Planning is key to Project Management success. Here's why!
“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.” – Winston Churchill
Did you know that 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their projects will fail and the United States economy loses $50-$150 billion per year due to failed IT projects? Appalling isn’t it?
Project management works pretty much the same way, except on a much larger magnitude. There are stakeholders involved; resources are involved both in terms of people, time and money, clients and sponsors are involved and a whole range of factors like quality, communication and risks.
This is precisely why planning is crucial to the success of a project and we’ll tell you exactly why.
Before we begin, here’s something to cheer you up. A Glassdoor survey has suggested that the median salary for project managers in the US is $87,500 per annum and a PMI review states that there will be 15 million new project management jobs within the next decade. Now, isn’t this something?
A few of the most important blames are levied on stakeholders, internal communications and better allocation of roles and responsibilities. But, is this really true? All this could be avoided if proper planning was done from the very beginning. Here are certain factors to bear in mind when planning a project.
Don’t jump onto the bandwagon, plan first
When you spend time planning something, at a later stage, you will only save time, money, enhance the quality of your project while also delivering before the stipulated time period. Define the project at hand and all the aspects around it. Once approved, this becomes your groundwork. The plan should ideally include:
- Overview: Why are you doing this project? What are the drivers and your business benefits?
- Goals & Objectives: What will you accomplish at the end? What do you want to accomplish?
- Scope: What features will be put into practice and which departments will be involved?
- Risks: What are the risks involved? What aspects concern you? Do you have enough bandwidth and resources?
- Line of attack: How will the project open up and advance?
- Team: Who are the stakeholders, sponsors, project manager, team etc?
- Preliminary costs and timeline: Best guesses on finances and timing. They should be revised as and when the project progresses.
Create a work plan sheet
Once you have defined the above mentioned factors, you should create a detailed project plan. This will be more like a step-by-step guideline for the project. Write it, draw it as you please including resources, work, cost estimates etc.
Classify scope of work up front
This will outline the resources that will be used to manage the project – issues, scope changes if any, what risks are involved, what is the kind of quality you are looking at, communication between members etc. For a project manager, it’s important to be able to handle multiple things at a time and make sure that everyone associated knows where things are headed toward and alter plans where required.
Monitor each step religiously – work, timetable and finances
Now that you have made concrete project plans, execution should begin rapidly and appropriately. While, most projects never pan out according to estimations, the challenges are getting things done so that you deliver on time while also saving resources.
- Review each step cautiously.
- Mark activities that have already been accomplished.
- Keep track of the budget.
Try to find out if your project is in trouble. A small lapse in budget or schedule can lead to a massive gap. This is definitely a warning sign. Find out activities you think have already been completed but are still being worked on. If situations like these arise, raise the issue through risk management and create a plan that will get your project back on track.
Now that you know why planning before initiating a project is so crucial and what you should do to go about things, if you still want to know further about project management and its various complexities, here’s a Project management course
from Manipal Prolearn
that’s sure to attract you.