Managing Projects 101

student apartments

South Gateway Student Apartments

There have been plenty of times throughout my career where I have been handed large projects and have had to figure out how to get them done. Some of the projects have been really big – including opening an eight million dollar student housing facility at the age of 26. Others have been not as overwhelming such as managing events. Now that I’ve “matured” and have several projects under my belt I have learned to establish the following elements into the project implementation process.

Come up with a plan

This one might seem basic but you’d be surprised how many times people move forward with a project without thinking it through. A plan can be a marketing plan, business plan or both. A plan helps you get ahead of the project versus always being in reactive mode. In the plan make sure to lay out your goals and objectives for the project. For example, with the student housing my goal was to open the building by August 9 with students. My objectives included recruiting students from southern California and reaching 60% occupancy in the first semester. Once those were established I could then work on the details to get to the goal.

Break it up into smaller pieces

As I started to allude to above, once you have a plan for what you want to achieve the plan must be broken down into little steps. For example, in order to attract students to the student housing facility, I needed to have a website. I also needed to have brochures, attend college fairs, and have applications for prospective students to fill out. By breaking down the big picture into little steps you are able to conquer one thing in a synchronized manner at a time. This makes the project a lot more manageable.

Create a timeline

student apartments 2

South Gateway Student Apartments

After you’ve broken down your project into little steps you need to identify when the little steps need to be finished before you can move onto the next steps. For example, I needed to have the website done before I could start taking online applications. I also needed to have the website and brochure done before attending the college fairs. I needed to have pictures taken and copy written before I could do the brochure and website and I needed a budget before I could begin anything. Everything has a place in the sequence and establishing start and end dates is essential to keep the project moving along.

Every project that I’ve worked on has included the above three elements. The three steps are universal for any project you can be working on. Leave a comment to let me know of a project you’ve worked on where the three steps I’ve outlined have been helpful.


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