Keeping Project Plans on Track

You’ve taken the critical step on initiating a project plan. Now how do you keep your plan on track?

You need to monitor and evaluate throughout the planning and evaluation stages. Status reports are the way to do this. All stakeholders are updated by providing them with information about milestones, budgets and challenges.

These status reports will keep everyone on the path to success.

That’s exactly what NFPW’s new webmaster and I are doing. The job was defined by a scope of work, which outlined a schedule and payment structure. Now that the new site is under construction, we hold a weekly conference call and review our status. We agree on what we each will achieve in the coming week.

The project will finish on time and on budget. More importantly, it will deliver on expectations, in large part, because of our check-ins with our status reports.

What do you do to keep your projects on track?

Project Planning Balances Constraints

Project planning isn’t simply about reaching the finish line. It’s really about balancing constraints.

It is often overlooked because many consider it cumbersome or time consuming and yet it should be an integral part of the work process. Project planning is a professional discipline and certification in the field is available.

Project planning allows you to clarify what you want to achieve. It provides a path to achieve it.

It also provides development opportunities, and this is often overlooked.  When you bring in other individuals to a project and you use effective project planning you are supporting strong team practices. You want people to feel good about the work they do.

So what is project planning? It’s about balancing three constraints – scope (including the level of quality required), schedule and cost. If you want good, quick and cheap, it’s not going to happen. You might get two of those, but you aren’t going to get all three.

Ultimately your goal is efficient and successful projects. This includes better ability to work together and working smarter (this does not mean working extra hours to reach the goal).

Initiating a project plan allows you to achieve your goals. Are you ready to reach them?