The Project Planning Phase

One thing you will learn in any job is the importance of planning effectively. You know what they say: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Never has a phrase been more accurate. However, knowing how to prepare for a project can be somewhat of a challenge. The process needs to be adapted based on the type of project you are dealing with. With that in mind, read on to discover everything you need to know about planning effectively to ensure project success.

The type of project and the associated circumstances will determine the degree of project planning that is required. If you are managing a large project, a formalised structure in the planning phases can be of great assistance. However, if you are managing a project that is small and uncomplicated, you may not need such a formalised approach, nor may you require project management tools.

No matter what type of project you are involved with, it is important to follow a five-step process that was outlined by Larson and Gray. This is as follows:

1.    Define the scope of the project

2.    Establish the priorities of the project

3.    Create a work breakdown structure

4.    Integrate the work breakdown structure with the organisation

5.    Code the work breakdown structure for the information system

If you are to develop an accurate and clear foundation for your project, it is a good idea to follow the five steps that have been mentioned above. To start with, you should use a project scope checklist so that you can establish estimates with regards to resources, cost, and time, as well as putting together a list of clearly defined deliverables. Once the client has approved this, you have an agreement in place, which will guard against scope creep.

The next part of the process, which is establishing priorities, is also critical. This not only relates to the priorities relating to the outcome of your project, but also safeguarding the project through the likes of cybersecurity services. After all, the success of your project is very closely linked to scope, schedule, and budget. These components also impact one and other. This is why it is so important to have priorities in place.

You then need to subdivide project tasks into smaller work elements to create the work breakdown structure. This provides a clear visual of the project, enabling you to identify the performance expectations, as well as the time and cost, at different levels of the organisation.

You then need to link the tasks identified in the work breakdown structure with certain areas of the organisation. This is part four of the process. This ensures there is accountability for the various tasks.

Finally, coding the work breakdown structure is another critical part of project management planning. To identify work packages or levels of elements, numeric codes tend to be used. This is an effective way of classifying information for the project.

All in all, a thorough planning process is critical to the success of any project. You should follow the five-step process mentioned above, irrespective of what type of project you are in charge of, be it a straightforward or complex one.

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