How to run a successful pilot project
Blog: Monday Project Management Blog
One way to test things out on a small scale before knowing if it will be a viable option is to run a pilot project.
A pilot project enables you to manage the risk of a new idea and identify any issues before you fully commit resources.
But what really is a pilot project, what are the benefits, and how do you successfully run one? This guide covers exactly that.
Read on to find out more or start your first pilot project now.
What is a pilot project?
A pilot project is designed to test things out on a small scale before knowing if it will be a viable option for a team or business. Businesses use pilot projects for things like testing new software releases, soft launching new products, and trialing new working hours.
Oftentimes, pilot projects will confirm viability and scalability and enable processes and procedures to be tested.
So what are the benefits?
Key benefits of a pilot project
Essentially, pilot projects are a great way to assess the viability of an idea, test the process, and ultimately see if a full-scale project is viable.
Pilot projects help you:
- Fully assess the viability of an idea
- Identify any risks and issues before committing more resources
- Enables an accurate budget and investment appraisal
Here’s how to plan one.
How to plan a pilot project
Now that we know what pilot projects are and why they’re so important, it’s time to start planning one.
Below, we’ll take you through a simple four-step process to develop your own.
Step 1: Identify the pilot project
It may sound obvious, but if you want to plan a pilot project, you first need to know what it will cover.
First, start with a brainstorming session to identify pilot project ideas. You can get ideas from:
- Your customers: What common themes have been mentioned in reviews or to your customer support teams? What about social mentions?
- Employees: What pain points do your team come up against? What would help make them more effective?
- The competition: What is the competition doing differently? Are they using certain tools or tech to get ahead?
Once you’ve identified your first pilot project, you’re ready to move to step two.
Step 2: Set objectives
Now that you’ve identified your first pilot, it must have set goals. Because there’s no point in starting a project if you don’t know what you want to achieve with it.
Some examples of pilot project objectives are:
- Test the viability of 50% of the workforce working from home.
- Reduce churn by 5% during Q3 by implementing a new online checkout process.
- Increasing sales by 25% by testing new order management software in Q2.
Once you’ve set your objectives, the next step is to identify resources.
Step 3: Identify resources
Unless you’re a one person team, you’ll need to identify resources and assign tasks to organize the pilot project process.
With monday’s timeline calendar, you just need to invite team members to your board. Then, you’ll be able to assign tasks to them.
If you’re using a spreadsheet or Google Doc, you can tag users by typing “@” plus their email address into a cell.
Pro tip: Remember to factor in additional days to compensate for any delay when setting deadlines.
Once you’ve done all this, you should have a pretty good idea of how this might map out across a timeline.
Step 4: Develop a timeline
There’s no right or wrong way to organize your timeline. Just make sure you:
- Ensure each project stage has a specific due date
- Make sure you assign each task to a designated team member
- Share your timeline with your team and project managers
As long as you follow those principles, you have a lot of freedom and flexibility in how you choose to accomplish it.
With monday’s timeline feature, each stage of your pilot project can be detailed and laid out in a visual timetable, so you understand what steps to take and when they’re taken.
So how do you ensure everything stays on track?
6 best practices for implementing a pilot project
Below we’ll explore the six most popular best practices used when implementing pilot projects – and why you might want to use each one.
- #1: Develop a plan: Planning is the cornerstone of any project. Start by creating an end goal and ask yourself what you need to accomplish by the end of the project. Be realistic about how much time you need to complete each part of the project.
- #2: Monitor progress: An excellent way to measure performance is to check if you’re hitting your objectives and milestones along the way. Regularly check the status of each task and prompt team members if you need any updates.
- #3: Gather feedback: Once the pilot project is over, ask all team members involved in the pilot project about any major risks or problems encountered.
- #4: Analyze results: Pilot projects are designed to test the viability of an idea. So it’s key to analyze results.
- #5: Identify opportunities for improvement: After reviewing team feedback and analyzing results, draw up a list of areas for improvement.
- #6: Draw up your report: Finally, it’s time to create your report and recommendations. Consider key questions, such as: Was the pilot project a success? What were the key risks? How could you mitigate those risks? What budget is required?
Following these steps will help your projects go ahead like clockwork.
Nail your pilot project on monday.com
Better still, lean on a tool like monday.com to make the entire process a breeze. You will love how monday embeds flexibility and control into your projects.
Plus, sharing information with your team is quick and easy by adding them to the plan and assigning them tasks. As you move through your pilot project, your whole team will feel guided and at ease.
You can even create a board with our ready-to-go project timeline template – and customize it to your needs.
Get started now or read on to see the most commonly asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of a pilot project?
The purpose of a pilot project is to test the feasibility of an idea on a small scale in order to evaluate the potential for a future full scale project.
What is meant by a pilot project?
Pilot projects, also called a ‘feasibility study’ help to identify any issues, evaluate feasibility, resources, time, and cost.
What is a pilot project in project management?
A pilot project is used in project management to reduce the risk of failure by testing the idea in a small controlled setting so that you can further refine your project before you roll it out.
Start your first pilot project
If you are ready to get started, you can start building your board and timeline now to ensure everything stays on schedule.
Or you can use one of monday’s ready-made templates to get up and running quicker.
Looking for more?
Check out our resources and expand your project management skills:
- How to write a killer project plan in 6 simple steps
- Business projects: Types, tips, and templates
- Effective project objectives: How to define (and achieve) success
The post How to run a successful pilot project appeared first on monday.com Blog.
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