You’ve just been announced as a project manager. Congratulations! It’s a big responsibility and a very exciting undertaking, for sure, and although it might be tempting to just jump right in, you might want to establish a clear project plan to ensure success.
What’s great is that you don’t need to be a project management expert to come up with a solid plan. You only need to do 9 things with the help of a few key tools to help you execute it.
What is a project development plan?
A good project development plan is like a roadmap to triumph. It ensures that everyone involved has the same vision for the outcome while also making every person concerned aware of and has a set of measurable goals to attain while establishing communication among the workgroup. A project plan also helps you strategize and keep an eye on schedule, costs, and staffing so you don’t lose steam at any time.
1. Before you get started…
How to develop a project plan begins with defining the basics, mainly the who, why, what and when.
The “who” includes your investors, customers, suppliers, and employees.
The “why” is your driving force, your mission statement, why you need to do what you’re planning on doing.
The “what” is your end goal.
The “when” is your target date of completion.
2. Start with a good brainstorming session
Get your notepad and voice recorder ready and meet with your investors, customers, employees, and suppliers. It’s always good to have a lay of the land, so to speak, and this is what you will establish in this initial meeting. It’s important that you end at the same mindset, with the same goals and the same outcome in mind.
In this meeting, you will discuss how the project plan should align with the company values along with the setting of expectations (what does everyone in the room expect and what is expected of them). You also need to find out how success will be measured, your resources, and the expected deliverables. Since you will be meeting with the movers and shakers in your company, you need a high-quality video and audio conferencing tool. This way, you can have those who are working remotely in attendance as though you’re all in the same room. Bitrix24 offers HD video conferencing with chat, screen, and file sharing as well as call recording features.
3. Make a list of goals and create an outline for the project
You need clear goals to connect your deliverables, tasks and deadlines together. Not having a binding agent such as goals for your project will most definitely mean failure for those included. One of your steps in developing a project plan should be to create a project board so you can see how one task or deliverable is connected to another and how the whole plan flows together.
As in chess, you need to arrange your pieces in their rightful places before you can begin the game and each piece has a power, a function. So that’s your next objective.
How to create a project plan relies on you as the project leader or manager to know which role to give to whomever in your team and which responsibility to assign to them. A quick one-on-one with each of them can help you make your determinations.
5. Develop the project scope, timeline and budget
How to plan a project involves being able to determine how big you want or need to go with the project in terms of scope. Once the deliverables are defined, you need to break them down into tasks, which you can then distribute to your team. You also need to be able to create a timeline so you can see how long each stage will take and the amount of time you need to complete the project. Keep in mind that this needs to be flexible because you have a lot of other considerations to factor in.
There’s also the budget you need to consider. With the scope and timeline defined, you can make an accounting of the resources, the number of staff and the projected cost of the entire project.
6. Create a staffing plan
After getting a budget approved, you can then begin tapping in members to join your project team. Your timeline will help you envision when each player needs to come in at a certain point of the project so they can contribute. Make sure you factor in back up staffing for the crucial roles and responsibilities.
How to develop a project plan means you need to be able to envision each phase of the project. A Gantt chart is designed for specifically that purpose. Bitrix24’s task management system allows you to do just that!
7. Set a communication and check-in process
Working on a big project on a strategic timeline can be nerve-wracking. You don’t want the entire work process to add to the burden. A good communication and check-in process will do well in lessening the stress.
Acquire a collaboration tool that will help you keep track of updates and the progress that the team is making. You can also be able to share documents and other files that you can also edit.
8. Create a baseline management plan
You always need a starting point at every turn of your project, otherwise known as baseline. Steps in developing a project plan should involve a baseline management plan. Your baselines should be measurable and comparable to your project’s overall progress.
There should also be an approval phase each time a baseline is met or changed, especially if these changes will directly affect the scope, timeline or budget of your project. Bitrix24’s Task and Project management structure gives you ways to achieve this.
9. Plan for the unplanned
How, right? Keep in mind that as with everything, there are always risks in every project. How to plan a project includes planning for the mishaps, the failures and the shortcomings whether they are related to staff or resources.
Planning for failure, so to speak, takes the brunt out of falling short of expectations. This allows you and the rest of your team to readjust your timeline, tasks and even your scope and budget, if needed, without interrupting the main flow of the work being done.
10. Celebrate the beginning
What can be more exciting than starting something? Your steps in developing a project plan should include a launch party where you present the whole project plan to your investors, customers, suppliers and employees. This unveiling should be the point where you run through everything listed here with everyone connected to the project so you can all get on the same page and starting point.
Bitrix24’s communications center lets you share news; updates and announcements like, say, the kick-off of a very exciting new project.
BONUS TIP: Communicate!
Let your team, and everyone else involved in the project, that they can connect with anyone else in the project squad if they need to, anytime. At the same time, make sure that your communications tools are ready and reliable.
Bitrix24 allows anyone attached to your project to communicate and collaborate with whomever they wish that’s included in the project group. You also have a hub for collaborating on tasks, viewing reports, workflow automation and, more importantly, document and file storage.
Make an example out of a good thing
Who says this is your last stint as a project manager? If you follow these tips well and use Bitrix24’s suite of useful tools to help you develop and execute your project plan, you’re guaranteed to be given another one to head very soon!
You don’t have to create a new project plan each and every time. Why mess with a good thing, right? You can create a template out of your most successful one so you can pull it out and use it the next time you need to.
Create a winning project plan
Along with people, finances, and time, you also need dependable and powerful tools at your disposal for definite victory.
Bitrix24 has everything you need at every stage of creating, planning, and executing a project. Whether you need help with communications, task management or even file storage, you can be sure there’s something in our arsenal that you can use.
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