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Home » Project Management

Project Centered Ministry

Submitted by James Higginbotham on April 26, 2006 – 10:11 pmOne Comment

In this first installment in a new series on project management, I want to start out by defining what I view as a project:

A project is any planned undertaking that is non-trivial, usually requiring approval by at least one person to confirm its completeness, and often requiring the involvement of more than one person.

Things I consider projects:

  1. Launching a new service or satellite location
  2. Upgrading to new software version or migrating to a new product
  3. Upgrading a production server with a new service pack or critical patch
  4. Multiplying or adding a small group
  5. Rolling out a new message series

Things I DON’T consider projects:

  1. Fixing a typo on a web page
  2. Emptying the trash cans after service
  3. Mowing the campus lawn

As you can see, I have a pretty broad view of what I consider a project. Why? Because ministries that utilize volunteers run the risk of seeing things fail if they do not carefully consider what they ask them to do and how they ask them to do it. For anything non-trivial, you may have volunteers assisting at differing times during a week or month, and coming from a variety of professions and backgrounds. A project can provide scope to a task, and can also make sure it is done to the satisfaction of the project stakeholders. This does not mean that volunteers must be lemmings, but it does mean that they are given some responsiblity for which they must deliver results. Anyone that has told “Bob the volunteer” to “locate a help desk software package” without giving a list of guidelines (aka requirements) can sympathize. The same goes for “Jill the staff member” who was told to create a new stage design but not given the color or theme of the upcoming message series. Viewing some of your tasks as projects can help define boundaries, add clarity to those helping out, and provide tangible milestones that otherwise may have been skipped to check a task off someone’s list.

Stay tuned! In future posts, we’ll dig deep into project management, including topics such as milestones, acceptance, task management, accountability, and staffing. For now, think about all of the tasks on your plate and ask yourself, “is this a trivial task, or a project that I should be managing?”

[tags]project management, church management, task management[/tags]

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