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I want to help you to take the stress out of a project you are working on right now.

Projects are hard, sometimes very hard. It may be that you are starting your weekend feeling stressed because of a project that isn’t going very well.

This is the time to take the stress out of a project by working through, what is quite a simple process, step by step.

This is my 8 S model that will take the stress out of your project, be that a product launch, opening a new office, marketing campaign or start-up. Whatever you are project managing, this little technique may help you to relax this weekend and focus on what’s really important in your life; family, friends and living.

I am confident this is true because of all the feedback I have had this week since I posted a podcast about Marketing Project Management. I know that there are many of you struggling with all sorts of projects. Well give this little technique a go and rest easy tonight:

Scenario – project context and need
Stakeholders – direct and indirect stakeholders
Strategy – priority and ultimate value
Setting – critical path, key performance indicators
Software – management and reporting
Staff – skills balance, culture and communication
Statements – meetings and reporting
Solutions – analytics, handover and legacy

Scenario – What’s the real need of this project and do you really need to be doing the project at all? Put this project in its rightful place in the whole scheme of things. If you didn’t do this project at all would the sun rise tomorrow morning and would you still be alive? We often put projects on a pedestal and wrap ourselves too tightly in the desired outcomes.

Stakeholders – There will be lots of people who have a vested interest in the outcome of the project. It might be your staff or colleagues who rely on the work to pay their mortgage. It could be an investor who wants to see a specific outcome and it could be the project will have an impact on your customers. But have you really listened and understood exactly what each of the stakeholders is expecting from you? If you are already making up stories and predicting or worse, catastrophising, their expectations, you may find that the reality is less intense or significant than you thought.

Strategy – One eye on today and one eye on the long term. Yes this project may have a high value to you and those around you, but be patient. It could be that you don’t need it ‘today’ and that ‘tomorrow’ will do, or even be more appropriate. Don’t beat yourself up.

Setting – Keep it simple. What are the least amount of things and the lowest level of resources you need to do to get a result in this project? You don’t have to do everything. Remember pareto principle which says you will get 80% of the value from 20% of the activities. Figure out what those 20% activities are, the priorities, and then yes, it’s fine to obsess about them, because they are the most important things. But think of the stress you have released from not having to do all those little, unnecessary extras.

Software – It might not be all about you doing everything manually. Spend a little time seeing what you can automate, from tasks and execution to monitoring and reporting, there is likely to be some software out there that can help save time and energy.

Staff – Focus more on the culture, communication and happiness of others in your project team, than on the completion of the tasks and deadlines themselves. With the right people and the right balance, those tasks will happen of their own accord. If they aren’t happening then take a look at yourself and ask if you have selected the right people and are keeping them happy. That’s one of your most important roles in this project, and have fun doing it.

Statements – Meet for a reason, not because you feel you should. Often we meet in projects to appear or feel busy. That’s not the reason. Meet for a celebration or to find a solution to a road block and then celebrate. Report the success back to every stakeholder. Open communication fosters inclusive behaviour and support. That’ll reduce the stress in your project.

Solutions – At the end of the project you need to learn what you need to learn from the experience. Often the journey and the learning is at least as important as the outcomes of the project themselves. What would you like to learn? Consider your project as a learning journey and that’ll remove any remaining stress because there’s something positive to come out of every eventuality.

So have a great weekend. Feel as though you could spend a little time reflecting on my 8 Ss of Project Management. Or better still, leave them until Monday morning.

Then let me know if this helped.

My podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Player FM and Spotify

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