Project management is guiding and monitoring all processes that are necessary in order to achieve the project goal. How do you ensure as project leader that you successfully complete a project in a high-quality manner, within the appointed time, within budget and with cooperation partners?
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Create a project plan in which you describe in detail how you are going to tackle your project. The following topics may also be addressed:
- Project assignment – why are you doing this project and what is the final product?
- Project activities – what do you need to do in order to achieve the result?
- Quality – how will you ensure the quality of the result?
- Project organisation – who is taking part and how will you work together?
- Planning – what is going to be done when and by whom?
- Costs and benefits – what will the project cost and what will the result be?
- Risks – how could the project fail?
Split the project up into phases. By doing so, you will establish a better overview, a firm footing and it will be easier to launch the project. The number of phases will differ per project, but four main phases can be distinguished roughly speaking.
- Initiation phase: define the goal and result of your project and create a plan of action (project plan).
- Preparatory phase: set to work, with your team, on the concrete preparation of the implementation phase. (There may be a design phase before the preparatory phase, which involves the development of a prototype).
- Execution phase: execute your project. Split this phase up into a production and an execution phase if the production phase (such as the rehearsals for a theatre production) are part of the execution phase.
- Project closure phase: evaluate the project and implement any improvements.
Consider how much time you have and make a schedule for each phase in which it is clear when what needs to be done or known by, and who will undertake which tasks. This may include the closing date for a grant application, deadlines for programmers and media. You must also have a clear picture of employees’ availability.
You will create a project budget on the basis of a cost estimate or the budget set. In addition, you will estimate the profits – your income. Is it necessary to apply for a grant or grants? If so, include this in your project plan and planning. Monitor the budget well during the execution phase of your project.
Laying down agreements
Make sure that all tasks are allocated, and that there is no uncertainty about expectations and responsibilities. If you have put together a team, draw up contracts. Ensure that you are aware of your obligations as client or employer. During the project, you will monitor the cooperation and intervene if this is at risk of foundering.
Communication: internal and external
Clear communication is vital on all fronts. Draw up clear schedules and deadlines, and have regular discussions/meetings. In addition, you must be able to present plans using clear and simple language to the parties with and for whom you are doing your project: employees, financial backers, customers and the audience. They want to know what’s expected of them and/or what they can expect from you.
Useful formats and examples
There are a number of documents that can help you lead a project. Think of a project planning and a production schedule. In the performing arts you will also use a technical letter and production risk inventory and evaluation (PRIE). Examples of these documents can be found below in the Downloads tab.