Creating a Project Plan: Key Elements and Best Practices

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Project management

Are you new at project management but want to kill it? Any seasoned project manager knows that the best practices and key elements can be used to work project magic. Where does it start? It all starts with a project plan. Here are a few tips to help you create a stellar one:

Clearly define your objectives/goals

As a project manager seeking to plan the best blueprint for the project, your objectives must be extremely clear to you. If they’re not, how do you expect your team to also understand the end goal you’re all striving for?

While getting started on your project, take time to create a “statement” on what exactly your objectives are with said project. This will help you to choose everything from your agile methodology tools to your team members for the job.

Get your team together

Another important aspect is putting together the right team for your end goal to be achieved. This is where having an understanding of your team members’ best skills and talent can be important. Getting a top crew together can make a difference in the outcome of your project, so don’t take this phase lightly.

Clearly define each person’s tasks and your expectations of them, so that there are no misunderstandings or hiccups down the road. You may want to use workflow software to help your team have an understanding of what they need to prepare for in a direct and easy-to-understand space.

Set timelines and schedules  

What is a plan with no schedule and no deadline? A project plan that doesn’t have a deadline set in place is one that is asking for trouble. Your team can work more efficiently with a time framework in place. There are software options that allow for easy timelines and schedules so your team can clearly see what is expected from the project.

You can even assign personal timelines to each team member, so they know what you need from them, at the exact point of the project that you need the tasks from them.

Know your budget

A project without a budget could end up becoming very expensive. From the tools used to the people needed for the job, if you don’t have a budget set for your upcoming project, you may find it hard to put together all of the pieces for success.

More than likely, you’ll want to work with a minimal budget in order to achieve maximum profit. Take a look at the overall expectations of your project and if you’re going to need some extras, such as new venue space or freelancers for this specific job, you’ll want to make sure your budget allows for them. You may need the “higher-uppers” to sign off on this budget. They may have questions “What is an API?” so get it going as you get the project plan underway, to allow plenty of time to have all the pieces in place for a project plan that you will be able to follow.

Set up communication times and apps

Let your team know your communication expectations and provide them with appropriate tools so that you can easily check in with them throughout the project. You may want to schedule “mini-meetings” on a weekly basis, or maybe you want a daily chat to make sure everyone is on the same page with their tasks so that you can more easily manage the project as you follow your project plan. You’ll want to have these things defined before the project gets started.

Improve your communication skills

In Conclusion

A successful project is the result of a well-thought-out project plan. For the best results, you’ll need to have a bird’s eye view of the future, so to speak. Think of everything you possibly can to ensure you have all the moving pieces needed for successful results.

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