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07 September, 2019

7 questions to ask yourself when making a project plan

Part 2
  • Planning

In the previous article, we discussed three essential questions you should ask yourself when making a project plan. Here are four more topics to consider.

Question № 4. Costing

Planning a project is hard, especially when speaking about money.

You must already know that statistically, the majority of projects are done with going overbudget. According to a research done by McKinsey that studied large IT-projects, budget deficit happens in 45% of the cases.

This is usually explained by the difficulty of predicting the exact cost of the project before it starts. Apart from that, there are often unexpected challenges that also increase the volume of expenditures.

Despite all that, you will have to estimate the possible resource costs when making a project plan.

Include all your costs in the project plan and then add a specific amount for unforeseen costs so that you leave room for yourself. Nobody knows beforehand how much you will have to add but increasing the budget on 10-15% is usually enough.

Question № 5. Relationships

Sometimes work on a project is like playing dominos. It’s impossible to do a particular task before the previous one is finished and so on.

It makes sense to determine such relationships while planning the project to make an effective timetable.

Critical Path Method will help determine these connections effortlessly creating a project model that includes:

  • A list of all tasks necessary for making the project;
  • Relationships between those tasks;
  • Time period necessary for every operation.

If you do this before creating a timetable, it will be easier to place the tasks in the right order. Moreover, you will be able to state the deadlines more realistically.

Question № 6. Timetable

Now is the time to set the dates. You would just do it off the top of your head? We understand – this stage of planning might be very tedious.

Fortunately, there is a very simple way of creating a timetable: moving from the end to the beginning. Determine the date when the project must be finished and then move back from that point.

Doing that, you have to keep in mind relationships so that all the tasks are in the right order.

Just like with budget, it’s a good idea to add a little bit more time just in case. We all tend to overestimate our abilities regarding execution of longstanding tasks so some extra time might be of help.

Question № 7. Interaction

When managing a project, it is essential to have a plan of information exchange. Research shows that 57% of projects fail due to ineffective interaction between team members. Disregarding this factor might cost you a lot of money.

Your project plan must include the basic rules of information exchange including frequency and used methods of interaction.

In a perfect world, your set of tools for project planning would include a work management platform allowing to exchange information in a centralized way. That being said, it is still necessary to take into account the following details:

  • Should the interaction happen only on that platform? Are there situations when email or chats will also be used?
  • Are you going to hold regular meetings? Who must attend them?
  • Do you want to receive new information from specific team members regularly?

You may think it’s too much but when we are speaking of project management and planning, it is better to determine all the details beforehand than leave room for interpretation.

Start with the basics and become guru in project planning

If you are only starting to learn how to make project plans, this task might seem very difficult. It will become much easier if you add the basic elements to the scheme and then fill in the blanks.

To make it even easier for you, try looking for a project management software, such as BM.

You will get rid of chaos and fuss before you know it.

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