Anything in this universe is not possible without planning. Do you agree? See, if you need to purchase a new TV set or a new Refrigerator, you plan first – how much it will cost? From where will you purchase? Which brand will you be purchasing? All that you are doing is just planning the purchasing of a new set of TV and Refrigerator. On the basis of your requirements, you fulfill your desire. The same applies to your project as well. Getting new projects from the customer is something different than planning and executing the obtained project. Planning is something which needs to be done from the inception days of the project. Look, your parents take care of you from your childhood –your foods, schooling, examination and almost everything with perfect planning keeping your future in mind. In the same way, you need to take care of your project. You are the parents of your project. You are the best possible individual to protect the project prestige.
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Based on the high-level information in the project charter, you need to plan your project. As at the initial stage of the project, you have limited information; you need to plan the project based on the information in hand by then. This planning is known as rolling wave planning. As planning is not a one-time work, it bounds to be changed when work progresses up to the next level. It means planning is progressively elaborative and iterative in nature. A project manager should manage change in the project effectively.
Who Should Involve in Planning?
You can’t say as a project manager you are sufficient to plan your project. In common, you can say everyone should provide input while planning. Although below-mentioned individuals should chiefly involve in the planning process:
- Project manager
- Other project managers
- Project management team
- The project team (Pre-assigned)
- Project sponsor
- Higher management
- Third-party (Subcontractor), if it is decided at the earlier stage of the project
- Other SMEs
- Other Stakeholders
It is always suggested that a project manager should plan the project based on the actual requirement of the project. It is imperative for a project manager to gather important information about project requirement to accomplish the project goals before going to the planning stage.
PMP Certification As per PMBOK, the planning stage is next to the initiation stage. Generally planning is performed only when the initiation stage had been performed by the project manager, i.e., developing project charter in project integration management and identifying stakeholders in communication management knowledge area. Before planning, both the processes are required as you will be planning based on the high-level information from project charter and most importantly stakeholder’s involvement is mostly required as they could give you important information on project planning. Taking stakeholders considerations are very important while planning. Planning is almost null and void without stakeholder’s intervention. You should not ignore any stakeholder’s input while planning your project. Otherwise, at a later stage of the project, it could prove expensive if you missed any stakeholder’s input.
Planning is a big task for a project manager to perform. Put some time while planning … don’t jump off to execution of the project directly. Plan smoothly, work smoothly; that is the way of proper working. Planning is very important as it is touched in all the knowledge areas starting from Integration to Quality and Human resource to Procurement. Below are some sub-processes that you do in the planning stage in each and every knowledge area:
Integration ManagementHere, we develop the overall project management plan taking input primarily as project charter’s information along with organizational process assets and enterprise environmental factors. Here, we draft an overall project management plan by unifying and articulating each planning inputs from each knowledge area.
Scope ManagementThe main task is gathering the information from different stakeholders, defining the scope and finally creating the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure).
Stakeholder ManagementHere, we put information on stakeholder’s requirement pertaining to the project goal and how you manage their expectations to meet the overall project goal.
Time ManagementDefining the activities, sequencing them, deciding on resources and their working durations and developing the schedule.
Cost ManagementBased on schedule information, you estimate and determine the budget for the entire project considering contingencies and management reserves.
Quality ManagementDeciding and planning the quality matrices and working on the quality checklists, such as measuring the quality, assigning the responsibility for quality check, which quality tool you will be using for this project and more.
Human Resource ManagementDrafting and working on an overall staffing plan for this particular project – defining the reporting structure, roles and responsibilities as well as working on the rewards and recognition system for the projects.
Communication ManagementA big one for a project manager – deciding how to interact with the other people team members, making strategies on communication method, mode of communication with other stakeholders and more.
Risk ManagementA lot of work is involved here – Planning risk, looking out for professionals who identify risks, drafting a mitigation plan, working on qualitative and quantitative risk and creating risk response planning. Identifying risk and planning for the risk response planning is not a one time work. It is for the entire life cycle of the project. The risk could arise anywhere and anytime.
Procurement KnowledgeDeciding on how to purchase other services required for your project – how to select your subcontractors, how to decide, make or buy decisions and monitoring their work.
Overall, it is a project manager’s responsibility to create a project management plan accurately. Again it is an initial guesstimation kind of things based on the information in hand (e.g., project charter). Be alert – there is no padding allowed in project management planning. Based on your project management plan, you need to execute the project. While working on the project you must manage changes in the project effectively. Work closely with your project baselines (scope baselines, schedule baselines, and cost performance baselines). Plan well – work well and perform well for the customer. Who knows you might bring in new business for your organization.
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