Writing a project plan is one of the most basic of project management skills, but it doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily one of the easiest to master. Taking it as a guiding document that will define the timing, costs and scope of your project it is also rife with risk and opportunities for disaster. For any project manager, taking the time to master the crafting of a project management plan is something that will stand to them in basically every project management situation.
While we’ve covered writing great project plans before, here we’re going to look at some of the less talked about factors that can make a project plan a project management masterpiece.
- Address your plan at the right stakeholders
A project management plan can be quite political when it comes to getting backing and buy-in from relevant stakeholders. Before going through the usual steps for creating your plan consider who will be signing off on it. It can be quite useful to frame your wording or concentrate your focus on elements which you know will strike a chord with the particular stakeholders involved.
- Get your estimates right
Project managers can often find themselves in a tough situation when creating estimates for a project plan. There can be a push to overestimate abilities and underestimate costs to make stakeholder buy-in easier and to make it look like you’re a project-running superstar.
The major problem is, besides the fact that you’re leaving yourself no wiggle room in case of emergency, if and when you don’t deliver like you had promised and costs and deadlines have been overrun, nobody will remember the great presentation you made six months before. Take the time to be as accurate as possible. A project coming in right on spec is a result that will always be noticed by superiors.
- Assess your inter-related dependencies
A project is full of a multitude of moving parts which feed into, support and make possible all of the other moving parts. So, naturally, most of your tasks and deliverables will be dependent on other ones. Creating a project plan that maximizes your resources by ensuring the smoothest flow possible for all of these inter-related dependencies means that you can find hidden efficiencies and boost your chances of a successful project.
- Choose the best review points
Though the review points in your project management plan might seem like a relative afterthought they are actually quite important to plan well. Reviews take time and resources, so, depending on the length of your project you might only be able to afford to have a couple. Think of it like an airplane or car service: if you bring the machine in too early, the risk signs may not have become apparent, too late and serious damage could be done. Think seriously about when to host your project reviews, they can be very beneficial for reducing risk but only when used wisely.
Creating an effective project plan is one step, but the next is making it accessible and easily communicable. With Clarizen you can have it all. As a cloud-based project management platform, you can create a detailed project plan then ensure it is safe and accessible whenever and wherever it’s needed. Try it out today to see how it can change the way you manage your projects for the better.