Project Management: Planning

Updated on June 29, 2020
LilianeNajm profile image

As a Certified Associate in Project Management having worked in a PMO environment, I know the importance of planning and executing projects.

Planning Tools and Techniques

Source

Planning is the main method we can use to control and regulate a project that is being executed. Executing a project is putting a plan into action to deliver the expected results.

In the planning stage, a project manager thinks through the whole project, communicates and manages the individuals who will do the work, and finds the best arrangement in which the work must be done or executed.

Project managers have to plan to find the best course of action, to make it clear in their minds what needs to be done, to check what is outside their areas of expertise, and to know how to delegate and set works for others.

Here are some planning tools that we can use to plan a project.

Gantt Chart

Source

A Gantt chart is a graphic representation of the plan for the project. It shows the tasks, their durations, their sequences (or positions in time), and the overall duration of the project. It presents all this information in an interrelated form, and is a simple way to communicate the plan of the project.

We prepare a Gantt chart to combine information of the tasks and the length of time of our project. Such a chart helps us to understand the necessary process to complete the project. It also helps us to get an accurate grasp of the whole duration of the project, communicate information about it, and provide a standard for evaluation and estimation if we need to make additional decisions.

Is a Gantt chart entirely reliable? Not really. We cannot rely on a Gantt chart to give details on why tasks are put in the order in which they appear. We also cannot rely on a Gantt chart to show which tasks are critical to a well-timed completion of the project, or to show the impact of changes on the dependencies or sequences of tasks. A tasks dependency is a logical relationship between tasks or milestones. In a task dependency, a task or a milestone relies on other tasks to be performed, entirely or partially, before it can be performed.

Critical Path Analysis

Source

A critical path is the order of activities of a project that assesses the longest total duration to determine the shortest time possible to complete the project.

A critical path chart or network shows which tasks are critical or essential to the timely completion of the project.

A critical path software automatically calculates the effects of changes in relation to the dependencies between tasks. Because of its operating speed, the software updates quickly any change to task data and its resources.

Software programs are used to help with planning a project and allocating resources to tasks, resource leveling, costing or estimating the cost, Work Breakdown Structure, and Organizational Breakdown Structure.

Here are some project management software presented in alphabetical order: Accelo, Asana, Backlog, Easy Projects, inMotion, monday.com, ProWorkFlow, Workamajig, Workfront, and Wrike. If you want to know more about these software, you can visit the website of GetAppĀ®, which publishes user-generated and editorial reviews of software and apps for businesses.

What-if Scenarios

Costs and time must be verified against objectives during the planning phase.

What-if scenarios are used when data change. Computer software then re-calculate new duration, resource allocations, and cost to offer possible options.

If the planning software shows that the required completion date goes beyond the permitted time or cost, the project manager must then look at three options:

  • Find which tasks can be done in parallel or can be partly covered, then connect again these tasks on the network in parallel. The computer will then estimate a shorter project duration.
  • Enter the new mandatory completion date, and the computer will work out a new start date.
  • Find out if the duration of the critical tasks can be reduced. This can be done by putting in more resources, working longer hours, lowering the quality which will reduce the amount of work, or using prefabrication.

If the planning software shows that the cost is going to be greater than the allocated budget, the project manager can either reduce the number of resources, shorten the schedule, or lower the quality of the deliverable.

Explanation of Terms and Expressions

Here is an explanation of some of the words or expressions used above:

  • Resource allocation assigns resources such as time, people, and tools, on a number of tasks to meet a deadline.
  • Resource leveling is a technique that adjusts the start and finish dates in line with resource limitation to balance the demand for resources with the available supply.
  • A Work Breakdown Structure breaks down a project into smaller components where each focuses on a deliverable.
  • Organizational Breakdown Structure is a model that details the organizational framework for project planning, resource management, time and expense tracking, cost allocation, revenue and profit reporting, and the management of work.
  • Time tracking keeps a record of hours worked.
  • Expense tracking keeps a record of what was spent.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)