Project Planning Tips

Posted on Posted in Project Management Tips

Here are some tips that you may find useful when preparing project plans.

  • Identify business need and project objectives. Ensure that there is a business need, and how the project fulfills that need is clear. This will get your project higher priority and better visibility. This will also guide you and your business analysts when making project decisions.
  • Acquire project approval. Ensure that the project is officially approved by an executive sponsor. This ensures that the resources needed by the project will be available as planned.
  • Get stakeholders’ buy-in. Commitments from stakeholders (e.g. domain experts, technical staff) are equally important. Know your stakeholders and their needs, as this will keep them interested in pursuing the project.
  • Review historical records. Look for past projects in your organization that are similar to your project. Review the successes and failures of the project or interview the people involved. You can use these information to make a more substantial, relevant and feasible plan.
  • Manage project risks. Identify the project risks and make sure that mitigations are performed. Also consider preparing contingency plans for when the risk occurs.
  • Start with the minimum. Prepare the minimum project plan, you will have time to add plan on other areas as project progresses. My recommended minimum planning areas are:
    • Project Scope – Note that this is not the scope of the product, rather the scope of the project which discusses about the activities needed for the project.
    • Project Team Structure – Project team organizational chart, roles/responsibilities and assignments, # of resources and skill levels.
    • Milestone and Schedule – Milestones with due dates, deliverables and owners.
    • Communication Plan – meetings, status reports.
    • Risks and Issues Management Plan – List all known issues and risks.
  • Support progressive elaboration. Changes are inevitable as project progresses. You must be prepared to adjust the plan to these uncontrollable factors and make sure that proper change control process is in place – that is, ensure stakeholders are aware of changes.

3 thoughts on “Project Planning Tips

  1. Hi. This is really helpful. I like these tips especially the item/s pertaining to minimum project plans.

  2. Support progressive elaboration – nice point, project management should be flexible enough to adjust to unforeseen events, yet firm enough to withstand scope creep and many other unwanted side effects. PMBOK – the guide. Nice short but meaty blog! I’ll come back to this when I nail a PM job :p

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