We all are project managers: You plan a vacation, you plan a wedding, you plan, plan, plan. So why is there such a vast difference between home projects and the ones your company has you doing? Home projects only affect you and your family with no hurtful consequences to outsiders, but company projects are seen by everyone in the building and affect the entire company as well. And trust me, everyone in a company knows when a project is a disaster.

1. Take a good project management fundamentals training class. MS Project training is good ONLY after you learn the steps of a project and how a project “works”.  Good project management training will teach you all the steps you need and most important; they will show you the land mines before you make them. If you can’t explain what a WBS, a work package or a gantt chart is – GET TO A TRAINING CLASS IMMEDIATELY. Have you planned a vacation that turned into a disaster? Or been involved with a wedding that was a mess. It’s the result of well intentioned people with no planning skills handling the details. If you have never take a class, ask your boss and explain WHY you want take a class. It is a reflection of both of you.

2. Get everyone involved that has a hand in the pie. Ask them for their ideas and any pitfalls they know will be coming. Don’t be the expert and plan it all alone – you’ll see career limiting issues come pouring out at your feet if you do. Use your resources, ask their opinions and get their buy-in.
3. Do lots of potential problem analysis (some know it as FMEA). Look for all the land mines and get them written down. Find out what would cause the issue, and possible preventive actions. Finally, what contingent actions need to happen if the problem still shows up? Ask the team, the contractors, and anyone else on the project what could go wrong, and do your analysis. There seems to be lots of eggs that are thrown around a poorly planned project.

For more ideas and to find a good training class, go to project management fundamentals training class.