Planning is the first step in effective project management and increases the likelihood of a successful outcome. Before you start any new project, you must take time to plan it properly.
This means looking closely at all aspects of the project and specifying its essential requirements so that you can prevent problems and keep the project moving forward. Without proper planning, you weaken your chances of getting the work done to your satisfaction. Planning will include three factors:
- Understand Your Project
To project manage effectively, you need to analyze each of these factors. The following is a checklist of key questions you need to ask and answer about a project you are considering outsourcing. This will help guide you through the planning process:
1. Understand Your Project
- Have you defined clearly the scope of this project?
- What is the project description?
- What are the required deliverables?
- What resources are needed?
- What is the level of effort required from you on this project?
- How difficult is this project?
- When does this project need to be completed?
- How might the timeline affect the scope of this work.
- What Performance Indicators will you use to monitor this project?
- What is your budget for this project?
- What will your budget buy? What quality of provider will it attract?
- Have you developed a step-by-step plan for this project?
- Have you appointed a team to oversee all aspects of this project?
- What risk assessments and strategies do you have to prepare for this project?
- What is the proposed timeline for this project, e.g. two weeks?
- Have you built some flexibility into this, i.e. allowed for problems, holidays, time zones, etc.?
- What date do you want this project to start?
- What date do you want this projected completed?
- What are the milestones for when certain deliverables are due throughout the life of this project? (e.g. 1st draft submitted, stage 1 completed, etc.)
- What are the dates for any milestones? How do these fit into your proposed timeline?
- What communication channels do you intend to use with your provider to make sure communications are clear?