Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

If you’re involved in project planning, you’ve likely heard or thought of the adage, “When did a lack of planning on their part become an emergency on mine?” There are also the unwanted Five Ps, “Poor Planning Promotes Poor Performance.” So how do we overcome these and become trusted advisor partners with our customers?

At Faith Technologies, our motto is to plan our work and work our plan, and we involve our customers to help us develop and thoroughly understand it. As project managers and team leaders, we’re required to create, manage and report out using many different documents to communicate a project’s purpose and status. A project plan incorporates the tasks, resources and scheduling of the work breakdown structure (WBS) and overall project milestones, yet is a crucial piece that is often missed or not properly developed in a timely manner. Not only should the project plan be utilized in the initial phases of the project, it should also be kept up-to-date throughout the project to enable the project manager to effectively identify risks and risk mitigation strategies, as well as communicate the status to all key project stakeholders.

Most project management tools are comprised of a specialized suite of task management software. The various technology stacks available have different benefits and provide value for differing sizes and types of project delivery teams, so it’s important to do your research and pick the one that best fits your needs.

Consider individual, on-premise or cloud-based systems, but insure they align with your specific project management methodologies and project report-out needs. Also, don’t forget the five basic phases of project management:

  1. Project conception, charter development and initiation
  2. Project definition (scope) and planning (WBS)
  3. Project launch (team allocation / roles and responsibilities)
  4. Project performance and control
  5. Project close-out (post-mortem on the good, the bad and the ugly) – How can we do better next time?

Every project is different and can include any number of project management philosophies. Combined with the right project management software / tool set, these are all methodologies that help managers to:

  • Collaborate easily
  • Assign and align task responsibility
  • Send crucial project alerts
  • Avoid scope creep and reduce change orders
  • Track single or multiple projects
  • Provide a clear view of project progress
  • Create a crucial connection with both vendors and the client

If you don’t choose a strong project management software / technology stack and plan the work to track and deliver your project, your operations and execution efficiency will suffer. Remember to plan your work and work your plan, every time.