Planning is the most critical stage in a project’s life cycle. One of the key pillars of any project management program, proper planning ensures smooth work progress and achievement of objectives within the specified deadline.
Several pieces of research show a strong link between effective planning and ultimate project success. Adequate and efficient planning is essential for all projects, be it software development or construction or manufacturing.
Let’s perform an exhaustive analysis of the criticality of the planning phase in a project management cycle.
Defining project succes
Before analysing the impact of the project planning phase on a project’s success, let us first define all the measures of success which a project must achieve.
Every project is a multifaceted endeavour that aims to achieve a set of objectives. Though the parameters vary from project to project such as academic writing service , the multi-level success framework aptly defines the critical success factors (CSF) of any project:
- Process Success
- Project Management Success
- Deliverable Success
- Business Success
- Strategic Success
Now, such complete success of any project is forever bounded by certain primary constraints-time, scope and cost.
Project managers develop suitable plans to for initiating, executing and completing the project successfully, all the while remaining within the boundaries of existing constraints. Insightful planning is a prerequisite for successful project completion.
Analysing the critical role of project planning
According to the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), planning in a project management flowchart is a continuous process group that remains operative through every phase of a project’s life cycle.
The planning process group runs as long as the project is active. It evolves as the project progresses towards completion and interacts with all other major process groups.
The Major Planning Processes Of Project Management
A successful planning process group encapsulates the following processes in order to achieve project success.
Scope Management Plans
- Identification of project deliverables and scope is the primary aim of this planning process. The plan documents the definition, validation and control of the project’s scope.
- Project managers scope out all requirements for project completion and then develop work breakdown structures. The complete project work is subdivided into smaller, manageable components.
- Well-crafted planning enables effective management of the total scope and successful achievement of target deliverables.
Procurement and Human Resource Management Plans
- The procurement management planning process documents all necessary procurement decisions. The plans lay out the what, how, where and when of all project procurements.
- These plan processes identify those project needs that should be acquired from external sources versus the ones which can be accomplished by the project team.
- The human resource management plan identifies major project roles, responsibilities, skills and relationships.
Communication management Plans
- Effective planning of project communications is essential for the ultimate success of the project. The planning process lays out the modes and protocols of communication & coordination amongst project members, stakeholders and higher management.
- Communication planning is done quite early during the planning phase of a project’s life cycle. It helps project managers to allocate the necessary time and budget to vital communication activities.
Quality Management Plans
- Quality management plans set the quality standards & requirements of the project deliverables. Project managers lay down stringent quality control measures that are followed by all project members throughout a project’s life cycle.
- This planning process documents how every aspect of the project should comply with the established quality requirements.
- Managers carry out quality planning in parallel with other planning processes. This lets manager adjust all operations to any sudden changes in project objectives & deliverables.
Timing & Scheduling Management Plans
- Planning schedule management involves the establishment of procedures, policies and documentation of the entire project schedule. A well-drafted scheduling plan provides guidance and direction to project managers in the later phases of a project’s life cycle.
- Scheduling management plans can be either formal & intricately detailed or informal & broadly framed. The structure and nature of the plans depend upon the project requirements.
Risk Management Plans
- Planning risk management procedures enable project managers to conduct risk management activities in a project.
- Risk management plans enable managers to carry risk assessments at any stage of a project’s life cycle. Cautious planning increases the probability of success in risk assessment procedures.
- Risk planning processes are initiated during the project’s conception and are completed early on during project planning.
Cost Management Plans
- Cost management plans to scope out the planning, managing, expending and controlling of a project’s finances. Managers keep a close lookout for all expenditures of a project through a well-crafted cost management plan.
- Project cost management also considers stakeholder’s requirements for managing costs.
- Project managers usually begin developing a cost plan in the earliest stages of project initiation phase; this ensures that the performances of all processes are at their best.
All the critical planning processes above help project managers establish the project’s scope, refine the target objectives and define all necessary course of action.
Planning in project management is a multilayered process group, and every underlying process is crucial for successful project completion. Planning is, thus, the heart and soul of a successful project.