How many times have you started a project only to become overwhelmed with all the task you need to complete to reach your goal? A little planning, in the beginning, defines your project and if planned correctly allows you to see any issues that may arise. Project planning can be used at work or at home to keep you on task and finish your project in the allotted time. In short, project management saves time.
Where do you begin? Regardless of whether the project is for work or home, there are seven steps to project planning. You may address these steps slightly differently if it is a home improvement project versus the largest project your company has ever taken on.
Project Management Saves Time in 7 Steps
- Set the goal. What is it you are trying to accomplish? When does it need to be completed? Are there phases to the project? Create your tasks and collect information to define the scope of the project.
- Plan to meet the goal. Identify your resources. Who is available to work on this project? Meet with these people to make sure they are a good fit for your team and have the time available to work on your project. As you meet with your resources, add to your task list.
- Set the baseline for success to determine later if your goal has been met.
- Determine Dependencies and Constraints. Is there a planned event that might derail the project timeline? Do you have enough resources? What tasks need to be completed and in what order to get the project done.
- Set your critical path. The critical path is what needs to be achieved on time so as not to derail the project.
- Decide how you are going to track progress. Will there be a weekly update meeting? Who needs to attend and how often? Decide this now, and when the project begins, tell your team what they can expect.
- Report. How often are you going to send status updates? In what format will they come? Who needs to see the updates? If there are changes to the project plan, who needs to know? Do you need approval to change the project
Following these seven steps won’t guarantee the success of your project, but it will keep you in control and able to report on how tasks are progressing. Your plan is not set in stone. If you get off track, it is time to rework the plan. Just make sure to follow step 7 and get the proper approval.