Today we are going to share three simple steps you can take during project planning to alleviate analysis paralysis and move towards job completion. In essence, during planning we are trying to come up with a course of action to get us from Point A—defining scope and objectives, to Point B—the end objective of the assignment. The assumption is that the initiating has already started and you are working with an authorized project charter that authorizes you as the PM to even begin working on the planning. A lot of times we get ahead of ourselves and begin planning before authorization. So just to be clear, there should be a charter in place with an approved high-level budget and scope, timeline and resources before you are tasked with planning. Once you are, the following three steps will help you move forward:
- Create Project Plan (Mobilize Templates). The project plan boils down all the different areas of work, how it is to be done and who is going to do it. We lay out processes so that the team, stakeholders and change control board know how to deliver the project. Organizations, executives and shareholders of projects are looking for things to be done quickly in a synchronized way, so when we talk about mobilizing it means to get your templates in place hopefully prior to the planning but for sure in planning, to be able to begin working on your project plan. You don’t want to start developing templates from scratch.
- Breakdown Deliverables (Socialize Input). The project charter contains some type of scope or objective, so now we break that scope down into deliverables that have to be produced. By socializing between all of our team members we collaborate more effectively to get the input of others on our team. We use that information to determine the dependencies, critical path, issues, risk and resources required for this project. We also create a timeline that shows how long it will take to get the project done.
- Assign Specific Resources. We go about assigning specific team members to get tasks done to produce those deliverables.
Result: Course of Action
The result of creating a project plan, breaking down deliverables and assigning specific resources is that we come up with our course of action to get from Point A to Point B. Once the course of action is clear, I recommend looking for the following additional resources:
- Templates. We believe strongly in reusable/repeatable templates for your type of projects or maybe for your organizations so that you don’t have to start from scratch each time.
- Resource Matrix/Organization Charts. Know who has been made available in your organization for the project and what other organizations you are going to be interacting with, as they have input into priorities that may be going on with your project.
- PM Software w/Document Sharing. We believe in project management software with document sharing that allows you to effectively collaborate with others in project planning.
If you found these tips from Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt) of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.
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