How Project Management Can Make Hallmark Submissions Easier

Editor’s Note: This information originally appeared in Competitive Edge. It has been edited.

We’re rapidly approaching the end of the year, which means one thing: Hallmark Awards writing season.

Many chapters use Thanksgiving and winter breaks to write Hallmark Awards entries, so now is the perfect time to outline how you and your team will accomplish this. Approaching it from a project management perspective can make all the difference. Here’s what that means, how you can do it, and why it could help you in the workforce.

What is project management?

Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of a specific project.

The elements of project management are time, quality, and resources. Managing a project is to manage the elements that make it successful. Some ways to measure project success:

• Were the project’s objectives met?
• Is the quality as expected?
• Was the project completed on time?
• And in budget?

So, for Hallmark Awards, you might ask yourself:

• Did I fully answer every question?
• Did I follow the rubric?
• Did I meet the deadline?

Why is it important?

Project management has become an essential skill in today’s business world. Traditional jobs of the past that focused on doing the same task day after day are rapidly disappearing. Instead of defining their work by the company (“I work for Microsoft”), workers today define their careers by their professions (“I design mobile apps”).

The new focus in the workplace is on projects and project teams assigned to solve specific problems. Departments are interdependent on each other; working together as a team has become a marketable skill that is necessary to be successful in your career.

But what do we mean by a “project”? A project has a definite beginning and an end, and it’s different from a goal or objective.

For example: A goal might be to make your college campus greener or more environmentally responsible. A project could be initiating a recycling program for your college’s cafeteria.

In this case, think of each Hallmark Award submission your team plans to complete as a project.

The first step in project management is defining the project’s specific objectives. The more clearly you can define an objective, the better chance your work will be done with the correct objective in mind. Here are five key points to remember when laying out the objectives:

  1. Be direct. Don’t talk in lingo or jargon that may not be familiar to all on the team. Everyone needs to understand fully and completely the objectives of the project.
  2. Be clear and realistic about deadlines. Nothing can be done yesterday. Make sure team members have adequate time in the schedule to accomplish their tasks.
  3. Be flexible. Don’t be so specific or regimented that team members feel like robots carrying out their orders. Leave room for creativity and flexibility. Team members will be more motivated to accomplish their work and may come up with other ideas to make the project even better.
  4. Be firm. Don’t be so loose with the parameters or directions that team members take too many liberties. Ultimately, you as the project manager are responsible for the actions of the team. It’s important that shortcuts aren’t taken that can damage the quality of the project.
  5. Be detailed. The details matter. Often projects fail because key details are omitted from the planning process. For Hallmark Awards submissions, this means setting a realistic timeline for writing, editing, proofreading, and submitting the entries online well before the deadline.

Approaching Hallmark Awards with a project management mindset will keep you and your team organized and on track as the pace picks up toward the end of the semester. Hallmark Award categories, judging rubrics, and webinars are available HERE.

Entry forms are now available at my.ptk.org. All submissions must be submitted by 5 p.m. CT on the following dates:

• December 5, 2019 — Administrator Award applications due
• January 9, 2020 — Member, Officer, Advisor Award applications due
• January 10, 2020 — Regional Officer Award applications due
• January 16, 2020 — Honors in Action Project and College Project applications due
• January 31, 2020 — Regional Awards for Excellence and Alumni Award applications due

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