Project Planning: A Guide To Project Planning Techniques

Project Planning
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Planning to execute a project without adequate tools and techniques as your resource can be an overwhelming task. As a project manager, knowing the right method to employ in the planning process guarantees your optimal performance in achieving the project’s objectives.

In this article, we discussed the resource planning process, tools and techniques to guide you for effective project management.

What Is Project Planning?

Project planning is a discipline for determining how to execute a project within a specified timeline, with defined stages and resources.

Project Planning Process 

The major tool for ensuring that activities are done on time is the project planning process. A plan is established to find the most effective approach for completion to ensure that a project has the best probability of success and the lowest risk of failure. Simply put, project planning refers to the procedures to ensure that activities are accomplished efficiently. Leaders must be familiar with various project planning processes and tools to enable communication among team members.

A set of four processes in project planning ensures that tasks are completed and the end goal is met. Projects are different and distinct, and no two techniques for executing a plan are the same. While the core steps of each project management planning process are identical, how they are carried out may vary. As a result, project introduction, project planning, project execution, and project closing are the four planning processes.

The project’s introduction process begins with a description of the goal to be achieved. The project planning process, which comes next, ensures that your goals go from a vague idea to a concrete reality. Steps are further taken to bring a project to the execution stage once the objectives and goals have been clearly stated. The project planning lifecycle process is successful only when all four stages are completed.

To be successful, the project management planning process must complete tasks, objectives, and goals. The core problem or task must be explained during the start stage. Another point to consider is that all viable solutions and any potential hazards should be explored. This is the most effective method for identifying potential project-related initiatives. Once the original concept is decided upon, a project planning team is formed, and the tools to complete the project are chosen. 

Project Planning Resource

The most valuable resource in planning and executing a project is people—the project team. Depending on the milestones, projects require unique expertise at specific points in the schedule. Over the course of a budget year, an organization might host numerous strategic initiatives at the same time. This implies that its personnel can be working on multiple projects at the same time. Alternatively, an individual may from his current position inside an organization and join a project team due to a certain skill set. 

Furthermore, many initiatives necessitate skills and resources that may only be obtained through contract work or third-party contractors. Obtaining and directing these human resources, as well as controlling the project’s timeline, is vital to its ultimate success.

It is critical to have a high-performing project team made up of individuals who are technical of skills and motivation to contribute to the project’s success. One of a project manager’s many responsibilities is to improve each project team member’s ability to contribute to the project while also encouraging personal growth and accomplishment. Simultaneously, each individual must collaborate with others in sharing ideas to achieve a common goal. 

Resources must be assigned to each action on your activity list. First, determine the availability of resources before you can assign them to your project. Information on resource availability comprises what resources you can utilize when planning your project and the conditions under which they’re available. Remember that some resources, such as consultants must be ready ahead of time and may only be available at specific periods. 

Financial Planning

Finance is an essential resource in project planning. Financial plans include spending plans based on the rate of spending depending on available funds, capital investment plans, profit plans, and management reserve retention and utilization. 

Project Planning Tools and Techniques

It’s critical to pick the correct technique since it determines if a project will succeed or fail. And, as there is no one-size-fits-all strategy that works for all sorts, sizes, or sectors, you must devote some time and effort to selecting the best project planning techniques or tools for your situation. Most importantly, you should know the steps in selecting the best tools and techniques for your project resource planning. 

Consider the following steps:

#1. Sort your project factors by how simple or complex they are

This comprises the project itself, the client, resources, limitations (such as risk appetite), timeframe, tools, and people. Make a list of these factors and categorize them according to how simple or complex they are.

#2. Determine whether your workplace is strict or flexible.

An Agile technique can be beneficial if you work in a dynamic workplace where there is a desire for evolution and change. You might be better off using a Waterfall strategy if you’re working with very specific needs, timelines, and budgets.

In addition, examine your constraints and hazards alongside this examination of your flexibility. Also, implement methods that enable your teams to fit their projects neatly within your organizational limits while minimizing major risks

#3. Think about what gives you the most kick for your buck.

Inquire about what provides the most value to the client (or the stakeholder, or the end-user). Make a list of their requirements and utilize it to determine the best method of working to achieve those requirements.

If your clients frequently make requests and anticipate continual updates and modifications, for example, an iterative technique with short cycles will make them feel as if they are getting greater value. This methodology will assist you in delivering value and maintaining strong customer connections.

#4. Make the most of your company’s objectives, 

To help you choose suitable project planning techniques, use the goals or project objectives you’ve already set as a team or organization. Clearly, your methods should be a way of achieving your objectives—the optimal method is the one that most directly leads you to your strategic objectives with the highest gains and the least negative impact.

#5. Make a list of your company’s and team’s values.

Finally, and most crucially, examine your values. At the end of the day, techniques are carried out by people—people with their habits, views, and values. Instead of imposing a trendy technique on your employees, consider how they think, relate, and operate to create one that’s a natural match.

For the most part, the values of your company and team can help develop a truly sustainable technique that is less of a theoretical norm and more of a way of systematically acting out a living, breathing processes that are easier to sustain over time.

Remember, however, that no technique is superior to another. It all depends on how well it aligns with the organization’s goals and values and the limits the project team must overcome. Also, the needs of stakeholders, the risks involved, and the project’s size, cost, and complexity.

Techniques

#1. Scrum

Scrum is a project planning technique that presents concepts and processes for increasing delivery quality. It is one of the most popular and straightforward frameworks for putting Agile ideas into reality in software development. In reality, Scrum is about empowering a self-managing team to deliver and define roles and duties to establish a healthy tension between providing the right item, the right way, as quickly as feasible.

Additionally, Scrum aims to increase communication, teamwork, and development pace. If you hear terms like sprints, scrums, backlogs, and burndowns, it’s usually because they’re talking about Scrum or a variant of it.

#2. Kanban

Another one of the project planning techniques is Kanban. It is a project management technique based on Lean concepts and a well-defined process to boost efficiency. It’s a lot like Scrum in that it’s all about delivering frequently and early with a collaborative and self-managing team. Kanban, on the other hand, is a more evolutionary transformation than Scrum, providing an easier entry into the Agile environment because it is less prescriptive.

Kanban technique is process-light, flexible, and devoid of pre-defined roles. Its sole purpose is to enhance throughout by focusing the team’s attention on the things that actually matter. Visualizing the workflow, limiting work in progress, quantifying lead time, making process policies explicit, and continuously analyzing improvement potential are among the basic principles.

Moving on, Kanban is ideal for jobs that require consistent output, such as manufacturing or support and maintenance. It can also be a useful tool in the world of agencies because it is more adaptable to changes, and customers like to change their minds frequently. This technique is a simpler alternative to Scrum if you want to “do Agile” but don’t want to be overly rigorous.

#3. Critical Path Method

Construction, software development, and engineering industries all employ this technique for modelling and scheduling project planning. Using this technique, you determine the activities required to finish a project, the time each will take, the dependencies between them, and their deliverables or milestones. 

These are for computing the longest and quickest paths to complete your project, which helps you understand the project’s main activities—which can be postponed without affecting your milestones.

#4. PERT

The Program Evaluation and Review Technique is an estimating technique. When individual task/activity estimates are unknown, it uses a weighted average of optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely estimates. As a result, PERT is a way for evaluating and estimating the amount of time to perform a task. 

This is similar to a Three-Point estimate but will give the most likely estimate greater weight. Consideration of estimating uncertainty and risk can increase the accuracy of single-point task duration predictions. The program evaluation and review technique gave birth to this concept (PERT). To define an approximate range for a task’s duration, PERT uses three estimates:

Most likely estimate (M): This estimate is based on the task’s duration, as well as the resources likely to be assigned. Again, their productivity, realistic expectations of availability for the activity, and interruptions.

Optimistic (O): The task length is determined by a study of the task’s best-case scenario. This will inform you how long the task will take in the shortest possible time.

Pessimistic (P): The task length is determined by analyzing the task’s worst-case scenario. This further reveals the maximum amount of time a task can take.

#5. Lean

The lean technique is a project planning approach that emphasizes efficiency. Lean is famous as the “Godfather” of Agile because it focuses on getting more done with less. It begins by finding value and then maximizing it through continuous improvement, which includes improving value flow and reducing waste.

It’s more of a topic with ideals than a system that tells you how to do things. It proposes that treating the three waste-creating dysfunctions known as the ‘3Ms’ can help you do more with less.

Lean aims to change the way we work so that we can focus solely on delivering value. It’s about changing the focus away from individual technologies, assets, and vertical divisions and toward complete value streams that flow horizontally across technologies, assets, and departments to customers.

When analyzing your project planning process, adopting a lean mentality can be beneficial. Consider how you can pare down your project planning process to the core fundamentals that give value while eliminating the extraneous elements or the way you’ve always done things, and you’ll be thinking Lean.

Conclusion

The project planning tools and techniques are quite important in the project management process, however, the contribution of the human resource remains the ultimate. Therefore, a project manager must ensure effective collaboration between himself and his team.

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FAQs On Project Planning

What Are The 5 Stages Of Project Planning?


Project management is mapped into process groups and knowledge areas by the Project Management Institute. The five key process groups are thus; initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing

What Are The Basic SAteps In Project Planning?

  • Create and Analyze Business Case.
  • Identify and Meet Stakeholders for Approval.
  • Define Project Scope.
  • Set Project Goals and Objectives.
  • Determine Project Deliverables.
  • Create Project Schedule and Milestones.
  • Assignment of Tasks.
  • Carry Out Risk Assessment

How Will You Select a Project?

  • Ensure that the project aligns with your organizational strategy. …
  • Identify a project champion. …
  • Conduct an organizational or environmental assessment. …
  • Assess your resources. …
  • Identify your parameters for success

What Are Major Criteria To Select a Project?

  • Time Value of Money.
  • Present Value.
  • Future Value.
  • Present Value & Future Value Relationship

What Does Project Planning Include?


A typical project plan consists of A statement of work, a resource list, work breakdown structure, a project schedule and a risk plan. The scope includes the business need and business problem, the project objectives, deliverables, and key milestones. Also, Project baselines are established in the project plan

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