Sorting out the preparations required before you begin.
Ensuring it goes as smoothly as possible.
When your plans are in place, keeping the chaos out of a project requires preparation to be completed before you start implementing the plan. This could be as simple as clearing a surface or switching on your PC, to having to sort out a warehouse or a network of computer resources and backup storage.
This can be applied to any situation whether in the real world (e.g. moving things around), or organising something (e.g. an event) or just figuring out your own ideas (e.g. a story outline).
Preparing to do the work
Once the planning has taken place (Planning) it is time to get prepared for doing the work outlined in your plans
Thoughts to be considered for this stage:
- It is unlikely that you would have thought of everything in the earlier stages so be aware that you may need to stop and spend some time rethinking your plans
- Do not be afraid to completely change an idea. Sometimes when you come to prepare for the changes you may find that what looked good on paper does not make sense.
- Allow some ‘rethinking’ time into your schedule, as well as some time for those all important refreshment breaks (these are frequently combined)
- Allow for interruptions, or at least figure out a way of minimising them
- In this busy world with tight time scales, it is still better to give extra preparation time to big changes rather than trying to cut corners, otherwise you may find yourself wasting twice as much time if you find you have made a mistake later on.
Key point: Remember that this should be a once-only activity so it is worth giving it that extra time
1) Set aside some time for doing the preparation, and determine roughly how much preparation is required
Sorting out a time and date for doing your preparation may be as easy as sitting at your desk later that day, to having to hire a hall for a specific evening in the future. Things that you will need to consider for this stage include.
- Is there a Deadline that the task must be completed by? If there is then you will need to create a Schedule for your plan and your preparations must take that into consideration
- Do you have limited access to items? If you do then you will need to identify such items and when they will be available
- Do you required support from others? If so then in what parts of your plan will that requirement occur and who will they be.
This may require quite of bit of effort to get it sorted out, especially if there is a lot required to complete any stage of the plan
Key point: The more complicated the project/plans are, the more preparation will be required.
2) Sort out the working space and/or working storage area you are going to need to complete the project.
This may be as simple as ensuring your desk top is clear, to hiring a company to store your items for a while, or to back up your computer system safely. Things that you will need to consider will be:
- Do you require physical working space for your project? Somewhere to perform the task or to store items whilst the task is taking place? If you do then you may also need to find some temporary ’in-between’ space where you can briefly store items. This is especially true if you need to clear out an area before you can redesign it or refill it. In practical terms ‘storage areas’ can include boxes, floor spaces, window sills or warehouses.
- If the changes are PC based, then you will need to prepare a ‘back up’ of the PC by archiving the existing set-up (directory structures, documents, …) or create copies of the items you are modifying (spreadsheets, web page layout, …).
PC backups tips – when the changes affect a file on the PC then do regular backups as you go along without overwriting them, this will give you a history of the changes and will enable you to return to any version if you do find problems
Key point: Ensure that the space is available to do what will be required to do before you start.
3) Identify the individual task requirements for each stage or activity of your plan
Take a look at each of the individual tasks in your plan and what they require to be completed. What resources do they need, what support from other people is required.
Tip: If you can isolate stage requirements from each other, you may be able to share them with others to get the work done quicker (see next step).
Key point: You should identify everything that you need to have prepared for the task (or as much as you can).
4) Identify any dependencies
You will need to identify any dependencies between your different tasks or stages, you will then be prepared for the impact they have on each other. There are two types of dependencies
- Is there a sequence to the changes? Is there a direct set of events that must be followed before the task or stage is completed (a then b then c…).
- Are there any interdependencies between different tasks? Is there a task that may require the resources used by, or created by, another task at certain times (shared resources).
Type 1 example: you need to build a house before you can lay the carpet before you can install the furniture.
Type 2 example: you have 3 builders working in a house but only one ladder which each builder may only need to use occasionally. When a builder requires the ladder they will have to check if another builder is using it and may have to wait for it if it is in use. Their work is dependant upon the ladder not being used by another builder – they can prepare for their own requirements ahead of time by telling the others when they will need it that day.
Key point: The sequence (order) and dependencies (who needs what) should now have been identified.
5) And Finally:
Make sure you have the tea, coffee and biscuits available
Good Preparation will mean that you understand what you require for the task and what you are going to need when and where. Resources should have been identified and obtained, and people warned of what is to come and whether you are going to require their help at some point
Now you can start the project for real: Implementation.
Jenny Maryl ~ Inspiring the Imagination ~ Contact Me