There’s nothing worse than being given a huge project and getting the distinct feeling that you’ll never be able to complete it.
Most of us have been there at some point during our working lives. Whether you’ve been lucky enough to grab a new exciting job role or offered to cover for someone else, the reality of being saddled with something that appears to be far bigger than you is soul-destroying.
However – don’t panic. The good news is that it’s more than possible to take on huge projects and absolutely smash them.
What’s more, you can normally do so in less time than you thought possible. It’s all about organisation, discipline, positivity and the following tips from Scott and at Slinky.
We decided to grab Scott to get his input on how he approaches and completes big projects (because he’s certainly had his fair share to date).
Q: What’s the first thing you do when a big project lands on your desk?
“This bit is relatively straightforward, to be honest. When a big project lands on my desk, I take a while to digest it myself, and then I head to the team to tell them all about it.
“There are of course instances where big projects need a lot of evaluation before being handed to the team – or even being taken on at all. It’s quite rare, but a big project may sometimes not be a good fit for your business, or it may need more scoping out by the person or team that dreamt it up.
“Most of the time, however, we simply rejoice about a new, big project landing on our desk – it’s a very exciting time.”
Q: How do you work with clients during those big projects?
“If you attempt to go at a big project alone, you’ll inevitably encounter problems early on. This is why we always take a collaborative approach with our customers and make sure we’re working from the same to-do list.
“We see ourselves as an extension of their team, which enables us to integrate more wholesomely with the project from day one.
“Depending on the type of project you’ve been brought in to work on, you might need to undertake some pre-planning, logistics and task delegation. In fact, if it’s a big project, you’ll definitely have to do those things if you want it to run smoothly.
“During this phase, we use specialist systems to ensure the pre-planning is as efficient as it should be. Therefore I’d suggest choosing your tools wisely, and only those which enable collaboration with whoever it is you’ll be working with.”
Q: What tools do you use to manage big projects?
“Because we’re a video production agency, the tools we use for big projects include interactive previewing systems and other visual tools, but we use a lot of stuff that’s pretty standard for any business.
“Shared spreadsheets, project management and CRM tools are vital in enabling us to effectively collaborate with our team and the client – we couldn’t do without them.
“My one piece of advice when it comes to tools is to ensure you only pick and use those that genuinely benefit you. It’s easy to get lost in trialing new tools or using too many. Find what works – and stick with it.”
Q: How does each team member contribute to a big project for maximum productivity?
“This all starts during that initial planning phase when people are given their individual roles and responsibilities. As soon as someone knows what they’re excepted to do during a big project, they can begin to own it.
“I’ve learned over the years that ownership of tasks usually results in higher levels of productivity. By collectively investing in the project and owning their respective areas (be it graphics, project management or directing), we know we can smash the end result.”
Q: What’s the biggest challenge with big projects?
“There are lots of challenges throughout big projects, and we love tackling them all. What’s more, you quickly realise that every challenge can be overcome – nothing is insurmountable providing you have the right team with the right work ethic.
“However, one of the biggest challenges we regularly encounter is knowing when to stop and say ‘we’re finished’. If you’re a perfectionist, finding that sweet spot isn’t easy, but I guess that comes with experience!”
Q: How do you cope with mission creep?
“This is something I always used to worry about, but as time goes on and you take onboard more large projects, you realise that mission creep is something that’s relatively simple to deal with.
“The first thing is to accept that it’s inevitable with most big projects. Stuff will get added in usually through no one’s fault, and that’s totally natural. Big projects evolve – you just have to learn how to keep up with them.
“We do this by ensuring we’re flexible as a team. When new challenges arise, or new requests emerge, we’re always ready to look at them subjectively and ensure they’ll fit into the existing project scope and time frame. If they don’t, we have an honest conversation with the client so there’s always transparency.”
Q: What did you learn from your last big project?
“That’s a great question, because I’ve learned over the years that you never stop learning!
“I think the last project taught me that my team is always capable of surprising me with their creativity. And that doesn’t mean I’ve ever doubted it – they just keep improving on the last project even when you thought it wasn’t possible!”
Still afraid of your next big project? Don’t be! We’re put on this earth to conquer anything that’s put in front of us, and with Scott’s tips above in hand, you’ll absolutely smash the next big project you’re asked to manage.