Project management is a crucial aspect of a business’ profitability. Just as a tree is only as strong as its roots, nurturing the foundation of a business—composed of aspects such as proper workforce and resource allocation, sturdy communication channels, and project planning strategies—is crucial for a business to grow and thrive. Here are five things you can do before beginning a project to make sure your roots are the strongest they could be.

1. Don’t skip out on risk planning

Think of all the things that could make the project fail, and prioritize the ones that are most likely to occur or have the biggest impact on progress. Then, make the mitigation of those risks a priority. If you front load your project with risk management, it will relieve a whole lot of stress on your team for the remainder of the project, since you will have already prepared for the preliminary issues that could throw you off schedule.

2. Use data to plan more efficiently

Assess how much time employees have spent on previous projects in order to create a trajectory for how the impending project should go. A good way to do this is by utilizing a time tracking software that can help you automate data collection and accurately spot trends in past data so you have the necessary insight to design a smoother project plan.

3. Establish communication methods

Prior to project launch, you should make a point to discuss your communication channels and expectations with all of the members of your team, so they know what optimal communication throughout the project should be like. Be sure to clarify when, how often, and about what aspects of the project you expect group members to take the initiative to communicate, and what the responsibilities of each group member entail.

4. Outline the most important aspects of the project

Check in with your client, supervisor, or contractor—whoever assigned you the project and sets the expectations. What are the most important parts of the project to pay attention to? Is the goal to deliver a product by a certain deadline, where timeliness is crucial for customer success, or is it to deliver the most developed product possible with a more flexible timeline? Prioritize the values dictated by the assigning party so as to better allocate your project time.

5. Break down project into increments

Assign individual components in order to break down the project enough to where group members have clarity in terms of small goals to contribute to a larger project. As a team leader, you can help create individual goals and timelines so that your team members have guidelines and can check boxes as they go. Having a series of smaller goals to accomplish will be less intimidating for certain employees, and having a set schedule for tasks to complete for a larger project will allow for better communication as unanticipated roadblocks arise.