Planning Your Next Project: What to Consider and Why It’s Important
Once your project has been given the green light (ie: it’s passed the smell test and has been deemed feasible), you’ll enter the most daunting phase of any project’s life cycle: project planning.
Project planning involves laying out how you’ll get from A to B on time and on budget. Your plans will need to be documented with deliverables and requirements clearly defined. A schedule will need to be developed as well.
What is the purpose of a project plan?
Your project plan will basically be the blueprint on how your team will execute on the project and needs to be thought of as a guide to how everything is going to happen. By being clear within the plan, you’ll be able to more easily manage time, costs, quality, changes, risk and other related issues once you move to the execution phase of the project life cycle. Having a clear project plan will also help you to control staff, manage your team, handle external suppliers, etc.
In general, the purpose of a project plan is to:
Outline your business requirements
Establish your list of deliverables and delivery dates
Outline costs and scheduling
Create a resource plan
Obtain management approval
Move to the execution phase of the project
What needs to be considered
The basic processes that should be included in any project plan are:
Scope planning. That means specifying the in-scope requirements of the projects to facilitate creating the work breakdown structure
Work breakdown prep. This entails breaking down the project into manageable tasks and sub-tasks.
Scheduling. This involves detailing the sequence of implementation.
Resource planning. This indicates who will do what work (and at what time. It will also outline if any special skills are needed for certain in-project tasks.
Budgeting. This entails budgeting in the costs required to complete the project.
Procurement planning. This involves deciding on if outside vendors or sub-contractors are needed to ensure the project is delivered and who they are/costs/etc., associated with hiring them
Risk management. This entails considering all possible risks to the project and putting in contingencies to mitigate project derailment should they occur.
Quality planning. This means you are putting in place toolsets or processes that will help assess the quality of deliverables as they arise.
Communication planning. This requires a project manager to design the communication strategy for the team and with all project stakeholders for the duration of the project.
The SMART Rule
When articulating project objectives, project managers should adhere to the SMART Rule and should be:
SPECIFIC. Don’t be afraid to get into details and be granular. Objectives should be clear, concise and understandable.
MEASURABLE. Use quantitative language so that it’s clearly outlined how you will know when you’ve successfully completed a task.
ACCEPTABLE. Make sure your objectives and conclusion are agreed to by the stakeholders.
REALISTIC. Objectives that are impossible are not realistic. They need to be centered in reality.
TIME-BASED. Think in deadlines and not durations. All of your objectives should have a time-frame and end-date assigned to them.
Need insights into the FIVE phases of project management? Find them here.
Make sure communication is baked in
The most important item to make sure is built into your overall project plan is communication. Making sure you cover how your teams will communicate problems, share ideas, update progress, etc. will help make sure that nothing is dropped along the way when it’s time to execute on the outlined deliverables.
Making it easy for teams to communicate within a project management software like Jira is critical. That’s why it’s good to use a communication platform with plugin capabilities like Slack. Bitband’s Jira+Slack app allows project managers to like the two platforms together, making it easier for a team to communicate both on and off Jira and for stakeholders that may not be on Jira to have visibility into the project in a way they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
With Bitband’s app, users can:
Instantly create new Slack Channels linked to Jira issues without ever leaving Jira
Have comments and events associated with issues automatically shared in their Slack channel(s)
View the Slack channel conversation right inside the Jira issue
Trigger notifications with more than 20 events and fine-tune with JQL
Monitor an entire project or an entire instance
Send to Slack channels, private channels, and direct messages
Filter notifications by priority, component, resolution, labels, status, type, assignee, reporter, epic, and sprint
Enable new Slack slash commands to get, create, transition, and more with Jira issues
By prioritizing communication and giving team members the tools to communicate effectively, project managers will be able to better gauge how on-track a project is and share updates and information more effectively throughout the execution of the project.
If you are beginning a new project and want to see how Bitband’s Slack + Jira app will make communication easier for your team, reach out! We’re happy to discuss the ins and outs of the platform and how you can cater it to your project’s unique requirements.