The importance of planning in project management

Posted by Niall Sullivan

29-Aug-2017 08:00:00

Importance of planning in project management

Planning in any job role, in any industry, is crucial in order to achieve organisational and team goals.

But in project management, small margins can have a big impact on whether a project fails or is a success.

This blog post will outline the importance of planning in project management.

Why is it important to have a plan?

Good planning can make all the difference. Personal development expert Brian Tracy has stated that every minute spent planning saves as much as ten minutes in execution.

Therefore, by spending just 15 minutes planning out your day, you can save 2.5 hours of your time. Think about all the extra tasks you can now complete!

Manage potential project risks

Manage potential project risks

Now we know that managing project risks can be difficult at times. The problem is, they are hard to predict. Some that seem quite small to start with sometimes escalate and new ones appear out of nowhere.

Nonetheless, having a plan can still help you. By having the more common risks noted down so that you’re aware of them from the start, allows you to plan accordingly.

For more variable risks, make a note of these and decide how you would deal with them if they arise. You can then continue to monitor them throughout your project to see how much of an effect, if any, that they have.

The important thing to remember is that the plan does not have to be set in stone. You can add, change and adjust as you go.

Also, it is useful to include these 4 key details from this eBook by Pressbooks:

  • Identify the major elements in managing project risk.
  • Describe the processes for identifying project risk.
  • Describe the processes for evaluating risk.
  • Describe the processes for mitigating risk.

Defining these at an early stage will mitigate any additional problems as your project progresses.

Better use of resources

Whether you’re part of a small or large organisation, the ability to use your resources in the most effective way is key to a successful project.

The first step to achieving this is identifying these key areas:

  • Roles and responsibilities of each team member
  • Number of people needed for each role
  • The type equipment required to be productive
  • Job locations for each individual project task

With of all of these in place, you should now have a clear idea of the resources that you have at your disposal and more importantly, how to use them effectively.

Improved communication

Improved communication

It goes without saying, that communication is a fundamental part of project management. In fact, according to one of the industry’s leading resources Project Smart, it takes up 90% of a project manager's time.

So with so much of your working life focused on communicating with your team, then surely it makes sense to have a plan in place?

The answer is a resounding yes. A project communication plan can help you and your team to understand the following:

What needs to be shared

Each stakeholder group has different priorities and therefore must be supplied with only the details that they are interested in.

How often should it be shared?

It is important to get the right balance between giving too frequent feedback and not enough. More importantly, you must provide each stakeholder group with the appropriate amount of communication that THEY need.

How will it be communicated?

Project management software is quickly becoming essential for managing small and large projects alike. In fact, two-thirds of companies are communicating with clients using it!

Download Free Guide - 10 Killer Features to look for in a Project Extranet

Help to identify goals

Most people have professional and personal goals.

Or so you would think. One study has found that 83% of the population do not have goals and another has found that only 5% of the workforce understand their organisation’s strategy.

But why are they so key to the success of a project? According to Barney and Griffin they serve four basic functions. They:

  • Provide guidance and direction – Helps you to choose the correct path.
  • Facilitate planning – With a goal in mind, you’re able to plan for possible obstacles that might get in the way of achieving it.
  • Motivate and inspire employees – Setting targets can help to push team members to go and above and beyond what is expected of them.
  • Help organisations evaluate and control performance – If no goals have been set, how do organisations know that team members are performing as expected?

 

Topics: project management