What is Project Planning? Meaning, Definition, Importance, Steps in Process

Project Planning in project management is a crucial step and it acts as a roadmap that all stakeholders can follow along its path. Here in this article, we have discussed what is project planning? its meaning, types, stages, and advantages.

► What is Project Planning?

Project Planning is a crucial part of the project management lifecycle, planning comes right after the project ideation phase. It steers as well as helps the stakeholders navigate the path to successful project delivery.

Planning for a project is the most important step of project management. Because it requires finalizing resources, time, and staff estimates before adding it to the project.

◉ Project Planning Meaning

Project Planning means designing a project management plan that is known as a formal approved document that describes the systematic plans that will be used in the implementation phase of the project plan.

Definition of Project Planning

According to Project Management Institute (PMI, 2008),

Project Planning has been defined as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, Site, service, or result”

  • Project planning is defined as the process of defining the schedule, resources, and processes for the successful execution of a particular project.
  • In other words, project planning tells the stakeholders what needs to be done, when it is to be done, and how it is to be done.

According to “Project Management Body of Knowledge”, a book by PMI (1996),

Project Planning has been defined as, “the identifcation of the project and the required activity needed to complete the project including the estimate of resource types and quantities required to carry out each activity or task”.

► What are Plans in Project Planning?

Planning is an active process and it is the opposite of simply allowing events to unfold. A Plan is said to exist when a point in the planning process has been reached.

A plan is a coherent set of operations formulated to meet a given goal. It is determined with sufficient clarity that includes a future course of action.

Definition of Plan in project management

A plan is a set of decisions made on actions to be taken to achieve the objectives of the project. The plan is the product of the planning process.

  • A Plan can be a formal document or it can simply be a clear understanding of the actions you are going to undertake.
  • Both plan and planning are continuous activities. Your plan can be shaped and reshaped by new forces and new formations, you discover as you proceed with your action.
  • Planning involves vision, discovery, decision making, and action. It is a purposeful way of looking to the future with the intent to shape it.

◉ What is the importance of a Project Plan?

  • A Project Plan is “A formal approved document used to guide both project execution and project control.
  • The objectives of the project plan are to document planning assumptions and decisions. It also facilitates communication among stakeholders, and documents approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines. A Project Plan may be a summary or detailed.”
  • It is a statement of how and when a project’s objectives are to be achieved by showing the major products, milestones, activities, and resources required for the project.
  • A project Plan means devising and maintaining a workable scheme to accomplish the business/service/development need that the project was undertaken to address.
  • A project Plan is the Work Plan and not the work.
  • The project plan is the definition of needed resources and work.

► Project Life Cycle in Project Management

  5. CLOSE

1. Project Conception & Initiation: Identifying stakeholders and investors of the project. Develop Major objectives and constraints of the Project. Making project Authorized

2. Project Planning: Developing Scope, Quality, Schedule & Cost. Making plans for Procurement, Risk Management Creating Project Teams. Designing Stakeholder Engagement plans, and Planning project leadership.

3. Project Execution: Directing Project team for Project work and arranging procurements.

4. Project Monitoring and Controlling: Monitor Progress & Control Changes, Manage Risks & Stakeholder Engagement, Lead Project.

5. Project Closing: Deliver the scope, Document lessons learned Release the project team, and Close the project.

Read More Here :Project Life Cycle

► Types of Project Planning

  • Scope planning
  • Preparing the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
  • Project schedule development
  • Resource planning
  • Budget planning
  • Procurement planning
  • Risk management
  • Quality planning
  • Communication planning
  • Stakeholder management planning

► Steps in Project Planning Process

  • Project Charter
  • Project Schedule
  • Project Resource
  • Project Budget
  • Project Quality
  • Project Risk
  • Project Communication

Let’s now discuss all the steps involved in project planning.

✔ Project Charter in Project Planning

This is a formal document that describes the objectives and the stakeholders of a project.

  • Charter is clubbed with project scope and gives the stakeholders a clear vision of the target they need to achieve.
  • The project manager submits the project charter to the stakeholders and takes approval on their proposal.

✔ Project Schedule

Project Schedule defines the time frame for the project using various scheduling tools.

  • Most of the companies use formal templatized documents with Gantt charts.
  • Sometimes they use project management software to keep track of the project activities and develop specific deadlines.

✔ Project Resource

This component defines the equipment and human capital required for a project. These can include technology, third-party providers, staffing solutions, and material goods. In other words, project resources are the supplies you need to get it done.

✔ Project Budget in Project Planning

  • What will the project cost the company?
  • Financially viable or not? Should we do the project?

A well-defined project budget addresses these questions with a snapshot of resources and their financial liability to the company.

✔ Project Quality

  • What are the parameters to judge the success of your project?
  • What are the key performance indicators?
  • Project quality is directly associated with the satisfaction that the final delivery achieves.

All activities are guided by well-defined project policies and objectives as decided and approved by the stakeholders.

✔ Project Risk

This is the element for which project planning is basically done. To identify project risk, project managers predict possible hazards and loopholes that the project might run into.

The Project Manager also makes a plan, containment, and resolution mechanisms to cope with the said hazards and project risk.

✔ Project Communication

This project reporting mechanism keeps the stakeholders and the management up to date about the developments.

Project communication reduces confusion and issues. It also builds trust and cooperation within the project team at every step of the project lifecycle.

Let’s discuss the process of project planning with the help of the project plan.

► How to Implement a Project Plan? (Process)

  • Establish the project scope
  • Define requirements and resources
  • Designate a team
  • Set a schedule
  • Assign quality parameters
  • Define risks and coping strategies
  • Devise a communication plan

let’s discuss all the above steps involved in the implementation of a project plan.

✔ Establish the Project Scope

Get your management on board and enlist the various objectives and scope of the project. This also includes the deadlines and deliverables along with the critical tasks.

✔ Define Requirements and Resources

Resource management skills are required to perform this step. This phase will include describing the supplies the project will need and it helps finish the project in the best possible time.

✔ Designate a Team

Building the human capital that you are going to invest in your project at this step. You can include the roles, designations, and contact information of the project task force in this component of your project plan.

✔ Set a Schedule

In Scheduling, the Manager assigns a deadline for each task. This activity was performed by using Gantt charts to depict scheduling orders. These charts show deadlines for a week, month, or year according to the project scope.

✔ Assign Quality Parameters

What will be the standards and benchmark for project completion? Here Manager describes the quality management components of the project replete with testing and evaluation.

✔ Define Risks and Coping Strategies

Identifying and Conducting an in-depth analysis of possible risks using various techniques, i.e. Delphi Method, decision tree, or simulation analysis. Enlisting risk detection and redress strategies on this slide of your project plan is also very good.

✔ Devise a Communication Plan

The Project Manager utilizes his communication management prowess here. He sets the mode of channels by which communication with each stakeholder will be done. This also makes a plan for the organization’s hierarchy and channels of communication.

► Advantages of Project Planning

  • Provides direction
  • Assigns responsibilities
  • Optimizes resource usage
  • Mitigates risks
  • Cultivates knowledge

Let’s discuss all these advantages or benefits of project planning in more detail.

✔ Provides Direction

A well-planned project provides the right direction for you and your team. It clears away the confusion in performing tasks and gives you a clear roadmap instead.

It sets the stage for the next challenges and how to tackle them. When goals and workflows are straightforward, the project outcome improves automatically.

✔ Assigns Responsibilities

Project planning helps in fixing the accountability of the stakeholders. It lays out the roles and responsibilities of each member of the project team.

It also gives them complete control over their domains of work which raises morale and helps the project team to perform up to their fullest potential.

By doing this now, the Project team works with improved collaboration as compared to an unplanned environment, giving the best results.

✔ Optimizes Resource Usage

Planning allows project leaders to allocate resources appropriately. It ensures that the project does not fail just because resources dry up in the middle of the process.

This resource allocation is less guesswork and more about educated guesses. Therefore, stakeholders can depend on the project plan for accurate predictions of milestones and budgets.

✔ Mitigates Risks by Project Planning

Planning imparts a certain degree of foresight to the stakeholders regarding the possible risks. Therefore, it helps project managers keep themselves prepared for the worst.

This reduces any adverse impact that shortage of resources or human error can have on the project, ensuring high-quality project delivery.

✔ Cultivates Knowledge

Each project is unique and challenging. Project planning helps your employees showcase their talent and also increases the knowledge pool of the company.

They learn new skills along the way and strengthen the project reporting mechanism to discover advanced ways of solving problems.

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