The warm days of summer are upon us, which means the busy season for many businesses that are anything but lazy! During these months of hectic work loads, you may spot some inefficiencies in your business practice. Projects are how you’ll implement new systems into your business strategy but before doing so, it’s important to develop a project plan. No matter the size of the project, a project plan is your road map to guide you through the process.
A project plan is a working document that outlines the direction of a project: the “what” and “how” it will get done. It provides timelines, deliverables, team responsibilities and can be adjusted throughout its course to accommodate unexpected issues.
How Do I Make and Execute a Project Plan?
Creating an effective project plan before implementing a new system to your business will ensure greater success in the project and overall business practice. Follow this 7-step process and you will be on your way!
Step 1: Define the Project
What do you hope to accomplish? A project may have multiple objectives so be sure to list each one clearly.
Step 2: Discovery and Research
This is an important step in your project plan. Some things to consider: How will you go about implementing the project? What tools do you need to complete the project? Who will be responsible for various tasks? How long will each task take? What are the potential risks? How will you measure the project’s success?
Step 3: Verify– Is this worth doing?
Think about how the project will enhance your business and if the end result is worth the effort.
Step 4: Document the Strategy
Write down the individual components of the project. This should provide an outline for the overall process, including: project deliverables, team responsibilities, and general deadlines. It is important to share this outline with your team and/or stakeholders. Asking for feedback and making adjustments to your strategy will ensure the process works for everyone and decrease the risk of failure.
Step 5: Set Milestones and Due Dates
After the project strategy is outlined, a more detailed report of the process needs to be created, breaking down every task and connecting it to its deliverable. Each task can be considered a “mini goal” or a milestone and should have its own deadline to keep momentum moving forward. In this step you will assign responsibilities to your team and make note of dependencies (i.e. Task B cannot be completed until materials from Task A are delivered). This creates accountability and shows how individual responsibilities will impact the project.
Step 6: Execute the Project
Begin with Task A of your process and go, GO, GO!
Step 7: Establish Metrics, Evaluate, Adjust
Establishing metrics to measure the project’s success in an important factor you don’t want to forget! You should continually monitor these metrics throughout the course of the project, ensuring the end results meet expectations. If something isn’t working, make adjustments to the process.
A project plan is a road map for implementing new systems to your business strategy. It outlines tasks, schedules, responsibilities, and potential risks to avoid. Taking the time to establish an effective project plan before diving right in will lead to greater success of your project and business practice overall.