Planning a project is the most essential activity that determines the success of a project. It ensures that everyone involved understands the same thing, sets the target, arranges communication flow, and acts as a reference during the whole course of the project. 

Whenever you’re about to start one, don’t rush. Take considerable time to think about how you want to carry out this project. If you decide to neglect it and start working without any clear direction, you will have to prepare for failure. Project failure is obviously something that we want to avoid at all costs. 

Maybe you have successfully accomplished many projects or maybe it’s your first time as a project manager. Either way, this article will help you by giving you insight about planning a project and steps that need to be taken.

What is project planning?

Project planning is a set of document that describes how a project will be executed, monitored, controlled, and completed. The purpose of planning a project is to decide the scope of the project. The parties involved in this project will use this planning to determine whether this project is on track or not. 

Project planning is approved at the beginning of the project. However, your team and your clients might progressively update it while working on a project. 

There are at least six steps that you should do when planning a project. Here are the lists: 

Step 1: Identify & meet all stakeholders

Stakeholders are the parties who will be impacted by the result of your projects. They are the customers and end-users of your projects. What you need to do is making sure that everyone is still attracted to what you are about to do. 

Meet all the sponsors and key stakeholders to discuss their needs and expectation. You can start discussing the project’s scope, budget, and timeline. Create an effective communication flow and make sure that everyone is on the same page. 

Step 2: Set the targets and priority

If your team has listed the stakeholders’ needs, you can start setting the objectives that you want to achieve. Then, break down those objectives into individual targets and tasks. Prioritize the tasks according to their importance and timeline. 

Use the Internal Collaboration system with Kanban board to simplify tasks and priority arrangements. 

Kanban board in ClickWork

Step 3: Define project deliverable

Identify the deliverable and steps that your team needs in order to meet the project’s goals. What are the outputs that your clients expect to see? You should specify how and when to deliver each item. 

Add the deliverables within a realistic timeline. You will establish more accurate delivery dates during the scheduling stage. 

Step 4: Create a project schedule

Create a list of tasks in detail that is required to fulfill the deliverable. For each task, determine the time that it will consume, the essential resources, and the person in charge of its execution. 

Input all deliverables, task lists, and milestones achieved in the Gantt chart and generate its reports automatically to streamline your project management. 

In ClickWork, you can easily stick to the project’s timeline easily. Have you signed up for a free ERP system from ClickWork?

Step 5: Identify potential risks

Risks are the problem that might or might not arise during the course of a project. You should identify potential risks and how to mitigate them when planning a project. If you neglect it you will be caught off guard later and overwhelmed with the impact it causes.  

The areas that are prone to risks: scopes, resources, timeline, and communication. There is no way to control these risks. However, by preparing your team in facing it, you can avoid the greater impact.

Related article: 5 Common Risk Mitigation Failures and How to Solve It

Step 6: Present your plan to your stakeholders

Once you’ve finished the project planning, make sure that you convey it to your stakeholders. In step 1, you have planned an effective communication flow with them. This is the right time to try it out. 

Don’t forget to ask them how often they would like to receive the reports, to whom they should report it, and steps that require your stakeholder’s approval. Make it as clear as possible so that they don’t chase you for simple updates. 

Use collaboration tools to enable them track the progress, share updates, and store files on the same platform. 

In Conclusion

Those are the six steps that you need to take in planning a project. This stage should be perfect so that no problem arises in the future. Make sure that you use software that enables you to collaborate seamlessly in real-time from everywhere.