As a project manager, you are supposed to be in charge of a project. You are the person in charge and are supposed to oversee a number of things including the timeline of the project, the resources to be utilized, and the need for a concrete project plan.
While it may be tempting for you to get things started immediately, before wasting any further time before the project is brought to fruition, we recommend that you actually start work with a project plan first. The project plan is absolutely necessary for the success of your overall project, and it is fairly hard to get the results you require without the right step-by-step plan at your behest. Without the right project plan, your team may be directionless and you will face hiccups you didn’t even imagine along the way.
If you proceed towards a project without a project plan at your disposal, you run the risk of overrunning your resources and not meeting the client goals set for you. A project plan brings all stakeholders and employees on the same page and makes sure that everyone understands what is up.
In this article, we take a look at the tips you can follow to plan for your project in the long run. These tips have been devised with due consideration and will help you get the best outcomes possible.
What is a Project Plan?
A project plan is basically a plan that describes the documentation of the entire project and describes how the project is to be monitored, controlled and closed in a timely manner. The outline sets all objectives that you should follow and clarifies the scope of the project for future inference and reference.
The plan is documented on paper and is available for everyone within the team to reference to. The project management plan is formally set and approved when the project starts and is updated during the course of the project.
How to Plan for a Project?
You might be intimidated by the idea of a project plan, but it isn’t all that hard. Some of the steps you can follow to plan for the project include:
Identify all Stakeholders
The first step you need to follow in the plan is to identify all your stakeholders and make sure that you are involved in every step of the way.
Some of the key stakeholders in the project will include:
● The customer or the client you are working with
● The end-user of the product or the project you are working on
● The company and the leaders present within your company
● The team you will be working with during the course of the project
Stakeholders can also include the members of the community and other organizations in your industry, but the stakeholders you should plan for in the project plan include the four mentioned above.
Define Key Roles
Once you identify the important stakeholders working with you on the project, you need to define the roles and responsibilities that will come under each stakeholder. You can work on that list to define what individual stakeholders have to do and how that affects the overall project.
Roles don’t necessarily have to be the same as the person they have been assigned to. Do not associate people with roles because you can have multiple individuals working on identical roles and can also have one individual working on multiple roles.
Some of the typical roles assigned to individual stakeholders include:
● Project team members
● Project managers
● Project sponsor
Hold a Meeting to Kick Things off
The kickoff meeting is highly necessary for bringing your entire plan to fruition. The kickoff meeting is basically a meeting you hold to get everyone together and bring things in order. Your kickoff meeting will give you a chance to get all of your stakeholders together. It will also allow you to cast a vision for the entire project and make sure that everyone is behind the plan you have made.
Finally, the kickoff meeting will help you establish decent working relationships and will help you organize introductions. You wouldn’t necessarily have specific details related to the project by this time. However, you can include a discussion on the scope, budget, goals and timeline of the project to gain more clarity on what is required for the future. This is also the right time to assign the roles you had decided above to everyone. Let them know what is expected of everyone so there isn’t any confusion.
Define the Project Budget, Timeline and Scope
Once you are done with the official kickoff meeting, you should sit and decide the three important concepts related to your project:
● The budget
● The project scope
● The timeline of the project
Each of these concepts requires some further explanation, which we do below. By the time you describe these three, you will have a full project plan ready.
The project scope is the first of the three important concepts and helps you find out what you’re going to do and what not to do. The scope should prioritize project requests from the customers and stakeholders.
The budget is extremely important and is something you should sit down and think through. The budget is based on a number of factors, including the resources and the objectives of the project. The budget should finish with an idea of the expected financial cost of your project.
The project timeline gives you an idea of the length of the project and when you can realistically expect the project to be completed.
You can create a detailed project plan by following the steps and directions above. Take control of things before the project starts and take it to completion successfully.