Summary of How to Create the Perfect Project Plan

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How to Create the Perfect Project Plan summary
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Technology and work environments may have changed radically, but if you’re a project manager, you face the same basic tasks and questions as your predecessors a generation ago: defining the project’s purpose and phases, predicting resource needs, accurately estimating time and costs, winning client buy-in, and keeping the team working together and on track. On his blog The Digital Project Manager, Ben Aston argues for good old-fashioned project planning as an essential tool for project management, even in today’s agile IT development environments. Aston gives the whys and wherefores of project planning and lists 10 steps to doing it well.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why project planning remains essential in today’s agile work environments,
  • How project plans benefit managers, clients and teams, and
  • What 10 steps lead to a complete project plan.
 

About the Author

Ben Aston is a digital project manager with 10 years’ experience working with digital agencies in London.

 

Summary

For complex projects in fast-changing environments, planning might seem unrealistic or even counterproductive: Managers often see it as too rigid considering the reality of IT development. Nevertheless, project plans continue to play an essential role because they answer basic questions for managers and clients. They help managers keep projects on track and give clients information they need to sign off on them. Project plans help clarify which steps a project requires, define when milestones will occur and facilitate agreement on the go-live date. They reveal dependencies, missing steps and required resources. Project planners often employ a tool such as Microsoft Project to create Gantt charts – but a simple Excel spreadsheet or even handwritten notes will do. The plan should document in detail the processes that will lead to outputs, including the deliverables the client should expect, resource requirements, dependencies among tasks, progress milestones and the time of delivery. The planning process focuses the team’s efforts on the project’s ultimate purpose and keeps team members from wasting effort. The project plan helps get everyone on the project team onto the same page. Ten basic steps of project planning include:


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