[Framework] Your First Project with Exceptional Results

The Framework Series is most suitable for young professionals in your first three years of career. It offers a framework to that first task. Are you responsible for a project at work? This article offers a framework of three parts - Goal, Execution and Results. Adapt to your needs.

Your team leader has just assigned a project to you. You really want to deliver but you don't know how. It shouldn't be a holy-crap moment. This is a good frame work to approach your project so that you could deliver exceptional work.


If it's your first task, it's an opportunity to hone a new skill. In gaming terms, you are leveling up by unlocking a new ability.


If the project requires you to work with others, it means you are building new relationships within the firm. You get the exposure to different working styles and a peep to what your business stakeholders are prioritizing. Through delivering, you are crafting your own reputation and establishing your own credibility.

 
What's your measure of success? How will you define benchmarks? What’s the basis for this thought process? You are building a new skill as you think through these questions.
 

Sometimes you are given a project on an entirely new line of product or process. You might have worked on projects that honed certain skills that could be applied to this new project. Your new project may appear in a different form, but the skills are transferable. Maybe your manager wants to stretch you - same transferable skill but execute at a bigger scale.

Handle this with extra care because this is a great platform to prove yourself - that you can craft strategy, execute and deliver.


This is also a moment you are building a brand name for yourself. If you deliver successfully, it will open up doors to more opportunities to unlock new ability. But first, you have to deliver.


There are no fixed rules but below could serve as a general template to approaching your project to bring in results.


1. Goal


You must be very clear cut on what the end goal is and what exactly is your measure of success.

  • What is the end goal of the project?

  • How is your project aligned with overarching global business strategy?

  • Don’t know the overarching business direction? Then you ought to find out.

  • How will you define exceptional work for this project?


As a rule of thumb, your manager would have clearly articulate what the end goal is.


As a project owner, it is really your responsibility to define and clarify the measure of success. If it’s your first time thinking about measures, it’s a good time to stretch yourself. How will you define benchmarks? What’s the basis for this thought process? You are building a new skill as you think through these questions.


Once you have clarity to your thoughts (well within reasonable time frame), proactively schedule a time with your manager. Share your thoughts and clarify if you are on the same page.


2. Execution

  • What’s the time frame you are operating on?

  • Are you able to break down the entire project into chunks?

  • What does timeline look like for each chunk?

  • Does your project involve other people to scale?

  • Are they on the same page in terms of goal, expectations, benchmark to success?

  • How will you ensure that everyone is on the same page?

  • How will you ensure that everyone is prioritizing your project too?

  • How will you motivate everyone to achieve results together with you?

  • What challenges do you foresee?

  • What’s your Plan B for pivoting quickly if things don’t go according to plan?


3. Results


Step 1 is the most important piece. Once you define measure of success before you start, the next step is to put in measures to track your results.

  • If your project stretches beyond 3 months, how frequently are you reporting results?

  • Why do you choose this frequency? Is it out of calendar convention and/or convenience? If yes, make sure you think about what is the best frequency for the business.

Lastly, when reporting…

  • Who are you reporting the results to?

  • Clearly, as the project owner, you’d be the subject matter expert but does your recipient have sufficient information to understand?

  • On the flip side, is it too much information to digest?

Make it your responsibility to be concise and clear when articulating your impact and results.

 

What else could we include in the Framework Series? How may I make the series more useful to you? Please feel to let me know your suggestions here. I'd be happy to hear from you!