When starting a project, planning is one of the most important steps to ensure the project is a success. A detailed plan provides a roadmap of where you want to be in the future and how you will achieve your goals.
Setting goals is a critical element of any successful project. Knowing what objectives you want to accomplish serves as a benchmark to measure whether your project is on track and ultimately a success.
After setting goals, you should know where you want to be in the future but how will you know once you get there? Identifying key performance metrics allows you to track and measure to make any necessary adjustments.
Your current situation provides a starting point of where you are and where you want to be. A SWOT analysis can help ensure your goals are realistic and reveal competitive advantages to help develop strategies later.
By now you should have a good understanding on what goals you want to accomplish and what success will look like. At this point, it is time to develop strategies on HOW you will achieve your goals and create a list of project action items needed to achieve these goals.
Once you have listed all the actionable items required to achieve your goals, create a schedule of WHEN these items need to be accomplished. Having numerous tasks to accomplish can be overwhelming. Breaking into smaller tasks and setting milestones provides a sense of accomplishment as you cross off items on your to-do list and helps ensure your project stays on track.
Even the best laid out plans can be sidetracked by unforeseen circumstances. Contingency plans can help you respond to such circumstances as they arise.
A brief summary should be prepared detailing your vision, objectives, strategies, KPIs, timing, budget and resources. This brief is a living document which helps understand and support your project plan.
A good plan establishes a detailed route to your destination. Take the time to properly formulate a plan before aimlessly undertaking a new project. It will save you time and money in the long run and increase the odds of you project being successful.
“He who fails to plan, plans to fail.” – Proverb –