How to Gain Committee Approval for a New Business Plan
- Small Business
- Business Planning & Strategy
- Planning a New Business
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Project Operations Plan
An example of an advertising agency's meeting agenda, organization & business planning.
- What Is the Overall Purpose of a Business Plan?
- What Is the Difference Between a Marketing Plan & a Corporate Plan?
Someone working at a private company has an idea for improving the business in a major way. Because the idea is transformative -- for example, entering export markets for the first time -- he will have to present a plan to the company's management committee for approval. Because entry into international markets would be an important milestone for the company, he wants to write a plan that will give the best possible treatment to his idea. Of course, he wants the plan to be approved and implemented.
Building a Coalition
Instead of assuming that the committee members will be as enthusiastic about exporting as he is, he decides not to isolate himself as he develops the plan, but to involve the committee members in the project as much as possible. The members represent major company functions -- finance, marketing. manufacturing and operations. As he develops the plan, he meets one-on-one with the appropriate committee member for updates and to listen for concerns. In addition, he brings the company's outside legal counsel, accountant and banker into the discussion by meeting with them to review points that relate to their areas.
Creating the Vision
The writer of the plan believes it will be beneficial to help the committee members imagine what it will be like when the company begins to acquire overseas customers for its products. He arranges for a regional representative of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, a federal agency, to visit the company and give a presentation about the advantages of exporting and ways that the agency can help by facilitating the necessary export financing.
Keeping the Plan Fresh
Not wanting to lose the committee members' attention while he is working on the plan, the originator of the idea sends interim reports to the members and requests their comments. He meets with them to answer questions and deliver general updates about how the plan looks as it nears completion. He tries to remain alert to any hints of disagreement. If there are any such negative reactions, he takes immediate action to provide information that will relieve those concerns.
Presenting the Plan
Everything about the written plan should be clear and to the point. The writer should avoid any confusing tables, diagrams or charts that do not contribute to an understanding of the plan. The financial projections should be clear. He should limit coverage to important subjects that relate to the functions of the company. The final plan should be well written and bound in a manner that will make it easy for readers to use. A version of the plan's highlights in presentation software might serve as an effective introduction for committee members.
- Harvard Business Review: How to Get Your Idea Approved
- Inc.: How to Present Your Business Plan
- Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down; John P. Kotter
Charles Crawford, a former commercial banker, has been a business writer in New York since 1990. He has produced marketing materials for an executive outplacement firm, written the quarterly newsletter of a medical nonprofit organization and created financing proposals/business plans. Crawford holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in international affairs from Florida State University.
The importance of a business plan, tips on presenting a strategic marketing plan, how important are communication plans for project managers, list the steps in effective planning, what is a dehydrated business plan, how to create effective business plans, baseline project plan, how to plan a business presentation, examples of the four phases of project management model, most popular.
- 1 The Importance of a Business Plan
- 2 Tips on Presenting a Strategic Marketing Plan
- 3 How Important Are Communication Plans for Project Managers?
- 4 List the Steps in Effective Planning
Project Plan Approval Process – 5 Ways to an Efficient & Trackable Approval Management
You have spent months preparing the project plan for this prestigious project that your team plans to undertake. The wait for project plan approval can be unnerving, especially when you do not have visibility into the opinion of management, clients, and other stakeholders. A streamlined project plan approval process gets your projects signed off faster and hassle-free. Approval for a project is usually provided by the team manager and top management. Read on to understand the project approval process, the best practices in project approval, and ways to streamline the project approval workflow.
What is a Project Plan Approval Process?
A project plan approval process is during which decision-makers ensure that projects, invoices, budgets, and other processes that impact the organization’s financial status and stability are on par with the quality standards and requirements established by the organization. Approval for a project should be given only after a thorough review of the project plan. Project approval done in haste leads to disastrous outcomes that directly impact the business’s bottom line.
A sound project plan approval strategy must apply consistent, value-based approval criteria and automated routing for project requests that impact an organization financially and strategically. The project management plan approval process is the last stage in project management and consists of the following steps –
- Deliverables reaching the final stage
- Management, stakeholders, and/or clients performing a final review of the creative collaterals
- Deliverables are either approved or reintroduced into the production loop
A set of structured steps that a project must go through before it can begin are part of the project approval workflow. The project plan is essentially a roadmap that ensures that the right projects are undertaken at the right time with the right resources. A well-defined project plan approval process mitigates the risks, enables better decision-making, and increases accountability.
5 Steps in the Project Plan Approval Process
The project plan approval process involves obtaining approval from various stakeholders, hence, managing it can be tricky without a streamlined workflow. The project approval workflow can be broken down into 5 stages listed below –
1. Project Initiation – This stage of the project is where the project’s scope, objectives, and requirements are defined. During the initiation stage, potential stakeholders and their needs and expectations are also assessed.
2. Planning – Once the scope and objectives are clearly defined, the next stage is to develop a detailed project plan. The project plan must include timelines, budgets, and resource requirements of the project. This is also the step where risk management proposals are created and potential roadblocks are identified.
3. Execution – Once the above steps are completed, implementation of the project plan can begin.
4. Monitoring and control – Post implementation, it is important to ensure that the progress of the project is tracked. All the issues that arise while executing the project need to be handled during the monitoring and control phase.
5. Closure – At the end of the project, you move on to reviewing the project results and outcomes. All the learnings during project execution need to be documented properly for future reference.
It is important to remember that at each of these stages, it is important to obtain the necessary approvals before progressing to the next stage. For speedy and effective approvals, it is important to identify the stakeholders for approvals. The stakeholders must be provided with accurate and updated information so that they can review and approve the project plan quickly.
Why Should You Streamline the Project Approval Process?
Why should you streamline the project approval process? Doing away with process redundancies is the main reason why an organization would go for streamlining key business processes. Nothing slows a project down like the approval process , right?
Picture this – You have created a great project plan and your team is gearing up full steam for working on the project. The next thing you know is a roadblock – pending approval from stakeholders! One stakeholder keeps resending the project plan with several revisions, while the other stakeholder does not respond to any email. Your project deadlines are looming big on you! Been there?
Here are other reasons/scenarios where your project plan approval may reach a roadblock –
- Stakeholders providing conflicting feedback
- Too many reviewers with an unclear chain of approval
- Reviewers are not clear about the original project goals
- Stakeholders miss approval deadlines
- The project plan gets entangled in a never-ending cycle of revisions
You probably would have encountered some or all of these issues that hold up the project execution. You can take steps to keep your project plan approvals in check. The good news is that you don’t have to sit back and watch your project getting shelved, you can streamline the project approval process with the right workflow automation tool like Cflow. Streamlining the project plan approval process is a great way to accelerate the project execution. Here is how you can streamline the approval process.
Establish a clear, streamlined process for feedback – Even before you start to write your project plan, you need to discuss, review, and approvals with respective stakeholders, and let their inputs shape the working of the process. Gathering this data helps you engage stakeholders in a productive conversation about the feedback process before a deliverable lands up with them for review.
Set the right parameters for review of the project plan – Having a wide scope for the feedback process leads to more work, which directly affects the project budget and timeline.
You must specify how many days and rounds of revisions the review cycle should include. Setting clear parameters around approval ensures that everyone is on the same page.
Set clear roles and responsibilities for each deliverable – Even before the project starts you need to establish clear roles and responsibilities for reviewers. Using the Gantt chart helps the team document roles and responsibilities. The availability of the reviewer and back up on the front end also need to be specified. Talking about availability with stakeholders on the front end enables you to build your project schedule around their out-of-office time. It is also good to ask stakeholders to designate a backup reviewer, so you won’t be left in the lurch when plans change.
Determine how feedback will be delivered – You need to work with stakeholders to figure out how feedback will be collected and accepted. A single channel must be set for feedback to minimize confusion and prevent unnecessary bog-downs bought on by free-for-all debates. Consolidate all edits and comments through a single stakeholder. Designating one stakeholder for feedback and sharing it in a format that is easy to understand and actionable. Using a collaborative document tool enables easy access and clear guidelines.
Build review and approvals into the project plan – It is time to formalize your process by designating tasks, dates, and assignments around it. Spelling out tasks and milestones makes it easy to present the plan to the stakeholders. Creating a project plan is only the beginning, highlighting key approval milestones, and working with stakeholders to understand project details are needed to build a solid review and approval plan.
Manage approval process and expectations proactively – Once the project commences, you will have to closely monitor how things are progressing and keep stakeholders in the loop all through the process. Continuous iteration and reiteration of what is to come in the project are necessary to ensure that progress is aligned with the process goals and objectives. Documents like project plans and weekly status reports should be made an integral part of the project approval workflow.
Benefits of a Streamlined Project Plan Approval Process
Having a well-thought-through project approval process brings several benefits to the organization. Some of the benefits include –
1- Risk management – It helps reduce risks by ensuring that projects are aligned with business objectives and resources that are allocated for the project. In industries like healthcare or finance, where compliance is very important, having a clear project approval process ensures that all the tasks are accomplished as per business policies and standards.
2- Better decision-making – A well-laid-out project plan provides a structured framework for evaluating projects, which in turn enables better decision-making. This standard framework makes sure that projects are assessed objectively based on pre-defined criteria. Decisions on which project to pursue and which to reject can be taken, based on the details in the project plan.
3- Enhanced Accountability – The project approval process is streamlined when the roles and responsibilities and metrics for success are clearly defined. A clear definition ensures that everyone in the project understands their role and the project’s objectives. A well-defined project approval process makes it easy for the project to be delivered on time, within the budget, and as per the required quality standards.
4- Improved collaboration – Active involvement of all the stakeholders is necessary from the beginning of the project. Ensuring that everyone in the project is involved and is aware of the status and progress, facilitates transparency and improves trust.
Best Practices in Project Approval Process
It is not enough if we simply create a project approval workflow , we need to ensure that the workflow is streamlined and delivers optimal results. We have put together 5 best practices in the project approval process so that expected outcomes are delivered each time.
Clear definition of project scope and objectives – The most important condition for the project plan to get approved is that it has a clear definition of what the project intends to accomplish. A project plan that clearly defines the intent and scope of the project helps stakeholders easily understand what the project is for. While defining the objectives, it is important to identify and involve all the stakeholders that are impacted by the project. Stakeholders are usually the team members, customers, partners, and regulators. Involving all these stakeholders ensures that the project aligns with their needs and requirements.
Develop a detailed plan – The more detailed the project plan is, the better the chances that it will get approved. The project plan must outline all the tasks, timelines, and dependencies, for getting the plan approval. The scope of the plan must be comprehensive to include all aspects, right from initial scoping to delivery.
Establish a clear approval process – Establishing a clear and transparent approval hierarchy is very important to ensure that there are no bottlenecks in the workflow. Clarity of who is responsible for what is essential to avoid any confusion or overlooks during approval. You must establish –
- What documentation is needed
- Who has the authority to approve the project at each stage
- How will feedback be incorporated into the workflow
Establish a clear line of communication – Effective communication is essential for any process to operate without any bottlenecks. Especially in approval-based processes, a clear communication line ensures that approvals do not fall through the cracks. Make sure that communication throughout the project approval process is established at the beginning itself. Stakeholders must be updated on the progress of every stage of the process. Progress, milestones, and any changes to the project plan or scope must be documented and communicated to the stakeholders.
Track the progress – In some projects, approvals are needed at every stage of the workflow, while for others, sign-off/approval might be required only at the beginning and end stages of the project. Nevertheless, it is important to monitor the progress of the process at all times so that we can ensure that the project is on track and aligned with objectives. In addition to tracking the progress of the process, the stakeholders must be provided with relevant reports on the progress. Regular monitoring and reporting ensure that any issues or digressing can be promptly identified and resolved.
End-to-end workflow automation
Build fully-customizable, no code process workflows in a jiffy., automating the project plan approval.
We have talked in depth about the need for streamlining the project approval workflow, but how do we accomplish that? The best practices in the project plan approval process can be implemented by automating specific steps in the process. What does process automation do to the approval process? For starters, it eliminates redundant steps and automates repetitive, low-value tasks that eat up productive project hours. Redundancies in any process flow cause bottlenecks and delays. To get rid of such issues, it is important to automate tasks that are data-intensive and tedious.
How do you go about automating the project approval process? Here are a few tips that will ease out project approval process automation.
Specify project approval requirements – Identify the most frequented project types that your team works on that require approval from higher-ups. When you have this figured out, it becomes easy to look for the right automation solution that takes care of the requirements of your project.
Choose a powerful project approval tool – A solid project approval plan must be supported by the right approval automation tool. A capable project approval tool can drive up to 50% time savings in project approvals. The tool must be easy to use and understand, must provide real-time updates on request statuses, integrate the tool with existing business apps must be simple and seamless. Cflow is a no-code BPM tool that fits the bill perfectly for a feature-rich workflow automation tool with advanced automation features.
Ensure that stakeholders are kept in the loop – The approval automation tool must enable seamless collaboration between stakeholders to ensure that all of them are on the same page.
Share assets for review and approval – Sharing assets and documents for review and approval is greatly simplified when you use automation software. This is a must-have feature that ensures that all the relevant assets are shared with the respective stakeholder for review and approval. Sharing of thoughts, comments, and feedback is a must during the review process.
Integrate the feedback and resolve comments – The comments/feedback received from the reviewer must be implemented and marked as “resolved”. Once all the comments are resolved, the request can be resubmitted to the reviewer for final approval.
Top 5 Project Approval Tools
To make it easy for you to choose the right approval automation software, we have curated a list of the top 5 tools for 2023.
- Cflow – No code workflow automation too l for all types of approval workflows
- Monday – Structured project management and workflow automation software
- Nintex – Custom project workflow creation software for teams of any size
- Wrike – Low code automation for the task and project-level assignments
- MarkUp.io – Best tool for workflows that include proofing, review, and/or approval
The more efficient your project plan approval process, the lesser time spent on mundane activities. Cflow brings powerful automation features to the project approval workflow, so you end up spending more time on productive project work rather than boring reviews and validations. Sign up for the free trial to see Cflow in action.
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Project Approval Process Made Easy: 5 Steps & Best Practices
The project approval process is often rushed.
It’s understandable that you want to quickly and efficiently evaluate and launch new projects to stay competitive.
But a well-defined project approval process is critical to achieving these goals.
This article will guide you through the steps, benefits, and considerations you should consider before implementing this process .
What is the project approval process?
The project approval process incorporates a structured set of steps that a project must go through before it can begin.
It is essentially a roadmap that ensures that the right projects are undertaken at the right time and with the right resources.
A well-defined project approval process can also help you reduce risks , make better decisions, and increase accountability. That’s why it’s important to get it right to avoid problems later on down the line.
Let me show you how.
Project approval process steps
Because the process involves obtaining approval from various stakeholders, it can be tricky to manage it well.
That’s why I’ve broken down the project approval process into several stages that you may find useful to follow:
- Project Initiation: The first stage is about defining the project’s scope, objectives, and requirements. Potential stakeholders are identified, and their needs and expectations are assessed.
- Planning : Next, you’ll develop a detailed project plan, which will include timelines, budgets, and resource requirements. This is also the right time to create a risk management proposal and identify potential roadblocks .
- Execution : Once you’re happy with all the above, you can begin to implement the project plan.
- Monitoring and Control : As with any process, you should make sure that the project’s progress is tracked. This will help you to identify any potential issues and take action fast.
- Closure : Finally, you may move on to reviewing the project’s results and outcomes, assessing lessons learned, and documenting the project’s success.
Remember that throughout the whole process, approvals must be obtained before proceeding to the next stage.
The Benefits of a Project Approval Process
Having a well-thought-through project approval process in place comes with a number of benefits:
Benefit 1: Risk management
It helps reduce risk by ensuring that projects are aligned with business objectives and that resources are allocated efficiently.
This is particularly important in industries such as healthcare or finance, where regulatory compliance and risk management are critical.
Benefit 2: Better decision-making
A project approval process can improve decision-making by providing a structured framework for evaluating projects.
What this means is that you can ensure the projects are assessed objectively and based on pre-defined criteria.
As a result, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about which projects to pursue and which to reject.
Benefit 3: Improved accountability
A project approval process can increase accountability by defining roles and responsibilities and establishing clear metrics for success.
In turn, this guaranteed that everyone involved in the project understands their role and the project’s objectives.
A project approval process makes it easy for the project to be delivered on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
Benefit 4: Enhanced communication
A project approval process boosts communication by ensuring that stakeholders are involved in the project from the outset.
The result? Everyone involved in the project is aware of its status and progress, which facilitates transparency and improves trust.
Project approval process examples
Now, I’d like to show you a couple of examples to help me better illustrate how the project approval process may look in action.
Example of a good approval process
I’ve devised this rough approvals plan to demonstrate how you would go about your approval process.
So let’s say you are running a software development company and have a new feature you want to release to your customers:
The development team creates and tests the new feature thoroughly in a staging environment.
2. Quality Assurance (QA)
Then, the QA team reviews the new feature to ensure it meets the company’s quality standards and works as expected.
3. Product Management
The product management team reviews the new feature to confirm it aligns with the overall product strategy and customer needs.
The legal team reviews the new feature to make sure it complies with legal or regulatory requirements.
5. Executive Approval
The executive team then reviews and approves the new feature for release to customers.
The new feature is released to customers.
By having a clear approval process in place, the company can ensure that they are releasing high-quality features that meet the needs of their customers while minimizing the risk of any legal or regulatory issues.
This approval process example is more or less the starting point we’d like to see when releasing a new feature.
Example of a bad approval process
Now, let’s move on to what you don’t want to be doing.
Let’s say you work for a marketing agency, and your approval process for creating new marketing campaigns is as follows:
- Creatives develop a new marketing campaign idea and present it to the account manager.
- The account manager approves the campaign idea and sends it to the client for review.
- The client reviews the campaign and provides feedback.
- The creatives make changes based on the client’s feedback.
- The revised campaign is sent back to the account manager for final approval.
- The account manager approves the final version of the campaign, and it is launched.
This approval process has a few issues:
Lack of cross-functional collaboration
There is no involvement from other teams, such as legal, compliance, or even the client’s marketing team.
This can lead to potential legal or compliance issues and a lack of alignment with the client’s strategy.
Too many revisions
The approval process includes multiple rounds of revisions, which can delay the campaign launch and increase costs.
Clearly define the project scope and objectives.
Before seeking approval for a project, you should define what the project intends to achieve and the scope of work needed.
This will help ensure that stakeholders clearly understand what the project is for.
Identify and involve all stakeholders
Determinate all stakeholders impacted by the project and involve them in the approval process.
When I say “stakeholders”, I mean, for example:
- team members
Involving relevant people in the approval process will ensure the project aligns with their needs and requirements.
Develop a detailed project plan
A detailed project plan that outlines all project tasks, timelines, and dependencies is essential for getting approval for the project.
The project plan should be comprehensive, outlining all aspects, from initial scoping to final delivery.
Establish a clear approval process
Try to establish as transparent and streamlined approval process as possible.
This could include:
- Who has the authority to approve the project at each stage
- What documentation is required
- How feedback will be incorporated
Effective communication is crucial throughout the project approval process.
Stakeholders should be kept informed of progress, milestones, and any changes to the project plan or scope.
Once the project is approved, it’s you can monitor progress to ensure that the project is staying on track and meeting its objectives.
Provide regular progress reports to stakeholders, and address any issues promptly.
While you could deal with all the approvals yourself, there is a better and faster way to do this – software.
With Process Street, you’ll create custom workflows that align with your specific project approval criteria so all projects are properly vetted and meet the necessary standards before proceeding.
One of the key benefits of using Process Street is the ability to automate the approval process, such as:
- Sending notifications to stakeholders when projects are ready for review
- Tracking project progress in real-time
- Gathering and storing all necessary documentation
- Collaborating with team members, regardless of their location.
Here is a free process management process checklist that you can start to use right now. This template provides the basic framework to keep every one of your projects on track and on target.
So why not take a look at Process Street’s website to see how we can help your project approval process?
Project approval process is vital
There’s no doubt that a clear and effective project approval process is essential for success.
By having a project approval process in place, you’ll:
- minimize risk
- increase accountability
- take your decision-making to the next level!
Yes, implementing a project approval process may come with challenges and pitfalls, but these can be overcomed by careful planning.
And don’t be afraid of utilizing relevant tools and software! These can come significantly speed up the whole process and streamline your operations, too.
So involve your stakeholders in the development process, communicate clearly and frequently, and establish clear metrics for success.
If you do, the project approval process will be implemented, and your business will achieve its goals.
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A Guide to the Project Approval Process
This post details why a formal approval process is necessary for a successful project and what goes into the project approval process.
Creating the project definition is one of the major steps of project management. The definition includes setting out what will be delivered, who will deliver the project, when it will be delivered, how it will be managed, and last but not least, the budget.
Scope creep will cause the project to run over time and budget unless the project definition is locked down and all stakeholders have signed off on it. Hence, an integral part of the project definition phase is the formal approval of the project definition.
Often, skimping on the formal project approval process leads to later difficulties. This post details why a formal project approval process is necessary for a successful project and what goes into the project approval process. We’ll also illustrate how you can automate this process seamlessly.
"Project approval is a formal business process that every project must go through before you can begin implementing it."
What Is the Project Approval Process?
Project approval is a formal business process that every project must go through before you can begin implementing it.
It's a standardized procedure during which decision-makers ensure that all elements of the project definition meet the organization's quality standards and business requirements. This review covers the subprojects, invoices, budgets, and other processes and deliverables that make up the project.
The approval process is the last stage in project management before the execution of the planned project and consists of the following processes:
- The team plans the final draft of the project deliverables. The project sponsor provides the business objectives. The team provides the approach that will deliver the intended results and ensure that the proposed solution meets corporate standards.
- The team, usually led by the project manager, prepares a formal document. Some organizations have a standard template.
- Management and stakeholders perform a final review of the project output and processes at a formal meeting. In all cases, the stakeholders will include the users of the final deliverables.
- At the review, deliverables are either approved or sent back for refinement and re-approval.
This is an iterative process. It often happens that some elements of the project charter aren't approved. In that case, they're changed, and the project approval process is repeated. In addition, conditional approval, which we'll discuss later, speeds up the development process.
In most cases, the project is extra work for most stakeholders. As a result, the approval process needs to be as frictionless and time efficient as possible. A lot of that comes down to the project plan. The project plan is a formal, approved document, often called a project charter. It's the baseline that's used to manage and control project execution. The project plan is a compilation of deliverables, solutions, and implementation plans created during the planning stage. The level of detail should be appropriate for the project’s scope, complexity, and risk.
There are some steps you can take at the outset to ease the project approval process:
- Identify the lead project sponsor and the project steering committee. The lead sponsor acts as the principal decision-making authority regarding the strategic direction of the entire project. The lead sponsor's support and backing is vital to project success.
- Identify the user stakeholders that prepare the project objectives and definition. Stakeholder representatives sit on the project steering and change control committees.
- Appoint a project manager.
- Identify and assign the roles and responsibilities of the team members. The team includes user representatives.
- Define and document the project organization and reporting structures, including any organizational boundaries and interfaces.
- Determine and source the resources needed for the team, including infrastructure, equipment, and any material needs.
- For large projects and project teams, have a resource plan. It establishes who's needed, when, and for how long. Apart from a core team, the project might need temporary resources to carry out specific, well-defined tasks.
Bear in mind that different stakeholders will have different views and requirements. The project charter must reflect everyone’s needs and give all parties a clear understanding of the project and why it should be approved. That can be a difficult task. People management is often the most challenging part of the process.
Steps in the Project Approval Process
Before you create the project charter, there are several actions that you can take to make the approval process much easier further down the line.
Define How the Project Will be Assessed
When a project is initiated, you must define the criteria that will be used during project approval. Approval is carried out by the project steering committee or by a project board that considers all project requests. They will consider:
- the strategic importance of the project to the organization
- any issues around regulatory compliance
- financial viability
- future considerations, such as technical flexibility
- any other issues specific to the organization, such as its regulatory or social environment
Identify Lead and Area Project Sponsors
A lead sponsor is usually a senior executive with the authority to assign resources and provide the executive impulse to the project. Sometimes specific project areas have their own sponsors to bring stakeholders on board.
"Preparing the project charter includes collecting requirements and preparing a detailed project description."
Obtain Interim Approvals
Preparing the project charter includes collecting requirements and preparing a detailed project description. From time to time, the scoping exercise might reach a point where you need more information before a particular aspect of the project can be approved. You might need approval to proceed, especially if there are time or budget implications.
Establish a Positive Feedback Loop
Nothing delays a project and frustrates a team like delays caused by stakeholders. They either provide a deluge of change requests during project approval or ignore the process entirely and complain later that they weren't consulted. Stakeholders must come on board and commit to the project from its earliest stages. With this in mind, a clear and effective feedback process can minimize ownership and communication issues.
In summary, here are the key steps of a positive feedback loop:
- Set up a process for collecting and delivering feedback.
- Nominate one stakeholder from each stakeholder group as a single point of contact.
- Have regular, scheduled feedback meetings with each group.
- Document, document, document.
If this process is successful, there will be less stakeholder pushback at the project approval stage. You can also follow the same process with other team members to ensure potential roadblocks are dealt with as early as possible.
Consider using a development process like design thinking that needs active involvement from the stakeholders.
Project Approval Meeting
The project approval meeting is a formal meeting where all stakeholders are present to discuss the project and, hopefully, formally sign off on the project charter.
If all preparatory steps have been taken, much of the approval work has already occurred. The meeting is likely to follow a formal agenda, which could include the following elements:
- the project description
- goals and objectives
- stakeholders and benefits
- the suggested solution
- assumptions and constraints
- organizational breakdown structure
- the project scope
- the project lifecycle
- major deliverables
- major milestones
- estimated schedule
- estimated budget
- the return on investment
- the main risks
- the critical success factors
- the communication plan
- the next steps
Each element is self-explanatory and may be broken down into sub-elements depending on the project’s size and complexity.
All attendees receive the relevant documentation before the meeting, and the meeting assumes that they have read and are familiar with it. The meeting chair, the lead sponsor, must ensure that the meeting stays on track.
The outcome can be full project approval, partial approval, or no approval at all.
Automate Project Approvals in Slack
Many of us work on globally distributed teams, making approvals challenging. Your team might not have the luxury of sitting together in a meeting to get approval. Timezone differences prevent work from moving fast, which is why automating your approval chain is important. Many businesses are moving approvals into their Slack workspaces to improve efficiency.
Wrangle is a ticketing and workflow automation platform that can streamline the project approval process for your team. Instead of managing approvals in email threads, Wrangle allows you to create automated workflows or tickets with conditional logic. Here’s how it works.
Build your Wrangle workflow in our no-code workflow builder for your teams. Most workflows can be set up in less than ten minutes. Here’s an example of a blog post approval process. Our workflow has a couple of steps. Your users will input the required information for review in the intake form. From there, this workflow will ping the editor in Slack to review. Once she reviews, the final step will include a task list that tells our team they can publish this post.
Once constructed, your blog approval workflow is accessible in your company’s Slack workspace for your end users to request approvals.
Once a request has been made, Wrangle automatically takes your team through each approval step. We’ll even remind users if they’re taking too long.
When Beverly approves, our workflow has a set of tasks to design the blog header, stage the post, and publish.
When everyone has completed their tasks, the workflow will inform all stakeholders that this project has been approved and completed.
Too many projects fail due to poor planning and inefficient approval processes. A formal project approval process generates a project charter agreed upon and signed off on by all parties, thereby reducing the risk of scope creep in the project.
A Wrangle workflow can automate this process, eliminating complex approval chains. To get started, try the app today and see firsthand how Wrangle can improve communication within your company. We can also provide you with a personalized demo .
This post was written by Iain Robertson. Iain operates as a freelance IT specialist through his own company, after leaving formal employment in 1997. He provides onsite and remote global interim, contract and temporary support as a senior executive in general and ICT management. He usually operates as an ICT project manager or ICT leader in the Tertiary Education sector. He has recently semi-retired as an ICT Director and part-time ICT lecturer in an Ethiopian University.
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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step
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1. Write an executive summary
2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. add additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.
A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them. A strong, detailed plan will provide a road map for the business’s next three to five years, and you can share it with potential investors, lenders or other important partners.
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Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your business plan.
» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .
This is the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services offered, and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.
Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.
» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps
Next up is your company description, which should contain information like:
Your business’s registered name.
Address of your business location .
Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.
Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.
Lastly, it should cover the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.
» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan
The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.
If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity presented and how the loan or investment will grow your company.
For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch the new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.
In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.
You should include the following:
An explanation of how your product or service works.
The pricing model for your product or service.
The typical customers you serve.
Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.
Your sales strategy.
Your distribution strategy.
You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.
Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.
Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.
» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing
If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.
You may also include metrics such as:
Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.
Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.
Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.
This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.
» NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:
The best business checking accounts .
The best business credit cards .
The best accounting software .
This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.
Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.
Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.
List any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts and personal and business credit history. If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.
Here are some tips to help your business plan stand out:
Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.
Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.
Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.
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