“The devil is in the details.” I am sure we have all heard this at some point in our lives. Basically, the phrase means there can be hidden snags or hang-ups in the details; details are important. Whether you are a senior project manager at a large company or a new project manager at a start-up, you know that even the smallest detail matters.

One way to ensure your project is successful is to nail down the details from the start. Beginning with a clear scope of work, understood by both parties, is essential to a successful project. This helps to prevent scope creep and unforeseen changes to timeline and scope. Take the time to analyze the details and the scope to set up a stellar project plan from the start. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail. (You’ve probably heard that before, too.)

Another important detail is clearly defined roles and responsibilities, both for your team members as well as for the client’s team. For example, you bring in the marketing guy to work on the product message and promotion, great; but what does that actually involve? Assigning and agreeing upon these roles and responsibilities during the initiation phase can prevent miscommunications down the road. Additionally, role clarity enables the team to adhere to the project timeline.

To aid in ensuring no details are overlooked, it is also vital to maintain open lines of communication with all stakeholders, as well as documentation that coincides with communication. Recording email correspondence and relaying important information to the whole team via status reports is a great way to keep everyone in the loop. Also, creating documents such as change lists will ensure that you have a record of important events and additions or deletions from the scope.

By paying close attention to project details and taking the time to thoroughly evaluate the scope of work, you are far more likely to lead a successful project. Don’t get burned by overlooking important details or rushing into a project without proper evaluation first.