3 Project Planning Tips to Succeed the First Time

3 Project Planning Tips to Succeed the First Time
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Project Planning Tips that Work
Project post mortems invariably uncover the need for better project planning next time around. The old adage measure twice and cut once certainly applies to complex projects with tight deadlines.  So for those project managers and leaders looking to succeed, here are three project planning tips to succeed the first time in getting you from point A to point B.

Why Project Planning Matters
Imagine trying to build a house without detailed plans. Or think about leading a long overseas trip without an itinerary. Challenging? Yes. Effective and efficient? No.

The Top Three Project Planning Tips
After you have clearly defined the business case, success metrics, sponsor, roles, stakeholders, and communication plan and BEFORE you begin to actually work on your project, make sure that you follow these three best practice project planning tips learned from hundreds of project post mortem participants:

  1. RISK MANAGEMENT
    Because too many project leaders undervalue risk management, we have made it the first of our project planning tips.  Make sure that you identify potential known and unknown project risks clearly upfront and put a framework in place to systemically identify and manage ongoing hazards.

    The more complex, important, and visible your project, the more time you should spend on risk management upfront.

  2. PROJECT PLAN
    While most projects start with some semblance of a blueprint for success, ineffective project plans typically do not contain all of the key planning elements, are usually not very realistic, and rarely include the necessary input or buy-in from all key stakeholders.

    Good project plans have crystal clear objectives, deliverables, tasks, scope, responsibilities, and budgets.

  3. PROJECT SCHEDULE
    Successful project schedules contain realistic (based upon the resources available) timelines based upon clear objectives. They include the detailed tasks to be accomplished, the sequence of tasks, and a direct link to deliverables.

    They also account for areas outside of the team’s control and effectively balance cost, quality, and time parameters from the start.

The Bottom Line
Better project planning always pays off – especially for highly complex, urgent, important, and visible projects. Follow the above project planning tips to better your chances of succeeding the first time.

To learn more about successfully leading and managing projects, download 3 Proven Steps to Better Manage Project Stakeholder Risks

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