When it comes to project management, every project manager has a different approach. Project management planning depends a lot on the manager’s perspective, the size of the project, and how cautious the project manager wants to be. Also, one project planning framework cannot work for every project that a manager works on. With different projects, the planning framework has to be tweaked. Since planning is the first stage of project management, making the right decisions at this point is extremely important. The success of the project might depend on how well the project manager has planned the project.
Six Tips for Planning a Project
Here are some top project management tips that would help project managers
The concept of a “standard” or one size fits all plan is a myth. Of course, there are basic templates which can be used by a project manager, especially when the company is working with consultancy firms and commercial suppliers. During the initiation of the project, a standard template would be submitted by these firms and companies. Obviously, the submitted plan is a guideline and is tried and tested. It is based on experience but the project manager has to change it to adapt it to flexible situations.
Often, young project managers have a habit of ploughing ahead with plans, even if they are failing. The most important trait of a project manager is to adapt to changing circumstances that present themselves. This means being unafraid to ditch a plan or change it if it seems to be failing. Instead of staying on schedule with the wrong plan, change the plan and slowly cover the lagging progress. Project managers should think of themselves as captains of a ship at sea. As the wind changes direction, the ship has to be steered in a different way to reach the destination.
There is a concept in project management called “Rolling Wave Planning”. This type of planning has a planning window that is extremely flexible and adaptive in the long term. The assumption of this technique is to plan ahead, but only as much as it is sensible and not more. Planning every tiny detail from beginning to end might be a good theoretical approach but in reality, it is impossible to predict every up and down of a project. Not just that, a project manager can end up wasting everyone’s time by developing such a detailed plan.
A plan must always be divided into phases or stages so that a part of the project is finished with the completion of every milestone. In phasing, the plan is divided into logical and practical activities that represent the goals of the project, one step at a time. This technique of milestone planning is also extremely productive and rewarding, and the motivation of the team is maintained in this way. The milestones should focus on two things – what the team needs to do and how the team can achieve it.
A plan is not just administrative. When the project team and stakeholders take a look at the project plan, they should get a clear idea about the progress of the project. The easy milestones should be set at the early stages of the project so that stakeholder feel confident about the project manager’s ability. The plan should be effectively used to communicate success to everyone involved in the project. It should have a balance in terms of milestones as well. It is wise to remember that when managers craft a flexible plan, they would be better prepared for any risk that the project may face in the future.
Many project managers confuse deliverables with milestones. Milestones refer to progress that is easily measured. A deliverable, on the other hand, offers the result achieved by a process. It is extremely important to be clear about what a deliverable is and define it in clear terms. Project managers can also choose to have sub-deliverable for better clarity. For instance, instead of defining the deliverable as “investigate’, state in clear terms what the data file, code or document should be as a result of the process.In order to grow as a project manager and understand the principles of project management, it is important to get the right education. At Parallel Project Training, managers learn all the nuances of this field from the experts. PPT is renowned in the industry for its courses. There are a huge variety of course available for managers, no matter which level they are at – beginner or veteran. PPT’s courses are available in 21 countries and they have an astounding pass percentage of 82%, with over 150 clients trusting their expertise and experience.