Important Areas for Project Planning and Overall Success

Project planning and preparation are key elements if you want to have a chance of seeing success. Without the right planning, you’ll be flying blind. IN fact, you might not even know what your project’s actual objectives are. You might have one thing in mind, while executives and stakeholders expect something completely different. Here are several important areas to consider for any project manager before the project goes live.
Know the Risks
All projects come with risks. Know what the risks are that will affect your project, how you will handle them and what should be done if they cannot be mitigated. Risk management is an essential part of being a PM, and as much as possible, these should be outlined from the very beginning.
Scope is one of the most dangerous components of a project. Scope creep can kill your project quietly, leaving you wondering what happened. It’s vital that the scope be specified long before you get started, and that any changes to it go through your sponsor or stakeholder (the one authorized to make those changes). Doing otherwise can mean that you outstrip your resources and that your project is a failure before it even ends.
Budget and Time
Time and cost information need to be nailed down from the get-go. Not only should you know what you have available in terms of schedule and budget, but you need to make sure that any changes to those elements are approved by management. Overstepping the budget and/or the completion schedule is a major cause of project failure around the world.
The term “resources” refers to more than just the budget for your project. It includes making sure that you have the right people in place, the right tools for them to use, the right software for the job, the right physical supplies to complete the project and much more. Before launching a project, conduct a thorough delineation of necessary resources and make sure they’re all in place before you begin. Keep a close eye on them during the project as well.
Know How You’ll Communicate
Unless you’ve been hiding under that proverbial rock, you know that communication is essential to a successful project. However, knowing that and doing something about it are two different things. Make sure you have both a plan for communications throughout the project’s duration and the tools that you’ll need to communicate. That can include anything from email addresses for team members to specific software that offers wiki functionality or even instant messaging platforms. Make certain that you have the capabilities to communicate with team members, stakeholders and managers.
These specific areas and elements will play central roles in your project’s success or failure. By taking a proactive stance to these issues now, you help mitigate the risk of project failure due to poor planning or improper implementation. Take your time and thoroughly document every aspect here as well – a hardcopy of each plan will help ensure that you have a point of reference in the future.

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