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How To Create An Effective Plan And Manage Your Projects Better

Those who are familiar with the process of project management would agree that it's a lot like storytelling. Every project is like a story that focuses on the objectives, team, timing, and deliverables. Now, to make sure the story unfolds exactly the way you want it to, you need to have a plan.Just like the stories, some projects can be simple to manage, while others seem like epics, involving too many complexities. Irrespective of the magnitude or complexity of the story, each follows a particular story arc or as it’s referred to in the area of project management, a project plan.So, without further ado, let’s elucidate on the right steps for creating the perfect project management plan.Step #1:   Know the scope and significance of your projectIn essence, the project management plan determines your approach and the method your team will adopt to work on the project. Every project needs a concrete plan. Not only does a plan help towards maintaining a sense of honesty regarding the scope and deadlines, but a plan also conveys crucial details to all the project stakeholders. Also, if your plan addresses some essential questions and informs your team and clients on the project logistics, you’re building a solid, strategic game plan for your project.  Step #2:  Carry out in-depth researchEven before you proceed with developing a plan, you have to check whether you have all of the crucial facts and figures. Only then you can dive into the documentation and communications related to the project. Elaborate on the scope of work and other important details that come along with it (it might be the notes from meetings with your clients or sales calls) and read them thoroughly.In the end, you’ll be gaining a thorough understanding of the following.Your client’s requirements and expectationsThe objectives of the projectThe decision-making process of clients (i.e., how they’ll review and approve your team’s work)Step #3:  Prepare an outline of the planAfter performing thorough research, you should move on to prepare a rough structure of the project plan based on every detail you've gathered so far.While this is only the initial draft of the structure, it’ll still be wise for you to finalize as much as possible so that you can skip endless rounds of revisions.You should also dedicate a section about your research to emphasize the major observations and describe how they influenced your project management plan.Refine the document, include some branding elements, and you’re ready to share it with your team.Step #4:  Sit down with the teamIt’s imperative for Project Managers to be in constant touch with their team members. Communication is an integral element of the project goals and the effort required to meet the same. This is necessary because you don’t want to put yourself or your team in an awkward spot by not reaching a consensus on the approach before pitching your ideas to your client.There should be a seamless exchange of ideas between you and your team members. So, having an open discussion about the specific approach not just assists you in forming a credible plan, but it also provides the assurance that you and your team members are on the same page. This process of communication is instrumental in developing trust and also builds the enthusiasm among the members about working together to achieve the same goal. The camaraderie will ultimately translate into the work and provide great outcomes.Step #5:  Write down the project planWhen you’ve got all the relevant information you’d require, and you've discussed the project at length with your team members, this is the time to prepare the project plan elaborately. In this case, you can adopt some efficient tools to make the project plan coherent and legible.Now, reading the elaborate project plan can be boring. So, in order to prevent your readers (especially in this case of your superiors and clients) from skimming your work of art, utilize some formatting skills to make sure tasks, milestones, durations, and dates are specified clearly. Try to put together a simple project plan. Remind yourself, that the simpler it is to read, the better.Step #6:  Review the planOnce you've carried out your research, had discussions about the plan with your team members, and created your formal project plan, you can ask someone on your team to thoroughly review it before you hand it over to the clients. There can be no greater embarrassment than being a Project Manager and handing over a plan with errors (e.g. an incorrect date). So, it’s safe to review it before submitting so that you can have your peace of mind.Step #7:  Distribute the project planWhen your plan is ready to be sent out to the clients, stakeholders and everyone else on your team, you’ll have to begin setting your plan into motion.To stay on the right track, highlight the big milestones first and then focus on how you plan to achieve each one of those by accomplishing smaller targets like daily, weekly, or monthly goals.After that, it becomes simple to manage the deliverables and convey the same to your team. Step #8:  Always be ready to planSometimes, projects are simple and extremely easy to manage. Other times, they are a complete nightmare that gives sleepless nights. However, with a great team and clear opportunities, you’ll be able to put together a solid plan that is thoughtful and manageable.If you’re an adaptable Project Manager who can adjust the approach and the plan while highlighting the appropriate risks, you’ll find yourself happy. Otherwise, the rapid developments may cloud your vision, and you’ll concentrate on things that won’t help your team, your stakeholders, your clients or your project. In conclusion,If you find the process of creating a project management plan to be too intimidating, then you need to follow this guide step-by-step. This way you will no longer feel stressed out about putting together a great project management plan and win the trust of your clients.

How To Create An Effective Plan And Manage Your Projects Better

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How To Create An Effective Plan And Manage Your Projects Better

Those who are familiar with the process of project management would agree that it's a lot like storytelling. Every project is like a story that focuses on the objectives, team, timing, and deliverables. Now, to make sure the story unfolds exactly the way you want it to, you need to have a plan.

Just like the stories, some projects can be simple to manage, while others seem like epics, involving too many complexities. Irrespective of the magnitude or complexity of the story, each follows a particular story arc or as it’s referred to in the area of project management, a project plan.

So, without further ado, let’s elucidate on the right steps for creating the perfect project management plan.

Step #1:   Know the scope and significance of your project

In essence, the project management plan determines your approach and the method your team will adopt to work on the project. Every project needs a concrete plan. 

Not only does a plan help towards maintaining a sense of honesty regarding the scope and deadlines, but a plan also conveys crucial details to all the project stakeholders. 

Also, if your plan addresses some essential questions and informs your team and clients on the project logistics, you’re building a solid, strategic game plan for your project.  

Step #2:  Carry out in-depth research

Even before you proceed with developing a plan, you have to check whether you have all of the crucial facts and figures. Only then you can dive into the documentation and communications related to the project. Elaborate on the scope of work and other important details that come along with it (it might be the notes from meetings with your clients or sales calls) and read them thoroughly.

In the end, you’ll be gaining a thorough understanding of the following.

  • Your client’s requirements and expectations

  • The objectives of the project

  • The decision-making process of clients (i.e., how they’ll review and approve your team’s work)

Step #3:  Prepare an outline of the plan

After performing thorough research, you should move on to prepare a rough structure of the project plan based on every detail you've gathered so far.

While this is only the initial draft of the structure, it’ll still be wise for you to finalize as much as possible so that you can skip endless rounds of revisions.

Project Management outline plan
You should also dedicate a section about your research to emphasize the major observations and describe how they influenced your project management plan.

Refine the document, include some branding elements, and you’re ready to share it with your team.

Step #4:  Sit down with the team

It’s imperative for Project Managers to be in constant touch with their team members. Communication is an integral element of the project goals and the effort required to meet the same. This is necessary because you don’t want to put yourself or your team in an awkward spot by not reaching a consensus on the approach before pitching your ideas to your client.

There should be a seamless exchange of ideas between you and your team members. So, having an open discussion about the specific approach not just assists you in forming a credible plan, but it also provides the assurance that you and your team members are on the same page. This process of communication is instrumental in developing trust and also builds the enthusiasm among the members about working together to achieve the same goal. The camaraderie will ultimately translate into the work and provide great outcomes.

Step #5:  Write down the project plan

When you’ve got all the relevant information you’d require, and you've discussed the project at length with your team members, this is the time to prepare the project plan elaborately. In this case, you can adopt some efficient tools to make the project plan coherent and legible.

Now, reading the elaborate project plan can be boring. So, in order to prevent your readers (especially in this case of your superiors and clients) from skimming your work of art, utilize some formatting skills to make sure tasks, milestones, durations, and dates are specified clearly. Try to put together a simple project plan. Remind yourself, that the simpler it is to read, the better.

Step #6:  Review the plan

Once you've carried out your research, had discussions about the plan with your team members, and created your formal project plan, you can ask someone on your team to thoroughly review it before you hand it over to the clients. 

There can be no greater embarrassment than being a Project Manager and handing over a plan with errors (e.g. an incorrect date). So, it’s safe to review it before submitting so that you can have your peace of mind.

Step #7:  Distribute the project plan

When your plan is ready to be sent out to the clients, stakeholders and everyone else on your team, you’ll have to begin setting your plan into motion.

To stay on the right track, highlight the big milestones first and then focus on how you plan to achieve each one of those by accomplishing smaller targets like daily, weekly, or monthly goals.

After that, it becomes simple to manage the deliverables and convey the same to your team. 

Step #8:  Always be ready to plan

Sometimes, projects are simple and extremely easy to manage. Other times, they are a complete nightmare that gives sleepless nights. However, with a great team and clear opportunities, you’ll be able to put together a solid plan that is thoughtful and manageable.

If you’re an adaptable Project Manager who can adjust the approach and the plan while highlighting the appropriate risks, you’ll find yourself happy. Otherwise, the rapid developments may cloud your vision, and you’ll concentrate on things that won’t help your team, your stakeholders, your clients or your project. 

In conclusion,

If you find the process of creating a project management plan to be too intimidating, then you need to follow this guide step-by-step. This way you will no longer feel stressed out about putting together a great project management plan and win the trust of your clients.

Suhana

Suhana Williams

author

Suhana Williams is an academic writer who also provides assignment help through Assignmenthelp.us. She has contributed to several journals with her insight on placement opportunities in the modern era. Suhana loves to cook when she is not working.  

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John Edwards 27 Nov 2018

Hi KnowledgeHut I am silent reader of this blog .. I have been following your blog for the last 3 years .Thanks for your efforts.

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This further compounds the demand for PgMP professionals. Benefits of getting PgMP certifiedGet in-depth knowledge of tools and techniques to handle complex multiple related projectsUnderstand Program Lifecycle and its processes, competencies, tools and techniques with practical sample templatesLearn to implement large-scale programs to align with business strategyOpen yourself to lucrative job opportunities and leadership rolesWork in projects across geographiesEarn high salaries, upto $139,000 on averageTop companies that hire PgMP professionalsAmazonGoogleMicrosoftCognizantCapgeminiDeloitteJP Morgan ChaseErnst & YoungWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must train from an Authorized Training Provider of PMI®Who should take the training for certificationTeam LeadsSponsorsProject DirectorsProgram ManagersPortfolio Managers  Project Management Office (PMO) HeadsEligibilityA Four-year Degree (Bachelor's or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and four years of Program Management experience.ORA Secondary Diploma (High school or Global equivalent), with at least four years of Project Management experience and seven years of Program Management experience. Exam FormatNo of questions: 170 multiple-choice, of which 20 are considered pretest questions which are not scored.Question type: Most questions are scenario based and test a professional's understanding and clarity of thoughts on different Program Management concepts.Time: 4 hoursDifficulty level: DifficultDuration to get certified: You have to complete your 24 hours of training from an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMI. Make a study plan and stick to it religiously. The PgMP is considered to be more difficult than the PMP and requires a fair bit of preparation. Once you pass the 4-hour exam you will be PgMP certified.  Course fee for certification: INR 13,999; USD 1199Application fee for certification: For PMI membership: USD $ 129 plus USD $10 for application fee.Exam fee for certificationIn IndiaMember: ₹46,338.00Non-member: ₹77,230.00In U.S.Member: $800Non-member: $1000Retake fee for certificationMember: $600Non-member: $8006. PMI-ACPPMI-ACP Demand: Agile is a fairly new concept in the context of product development. Though organizations reap immense benefits by adopting Agile, the road to transformation can often turn out to be expensive if not well executed. PMI-ACP professionals are therefore in huge demand as they can bring in project management best practices in Agile environments and ensure project success.  Benefits of getting PMI-ACP certifiedThe shortage of Project Managers has increased job opportunities in the Agile environmentYou will qualify for Agile jobs with expertise in Agile methods like Scrum, FDD, Kanban, etc. which are in demand in the industryEarn salaries in the range of $108,000 on an averageEquips you with knowledge of various Agile methodsMakes you more marketableTop companies that hire PMI-ACP professionalsStandard CharteredOracleIBMVMWareSource: IndeedWhere to take training for certification: Aspirants must train from an Authorized Training Provider of PMI® Who should take the training for certification?Project ManagersProject PlannersQuality Assurance StaffDevelopers/ProgrammersDesigners, TestersProject ControllersProduct OwnersScrum MastersScrum Team MembersEligibilityTo apply for the PMI-ACP®, candidates must meet the following requirements:1. General Project Experience2000 hours of working on project teams within the last 5 years or having an active PMP®/PgMP® credential2. Agile Project Experience1500 hours of working on Agile Project Teams or with Agile Methodologies, in addition to “General Project Experience” above;3. Training in Agile Practices21 contact hours earned in Agile PracticesExam FormatNo of questions: 120 MCQ, of which 20 are pre-testDuration: 3 hoursDuration to get certified: Once you complete the course, you need to schedule the exam date. Exam applications have to be submitted and approved by PMI. Online applications m ay take upto five business days to get processed. Once your application is processed, you can schedule your exam date, and on passing receive the PMI-ACP credential.Course fee for certification: INR 10,999, USD 1099Application fee for certification: For PMI membership: USD $ 129 plus USD $10 for application fee.Exam fee for certificationFor members: $435Non-members: $495Retake fee for certificationMembers: $150Non-members: $200SummaryProject Management is among the most sought after job roles, not only in the tech industry but any industry that executes and manages projects. By 2027, 88 million individuals will need to be skilled in project management-oriented roles. This makes it among the hottest job trends in the coming years, and a credential will go a long way in helping you capitalise on this trend.
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Best Project Management Certifications in 2021

While nothing can replace industry work experience... Read More

Project Contracts – A Vital Legal Binding

One of the key knowledge areas discussed in the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification is Procurements Management. As part of project procurements management a project manager is mainly expected to be able to initiate, execute and manage projects based on the project contracts. This article is an attempt to discuss about project contracts, to discuss the importance of such contracts and to give an introduction to types of contracts as a precursor to subsequent articles. The PMBOK® defines a contract as follows. “Contract represents a mutually binding agreement that obligates the seller to provide the specified products, services or results, and obligates the buyer to provide the monetary or other valuable consideration in return. A contract can also be called an agreement, understanding, undertaking or a purchase order.” (PMBOK® 5.0) Any project involves two or more parties. One main party that is the buyer and the other the seller. In addition to these there can be other 3rd party elements that are not directly involved in the contract but are interested in or are impacted by the same. The contract between the buyer and the seller happens to protect the interests of the two parties entering into the agreement. The seller provides goods or services to the buyer for which the buyer compensates the seller monetarily or through other financial or non-financial means.   A contract is a formal agreement between the two parties and it is a legal binding amongst the two entities. A formal contract must be in written format and can be used even in court of law in the case of either party failing to honour their commitment or in the case of an appeal against any misdeeds. Dishonouring contracts may actually lead to settlements even in court but should ideally be settled mutually among the disagreeing parties, most probably through a mediator called an ‘arbitrator’. Normally in large organizations contracts are managed by a separate contract manager or a procurements manager. The management of contracts are done in 2 separate ways namely; centralized contracting and decentralized contracting. In centralized contracting, one contract manager manages all the contract related matters for multiple projects. This requires expertise in contracting, standardization of contracting practices across the organization and more focused management of contracts. In decentralized contracting, separate contract managers are allocated to manage the procurements for individual projects. This results in full time management of contracts and the contract manager must report progress to the project manager. This results in more focused management of project contracts and with time creates specialized expertise in contracting. However, this may result in duplication of contracting expertise and less standardization of contracting practices across multiple projects in the company. There are three main types of contracts. They are Cost Reimbursable OR Cost Plus, Time and Material or Unit Price and Fixed Price or Lump Sum contracts.  The applicability and use of these contract types based on the type of project, complexity and the parties involved may decide on variations based on the charges involved in order to ensure that the contract terms are mutually beneficial for the two parties. Hence, these contracts vary based on the cost, time and price.  A cost plus or cost reimbursement contract is a contract in which the contractor is reimbursed or paid all the actual expenses they incur when carrying out the work. In addition to this they are also allowed to charge an extra fee allowing them to obtain a profit. For example a contractor taking up building a contract may claim resource costs as well as any miscellaneous expenses incurred for travel, food, purchases as well as charge an additional amount from the customer in order to make a profit from the tasks carried out. A fixed price contract on the other hand does not depend on the resources utilized or time expended. A fixed amount is agreed upon between the contractor and the customer where the amount is paid to the contractor even if the resources expended is lower or higher than the agreed upon amount. Time & material contract is where the contracting party is paid only for the amount of time or resources spent. For example if there is a software development firm which assigns 4 resources for a project on a T&M basis the company will be paid an hourly rate for each resource based on the amount of time they spend on tasks in the project.  Each contract type has its own pros and cons for both the contracting and implementation party. For example a fixed price contract is suitable for an organization as they would know the amount due before hand and know that they won’t end up paying extra if the triple project constraints are not met. Similarly, a time and material project may be suitable for both parties, as amount will be charged only based on the amount of work done in the project and for the time spent. Advantages and disadvantages of each contract type depend on the context. Thus, it is important for stakeholders involved in projects to negotiate on contracts wisely.
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Project Contracts – A Vital Legal Binding

One of the key knowledge areas discussed in the Pr... Read More

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