“Project plans are one of the most essential elements yet the most misunderstood term in the field of project management.”
As an entrepreneur, a business owner, a project manager, you wonder why your business requires a project plan? Let’s just assume that you have recently shifted to Barcelona. You are staying at Casa Mila and you wish to travel to the famous church of the Sagrada Familia. If you don’t have Google Map or GPS with you, it becomes rather difficult for you to reach your destination.
Similarly, a project plan is the roadmap which takes you to your destination. It guides you through all the roads, helping you take the shortest and traffic free route to your destination. It makes sure that you take proper stops and encounter less hindrance when you are on your way to the location. In fact, if you are out on the road and plan on grabbing a cup of coffee, it readily changes the route to accommodate your need.
A project plan does the same for you. Maybe, the plan that you brainstorm at the onset may align with your initial idea but later on transform as the requirements evolve and scope becomes more clear. It undergoes multiple alterations, allowing you to discuss key components which are vital for business success.
Identify the Necessary Components Beforehand for Your Next Project Plan
To initiate any project, there are three starting points.
- Defining the scope of the project.
- Scheduling how tasks will be performed.
- And forecasting the overall cost incurred.
When you set the baseline for a project, it is essential that you address all three in cohesion. The baseline is a key component of any project plan as it determines whether the project is on the right track during the execution phase or has served.
When you create baseline management plans beforehand, it enables you to easily identify potential variances that can become a hindrance within the project execution phase. If you know them beforehand, you would be better able to resolve them as soon as they pop up.
It is also critical that you include plans for risk management, procurement, staffing and communication, and other related resources beforehand as well.
Align your Stakeholders in Perspective of your Big Project Plan
To make projects possible, it is important to identify key stakeholders. In case you are planning to start with a big project, you might have to go through conflicts and deeper requirement analysis in order to find out which stakeholders are the right fit for your business.
If you are working on a large project, you will have to assemble several teams to achieve the goal. You will need a separate team to engineer the product, a suite of developers to code the product, teams of consultants to provide insight, etc. Make sure you are clear on which objectives need to be addressed first and by whom, as some teams may have limited views to follow the big picture. They are good to perform micromanagement, and their insights can help you fix minor errors.
Create a Powerful Project Scope Statement in your Project Plan
You need to make sure that all your stakeholders stand in unison once you start with the execution, and to do that, you need a powerful project scope statement. It will be one of the most important documents for your business.
Make sure to create a project scope statement that grabs the attention of buy-ins, sponsors and other stakeholders at the same time. If your scope statement is diverse, it can eradicate the chances of miscommunication.
Akin to your project plan, the document will see many alterations as you move deeper with your project. Think of your scope statement as a contract between project managers and the sponsors which will be changed as per the sponsor’s approval.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind while designing the perfect project scope statement:
- Address the need and how it resolves the problem.
- How your product will solve other the problems faced by other businesses.
- Include all the benefits and justifications of why it should be created.
- All deliverables that can be included or excluded in creating it.
- Specify important milestones before you hit the completion mark.
Create the Scope Baseline for Deliverables in Your Project Plan
The moment your deliverables are confirmed, make sure that your scope statement is developed into a practical work breakdown structure. Once you have aligned the deliverables, it will become your project’s scope baseline, delineating the goals to be achieved.
When you are putting together a project baseline, make sure to schedule the tasks accordingly:
- Identify the activities and tasks required to produce the deliverables.
- Identify the resources needed to produce the deliverables.
- Estimate how much time will be required to complete all tasks.
- Estimate how much time each resource will require to complete.
- Create tasks which are interlinked with each other and work coherently.
- Keep your tasks all pinned into a calendar and follow schedules religiously.
- Don’t forget to create a cost baseline (which is cost by time budget).
Create the Steps Involved in Managing and Achieving the Project Plan
As soon as the scope, schedule and cost baseline of the project is standardized, it is now time to organize the steps required to manage and achieve the required project plan.
- Analyze who will need what reports and in how many intervals.
- Also, make sure how they want to receive them, and in which format.
- Assemble the details on how the reports will be issued.
- Identify the risks that are required to be dealt with and find solutions.
- Ensure that quality product is built on metrics that are the best.
Developing a project plan is of vital importance if you want your project to turn into a success. Businesses which do not integrate an effective project plan with their processes often observe a decline in their performance gradients and ultimately end up investing additional budget and facing failure in meeting specified deadlines.
As a stable firm or a firm that works in a product-based industry, if you are not designing the best solution for your business practices, you may certainly end up suffering great business demise.
You of all, certainly don’t want that to happen now, do you?