7 steps to successful project planning

Lately, I have been part of several project teams. Some of these experiences have caused me to sit back and analyze the project planning process to understand how project management planning and implementation could be improved.
Why do projects managed by talented people end up being delayed or not completed? Why do project teams sometimes feel that they are shooting at a moving target? I find that the lack of proper planning or failure to create a systematic approach can be fatal to projects.

7 steps to successful project planning

1. Create a roadmap

Every project needs a roadmap with clearly defined goals that should not change after the first phase of the project has been completed. All stakeholders benefiting from the outcome of the project should be named and their needs stated.

2. List deliverables

Develop a list of all deliverables, make sure all project team members are familiar with this list.

3. Create a document that details milestones

A document that clearly outlines all project milestones and activities required to complete the project should be created and maintained. Establish reasonable deadlines, taking into account project team members’ productivity, availability and efficiency.

4. Create a budget for your project

Attached to this list of milestones and deliverables should be information about the project cost and estimated budget.

5. Choose a solid team

Ideally, project managers should be able to choose team members who work well together. Identify by name all individuals and/or organizations involved in the project.
For each of them, roles and responsibilities on the project should be described in detail. Otherwise, miscommunication may occur leading to delays and situations where team members may have to redo their work.

6. Set progress reporting guidelines

These can be monthly, weekly, or daily reports. Ideally, a collaborative workspace should be set up for your project online or offline where all parties can monitor the progress.

7. Identify risks

Determine the risks involved in your project and discuss alternatives if new requirements will be added to your project or members of your team will not meet the deadlines.
These steps should get you started with delivering your project on time, within your budget.
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