Forget the Olympics, for the everyday person there’s not much that deserves a pat on the back more than a successfully constructed piece of flat pack furniture. With the end vision clear in your mind, you attempt to decipher the instructions and deliver the results. We know these builds are rarely free of hitches and much like any project there are some important considerations along the way. Let’s look at how our furniture assembly learnings can be applied to project management:
- The Need
Do you have a clear need for the item you’re buying or is it just an impulsive purchase? It is the same in business, there should be validation of any new project through a business case. Is the project aligned to the organisation’s overarching purpose? If not, is it really worth doing?
Measure the space, the piece of furniture and note any other specific requirements, for example colour. There’s nothing worse than buying a new piece of furniture, going through all the hassle of building it, to then find it doesn’t quite fit into the alcove space you’d bought it for or isn’t quite the same shade of brown as the coffee table. The same can be said of putting endless hours into a project to then find 4 months down the line that the new system you were hoping to install doesn’t support as many users as you need it to because you didn’t do your requirements gathering properly.
On arrival home, the first thing to do is open the box and cross-check that all the right parts and correct numbers of each part that you need are there. In the world of project management, it’s all very well having a great detailed project plan but if you don’t have the right number of people with the right skills doing the work then the project will be doomed to failure.
Ensure you have all the necessary tools to build the piece of furniture otherwise you’ll have to make a trip to the shop mid – build, which will prolong your building time. Similarly on a project, checking for example there are IT servers in place that can handle the new system is critical otherwise sourcing, purchasing and installing new ones will simply add on a delay.
- Assembly Space
Make sure you have enough space to lay out all the parts to assemble the piece of furniture otherwise it’ll just slow the process down. The same can be said with designating a way for the project team to work together, be it remotely, a bank of desks or a dedicated room.
- End Product
Take a glance at what the end product looks like in the instructions. This is your goal and will help guide you if in doubt during the build. The vision of a project should also be thought of as a picture, it is critical in order to help with decision making and to ultimately deliver a fit for purpose product.
Take time to understand the order that you will put the pieces together by reading the instructions through from front to back before you start building. This gives you sight of where there may be some tricky tasks or tasks where you’ll need an extra hand. On a project, it’s critical to understand the order in which tasks and events need to happen. Dependencies may come from within the project but also there may be external dependencies which you need to keep sight of.
- Monitor Progress
It’s all very well having the instructions but if you don’t use them then you have no idea how far along the build you are and how you’re doing. The same can be said of a project plan. Unless you constantly review and update the plan based on your progress you won’t be able to know where you are and how you’re doing.
- If all else fails hire a professional…!
There is no shame in calling in the experts. Nine Feet Tall specialise in project management and are always happy to have a chat over a cup of coffee about anything on your mind.
For more information contact EstherM@NineFeetTall.com