Organization: The Secret to Getting Projects Done

You have a ton of incomplete projects waiting at home. Meanwhile, at work, there is an entire team devoted to project management. You are not on that team, but you wish you were. Maybe working with them would help you figure out how to complete your own projects.

A lot of us have trouble completing projects. We start something with the best of intentions. We visualize what the completed project will look like, when we think it will be done, and so forth. And yet the stuff of our imaginations rarely reflects reality. Why? It almost always comes down to one thing: organization.

Organization is the secret to getting projects done. Even the most complex company projects involving huge budgets and seemingly endless task lists have to be organized. The better the organization, the more likely a project will be completed on time and on budget.

Organizing Equals Planning

It may seem to you that pinning the success of a project on organization is a far too simplistic explanation for a very complex problem. But according to Atlanta-based Janiko Group, every individual component of task management goes back to organization. From budgeting to task assignment, each small piece contributes to the overall organization of a project.

Perhaps a look at the dictionary definition of organization would help. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines the word ‘organize’ with four definitions. The two meanings appropriate to this discussion are as follows:

  • “To form into a coherent unity or functioning at all”; and
  • “To arrange by systematic planning and united effort.”

Both of these definitions apply to the various components of project management. Take a software development project, for example. You start with things like a budget, project purpose and goals, and a basic roadmap. To the extent all three of those things are organized, your project moves forward.

The act of organizing the project brings coherence and unity so that every piece functions as part of the whole. But it doesn’t stop there. Organizing also creates a systematic plan to get from concept stage to completion. Each step in that plan requires a unified effort among all those involved.

Assessing and Responding

A good project management strategy includes a means of assessing and responding. In terms of the former, project managers assess the progress of a project in relation to its original plans, goals, and purpose. Regular assessments determine where the team is and where they are going.

In terms of responding, very few aspects of any sizable project remain constant throughout. Things constantly change. As such, a good project management strategy anticipates changes will need to be made on the fly. The ability to respond is built-in to the plan. To the extent the team responds appropriately, the project moves forward.

This may be the one area that is most difficult for project managers. The most experienced among them know that changes are inevitable. They know that responsiveness and agility are going to be required at some point. The difficult part is anticipating exactly what types of changes will come up. A project manager might anticipate one thing based on past experience only to be thrown a curve ball by way of an unanticipated problem.

In the end, organization is that which keeps projects on track. The more organized project managers and coordinators are, the easier it is for them to stay on track. With greater organization also comes a greater ability to assess and respond. And now you know the secret behind completing projects. It works at home just as well as it does at the office.