Have you ever thought about what goes into project planning? A lot of people probably look at it and think, “that doesn’t look that hard—I bet I could do it.” But things look easier than they are when the person doing them is a pro. Project planning, if done effectively, is one of those things.
In reality, there is a large amount of pre-planning that happens for every effectively executed project plan. Let’s compare it to a common activity like grocery shopping. Before you go, you might make a list, grab your coupons, and decide on which store you’re going to. These are important steps! But what if you just started driving and stopped at the first store you saw? Is it even a grocery store, or is it a sporting goods store? That won’t help. Taking time to think about what you are trying to accomplish and having an end goal in mind will help ensure that any “project” is a success!
To that end, I offer you my “Top 10 List” of project planning essentials—think of it like a pre-plan to the plan. I’ve found these extremely helpful, not only in my career but even in my personal life. I hope you find them beneficial.
TOP 10 LIST: Project Planning Essentials
- SCOPE. Define scope clearly and precisely. What are you trying to get done?
- END-TO-END. Plan the whole project. Make sure you know what the end goal is.
- BUDGET. Specifically, time and cost. Use unbiased, accurate estimation techniques.
- PROCUREMENT. Get the supplies and resources you need.
- TEAM. Assemble the right team. Define the skills needed and get people with those skills.
- ANTICIPATE. Include a contingency plan that allows for “Plan B” when unexpected changes occur.
- COMMUNICATE. Have a communications plan and follow it so that you are in touch with all stakeholders throughout the project.
- RISK. Plan for uncertainty; prepare for the unexpected.
- COMPLETE. Get it all done, and get each piece done right.
- LEARN. Use every success and every error as a chance to learn to do a better job.
Contributor: Robert Figinsky, Aptris PMO Resource Administrator