Top 5 Tips: Project to Reality

I got this interesting email from a colleague at MSU yesterday:

“I am on my way to Greece to present at a Green Ideas event. I’d love to include the “Jess Daniel” 5 Tips for Success that move a project from plan to reality. I’d love to feature you and FoodLab. Also, glad to share a copy of the presi. Just 5 sound byte points – or feel free to write as much as you like.?”
A fun thought exercise for a sleepy Sunday morning. Here’s what I came up with:
  1. As a team, have a clear, articulated vision for what “success” looks like (I learned a lot about this from Zingermans trainings…)
  2. Bring the right people & resources in at the right time (Who are the stakeholders at each point in the process? When, why, and how should they be involved? Be intentional about why & when you invite participation or feedback. Participation for the sake of participation drains energy. Planning without  involving the right partners early in the process is problematic for a variety of reasons and often backfires down the line.)
  3. Break it down. (Break large projects into phases, then break down phases into into specific action steps — which may or may not have deliverables — and milestones — points where you evaluate the outcomes of action steps and plan for the next phase)
  4. Establish a rhythm. (Meeting regularly is important, though it’s not always necessary to meet often depending on the project. The rhythm depends on the nature / scope / no. of folks involved, but it’s important to set expectations and honor a regular rhythm of checking in to keep up momentum)
  5. At check-inscelebrate milestones and recalculate (Worthwhile projects will evolve and change over time, but too much shifting of expectations/actions can drive a team crazy. A good project rhythm & clear milestones helps the team to be productive and flexible by knowing when it’s time to stick to the plan and when it’s time to reevaluate.)

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