21 Project Management Tips – Project Planning

January 15, 2013
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Project Management Lifecycle
Photo by IvanWalsh.com
While project initiation phase is foundation to construct a building, starting building constructions without a plan is a No Go. In the post titled 21 Project Management Tips – Project Initiation, I explored 21 tips for the project managers during the initiation phase. Lets me me share the my top 21 tips during Project Planning phase.

  1. Planning is an ongoing process. Therefore, please keep in mind that, though we have a dedicated panning phase, we can never have a plan that is not needed to be changed.
  2. Project Scope. Though project scope may not be signed off, however, it must be clear enough so that the project cannot be rejected by stakeholders after it is delivered.
  3. Be sure what is unclear about the scope and put it in the status report. Make a clear recommendation about how you would want to handle the ambiguous parts of project scope.
  4. Identify procurement needs by performing make/buy assessment or cost/benefit analysis.
  5. Decisions! A project manager has to take decisions in almost every minute of his job. Make a clear decision making framework for the team to follow.
  6. The execution approach will make you go for the killing. Though there is a project plan, having an appropriate execution approach helps in keeping the plan flexible while the high level plan remains undisturbed.
  7. As smaller details and problems begin to emerge with project progress, therefore, devise a change management framework to assist in accommodating such changes in the project plan.
  8. Define ownership in the team. Give responsibility of the projects’ parts/modules/areas to core team members. This brings us to the next step…
  9. Delegate. Put a plan in place to delegate to the right people.
  10. Prepare a project risk register. A risk register should be a central place where all the risks related to the project are documented and tracked regularly. Appropriate risks must be communicated to the stakeholders in a timely manner.
  11. Make a plan to monitor and control the project. This plan must be based on the organizational framework, stakeholder’s needs and interests.
  12. Identify and agree on the stakeholder’s information needs and prepare a communication plan.
  13. Identify the information collection and communication tools you would like to use. For example, email, Wiki, organizational or public social networks, etc.
  14. Identify project indicators based on success criteria. Your project status report must bring transparency as per project agreed indicators.
  15. The project team is the pulse of the progress. Ensure that you plan to discuss project status frequently, almost daily basis.
  16. Prepare a project deliverables list.
  17. Prepare a work breakdown structure (WBS) based on the scope, deliverables and high level schedule.
  18. Prepare a resource plan based on skill assessment, needs of the project.
  19. With all this information, you can now prepare project estimates.
  20. Identify training needs in the project. Roles should be taken up by right people with the precise skills.
  21. Go back to point 1 and refine the plan.

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