How To Use Project Overviews To Keep Your Projects On Track

Use of Project Overviews

Let’s Go On A Journey

There are two types of travelers in this world.

Lisa packs three times the underwear required for the duration of the trip. She has her boarding passes printed, saved as a QR screenshot on her phone, and has the airline’s app open at the terminal gate as well (though at this point, she has her boarding group and seat number memorized anyway). Her itinerary is immaculate, as even the windows of relaxation on her trip have been meticulously planned in advance.

Conversely, no matter the location or duration of the trip, Matt seems to manage with the contents of his backpack. He arrives at the airport with minutes to spare before boarding. Matt doesn’t believe in booking a return flight in advance.

Matt has the envious ability to be completely unfettered from the conventional routines of planning and forethought, allowing him to drift as an existential traveler who embodies “going with the flow.”

This may work if Matt wishes to travel alone, but if we were to plan a group trip based on his methodology, its likely half of the party wouldn’t even make the first flight, let alone make it to the final destination.

Plan Projects Like Lisa Plans Vacations

If I told you to grab your bag and hop on a plane this very instant, what would you pack, and how much of it? Matt may not clue you in on this, but you can bet your last buck that Lisa has all of these answers.

Your project is a journey, and the successful expeditions of the world revolve around understanding:

  • Where you’re going
  • How you’re getting there
  • Who’s going
  • What will be required of you

This is the big-picture plan that a Project Overview serves for any initiative you and your team will need to successfully execute, or adapt during a project.

Start With The Phases (Where and How)

First, let’s determine where we’re going, and how we’re getting there. A roadmapping tool such as Nifty excels at this type of planning, as it visually expresses the phases of the project’s journey that will unfold up until the project’s conclusion.

Nifty Projects Overview

Breaking the journey into phases helps cluster the initiatives along the way into meaningful groupings. If you have a hard deadline, you may find it easier to chart this journey in reverse to your start date.

Detailed Itinerary (Who and What)

Now that we can all see the high-level plan, its time to determine who “we” are, and what each of us will need to do to bring this plan to life.

Nifty Projects Overview — Milestone View

Nifty Projects Overview — Milestone View

Tasks can be tied to milestones to accomplish big goals with smaller tasks. These tasks can be sharply defined and distributed amongst the team to understand the roles and responsibilities to keep the project on schedule and to automate milestone progress based on team member’s task completion.

Disaster Plan (Or Travel Recommendations)

Should your project be blown off course for any reason, having a Project Overview to reference allows for everyone to quickly ingest any changes that may occur to the plan to see it to its successful conclusion. This may require some redistribution of tasks amongst the team, or some tweaking of deadlines, but to have a course charted means you can create a plan to get back on track, rather than having to create a first plan partway through the journey.

Conclusion

Project Overviews also serve as a way to review the project upon its completion to understand what went well and what might be tweaked for the next journey. By allowing you and your team to hone your management skills by improving on measured segments, you’re able to enact previous plans quickly and seamlessly for your next project.

Ready to manage your projects with a birds-eye Overview? Sign up for Nifty for free today! 🎉