A lot of people think project planning isn’t such a complicated thing to do. Just decide your team, assign tasks and you’re good to go some would say. Although they are somewhat right, there’s more to it than it meets the eye.
Great project planning is crucial if you want to keep things afloat and if done poorly it can be devastating for everything and everybody – you, your team and most importantly, the client. Always think of it as your guiding star, for when things are both good and bad. Your project plan should be your first and last stop for everything.
The whole project planning isn’t rocket science either. Be sure to follow this guide and you’ll be on your way to success in no time.
Many of us receive a project and we immediately go for the planning part. It’s important to take a breather and break it down a bit. Chunking your project into series of smaller parts will make the whole thing easier to understand. This will give you a head start in determining on which part you should invest more resources and time. You’ll also have a better decision on what are the possible milestones and small goals for each part.
By breaking down your project it’ll be easier to familiarize your team with the whole idea – making them more confident at nailing it right from the start. The more you’re are specific about it, the more confidence they’ll have in you as well. You already started the magic motivation circle.
Be mindful of everyone involved both directly and indirectly:
Start envisioning your team and project managers, define stakeholders, think about the deliverables from each part of the project your client will want to see.
Set Those Goals
Now that you have a clearer overview it’s time to set the goals off each part of the project. First of all, having more goals instead of the final one will add to the motivation, the project will be easier to accomplish and you’ll have plenty of reasons to celebrate along the way. Especially if you’re running a bigger project. Each goal is a big prize, a milestone that will keep you push on to the end.
Set one giant audacious goal of the entire thing – make everything about that WHY together with your team. Running a project without that grand goal at the end of the road is like driving aimlessly without a steering wheel.
Define And Assign Tasks
It’s time to define all the tasks of each part of the project. It’s important to define all tasks in detail for each goal and milestone you’ve set before, as you’ll be more efficient at assigning people to those tasks and you’ll know where to prioritize. This will make your job easier as a leader – all your team members will work on the things they have an interest for and you’ll ensure they develop themselves.
Time To Select The Perfect Team
You’re almost there. Having all the objectives and tasks defined you can now create that perfect team – for all the reasons we’ve mentioned in the step before. But, here’s the real why – you will keep the numbers optimal. Select the smallest team possible. This won’t be a problem as you already know who you need and for what. This will make your project crew efficient and your delegating troubles won’t be so troublesome anymore.
Edit And Revisit
Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet. It’s important to go through all steps once more and make cuts when needed. Even with the people. Show that a brilliant project is the one that’s done with minimum errors and perfect flow right from the beginning. As you have that final version, ask for feedback from the team, managers, and everybody involved. No, you aren’t doing this to brag, a lot of times people will see something you may have overlooked and you’ll give yourself a piece of mind.
Estimate Time And Develop The Timeline
Now that’s all done, you have to worry about your worst adversary – time. Decide on the duration of every task along the way. Be specific with this one as it will determine the duration of the project and you want to see where you can adjust to reach that deadline. Lay everything out on a timeline. There you have it – the grand picture of everything before it even started unfolding. All you need to do is lead your troops to victory.
Many of us like to layout our project timelines from start to finish, but here’s a pro tip – reverse it. Plan your timeline backward from the deadline to the start. This will put you into an agility mode, you’ll see better where the issues with the projects flow may arise. The important thing is to have a front lead on every part.
Keep Everything On Track
Take advantage of technology and utilize your favorite project management tool and transfer everything to it. A lively tool that uses timeline modes will ensure you have a clear overview of every little thing as you go. Set your team meeting times to keep the track of how things are developing on the field and be sure to communicate everything.
Be mindful and aware of any possible obstacles before they occur. If you followed the steps before, you’ll know exactly when this may be and you’ll know what problems are and when to address them. A good option is to work on and devise communications and risk management plans that will further help you with achieving solutions and overcoming problems.
Always make sure you’re developing yourself as a leader as well. Establish that team culture and provide guidance for every question that arises.
Rewards And Recognitions
What do you do when you reach the goals and milestones you defined? Celebrate of course! Every victory and goal along the way. Pop open that beer bottles and cheer yourself for a job well done. Motivate your team members to always do better and reward them for their work. Appraise individuals on project meetings and keep the healthy competition going.
That’s it you guys, nothing to it. Best of luck with your future projects!
Josip is an aspiring content marketer and an outreach specialist at PointVisible and freelance writer at Teamweek. Other than marketing, he likes to grab a good book and read about different leadership ideas and styles.