6 Questions to Answer before You Start Your Project Plan

This post is an excerpt of our “Guide to Project Planning.” Get it now to get more information on how to create a great project planning.
Now that you feel you have asked enough questions about the project and have compiled all the information you need to create a plan, it is time to get serious.
You’re likely feeling prepared and ready for the details of the project. It’s easy to just jump into your preferred project planning tool to create what appears to be a well-thought out plan.
It’s okay if that’s your method. Be sure to consider all possible scenarios before you create a formalized document. If you don’t, you’ll need to go back through your work, make adjustments, which could take more time than you anticipated.
Start with a sketch to help you map out and communicate your ideas about process, deliverables and dependencies. This can be done in as little as 20 minutes. It will help you to sell your ideas to your colleagues before you deliver something that feels “written in stones.”
You can either use a pencil and a notebook or draw on a whiteboard.
Do you feel overwhelmed or unsure where to begin? Look at your scope document. Does it detail specific deliverables and timing? Did you take the time to review your team’s high level timeline to gain a better understanding of all the moving parts within this scope? Refer to your meeting notes. Did you ask your clients any questions? Do you have any important dates or events that you need to remember?
It can be difficult to grasp this concept if it is unfamiliar. It’s important to remember that the plan you create won’t be done for you by the tool you use. You have control over the process and can create a plan with no tool at all. Keep these things in mind.
1. What is the overall approach to the project’s execution?
What is the first deliverable? What happens next? What are the deliverables that help you reach your goal? Is your team more comfortable working within the framework of an Agile methodology? What frameworks can you apply to this project based on the variables you identified in your pre-project client Q&A. These 7 questions were important to ask before you started.
2. What tasks are required?
Do not think of your project in stages. Think about deliverables. Consider, for example, how much work must be done before you can deliver a design idea. What work can happen after it’s approved? It will be easier to tie everything together if you know the details of each task and how they relate.
3. What are the roles and people who will be working on this project?
What do they do? How can you use their expertise and collaborate to make things more efficient?
You can help your team think about how they could work together and give them ideas. They will be more open to the ideation process and come up with new ideas. You’ll be happier and your team will be stronger if you harness the power that is team collaboration before you start work.
Resourcing is another important consideration. Conflicts can arise if your company allows employees to work on multiple projects at once. This is something you want to avoid. Review your resourcing plans to ensure that your team is available for the work you estimate.
4. How much time do your team and you need to complete work?
Be open about how much time your team will need for their work. Make sure to review your project estimate, if you have one, to see how many hours were allocated for each task. This can be a great help in determining the cost of your project.

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