talk about effective communication this also means having effective listening skills.
Be clear on your purpose.  To make your project a great experience you need to get involved and stay involved, realise from the outset that communication is key and being very clear on your purpose can help to keep worry at a minimum.  If you know what you want to achieve and have a plan for making it happen the small stuff doesn’t seem so big, overwhelming or worrying.
Regardless if you are project planning on a big scale for a company or on a small scale such as the one we are doing, the planning structure is the same, and the unexpected, unforeseen delays that you have no control over can happen.  This is where good communication comes into play and can help you!
Communicate with your team immediately if and when there are ever any changes especially ‘time frame’ changes, regardless of what they are due to but especially if they are due to unscheduled issues.  As more often than not there is a simple solution that you may have overlooked.  Share your progress/problems and solve things together.  As with any problem solving always deal with it straight away, do not ignore it, evaluate and prioritise, because to do so can mean the difference in small problems becoming overwhelming ones and your project going way over your budget and deadline.  Always identify, prioritise, stay focused and keep the line of communication open. Make sure everyone is on the same page.

8. Include & create work/life balance -

Prioritize and delegate, an effective prioritization system is one that has a cut-off point for tasks that you can then hand off to other team members. By reducing your task list in this way you can do a better job focusing on fewer tasks than being spread so thinly.  You will also give other team members an opportunity to grow in their roles, a win-win situation.
Estimate the amount of time and energy each task can take, as some tasks are high intensity both mentally and physically whilst others are mindless and require little or no energy but are nevertheless required.  So remember when you are working out your task list, don’t put too many similar tasks together as this can be demotivating and cause you to lose focus. Creating a good balance with workflow and interspersing different kinds of tasks where possible is very important will keep you motivated and focused.
Schedule in regular breaks. Even if you are in a productive workflow state, try to step away for 5 minutes and refresh your mind, particularly helpful if you are having an intense time on a project problem.
Scheduling in regular exercise, go for a walk, run or go to the gym in-between tasks.  Build in time to rest and recharge, all of these things are made for reducing anxiety.
So there you have it – the Spacemaker Wardrobes recommendations for planning the perfect project.  We hope that this has been beneficial and would love to hear how you are implementing our tips in your projects!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Steps 5 & 6

5.     Make a schedule, including milestones & implementation dates.

Your specific project goals are made up of your stakeholder needs and these need to be prioritised in order to be an effective part of your time management system.  Time is a big consideration when working towards your goals, especially when you have set specific deadlines.  You need to be clear about how you are going to go about accomplishing your goals.

An effective way to develop your schedule is as follows –

  • First, identify activities and tasks needed to produce the work package, which will help form your task structures.
  • Next, identify the need for resource limitations.
  • Estimate the time and the cost of each task.
  • Determine realistic resource restrictions.
  • Create a ‘task dependency’ list to run in synchronously in a sequence where tasks are dependent on other tasks.
  • Develop a planner and document all estimates and tasks, with a timeline of events, including resources, expenditure and deadlines.
  • Develop a cost by time period.
This will be an ongoing process.

6. Create a workflow which includes milestones and implementations dates

Implementation dates clarify and describe what the project should deliver and within what time-frame.  If continuous monitoring and control is not done, everything that can appear to be going along smoothly can all turn bad and go out of control very quickly.  A hands on approach to supervising and analysing with audits and assessments of the project implementation progress can pick up the risk triggers early on and indicate immediate problems with the workflow or work package.
A project manager needs to set and manage the expectations of the project and not set overly aggressive or optimistic schedules, the realities and limitations of the actual project should be thoroughly investigated and adhered to, taking into consideration the deployment dates and required resources and deliverables all of which should be kept current in the minds of all stakeholders so that no-one loses sight of the final product while going through the project life cycle.
Try not view deadlines in a negative light, it is natural to feel anxiety about whether you can finish on time but if you follow the above suggestions outlined here you shouldn’t be far off your target but if you do have unscheduled delays remember you can still adjust if you are aware of all the details, as you do need to have some flexibility built into your project plans.
When all the components of the schedule and the implementation dates have been set for the project and the schedule is developed and designed, you need to make sure that this document has been checked and approved by all stakeholders and the project manager in order to ensure that its content is appropriate and its targets are clearly stated and achievable.
Similarly, milestones are tools to mark specific points along a project timeline, when you have to show progress.  Without a deadline there is ‘no motivation’ to show progress or indeed finish something within a certain amount of time.
Milestones help you to more accurately determine whether or not the project is on schedule!
Milestones may include key dates, launch parties, board meetings, product roll-outs and other significant pieces of your project.
Monitor your progress by keeping track with your check list or an ‘app’, even a simple spreadsheet can help you gage your progress.  Checking off tasks as you complete them can be a great motivator along the way as they essentially let you know if your project is advancing in the right direction.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Steps 3 & 4

3. Describe the product and define the deliverables

Documenting a description of the product is an important task as these descriptions will be used to produce the deliverables.  It may be helpful to think of the product as the whole or ‘bigger picture’ and the deliverables as the pieces that fit together to make the product. The description of the product as a whole is generally what is negotiated with the client and needs to be absolutely clear so that no miscommunication can occur.
The deliverables, on the other hand, are the real/solid action you take within a project and are often used internally to keep track of how to create the product.  There can be any number of deliverables within a single project and each should be documented in detail, despite their size or time they take to produce.
Deliverables can be items that are expected to be sent either internally or externally to a customer by a certain date! This action indicates a key milestone has been met.
Often , deliverables are dependent on another deliverable being completed first.  This is common when managing a project with a multiple milestones, such as events.

4. Identify your team and other stakeholders

Identify your team to work on accomplishing the goals of the project, making sure you have the right people with the right skills, expertise, knowledge and experience to contribute is imperative to the success of the project. It is necessary to determine who on the project needs to approve which parts of the plan.  
The Team players can be broken into the following  - Project sponsor, Project manager, Project team, End users, Others!
There needs to be a high level of commitment to achieving the common objective.  There has to be effective participation and personal responsibility that the team members are up for the specific challenge of this project.
Similarly, the term ‘stakeholders’ refers to an organisation who may affect/be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project. There are two categories - Internal stakeholders and External stakeholders.  You need to document who are your stakeholders on any project, as by defining who these are, you ensure that you cover all of their needs.  
Stakeholder analysis is a key project management skill for classifying people who have influence over your projects.
You will know your project is successful if all of your stakeholders are happy

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Steps 1 & 2

1. Define the Project

The project objectives all lead to the final objective, these series of objectives should be specific as this increases the chances of leading to a specific outcome. Vague objectives eg. ‘to improve wardrobe doors’ are not really measurable, so always keep objectives as specific as possible.

Objectives can be broken into three primary headings:

  • Time Objective - All significant stages of the project must take place no later than their specified dates, to result in total project completion on or before the planned finish date.  Late completion of the project will not be satisfactory to any stakeholders. Good time management is essential as for eg. if a project start date is delayed this can cause the finish date to be postponed and that can have a flow on effect to a budget ‘blowout’.
  • Budget/Cost - Budget is an essential and major part of any project and the project should be preferably kept under budget but definitely not exceed the authorised project funding. As almost all projects are undertaken for financial gain on their completion, but even without the profit incentive the cost objective is still essential due to the fact that there will be some limitations on funds available. One of the worst outcomes of funds running out is that of projects having to be abandoned before completion therefore all of the time, money and effort invested in the project would be forfeited and written off.  
  • Performance and Quality - it is your responsibility to ensure the project meets those objectives and you are accountable for this.  Responsibility for quality is shared by all team members from the top management downwards.

2. Create a scope document

The scope forms the boundary of your project.  It is the part of project planning that involves determining and documenting a list of specific project goals, deliverables, features, functions, tasks, deadlines, and budget. Basically, it is what needs to be achieved and the work that needs to be done to deliver the project. If you don’t define what it is the likelihood is that it will grow and grow as the project progresses - from small project to huge project. By documenting each project goal and identifying tasks the scope of your project becomes clearer.

Documenting in as much detail as possible each task you need to complete will make it clearer the amount of time you need to allocate to each step.  This will help determine how long the schedule for the project will be.

Adding in as much detail as possible about each step is essential to capturing the smallest details that could be missed along the way, which may become delays later on in the project.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Planning Your Project

Planning Your Project:

In order to create our new Instructional Videos, we needed to purchase some equipment.  The range was overwhelming and we soon realised we needed a project planning system to ensure that we got what we needed within our price range and were able to achieve the outcome we desired.  What a learning curve! Over the next couple of weeks, this series of blog posts will share our major learning with you in the hope that you, too, can achieve your project goals.  These are things we found important to think about.  Please note, the depth described in these posts will probably be more relevant to our builder and carpenter clients, but could certainly be adapted to a home project.

8 Essential Steps of Project Planning

  1. Define the project, including the objectives and understand your client’s expectations
  2. Create a scope document
  3. Describe the product and define the deliverables
  4. Identify your team and other stakeholders
  5. Make a schedule
  6. Create a workflow which includes milestones and implementations dates
  7. Communicate Effectively
  8. Include & create work/life balance

Tune in next week to check out the first 2 steps on my list, then over the next couple of weeks I will post more steps....

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Moving Forward

We often receive enquiries from potential customers asking if we have a display of our products.  We are now excited to say that a display is in the pipeline & should be ready to view later this year.

We’ve also decided to create some videos for our website that will walk our customers through how to install our products and give them an overview of how beautiful and functional they are when finished.

With all this change occurring, one of my favourite quotes from Martin Luther King comes to mind:

If you can’t fly, then run
If you can’t run, then walk
If you can’t walk, then crawl
But whatever you do
You have to keep moving forward!!

And Spacemaker certainly is moving forward!

If you would like to find out more about our products and services please visit our website

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Free delivery between 29th August and 15th September!

We are offering free delivery from the 29th August to the 15th September 2013! Visit our website at to place your order now!