Natacha Wilson and how to run successful projects
by Aldara B. Dios
At the International Women’s Day, we were fortunate enough to have Natacha Wilson as the host of the workshop “10 tips on how to run successful projects”.
We started the evening sharing our story with a friendly face: What do you do? and What kind of project have you managed? The list was broad and diverse, which included annual reports, file Athena Swan applications, clinical trials, family holidays and house expansions.
And before starting with her tips, Natacha asked us again, what makes a project successful for us? That was a pivotal question as we needed to know what to achieve before starting. Some of the answers were recurring, but some of them not. The meaning of success it was found, is different in each case and depends on the environment of the project.
Once success was defined, we explored how we would do we achieve:
- Gain consensus on the goals. One way is setting SMART goals, that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic and Time-based. On every project, if you know your specific and measurable goals it is easier to know when it’s a success.
- Build and BE the best team you can. Although nowadays the lens is a lot on processes and performance, without the right people the project doesn’t happen. It was related to “No one person can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra”.
- Design, update and share a project plan. Many project managers make the mistake of not sharing the project plan with the team. Again, the team is essential!
- Determine what you need in advance. Plan, schedule, and Identify the tasks, sequence them, estimate time and budget, add key milestones and with that create a draft schedule.
- Be realistic with your schedule. People don’t work 24/7. Be MOSCOW to prioritise. Define the Must do and Should do goals and prioritise those from the Could do and Would do. On most of the projects the Must do and Should do are the least interesting but, should be prioritised and the team should understand this.
- People matter. Take care of your team and understand it. Not only do you need the people with the right skills, you also need people who work well together and have the experience needed.
- Teammates should know the needs of the others and yours. For that, you have to communicate with them.
- Create and innovate. Solve the problems trying new ways to do things.
- Praise and empower your team. And remember that if you have to criticize someone it has to be balanced, objective, observed, specific and timed. And never focus on the person but on the problem.
- Have fun!
To end the evening Natacha asked us to reflect on and explore at least three of the questions we talked about during the workshop.
Thank you, Natacha, for such a fun and productive evening.