Hello! My name is Nora E. Douglas and I am a consultant at CNM Connect where we provide evaluation and capacity building services to nonprofit organizations. One of the common challenges I consistently face is managing projects and keeping them moving towards a final deliverable. I have found the following four tips to be useful in the successful completion of my evaluation projects.
Hot Tip #1: Make a Plan and Follow Through
This tip can be attributed to Stephen Covey’s second habit “Begin with the End in Mind” from his 1989 book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. For a different perspective, you can also delve into the world of the Project Management Professional (PMP)®. You need to know where you want to go and make a specific and clear plan for how to do that.
- Stephen Covey’s website outlines each of the seven habits.
- The Process of Project Management, (1993) Project Management Journal.
Hot Tip #2: Seek out an evaluation champion.
I am always on the lookout for a “champion”; the person within the organization that I’m evaluating that can create enthusiasm and momentum for the project and ensure success.
- Here’s a good Forbes article
Hot Tip #3: Identify constraints.
The Theory of Constraints was introduced in 1984 for Eliyahu M. Goldratt in his book titled, The Goal. There is always at least one constraint in a project, and identifying that constraint and restructuring the project around it can assist in completing the project successfully.
- Theory of Constraints on Wikipedia
- For additional application information, iSixSigma® draws on the Theory of Constraints in several of their publications
Hot Tip #4: Address tendencies to procrastinate.
I’m guessing we all have procrastinated at one point or another. Procrastination can leave you feeling guilty and anxious about completing the project on time. Two ways I deal with procrastination are to publically commit to getting something done and creating small steps that lead to big progress. Another way to deal with procrastination is to determine the importance and urgency of tasks and which to tackle first.
- Here’s an article with helpful tips from the Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/07/how-to-beat-procrastination
- I found this like to an easy-to-read Forbes article about Covey’s Time Management Matrix. https://www.forbes.com/sites/ericjackson/2012/07/24/the-only-thing-you-need-to-remember-about-the-seven-habits-of-highly-effective-people/#736e7d6b67f7
- Or you can refer to the “Eisenhower Method” on Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_management#The_Eisenhower_Method
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