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Managing Projects (HBR 20-Minute Manager Series) by Harvard Business Review

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Planning Your Project

The first phase in managing a project is to make an overall plan. Usually this involves just five steps:

1.  Define the real problem.

2.  Identify your stakeholders.

3.  Set the project’s goals.

4.  Prepare for trade-offs.

5.  Spell out the tasks.

We’ll look at each one in turn.

Define the real problem

Too often, project managers leap to the solution before they completely understand what they are trying to solve. As a result, they miss the mark and disappoint their stakeholders. That’s why defining the problem is such a critical step.

Imagine you’re an IT manager, for example, and you’ve been asked to lead a team developing a new database and data entry system. It would be tempting to jump right in, relying on your own ...

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