7 steps to planning a successful project

7 steps to planning a successful project

After defining the project and appointing the project team, you are ready to enter the second phase of the project management lifecycle, namely, the project planning phase.

steps to planning a successful project

 But, why do projects run by talented people end up being delayed or incomplete Why project teams sometimes feel like they're shooting at a moving target

 Lack of proper planning or failure to create a structured approach can be fatal for projects, today we will touch on: 

  1. What is project planning
  2. Think of the plan as a roadmap for stakeholders:
  3. Divide the project into a list of deliverables:
  4. Talk to the team:
  5. Risk identification:
  6. Develop a budget for the project:
  7. Add required features and tasks:
  8. Prepare reports to report on the progress of the project:

What is project planning

Project planning: it is the process of defining your goals, scope and Milestones (results), assigning tasks and budget resources for each step. 

A good plan can be easily shared with everyone involved, and is most useful when revisited regularly. 

Outlining a plan and never discussing it with your team again is a good recipe for wasting time and effort, if you are considering project management as an entrepreneur or within a fast-paced startup, it may seem like it's all time consuming at first. 

But, in reality, you'll save a lot of time and resources if you document your project plan from the start and use it as a roadmap to keep you and your team on track. Here are seven keys to planning a successful project to help you get started.

Think of the plan as a roadmap for stakeholders:

Each project needs a roadmap with clearly defined goals that should not change after the first phase of the project is completed. 

All stakeholders benefiting from the outcome or involved in the implementation of the project should be named and their needs clarified, during the initial project planning process. Beneficiaries may include:

  • The project manager or the person ultimately responsible for the completion.
  • The” client " who receives the project can be someone on your team (internally) or an external client.
  • The team or persons responsible for any tactic that is part of the plan.

Do not assume that you automatically understand the needs and goals of each beneficiary. Before proceeding to document your project plan.

Talk to them to make sure you really understand the project and the abilities and resources of everyone on the team.

Divide the project into a list of deliverables:

List all outputs. This list should divide the larger project into smaller tasks that can be assigned to specific team members, and estimated deadlines associated with each delivery or task should be included.

 Make sure you understand and document the approval process for each product. If your project is for an external client, make sure you are clear about its internal approval process, so that you are not surprised by delays or slow down to delve into opinions and discussions.

Talk to the team:

Identify the names of all individuals or organizations involved in each task, describe their responsibilities in detail. Otherwise, miscommunication can lead to delays and situations in which team members may have to redo their work. 

Hold an initial meeting to talk with your team about your intended plan of implementation. Ask them to help think of a good way to get the work done characteristically.

 This will not only help you be more efficient, but also help you get their endorsement because they will feel more ownership during the process.

Risk identification

Identify the risks involved in the project. Think about what you would do if something took much longer than expected, or if it ended up costing much more than you initially expected. 

You don't have to set a specific course of action for each possible negative outcome, but you should spend some time with your team thinking about what might go wrong. 

Then, you can do everything you can to mitigate these risks from the start, rather than being surprised later. Risk factors can have some impact on your budget.

Develop a budget for the project

Information about the cost of the project and the estimated budget should be attached to the list of tasks and deliveries. Resist the desire to allocate large sums to large projects without specifying how he intends to spend the money.

 This will help your team understand what resources they have to work with to get the job done. When determining your initial budget, these numbers may be ranges, not absolute numbers.

For some items, you may need to get quotes from a few different suppliers. It may be useful to briefly document the agreed scope of the project in your budget documents.

 In case you end up making changes to the larger project based on budget constraints, or if the vendor doesn't deliver exactly what you expected.

Add required features and tasks

Use your deliverables list as a framework to add milestones and tasks that you'll need to complete to achieve the larger goal of the project. 

  • Set reasonable deadlines, taking into account the productivity, availability and efficiency of project team members. Your goals should be:
  • Specific: goals should be clear, concise and written in a language that anyone can understand.
  • Measurable: use numbers or quantitative language when appropriate. Avoid vague descriptions that leave success to personal and subjective interpretation.
  • Accepted: get stakeholder endorsement for your goals, milestones, and achievements.
  • Realistic: do not set goals that are impossible to achieve, because it is frustrating for your team and your stakeholders, and may delay your project in the end because achieving the impossible usually costs more and takes longer.

Prepare reports to report on the progress of the project:

These reports can be monthly, weekly or daily. Ideally, you should set up a collaborative workspace for your project online or offline where all parties can monitor progress.

 Make sure you have a communication plan – document how often you will brief stakeholders on progress and how you will share information – such as a weekly meeting or daily email.

Use the framework you set up when you defined your milestones to guide your reports. Try not to waste time creating new reports every time you need to communicate progress. 

Keep in mind that using a project management software like (Basecamp) can keep stakeholders in the loop without cluttering your inbox.

The secret to effective project planning and management lies in staying organized and communicating well with your team and stakeholders. 

Whether you decide to use project management software or something else..

Think about where and how to store all materials and resources related to your project, keep everything in one place if you can.

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