Provisional project planning: what you need to know

project planning procedure

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What is project forecasting? And how can it help your project company set up the most profitable future work pipeline?

It may seem that preliminary project planning takes up a lot of time. This is more of an advantage than a necessary operational element. However, service companies that carefully study preliminary and confirmed projects will reap the rewards.

Here’s everything you need to know about why and how to start a preliminary project planning process, and the tools to help you do it quickly and accurately.

What is provisional project planning?

In simple terms, provisional project planning is the process of planning a project that you’re not yet sure will be completed successfully.

Why plan a project that may never come to fruition? Project managers may feel that preliminary planning is a waste of valuable time. Yet there are many benefits to preliminary planning, both personal and organizational.

The benefits of provisional project planning

Recognize the effects of proposed projects on available resources and capacities

In a professional services company, every project is likely to have an impact on other projects. So, even if a project isn’t certain, you need to know how it will affect your team’s overall workload.

What resources are still available in the workplace? What capacity do you still have? Do other projects still have a chance of going ahead as planned? Do you need to commit additional resources?

By planning the project in advance, you can find the answers to these questions and make more informed decisions that will lead to better results.

Consider project assumptions to refine your plan using real-time information

Some temporary projects won’t come to fruition, but others will. And when they do, you want your budget and schedule to be accurate. Without a provisional plan, you risk basing your entire project plan on unnecessary project assumptions.

You may not have known that your favorite junior engineer wasn’t available when you needed her. This means you have to call in a more expensive resource, or move tasks around until he or she is available. If this ends up blowing your budget or delaying the project, it’s something that could have been avoided.

Examine several project combinations to determine which will produce the best result for your company.

This raises the question of scenario planning. It’s at this stage that it’s best to use a provisional project plan to test several project combinations, in order to choose the one that best matches your company’s objectives.

For example, projects A and B can make a lot of money. However, you should prevent project C from going any further, as it would require the same qualified resources. If Project C is a lower-value project from a regular high-value customer, you could choose a combination that would make Project C more successful. Through preliminary project planning, you may discover that Project C + A makes more sense as a combination. However, you won’t know because you won’t have modeled all the scenarios.

What is a provisional project?

An unconfirmed project is called a provisional project. Here are some examples of provisional projects:

  • a customer project that has been proposed but not yet agreed (perhaps until you can provide a realistic plan and timetable)
  • a sudden project that emerges; you need to determine whether it’s feasible right away. a project that your company has proposed but that hasn’t yet come to fruition.

The problem of incomplete project planning

Rigorous project planning has the disadvantage of taking up a lot of time. Tactical project planning can waste a lot of time if you plan your tasks manually using tools such as excel spreadsheets!

What’s more, project managers lead hectic lives. Instead of tinkering with plans for unfinished projects, they’d rather manage the ones they already have.

How can you use Teambook to improve your project planning?

With Teambook capacity planning software, planning potential projects is as simple and straightforward as planning verified projects. Simply enter “provisional” as the project status. For your benefit and that of others, you can choose a suffix and color specific to provisional projects, different from that of verified projects, thus visually indicating that they are not yet finalized.

Discover the steps involved in building a project in Teambook in this tutorial and assign them specific colors to differentiate between provisional and ongoing projects.

In conclusion

Your project managers may feel that drawing up a provisional schedule is an unnecessary expenditure of time. We hope we’ve demonstrated the benefits to your project company in terms of organizational capacity, scenario planning, project planning and results.

With the right tools, preliminary project planning will be much easier to integrate into your project managers’ already busy schedules, increasing the efficiency and accuracy of the work they do.

Try Teambook free of charge to discover how simple initial planning can be. You don’t need a credit card, and your options are unlimited.

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Sign Up for FREE and start using Teambook in seconds!​

Free 30-day trial

Sign Up for FREE and start using Teambook in seconds!​

Free 30-day trial