9 steps to an efficient project planning process

project planning procedure

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Discover the measures you can take to ensure project success in 9 steps. Find the actions you can take to ensure a project’s success.

Which phases make up project planning?

There are nine crucial steps in the project planning process. Follow these steps to create your project plan:

1. Establish the project’s aims and objectives

Defining your project goals and objectives is the first step in the project planning phase.

The project’s goals and objectives will help you decide whether to prioritize it or even launch it; in this case, you’ll mainly need a proof of concept. They’ll also help you decide what you want to give the customer, and quickly identify any potential problems, such as a short lead time.

Your project’s objectives help define its direction and give a general idea of what you’re trying to achieve.

Your project’s objectives are similar to yours, but they specify the project in greater detail in terms of budget, schedule and quality. It’s easy to determine your project’s deliverables once you know the objectives.

Review the data collected during the project launch phase to determine your company’s goals and objectives.

Let’s take an example: the project description or proposal suggests that the customer needs an online store to manage the number of orders placed on his social media accounts. In this case, his objective is to launch an e-commerce site. His goals might include launching a fast, user-friendly e-commerce site by the end of the fourth quarter at a cost of $20,000.

If you don’t know where to start, check out online project planning templates or the more specialized project diagram templates, which can help you save time and effort.

2. Establish project scope

Throughout the course of a project, stakeholders frequently request additional tasks or major changes of direction (sometimes several) that could cause the project to fail.

As the project progresses, its scope will protect you from unrealistic expectations, conflicting interests and unachievable requirements.

Review your project goals and objectives to determine their scope. What steps do you need to take to achieve them? Which are not necessary? For example, the scope of a new housing project may be limited to the construction and finishing of the building, but exclude landscaping or the installation of an outdoor pool. And it certainly doesn’t include adopting a skyscraper design!

It’s common to feel uncertain about every detail. We advise you to be flexible in your approach. You can carry out a more or less detailed analysis. It’s useful to start vaguely, get some initial feedback, then be more specific.

The use of a scope document or scope statement allows you to refer to it when necessary (this can be done in a variety of ways).

3. Establish your work breakdown structure (WBS)

At this stage, start identifying the tasks, subtasks and deliverables that need to be completed in order to properly manage the project. You can do this by referring to your scope and creating a work breakdown structure, a structured breakdown of the tasks required to complete a project.

In his book Project Management for Humans, Brett Harned highlights the value of the work breakdown structure, asserting that “creating a work breakdown structure for any plan or set of tasks will help you better understand the work that needs to be done within a given project.”

You can establish a written work breakdown framework:

  • Break down your project with a Kanban diagram, using Trello for example,
  • Map tasks and deadlines using Gantt charts in a capacity management tool like Asana,

Starting with the project itself, break it down into major parts or workflows. For example, the first tasks for an e-commerce site would be to set up the site’s infrastructure and authentication, configure the payment gateway and create the shopping cart system.

You can go further by breaking down your workflow into smaller tasks (don’t forget to include management tasks at every stage!) For an e-commerce site, tasks such as registering a domain name, setting up web hosting and load balancing are all linked to setting up the website infrastructure.

Our tip: if you use a project management tool like Trello or Asana to create your WBS, you can integrate it with Teambook to easily assign tasks based on your team’s skills, availability and capacity.

4. Establish due dates

You can now set deadlines for each task you’ve created individually.
Project deadlines help you stay on schedule and estimate the completion date. Typically, deadlines are plotted using a resource management program such as Teambook or a Gantt chart.
You can create deadlines by asking your team how long certain activities take, or by comparing the duration of tasks in related projects.

Other elements to be taken into account when drawing up schedules are as follows:

  • Establish checkpoints for project milestones: an example of a milestone would be the completion of the engineers’ work on the e-commerce site backend after two months from the start date.
  • Recognize time limits: Your schedule may have to be adapted to meet customer deadlines. In this case, you may have to take the shortest route.

5. Determine and schedule resources

The right people and resources are essential to a project’s success. This step is crucial and should never be underestimated. A tool like Teambook is perfectly suited to managing these tasks.

The resource planning process of project management involves several stages of hypothesis formulation and estimation. But you need to have a general idea of the resources you need based on previous processes, your scope and your objectives.

For example, you’ll need a developer, designer and copywriter if you’re creating an e-commerce site. For the website, you’ll also need to purchase hosting and a domain name. If the team works remotely, you’ll need to offer them access to meeting space so they can cooperate.

Bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, HVAC specialists and supplies such as sand, stone, wood, pipes and cables are all needed to build a new home.

When organizing your project resources, make sure you :

  • Define the requirements and talents you need.
  • Check the availability of resources in the future.
  • Check if there are any additional requirements, for example if you need to find a developer with a specific certification.

To ensure the success of your project, you need to make sure you have the right people and the right skills. You also need to ensure that the tasks in your strategy are clearly defined.

6. Calculate your time budget

A difficult task in project planning is to balance your budget with your partners’ desire for financial savings.

On the other hand, if you underestimate expenses, you run the risk of running out of resources halfway through the project. You can use the following to get an idea of the project’s time budget:

  • Based on the project objectives and the customer’s expectations, what is your approximate estimate of the total time required to complete the project? This figure is not precise. Let your customers know that the project may take a little more or less time. When you need to provide an estimate before making decisions on factors such as work organization structure or resources, use this technique, taking a 20% safety margin.
  • Parametric estimation: For cost estimation, use historical data from the resource management tool for projects of similar size and complexity. Take averages of actual time spent on 3-5 projects to give you an idea, even if it means again taking a safety margin in order to communicate a realistic quote.

Choose your approach… and keep track of actual times. Ask your team leaders to monitor the progress of the project and the “remaining time to spend” according to the number of days already completed and/or planned. Once again, a tool like Teambook enables you to track this information precisely, and provides adequate reporting to monitor progress and anticipate overruns.

7. Assessing risks and constraints

No project is free of risks or constraints. The key to preventing a project from failing is to recognize potential risks and develop an action plan to mitigate them. Creating a risk register, or a file that summarizes all potential risks and related information, is one way to prepare properly. The creation of a risk register, or a document summarizing all potential risks and related information, is one way of preparing properly.

8. Organize your communication

Drawing up a communications strategy is a prerequisite for developing a project plan.

Please provide information on the following items:

  • Communication channels: email correspondence is one way to communicate with customers, but Slack is the main way team members communicate.
  • Frequency: This can be once a week, as needed, asynchronously or by milestone.
  • Style of communication and details: team members actively working on the project often want more detailed information, while managers generally need less detail and higher-level knowledge.
  • Contact details: To avoid delays, determine who you’re addressing and what type of information you’re sending.

Did you know?

Teambook centralizes your collaborators and projects, so everyone can always see who’s working on what and when. Automate notifications via Slack, e-mail and mobile to inform the team when plans change.

9. Create quality control and assurance programs

Project quality control planning involves establishing guidelines for managing, assuring and maintaining standards within the project.Without a plan, it will be very difficult to achieve the desired results. Without a plan, it will be very difficult to achieve the desired results. You may come across an e-commerce website that loads slowly, or a plumbing system that malfunctions!

To define quality control measures, you must :

  • use the knowledge of internal experts on best practices
  • industry standards: for example, e-commerce sites must have a fast, secure payment system
  • Work with key players to determine quality expectations.
  • In addition, your strategy should specify acceptance criteria, who is responsible for approving the work, and any corrective measures.

Why is software for project planning important?

Project planning involves a great deal of guesswork. Project planning software facilitates this process by providing a central location for plan documentation and stakeholder sharing. Project planning software facilitates this process by providing a central location for plan documentation and stakeholder sharing. It automates the definition of milestones and deadlines. What’s more, it provides reliable historical data to facilitate decision-making for future projects.

By using project planning software, you can anticipate potential hazards and resource limitations before they occur. By monitoring the capacity and availability of your resources, you can locate the necessary expertise within your resource pool and efficiently plan your project from start to finish.

Project schedules are subject to change.

Planning is an iterative process. If you fall behind schedule, don’t hesitate to reorganize your resources or take cost-saving measures. If your stakeholder communication strategy isn’t working, review it and try other approaches.

All project participants need to contribute if the project is to be successful, and this can only be achieved with a solid project plan. Try Teambook to plan your projects!

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