I have, at what sometimes can be coined as an annoying habit - I like to plan. From the simple, to the most complex tasks I put a plan I place: 'what to wear to work for the week', 'how my family should spend their Saturday', 'how to develop the requirements for a National branch desktop application'. I do not discriminate by size or complexity of the task. This simple habit has transcended every aspect of my life and is in turn one of the reasons, I believe, the multimillion dollar projects I've managed in my professional career have done well despite numerous obstacles. Because, at the heart of a good ‘strategy’, is great execution. Your plan is part of the foundation of execution and doesn't eliminate obstacles but instead, allows you to manage them much more effectively.
For small to midsized businesses this concept is absolutely critical. Whether it be a new product launch or a customer relationship campaign, your plan and its execution is critical for its success.
5 Project Planning Basics:
- Create your plan - Identify list of tasks, their dependencies, required resources and applicable timeline
- Engage your audience - Communicate and validate your plan with both internal and external stakeholders (e.g. within your company, within the client’s company) to obtain buy in
- Track your progress – Have a disciplined approach to utilize and work within the plan
- Stay agile - Recognize that your plan is a work in progress and agility will allow your organization to respond to the changing environment that is business
- Institutionalize the learnings - after each project debrief with stakeholders to identify what went well and wrong, and then integrate the learning for subsequent planning.
This final step is critical help your organization become more proficient at creating, managing, and executing plans.
A final note of caution before you start planning, ensure that the level of detail within your plan fits the scope and complexity of the project. Sometimes bigger isn’t always better.
plan /plæn / noun, verb, planned, plan•ning. –noun
a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance: battle plans.
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
by Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, Charles Burck