Planning the Project

You're ready to begin the planning process after an authoritative stakeholder has decided to implement this project with you as the project manager. The outcome of this planning process will be a workable project plan and a team ready to start working the project. When planning the project, do the following:

Look at the big picture. Before you get too far into the nuts and bolts of planning, you need a comprehensive vision of where you're going with your project. You shape this vision by first identifying the project goals and objectives. This practice helps you set the scope of the project. You learn the expectations, limitations, and assumptions for this project, and they all go into the mix. You also identify possible risks and contingency plans for the project.

Identify the project's milestones, deliverables, and tasks. Subdivide the project into its component tasks and then organize and sequence the tasks to accurately reflect the project scope.

Develop and refine the project schedule. To turn the task list into a workable project schedule, specify task durations and relate tasks to each other. You can create task dependencies, that is, a model of how the start of one task depends on the completion of another task, for example. If you have any specific dates for deliverables, you can enter them as deadlines, or if really necessary, task constraints. At that point, Microsoft Project can start to calculate a realistic schedule for tasks in particular and the project as a whole. With this plan, you can accurately forecast the scope, schedule, and budget for the project. You can also determine which resources are needed, how many, and at what time.

Identify skills, equipment, and materials needed. After the tasks are identified, you can a determine the skills, equipment, and materials needed to carry out the work for those te tasks. You obtain the needed resources and assign them to the appropriate tasks. You o can now calculate when the project can be completed and how much it will cost. If it looks like you're exceeding the allowable deadline or budget, you can make the necessary adjustments.

For more detailed information about planning the project, see the chapters in Part 2, "Developing the Project Plan."

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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