you’re tasked with pulling together a handy-dandy project plan for your team to execute on these initiatives. you don’t need to know all the project management basics to execute a successful project plan. meet with the project sponsors and key stakeholders to discuss their needs and project expectations, and establish a scope baseline, budget, and timeline. then create a scope statement document to finalize and record project scope details, get everyone on the same page, and reduce the chances of costly miscommunication. these should outline project objectives, or the metrics and benefits you hope to achieve. identify the deliverables and project planning steps required to meet the project’s goals. (you can finalize these dates when you sit down to define your project schedule in the next step.) look at each deliverable and define the series of tasks that must be completed to accomplish each one.
be sure you also understand how to write a project management report for a summary overview of the current status of the project. you’ll need them to agree with the project schedule and set expectations for work to run smoothly. when developing a project plan, you should know how to manage risk in a project and consider the steps you should take to either prevent certain risks from happening, or limit their negative impact. or create a small “time buffer” around the task to help keep your project on track in the event of a delay. explain how your plan addresses stakeholders’ expectations, and present your solutions to any conflicts. make your project plan clear and accessible to all stakeholders so they don’t have to chase you down for simple updates. make sure stakeholders know exactly what’s expected of them, and what actions they need to take. tip: if your plan or schedule doesn’t align with stakeholders’ original expectations, communicate that now to avoid any nasty surprises or tense conversations down the line. and if you have any additional tips on how to manage a project from start to finish, let us know in the comments below!
i find that the lack of proper planning or failure to create a systematic approach can be fatal to projects. the benefit of using project management software is that you’re usually able to store all of your documents and deliverables in one place, and you can avoid losing important discussions and decisions to the email or slack void. but, you’ll actually save a lot of time and resources if you document your project plan right from the start and use it as a roadmap to keep you and your team on track. this list should break down the larger project into smaller tasks that can be assigned to specific team members, and you should include estimated deadlines associated with each deliverable or task.
using a project management tool like basecamp can be helpful keeping everyone on track and storing documents and conversations all in one place. attached to your list of milestones and deliverables should be information about the project cost and estimated budget. use your list of deliverables as a framework for adding milestones and tasks that will need to be completed to accomplish the larger goal. the secret to effective project planning and management is staying organized and communicating well with your team and stakeholders. whether you decide to use project management software or not, think about where and how you store all the materials and resources that relate to your project—keep everything in one place if you can.
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