(article by Paul Marshall– Senior Consultant at Prosperity 24.7)
How would you Plan a Project?
“Using a Gantt chart” is quite often a typical answer, to which I would reply “well, yes and no.”
Why yes and no?
For me, producing a Gantt chart fits somewhere in the middle of the process and it‘s more about the communication and business engagement when building and presenting a project plan.
Some key activities when planning projects
- Stakeholder analysis interviews (supports engagement)
- Getting the agreed project team together, face-to-face where possible. A Project Manager is not necessarily an industry expert and should be seen as the facilitator – they do not build the plan in isolation. The specialist project team members will know what needs to be done and will have a good understanding of the timeframes required to deliver the products. An experienced Project Manager will ask pertinent questions to assess the validity of these timeframes, task dependencies and external project dependencies. The project team members must be able to negotiate with senior management and secure required resources.
- Capturing and ordering high-level activities. Using post-it notes often works well since it is a flexible technique that enables missed activities to be easily added to the plan and re-ordering as required. The detailed plan can then be built using a Gantt chart – see we got there!
- Documenting and communicating any identified risks or issues when building the plan.
- Effectively communicating the agreed and achievable plan
Communicating is much more than emailing the stakeholders a copy of the project plan. It is important to understand your stakeholders and how best to communicate with them. The senior executives are likely to want to see a very high-level view and understand the key milestones, whereas the teams on the ground will need to understand exactly what is required of them from within their own work streams.
The tools which support project management- such as the Gantt chart- are important but the most important element is the cohesive, co-ordinated and effective exchange of information. A combination of sound processes and excellent communication skills are essential.
Paul Marshall is a consummate professional who has run many projects within a diverse range of industries, and can bring valuable experience to make your project a success. Give us a call or e-mail to discuss how we at Prosperity 24.7 can help manage your projects +44 (0) 1534 877247 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Even if you already have experienced project managers in your organisation, having a dedicated consultant to manage your key programmes/projects could be exactly what you need to revitalise and energise your delivery programme.