Project planning is the backbone of project management which includes objectives, goals, planning of employee tasking & allocation, work schedule, budgeting, etc.
Project planning is part of project management, which relates to the use of schedules such as Gantt charts to plan and subsequently report progress within the project environment. Project planning can be done manually or by the use of project management software.
Most important situations are which need to be managed during the project lifecycle. For complex projects, one can’t imagine going ahead without having a clearly stated and effective project plan in hand. Most people think project planning is just limited to the scheduling of activities and tasks. In actual, it is way more than that.
What is Project Planning?
A project plan is a formal document, that is done by all project stakeholders with both the project execution and control. The primary uses of the project plan are to document project scope, project schedule, planning assumptions and decisions, and facilitate communication with stakeholders. It also defines how and when project objectives will be achieved by showing the major activities, milestones, and resources to deliver the project.
The project plan answers every question that may arise in mind related to the implementation and successful completion of the project. A project plan outline document is presented to investors to briefly describe every aspect of the project.
Why We Use Project Plan Templates?
As we know each formal document needs to write in a specific format to full fill its requirements, therefore, we need a professional format template in which we make a complete project plan. The purpose of this format is to assist us with an error-free plan that covers all aspects of planning which includes (tasking, scheduling, budgeting, tracking, and reporting), etc.
However, project management dashboard templates are also being used for tracking and monitoring purposes.
Reasons Why Project Planning Matters
There are multiple reasons which show the significance of the project planning stage. Few of them can be stated as follows,
- It clarifies the process and activities that will let the project outputs and deliverables.
- It gives the information that enables us to estimate properly and define the outputs and scope of a project.
- It enables us to visualize the entire project and see the interdependencies between the activities.
- It helps to show who does what task, when and forecast required resources.
- Provides milestones for tracking the project progress.
- It enables to baseline and to properly track the project progress.
- It enables the agreement of the all-important live dates.
- It helps to properly communicate with stakeholders.
- It reduces risks and defines risk mitigation strategies.
What Are The Key Elements of Project Planning?
In project management, project planning isn’t just related to the scheduling of activities. It consists of planning all below aspects of project management which works together to achieve the projects’ ultimate goal;
- Stakeholders Planning (Stakeholders Mapping, Engagement, Communication, and reporting plans)
- Project Scope (Project objectives, requirements, and Work Breakdown Structure)
- Project Scheduling (Activities, Sequence, Activity resources and activity duration plans)
- Project Budgeting (Cost Estimations)
- Project Quality Management Planning
- Project Human Resource Planning
- Project Communications Planning
- Project Risks Planning
- Over Project Integration Planning
Guidelines for Better Project Planning
There is some project management software available which help in project planning. Approach to utilize available software in a customized project still depends on project manager skills. Following are the key guidelines for better planning of the project;
Define the direction (Identify the goals, objectives, and deliverables of the project to help keep everyone stays on track).
Identify tasks and set up online tools (Identification and online scheduling of tasks and subtasks).
Be fearless and link tasks
Assign resources and help them to help the project.
Set baselines and monitor progress (Comparing planned versus actual time project is taking).