7 Ways to Accelerate Your Project Planning

The project planning phase represents one of the most critical times in project management. Additionally, the project planning phase can easily last longer than the actual work on the project. However, you can accelerate your project planning by following these seven steps.

1.  Be a Diplomat

Regardless of expectations, you cannot hope to please all parties’ wishes. However, you can negotiate different aspects of your project to find out the best solution to the given problem. This rule is applicable to both the settling disputes and planning the activities, tasks, and resources for your project.

2.  Assign Roles and Responsibilities to Appropriate Parties

Members of your project management team need to understand their roles and responsibilities. Assign each individual a role at the start of the project, and ensure this person understands the responsibilities for the role.

For example, an individual may be assigned manage equipment procurement. As a result, he or she will need access or authority to make decisions about equipment purchases or rentals.

3 Organize Projects in a Work Breakdown Structure

Large, extensive projects are inconceivable and often fail. However, you can minimize the impact and chance of the failure by organizing your project into a work-breakdown structure. In other words, you need to break apart larger tasks into smaller, achievable tasks. 

4. Use Simple, Consistent Abbreviations in Your Project Schedule

Sometimes, project managers overlook the simplest way of creating a project schedule. However, skilled workers, members of the project management team, and upper-level management representatives will need navigate your project schedule quickly and easily.

If you use extensive, always-changing abbreviations, you will be unable to maintain any level of visibility. Furthermore, this could lead to upset with upper-level management and changes in project scope or budget.

5. Provide Incentives to Project Management Team Members For Completion of Assigned Duties

A simple reward can go a long way in helping an individual or team member complete what is asked. For members of your project management team and skilled workers, you should provide some sort of incentive program. This will help your team members feel valued, and employees will be less likely to go against the needs of the project.

6. Mitigate Risk by Making Informed Decisions

As a project manager, you have plenty of decisions to make. However, you need to have data to back up why your decisions were made and how they will impact the course of the project. This goes back to tracking and monitoring key performance indicators across your project.

If you notice the signs of a problem, you need to take action to prevent the development of a full-blown problem, which is the fundamental definition of mitigating risk.

7. Reduce Project Creep by Knowing Your Limitations

Some projects will change, and it would be impractical to refuse to do any added work on your project. However, you need to know when to say “no” to changes in project scope. In most cases, you can avoid upset from refusing to expand project scope by clearly explaining why you would be incapable of meeting the added changes. For example, you cannot advance the deadline if you are already facing a worker shortage.

Think of these steps as a guideline to increasing the efficiency of your project planning. Each step will help improve the accuracy and accountability of project planning, which helps get the project underway and completed on-time in the first place.

Key Takeaway

  • Negotiate disputes to benefit all parties.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities to individuals at the beginning of a project planning phase.
  • Organize your project in a work breakdown structure.
  • Use easy-to-understand, consistent abbreviations in your project schedule.
  • Create an incentive-based program to reward employees.
  • Backup your decisions and project planning with data.
  • Manage project creep effectively.
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