7 Steps To Running Projects that Moves the Needle

Aleksi Saastamoinen
Nov 30, 2023
4 min read

“Planning is half of the job” is an old well-known saying, but still in many companies, projects tend to fall short of their intended outcomes.

This is often due to issues like the absence of clarity and the project being misaligned. Since it is a common problem, there has to be a solution, right?

Fortunately, that is true! In this article we will go through the eight key points in making the running of your projects better and smoother than ever.

Define the purpose of the project

There is always a reason for a project to exist. A well-defined purpose is the heart of every successful project. A defined purpose is the foundation for subsequent actions and ensures everyone understands the significance of the endeavor.

  1. Who does the set assignment benefit?
  2. Why is it important?

These are the questions you need to ask yourself to make sure you know exactly why and what for the project exists. Write your answers down and never lose sight of the meaning behind your project.

Appoint a Project Lead and Establishing a Deadline

By assigning a single project lead you ensure accountability and streamline decision-making.

Why only one? - Because this clarifies the team's dynamic. With one person being responsible for the team, everyone knows who will help them. Also, if there are any disputes, having one person to be a team lead makes the decision making easier.

By adding another team leader, you would just complicate the communication and create new possibilities for disrupted decisions.

With this, setting a specific deadline creates a sense of urgency, while underlining your project's importance and fostering a proactive approach to goal attainment. For deeper insight see our post about Tracking Delegated tasks.

Setting Clear, Measurable Goals

Before you dive into tasks, set clear and measurable goals that, once achieved, directly contribute to fulfilling the project's purpose. These goals serve as guiding beacons, allowing your progress to be tracked and evaluated effectively.

When you set clear goals, your team knows what to work for and what it takes from them to do it. By making the goals measurable, in the case of something not being done, you will know what is wrong and who is supposed to handle the matter.

You can set clear goals by planning the project well. Write down everything needed to be done for the project. Do not add any other tasks than ones that drive the project forward. All other tasks just needlessly complicate the process.

Assigning Ownership and Deadlines for Each Goal

Assign each goal to a singular responsible individual, establishing each task ownership from the getgo creates a well functioning environment. Alongside ownership, specify deadlines for each goal, ensuring accountability and a clear timeline for accomplishment.

In the planning phase of the project, have a meeting with everyone and go through the project, their task and deadline. Ensure that the tasks given will be final and nothing will be added during the project cycle.

This way everyone knows what it is that you look for from them, without distractions.

Defining Concrete Actions and Tasks for Goal Attainment

You need to break down everyone’s objectives into actionable tasks.

Each task you give out should directly contribute to achieving the respective goal.

This approach makes the process easier for you to manage and provides a roadmap for the team to successfully complete the project.

Regular Updates and Progress Tracking

Consistent communication is crucial. Set a specific day — like Friday afternoons or Mondays — for goal owners to provide progress updates to you, the project lead.

You, as the project lead, consolidate these updates into a comprehensive report, creating transparency and accountability while keeping yourself updated constantly.

A great way to ensure that you will get the report is to set a time like Friday afternoon, where everyone gets 15 minutes to write a check-in. On Monday morning, the first thing you need to do is go through the check-ins and form a complete report from them to see the full situation.

Adapt to Challenges By Dropping Tasks

The goal is to always plan for the perfect project. As we know, things don’t always go as planned.

If any aspect of the project takes an off-track course, you, in collaboration with your team, must quickly reassess and drop a task, but in no case change the other plans.

This flexibility ensures timely corrections and prevents prolonged deviations.


By following this structured seven step model, you can execute projects more efficiently and effectively.

Every successful project starts with a crystal-clear purpose. Understanding the 'why' behind a project ensures that your every action aligns with the ultimate goal.

Setting measurable goals is essential. These milestones serve as checkpoints, enabling you to track progress and make necessary adjustments along the way.

Assigning clear ownership for each task ensures accountability and a sense of responsibility among team members. When individuals know their roles and responsibilities, it will create a more streamlined workflow.

Frequent updates keep everyone on the same page. Regular communication allows you to be transparent while identifying potential issues early.

Plan for the perfect project, but know that you can drop a non-vital task if time limits arise.

Embrace this model, and witness the transformation in project execution, ultimately making a substantial difference in your teams and even the organizations success.

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