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November 01,2022 Leadership Development

Project Planning

Project Planning

Project Planning

Project Planning

A project plan is a continuation of the project charter, which is a continuation of the project concept. This means that during this planning process, you will learn more about the requirements of the project. You will be able to add and refine the assumptions and constraints. This leads you to the scope of the project.

The scope is everything that you needs to accomplish to  consider the project complete. It will include the goals of the project in addition to the milestones, or major accomplishments that need to be met. This will take high-level goals and break them down into specific actions that need to be completed. For example, when considering a class as a project, the scope would consist of class attendance, assigned coursework, exams, and a final paper. The exams and papers will consist of the project’s milestones. These are all the items needed to complete the course, with the work breakdown structure looking like the following:

Understanding the Scope

Understanding the scope helps the project manager drive down to the individual actions that need completed. The goal of great project management is that everyone knows exactly what to do and when. The same goes for if you are running a project by yourself; if you have it broken down into small steps by date, a project will never unique action should have an owner of who will complete it, when to start work, when it needs to be completed, and how much effort it will take. Effort is an estimate of how much time it will take to accomplish a task. For example, for a final paper, I can estimate that it will take me 10 hours of research, 2 hours of outlining, 6 hours to write, and 2 hours of editing for a total effort of 20 hours.

Scheduling

Once you have determined the scope or everything that needs to be accomplished, you will want to determine when the beginning and the end will be. A simple exercise is to use Post-it notes to create a timeline. You then take each action item and create a Post-it note for it. Include how much effort it will take to complete the task and annotate any dependencies are the items that must be accomplished before these actions take place. You will then want to arrange all the Post-it notes from beginning to end in linear order.

This starts with the timeline of events. Next, you will start at the end of the timeline, annotating the project completion date. You then schedule backwards based on your effort. For example, let’s say that my final paper is due on the 15th of December. I know that editing will take 2 hours, and I should accomplish that on the 14th of December. I cannot edit the paper until I write it, and I know that it will take me 2 days to write the paper. This means that I must start writing the paper on the 12th of December. This logic process helps you determine the minimum time you need to accomplish the entire project and helps you think through the process of effort and dependencies. The result is a project calendar of what actions are to be accomplished on what specific date.

Risks

You now have a great mental image of how the project will work from beginning to end. You will also be able to see worse-case scenarios. Thus, risk management planning begins. By reviewing the project, you ask yourself: What could go wrong? Those are your risks. Then, for each risk, you evaluate its occurrence probability and score it on a scale of 1 to 5, with a 1 indicating it is not very probable and 5 indicating a high likelihood of happening.

Next, you determine the impact that risk would have if it occurred. Lastly, you multiply those numbers together to give you a risk rating; this lets you know what you should really be nervous about and focus on. Those with a high-risk rating are then given a mitigation plan for how to avoid or stop the risk from happening, or what to do in the case that it does occur.

Quality

You will never want to do your project twice or, even worse, three, or four times over because you missed on quality. Typically, projects come with requirements for what is to be produced; the project plan then interjects quality checkpoints to ensure that errors are found earlier rather than later. A quality plan outlines the checkpoints of what needs to be reviewed, who reviews it, when, and what they should be looking for to ensure quality.

Procurement, Costs, & Stakeholders

Included in the project plan, basic management systems for cost control, such as what needs purchased for project success. For example, it is nearly impossible to function in college without access to a computer, and while your school may provide computers at the library, the access you have to them may be limited due to their hours of operation, thus making a personal laptop essential.

As a project manager, you will estimate how many items, such as these, will cost and develop your cost plan. This is simply how you will track your purchases to make sure you stay close to your estimates and what you will do if you go over your estimates. Continuing the example, you can be $5 over your estimate and just pay for it out of pocket because it is a small amount, or you can realize that you will need to purchase a new computer and figure out how you can acquire additional funding.

Last comes the stakeholder management plan. The stakeholders are everyone who will be impacted by this project. This can be the project champion, the customer, or the project team. The communication plan simply outlines what information needs to be communicated, when, by whom, and with what mode of communication. This is a key alignment tool to ensure that the project outcomes and issues are never a surprise.

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