Effective Project Management Top Tips for Planning Your Project - Business - Management

Effective Project Management: Top Tips for Planning Your Project   by Todd Stone

in Business / Management    (submitted 2011-08-09)

Project planning is one of the very first items you will absolutely need to do when commencing a project. Project planning is among the most basic prerequisites for efficient execution of your project. If you happen to be reasonably new to project management, or perhaps just wish to improve on project planning skills before beginning your next project, this particular article is for you.

What precisely do we mean by project planning anyhow? Why is it so vital? What are classified as the critical steps you must do in order to do an effective project plan? These are simply some of the questions you may have and a few of the questions we will attempt to answer in this post. We will attempt to answer these questions by introducing the best strategies for project managers in connection with project planning.

First of all, you absolutely must avoid getting right down into the particulars of the work and instead focus on making certain you've got a solid plan for the project delivery. If you're a newcomer to project management, this is the first primary distinction you will find between being a team member and a team leader. Your task as a team leader is usually to do exactly that - lead.

In order to direct your project you must realize that now you are overall responsible for all project activities and are liable to ensure the proper people are performing on the appropriate things in the proper sequence! This may be tricky and is something that will clearly involve planning! When it comes to project management, planning is defined as merely the process where you pre-determine how you will execute all facets within the project. This includes, but is not limited to, defining the way you will manage the scope, schedule, budget, human resources, communications, risk, change and quality. Planning is especially important to help make sure you are able to finish the project as productively as you possibly can, and decrease both the time necessary to complete the tasks along with the total cost of the project. A well-planned project will almost always be the most efficient in terms of costs and schedule. As you will discover in reading this article, development of the complete project plan is quite an in-depth challenge. This article is intended to outline the crucial points we think are the most important.

The top strategies for new project managers in the project planning stage are as follows:

1. Assemble Your Project Team

I’m a huge proponent that you should start building your team quite early on! Don't hold back until you have completed the entire plan all on your own. On more substantial projects, you will find that your team is everything - be persistent in the quest to build a powerful team. Your team will be your best tool you have as a project manager. Always remember this!

I am unable to over-stress just how essential it is to assemble a good team. It is your duty as the leader of the team to build up your team along the duration of the project. Team advancement is one area that must transpire continually all through your project, not just at the start. To be able to cultivate your team, ensure you perform team development exercises throughout. Many ideas for this can be found by doing an internet search.

2. Utilize Team Collaboration for Doing Your Project WBS

The work breakdown structure (WBS) is really a deliverable-centered classification of your complete project scope. The work breakdown structure in essence identifies the complete scope of the project within a hierarchical form. Generating the WBS is definitely a fundamental project management step that allows you to have a total awareness of everything that needs to be done. Even skilled project managers often don't take complete benefit of the value of a well-created work breakdown structure.

You ought to engage your team and use team collaboration tactics as a way to prepare your project WBS. This process will assure you include all scope elements and don’t neglect any, but almost more importantly will create team buy-in. The real worth of making use of team collaboration is always to generate a feeling of ownership between your team members for the various project activities. I suggest getting the team together in your project war-room (a boardroom you've dedicated to your project), persuading everyone to turn off their cell phones and doing aside with all other interruptions. At this meeting, sit down as a team, present a blank display screen on the wall and formulate your WBS together. I highly recommend using mind-mapping computer software for this activity.

3. Utilize Team Participation for Producing The Estimate & Schedule

I really believe the planning cycle offers the project manager with the best chances to develop team buy-in. As stated before, this is often most effectively achieved by engaging the team members very early within the planning process by means of cooperative exercises.

This is a big tip! Get the team included in estimating the budget and schedule they will, in the long run, be responsible for. You would be surprised how powerful this is and I have observed it’s worth often. It’s remarkable how hard your team will continue to work towards achieving their “own” commitment as opposed to a deadline which has been handed down. It’s a powerful difference - use the potential of this to your benefit. In the event you involve the team in your creation of the project budget and schedule you will end up light years ahead.

To summarize, the top tips that will assist you to produce the project plan are to first develop a strong team. The team will in turn help you in creating the plan which will follow. Once you've got your core team members into place, be sure you enlist them throughout the planning process so that you can create the very best plan possible as well as to establish team buy-in. In the end, your planning work will lead to a project work breakdown structure plus a written document, called the project management plan, that will highlight how you will manage all aspects of the project (such as scope, schedule, budget, human resources, quality, risk, change, project requirements and communications.) Project planning is one of the most important project management steps that you should complete in the entire project life-cycle. You will have to customize the components of your project management plan for your particular project, however, the components listed above are often the most common.