Chris Croft
Project Management

The 12 Steps to Successful Project Management


Define the Project

List the tasks

Estimate times and costs for each task

Find the critical path

Consider crashing or overlapping critical tasks

Draw Gantt (bar) chart

Calculate resource requirements over time

Assess risks, and prepare action plans

Monitor progress to the Gantt chart

Monitor cumulative cost

Communicate progress and changes

Review: learn and praise

About The Author

8. Assess risks, and prepare action plans

  • Brainstorm a list of everything that could go wrong with your project.
  • Use your team and the reviews from other projects to get the longest list possible.
  • For each possible problem, assess how likely it is to happen and how serious it would be. Multiplying a rating for each allows you to prioritise the risks, or have a cut-off point below which you ignore them.
  • For each possible problem, find ways to make it less likely to happen (by tackling the cause or causes). These preventative actions should be built into your project plan.
  • For each possible problem, find ways to make it less serious if it does happen. This involves having back-up plans ready. You need to cover all of the possible effects of the problem which may occur.
  • Only show your customer the external risk plan – they don’t need to know about potential internal problems.
  • Make sure there’s enough contingency in terms of time and money to cover the likely risks.
  • Remember that the purpose of contingency is not to make life easy for you, but to ensure that the project comes in on time and to budget – in other words, to make the customer happy.
  • This is the end of the planning phase. All of the above actions need to be done before you agree to take the project on.
  • The actions that follow are for the implementation part of the project