Use These Two Great Techniques to Help You
Plan Your Projects
Project Planning – Work on the Project Charter, Schedule and Budget Simultaneously
There is not a sequential order between chartering a project, building the schedule and estimating the total cost. That is, you do not have to completely charter the work first and then build the schedule and budget second. Some of the sections of the Project Charter (click here for free template), such as the estimates for cost and duration, and a milestone schedule, cannot be completed without starting to lay out the overall project schedule. At the same time, you cannot complete the schedule without gaining agreement on some elements in the Project Charter such as deliverables and scope.
Defining the work, and building the schedule and budget need to be done simultaneously. The main deliverables, the Project Charter, schedule and budget, should also be developed in parallel. You will find that as you gather information about scope and deliverables, you can start laying out a high-level schedule. As you gather more information about the work, you can fill in more details on the schedule. When the deliverables, scope, assumptions and approach are complete, you should have enough information to complete a high-level schedule. You can then use the high-level schedule to estimate the necessary budget – which in turn are used to complete the Project Charter.
Make Sure Everyone Understands Project Roles and Responsibilities
For small projects, the project organization is pretty simple – maybe just the project manager and the sponsor. The person who is managing the project may be the only person actually working on the project.
However, for large projects, there may end up being an elaborate and formal organizational structure. You may have team members, an executive sponsor, a project sponsor, a customer manager, a project director, a steering committee, vendors, clients, and others involved. You do not want to get overly complex, but the more people that are involved in the project the more important it is that everyone be clear on their roles and responsibilities. For example, the last thing you want is to have someone give you direction as if he were the sponsor when really he may just be a management stakeholder.
One aspect of defining the project is to define the organization structure and the roles and responsibilities of all the major participants. The typical roles and responsibilities can be defined ahead of time for your organization and then reused as appropriate from project to project.