Project planning is the process of establishing project goals, objectives, scope, time and resources. It helps ensure that all aspects of a project will be completed in the most effective way possible to meet pre-defined objectives within the given constraints. This information is typically described in a document that defines the project and is updated throughout the lifecycle of the project.
Creating a project plan is essential for bringing stakeholders on board with the vision behind a project. It also serves as a guide for project managers and other team members to track progress and performance against. It’s a great tool to mitigate frustration when project changes are requested and help set clear communication expectations.
Start by holding a meeting to bring your project team together and unify the vision. This is a great opportunity to discuss and agree on a project scope, goals, deliverables and schedule. It’s also a chance to highlight any potential risks that may arise and create strategies to overcome them.
Once the initial meeting is complete, take notes and create a draft project plan that includes all of the above items. Depending on the size of your project, this could include one long list of tasks or a more detailed breakdown by phase or section. Breaking tasks down into smaller, more manageable chunks is a good way to keep the project timeline readable and avoid project burnout.
Adding milestones to the project plan is another way to help your team stay on track. This can be helpful when it comes to managing client expectations, avoiding time-outs, and providing an early warning sign of potential issues or dependencies. For example, if you have one critical task that could impact delivery or require additional budget approval, then you might want to add a milestone for it at the very beginning of your project timeline.
Project plans are a vital part of project management, but it’s also important to have a conversation with your team to understand their motivation and priorities. It’s also a chance to set clear expectations on how you will communicate, what the process looks like for submitting and managing change requests, and what happens if someone is overloaded with work.
It’s also a good idea to reevaluate the plan as you go along. This can be as simple as a brief check-in to see how you’re tracking against your goals, or as in-depth as a full review and update. Using this opportunity to assess your project and make any necessary adjustments will help you reach the finish line with a successful product or service.
No matter the size of your project, having a robust project plan in place is your best defense against the unexpected. Whether it’s a major roadblock or just some minor adjustments, having the right tools to support you and your team will ensure that all obstacles can be overcome and your project is delivered successfully. Ready to get started?