So you are planning to start a new project with the intent to bring your project to completion on time and within the allocated cost by meeting the highest quality standards. But at the same time confused about whether it will bring the desired results or not?
Well, the key to success is proper planning of the project which is considered a central element of modern project management. A properly planned project will reduce uncertainties and increase the likelihood of project success.
In reality, the most important and unfortunately neglected phase of the project is planning. Most of the time we primarily focus on how to finish the project as soon as possible, but here lies the hidden trap.
There is a famous saying that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Most projects fail partially or completely due to poor planning along with other reasons such as poor requirement management, lack of resources and lack of understanding of the project life cycle. Companies often do not invest enough time and money in planning which leads to project failure.
In a nutshell, proper planning plays a vital role in the successful implementation of a project. Now, let’s go through the 9 burning questions that must be answered during the planning stage before starting the project.
What is the Purpose of the Project?
A better understanding of the purpose of the project can lead to desired results and improved performance. It also adds to better motivation among the team members. Once you are assigned to the project, you need to get a clear picture of its goals and objectives. That can be done by chalking out the following:
- What circumstances led to your project?
- Who originated the idea?
- Who are the beneficiaries of the project?
Who are the Stakeholders of the Project?
Identifying the stakeholders of the project can help you in making an effective stakeholder management strategy. You can do this by planning their participation as and when required during different phases of the project. Involving the stakeholders will ensure that they are on board and have full confidence in the decisions made for the betterment of the project. Moreover, you will better understand the needs and concerns of the stakeholders in the early stage of the project. Therefore you will be able to address them timely. It will also help to improve communication and avoid conflicts between stakeholders.
What are the Expected Results from the Project?
You need to specify all the possible results you are expecting from the project upon its completion. It is important to ensure that you have described all phases of the project clearly and included the required performance targets. Don’t forget to discuss the expected results and outcomes with the project stakeholders so that all are on the same page.
What Constraints the Project may face?
Try to identify all the possible bottlenecks related to time or budget constraints that have the potential to negatively affect the project activities and performance. Once all the constraints are listed down, mitigation measures can easily be taken. This way you can minimize the effect of such constraints on the progress of the project.
Have the Responsibilities been assigned to all concerned?
You need to identify all the project activities that need to be performed to get the project deliverables on time. This has to be followed by developing project schedules and resource estimation. Once it is done, now it’s time to assign responsibilities to all the stakeholders involved in project implementation. It will help you in monitoring the project performance and keep it on track. Each stakeholder will be accountable and responsible for the task assigned.
What is the Start and End Date of each Activity?
An important thing that can help you in meeting project timelines is the development of a detailed project schedule. Define all the activities with a definite start and finish date along with intermediate milestones. You can use the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) technique to list down all the activities of the project and then schedule them. Once you have this schedule prepared, it will allow you to guide the project team members effectively and assign the tasks properly. The schedule will also help you to monitor the progress of each activity being performed. You will also have better control over the whole project.
What is the Risk Management Plan?
No matter how good you plan a project, there is always a chance of risk that can affect the project negatively. Implementation of the risk management plan and considering risks as a challenge before they occur can prevent a project from failing. Strategies that can be taken in a risk management plan include reducing the negative effect of risks, avoiding risks, accommodation of the consequences of risks, and moving risk to other parties. The ability to understand and control a particular risk enables you to be more confident in the decision-making process.
Have you developed a Common Language for the Project?
Clear communication within a project team is considered to be the key success factor. You can ensure this by developing a common language and therefore improve understanding among project stakeholders, portray a good image of the organization, and nurture a better organizational culture.
Have you done Resource Planning?
Resource planning is the process of determining the resources such as manpower, equipment, materials, funds, etc. along with their quantities required to perform project activities. It can help you to align projects’ deliverables with available resources. In absence of proper resource planning, it can be difficult to control project timelines and associated costs.
Here is the important twist …
All of the above issues can be significantly simplified with the right tools and process optimization. At easy.bi we have found our passion in this field and focused on providing solutions that help both – project management and optimizing your daily business.
Wondering what else is possible?
You can find some answers here: Our projects.
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