In first aid, ABC stands for airways, breathing, and circulation and are some of the first steps that emergency personal take to assess the condition of a patient. If you want to prevent your projects from flatlining then these are the ABC’s (and W’s) that you and your team should follow to successfully manage tasks.
Accept the Task
“Well, duh…” I hear you say, but how many times have you been at a meeting where great ideas are exchanged, everyone is excited to see the results, and then no one does anything? That’s because nobody accepted the responsibility of completing the necessary tasks.
When you take on a project or are delegated a task, run through the five W’s and make sure that you have all the relevant information before you begin. You can go through the five points in any order, and will often go over them several times as you answer more of your own questions.
Use the five W’s approach to evaluate and understand the requirements:
Why have I been allocated this task, should I be doing it? At some point you will included in tasks or projects that don’t fall within your range of expertise or responsibility. If this is the case, let the requester of the task know and, if possible, direct them to the correct personnel. This approach will save a lot of time and frustration in the long run.
Why has this task been requested, what is the end goal? To successfully deliver on an expectation, it is important to understand what that expectation is.
Why has this task been requested, is it necessary? If you are asked to order 500 ballpoint pens, it would be prudent to check whether there are already pens in stock before ordering more. Do due diligence before simply actioning a task.
Who should be included in this task? Do you need to use internal resources, such as procurement or IT support staff? Do you need to get quotations from suppliers? Are you relying on your business partners to assist in the task?
When is the task due? Consider possible time differences or holidays when planning. Can your suppliers deliver in time and on budget? If a deadline is too tight, be honest, let the requester of the task know. It is important to manage expectations to avoid disappointment or worse.
What is needed to complete the task? Consider factors such as budget, data, and resources which includes people, places, and items.
Where will this task take place? Are you arranging a telecon? Is the meeting in a different country? This line of questioning will tell you whether you should be booking a boardroom or a Boeing.
If anything is unclear once you’ve run through the five W’s get clarity from the requestor before you continue. You will save yourself a lot of unnecessary effort if you know what is expected and how you are going to achieve it before beginning a task.
Begin the Task
If you followed the guidelines in step A you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you need to do to get the project done. During this step you research, plan and evaluate the various aspects of the project.
Depending on the complexity of the project or task you may need to include other people, encourage them to follow the 5 W’s before starting their tasks.
Make sure that you have ticked all the proverbial boxes when actioning your plans.
- Risks mitigated and/or communicated
Complete the Task
As all the various parts of a project come together, you will need to get final feedback from everyone that you included in the task, and give final feedback to the person or group that requested the project or task.
Following this simple approach should help streamline things in your business, from daily tasks to big projects.
Download the Quick Guide On How To Successfully Manage Tasks from FlowCentric Technologies, encourage your team to use the approach, and see the positive results