We’re all very busy and it just doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in the day to get the work/life balance we’re all seeking. To make matters worse, we have several members of our work team that prefer to shortcut or skip the project planning steps. They “think they know” what we need to do. But time and time again, the lack of planning results in rework, and on more than one occasion, we even missed a client deadline!
Our challenge is building team awareness to the importance of proper planning. Any ideas?
MONSTER TAMING TIPS
Whether you are a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) or not, we all know that solid Project Management principles lead to successful projects. Following the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) the process for directing and producing a successful project is divided up into 5 phases:
You can see by the illustration above that Planning is an essential requirement before Execution. There’s a reason for that.
Try facilitating your team in a discussion of the pros and cons of working without a project plan. Once the team, and especially those members who like to jump into Execution, can relate to the cost of resources and schedule delays when projects have to be reworked, you should be able to get agreement to the following, easy-to-follow protocols:
- Explain the project plan (road map) to team members and key stakeholders, along with highlighting key components to gain clarity and buy-in.
- Define roles and responsibilities so everyone knows what performance expectations are expected.
- Facilitate a kick-off meeting to demonstrate commitment to success and set ground rules for how the team will communicate, make decisions, etc.
- Develop a Scope Statement describing the business need or problem, objectives and benefits of the project, clarify what the scope includes, and note key milestones.
- Craft a Work Breakdown Structure, doesn’t have to be complicated, to identify the key deliverables, breaking large deliverables into smaller segments.
- Develop a Schedule and Cost Baseline to monitor and adjust as the project progresses.
- Develop protocols for addressing variances and project requests. This process is needed to identify upfront how each request will be analyzed to determine its impact on the project.
- Illustrate a staffing plan that indicates who’s doing what, when and for how long.
9. Emphasize project quality, ensuring the finished product is free of errors and meets expectations. Ensuring quality goes hand-in-hand with managing project risks.
10. Communicate, communicate, communicate!! Be clear up front about who needs to know what and how frequently they need to hear from you. How will files be organized and shared amongst the team?
There are a lot of adages about planning. The point is, to succeed you need to know what’s required. It’s easy in today’s fast workplace to imagine “saving time” by shortening the planning process. But although counterintuitive, it really ends up lengthening the process rather than shortening it. Good luck getting your team buy-in.
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