Step 1: Identify & Meet with Customer’s
A Customer is anyone who is affected by the results of our project plan. That includes our customers and end-users. We always make sure that we identify all their interests in mind when creating our project plan. Also, Look beyond the Customer’s stated needs to identify the underlying desired benefits. These benefits are the objectives, our project should deliver.
Step 2: Set & Prioritize Goals
Once we are aware of Customers’ needs, we prioritize them and set specific project goals. These should outline project objectives or the metrics and benefits we hope to achieve. We write our goals and the Customer needs they address in our project plan so it’s clearly communicated and easily shareable.
Step 3: Define Deliverables
We identify the deliverables and project planning steps required to meet the project’s goals. Next, we estimate due dates for each deliverable in our project plan. Set firm milestones for essential deadlines and deliverables. we’ll be able to track our progress once work begins to ensure we complete tasks on time and keep our customers happy.
Step 4: Create the Project Schedule
We continuously look at each deliverable and define the series of tasks that must be completed to accomplish each one. For each task, we determine the amount of time it will take, the resources necessary, and who will be responsible for execution. Next, we identify any dependencies. Do we need to complete certain tasks before others can begin? Input deliverables, dependencies, and milestones into our Gantt chart. Involve our team in the planning process. The people performing the work have important insights into how tasks get done, how long they’ll take, and who’s the best person to tackle them. Draw on their knowledge! We’ll need them to agree with the project schedule and set expectations for work to run smoothly.
Step 5: Identify Issues and Complete a Risk Assessment
No project is risk-free. Crossing our fingers and hoping for the best isn’t doing us any favors. Are there any issues we know of upfront that will affect the project planning process, like a key team member’s upcoming vacation? What unforeseen circumstances could create hiccups? When developing a project plan, we consider the steps we take to either prevent certain risks from happening or limit their negative impact. Conduct an assessment and develop a risk management strategy to make sure you’re prepared. Tackle high-risk items early in our project timeline, if possible. Or create a small “time buffer” around the task to help keep our project on track in the event of a delay.
Step 6: Present the Project Plan to Customer’s
Then we explain how our plan addresses Customers’ expectations, and present our solutions to any conflicts. Make sure our plan isn’t one-sided. Have an open discussion with Customers instead. Next, we determine roles: Who needs to see which reports, and how often? Which decisions will need to be approved, and by whom? Make our project plan clear and accessible to Customer’s so they don’t have to chase us down for simple updates. Housing all project plan handy makes it easy to track progress, share updates, and make edits without filling our calendar with meetings. If our plan or schedule doesn’t align with the Customer’s original expectations, communicate that to avoid any surprises or tense conversations down the line.