Project Management Guide – Basics of Project Planning

Project Management Guide – Basics of Project Planning

Project management has been quite enriching career for many project management experts. And interestingly, many of them believe they became project manager by accident. But today, quite a few under-graduates, post graduate and industry professionals are making the choice consciously to become a project manager or project management professionals.

So, what does it take to be the project manager: someone will think in in terms of passion-calling, salary, academic background or career progression or someone even think about project management software. But before you jump in for any conclusion, let’s try to understand what all activities a project manager performs. Project management is like a huge canvas, but let me present a basic guide for a beginner to understand project management and project planning.

Please click on the links underneath this image as you hover the mouse and navigate to respective area of project planning

Project Management Guide - Elements of Project Planning

As You Start Planning or Managing Project

  • As you start managing projects, you need to understand goals and objectives before taking up a project
  • You also need to set and manage expectations of project sponsors, customers and other stakeholders
  • Project managers also need to set a clear understanding of expectations from project team members
  • Developing a high level project deliverable timeline as well as detailed schedule
  • Set a project budget and estimate the cost of project
  • Identifying right resources to carry out project activities
  • Establishing and enabling a common platform for identification and addressing project issues and project risks
  • Set a process to submit, evaluate and approve project change requests
  • Controlling project during its execution and concluding it for completion

As you see look at above list, you realize, a lot of work goes into project even before kicking it off. That’s where the project planner, project manager have to do solid homework or call it drawing room work.

For planning and managing projects, there are various documents project manager has to consider, refer, prepare, share and update such as

  • Project charter that establishes
    • Project goals,
    • Objectives,
    • Background and
    • Approach
  • Project scope document or project requirement document
    • List of project deliverables
    • Project Constraints/assumptions
    • Exclusion list of requirements/deliverables
  • Project Schedule
    • WBS
    • Task Schedule
    • Milestones
  • Project cost plan
    • Budget
    • Estimated cost
    • Actual cost tracking mechanism
    • Billing/revenue
    • Margins/profits,
  • Resource management plan
  • Other supporting plans
    • Risk management plan
    • Quality management plan
    • Change management plan
    • Document control plan
    • Communication plan
    • Other approvals, sign off approval process

The key to a successful project is in the planning. Creating a project plan is the first thing you should do when undertaking any project.

Often project planning is ignored in favour of getting on with the work. However, many people fail to realise the value of a project plan for saving time, money and many problems.

The articles linked above, in this post provide a simple approach to basics of project planning. Someone who is interested in project management professional will find this guide quite useful, for experienced project manager, it will be a good refresher or back to basics reading of basics of project planning

Additional readings about project management, leadership

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