Planning is by far the most important aspect of managing and executing any project, no matter what the project is and what its purpose is. You should always be looking to improve your overall planning process and project management skills, especially when you are running a business… the planning process sets the tone for an entire project and miss-planning can lead to headaches further down the line.
By working on and using a thorough and comprehensive planning strategy before the actual planning and commencement of a project, you are able to start something off which has a smaller margin for error and is more likely to succeed.
By carrying out this due diligence and focussing on improving your planning process, you will get your project off on the right foot and it will be far more likely to succeed. This is especially important if you are working with a tight budget or have a small team.
Optimizing Your Project Planning and Project Management
There are lots of ways you can optimize and improve your overall project planning process. Speaking from experience, here are some of the best ways to do this:
1. Start by evaluating your current process
This is the only way you can figure out where the problems are. Take a look at what’s working and what isn’t and weed out parts of the process which appear to be ineffective. For example, what are your team’s strengths and weaknesses, and is your current planning process catering to these for maximum efficiency?
2. Use project planning tools
I can’t stress enough the difference that the use of comprehensive and modern project planning tools can make to the overall success of it. There are plenty of tools and software solutions available on the internet which can take your project planning to the next level. Whether you are looking to estimate time, assign resources, break down the workload into smaller tasks or hold virtual meetings, project planning tools should be implemented and used by any serious start-up company.
3. Place an emphasis on communication throughout
During any project which has an element of team collaboration in it (so, all of them) it is very important to keep communication constantly flowing with one another. If you allow lack of communication to take hold, it’ll very quickly start taking its toll on the project as deadlines are missed and confusion causes people to make mistakes which could be costly. Again, the right project planning tool such as the one above can help with collaborative communication by providing a means for messages to be conveyed in one place where everyone working on the project can see them.
4. Look at project constraints
When you’ve got an idea of what your project involves, it’s always a good idea to consider any constraints as part of the planning stage. Certain projects can be inherently risky, and this can prevent them from flourishing, but by being aware of this from the outset you are more likely to succeed in the long-term as you can adapt your project to avoid them. If you don’t understand or know what your potential constraints are at the start of a project, you will find that you may have to re-plan your project which may involve re-negotiating with clients.
5. Keep tabs on what everyone is doing
Now, I am not saying that you constantly need to be checking in on your people like some form of helicopter boss, but it helps to know what’s going on. Again, this is where a project management tool comes in – you are able to keep tabs on people remotely without making your team think that you are being overly pedantic. By having a quick glance at your team’s work, you can always be in the know when it comes to your project’s progress which allows for further planning and the identification of problems as they arise.
Project planning and pr0ject management are by far the dullest parts of any project, but they are a vital part of the process that can make the difference between success and failure. By sufficiently planning projects and using the right project management tools, you can get your project off on the right fun and have a better handle over it throughout.