- Define your project objectives very clearly. Ensure that the parameters of time, quality and cost are addressed. Ensure that all members of the project team have the same understanding of these objectives.
- Ensure as far as possible that the objectives are not open ended. If there are uncertainties, bring them to the attention of all parties. Pay particular attention to resolving these uncertainties as soon as possible.
- Assess the extent to which all project team members have ‘bought in’ to the project. Make a mental note of those members where you have doubts. They may (unwittingly) cause problems later.
- Establish clearly what the risks are and where they lie.
- Instil a culture of communication within your project team. If teams are geographically disparate, try to find opportunities for all parties to meet (socially or otherwise). It is much easier to work with and empathise with somebody you have met, rather than a name on a fax.
- Be conscious of your own bias.
- By all means buy a Project Management software package. But always ask yourself whether you could do it more quickly on the back of an envelope.
- Have courage. Your project is unique, unprecedented, and there are no rules. You are not the only one making it up as you go along.
- When all else fails, consult a reliable guide – eg Turner (1993) – but be careful not to get bogged down in unnecessary detail.