One week – seven Mondays: project planning

Time is the currency of our lives and the way we spend it on planning things and projects speaks volumes. It has implications for as long as a project lasts. 

How often a project planned in a hustle chased you into the turmoil of sleepless nights? And made days stuck into an endless Monday… . “Oh, no! Not yet another hassle!”, i hear it more often than i wish. “Oh, yes, it’s Monday again”, responds, with a grim, the hurried project.  

“Projects fail at the beginning, not the end”, to quote Joseph Phillips. One of sacred rules of project management is Plam well. Planning well requires time and effort. 

Time and effort smartly invested in planning pays off with less demand for corrective actions and a greater adherence to schedule. 

There should be project planners, i think sometimes. Wedding planners are in high demand these days. So why not, project planners? Or act yourself as a good project planner. Planning skills are a must, but not everyone is a keen planner. Some project managers are keen implementers instead. 

If you or another team member is a good planner, then you know what to do to avoid endless Mondays, i.e. ground zero or back to prep zone:

1. Prepare your plan for planning,

2. Know whom and what (data) you need to make the plan. Data is key for the baseline. So are gate-keepers.

3. Pen&pencil or pixel your first rough plan,

4. Discuss it with someone knowledgeble. Talk to experts. Peer review it. Get critical. Ask questions. 

5. Re-estimate, re-assess timelines, resources and dependencies. Sleep over.

6. Submit it for internal approval, if applicable.

7. Discuss it at length with the project partner/client.

8. Formalise it, i.e. Get the Board/ Sponsor’s stamp, if needed. 

Don’t:

– leave details to chance,

– forget your assumptions,

– assume planning is a one off exercise,

– copy-paste from another plan. Unless you want to put to work your recovering troubled projects skills.

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