written by: C.D. Crowder
• edited by: Jean Scheid
• updated: 6/30/2011
No matter how great your project idea is, there are certain techniques to be used when planning a project to help ensure your idea turns into a reality. Proper planning is key to successful projects.
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Determine Who Is Responsible
Before you plan any other portion of your project, determine who your project team will be. Carefully choose each member. Remember that one of the most crucial techniques to be used when planning a project is to pick a team that not only works well together but can successfully perform their respective tasks.
It is best to choose your entire team before you plan a project. Choosing team members after a project has already begun can cause confusion and stress. Think about each possible member's abilities and choose only those who can best meet your project's needs.
When you are working on a project, it is best to have one single go to member for everything. This provides a single point of contact to prevent confusion or delays in information.
One of the most important project planning techniques is to consider and list all available resources. You can plan your project at a more realistic level if you take into account what you already have at your disposal.
Carefully look over all employees and not just team members, guaranteed funding, and equipment. If you are not sure whether a resource is something you'll actually need in your project, list it anyway. It is always better to be slightly over prepared than under prepared.
Solid techniques in relation to resources include listing all abilities and project related experience of other employees, people or teamwork skills in other employees, and hours available for each employee.
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Determine Other Resources
Think about what other resources you'll need besides what you have on hand. This can be the hardest part of project planning. This technique requires you to consider your project plan carefully. If you ask for too many outside resources, your plan may be denied. If you ask for too little, you risk the possibility of delay or failure in your project later on. Only slightly over-estimate your outside resources.
When planning a project, think about the possible need for outside consultants, extra equipment and even additional funding. When adding in additional resources, always list detailed reasons why the resource is necessary and any possible financial savings by using an outside resource over an internal one.
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Many people think communication is only necessary after the project begins. However, one of the most overlooked techniques to be used when planning a project is proper communication. Talk to any employees you are considering adding to your team. Do not automatically assume they are available or that they even want to work on the project. A team member will be happier if they have a choice, including understanding the purpose of the project and their possible responsibilities.
Keep the lines of communication open with whomever will be approving or denying your project plan. Discuss everything your boss, company or client is willing to put into the project. This will help you determine what you can and can't include in your project plan.
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After all the initial details are taken care of, one of the final planning techniques is to choose the proper tools or software to plan a project. Without the proper tools, all the previous details go to waste. Choose an application appropriate for your project's needs. Take into consideration that your software, if you do not already own it, will be part of your financial portion of your project planning.