Project Management Skills Training – 10 Step Guide to Project Planning

by ltconsulting on October 4, 2011

Managing projects is not easy, but it is a crucial task in the workplace. Our Project Management training course will present delegates with useful strategies that will assist them with:

  • organising projects
  • improving project management skills
  • managing projects effectively
  • project planning
  • becoming a great project manager

With ever-increasing workloads and deadlines, the ability to manage our time has never been more important. Project management is a crucial factor in work and our project management courses are created to ensure that delegates can make their work based projects as efficient and effective as possible. We do this by supplying a project management training course that is full of tools and tips for improving project planning, time planning, delegation, organisation and management strategies, managing meetings, as well as handling and using time effectively. Our Project Management Course will cover subjects such as goal setting, improving organisation skills and managing time successfully. Our seminars are packed with useful tips and techniques that allow you to become a better project manager instantly.

10 Step Guide to Project Planning

Step 1

Identify the project and the required data from your strategic statements.

Step 2

Define the objective (be specific) and describe the expected result. Estimate the cost, and appoint the team leader if applicable. You should also check that the project relates to the strategy. Does it affect your strategic vision in a positive or a negative way?

Step 3

Brainstorm and break the project into bite-sized, manageable portions with their own specific actions.

Step 4

Think through and discuss with other team members possible contingencies, challenges, and obstacles and list them on the left-hand side of a clean sheet of paper. Then on the right-hand side, seek a solution.

Step 5

Sequence your activities by working down the column, asking where in the list of priorities each task should be placed (e.g., does the second follow the first?).

Step 6

Review the project with team members and define their roles and commitments. Note the dates for start and completion. Ensure that all people involved are fully informed and that each has a written copy of the plan.

Step 7

Estimate the duration of each activity in days or hours.

Step 8

Time-activate the steps and write them down on the written checklist or project graph.

Step 9

Evaluate the project often by checking the completion dates. Remember to check the team members’ commitment dates. This helps to ensure that all members of the team and those with the ability to affect its work function in tandem.

Step 10

On completion of the project, appraise it with all team members and note results and observations for future reference. This is the best way to correct shortcomings, reinforce strengths, and raise the bar on future performance and productivity.

Case Study

A human resources consulting firm set out to market a new product: motivational booklets designed for use by organisations to encourage greater teamwork, increase positive communication and creativity.

From the beginning, the firm recognised that the booklets, illustrated by young artists, were of high quality and held great promise in the marketplace. But management needed a methodology for selling the booklets to corporate buyers. Acknowledging that it faced a formidable task (in part because it was new to the business), the firm started by creating a formal project plan.

The following were among the plan’s key features:

1. Knowing from experience that the managers and employees involved in the project would function better if they were presented with a timetable, the firm stated its intention of making its first significant sales in six months (1st January of the following year). This prodded management and employees to act with a sense of urgency, thus helping to stay ahead of their competition who were poised to enter the market.

2. To make certain that the firm increased the power of its key staff, management clearly defined the project’s objectives (to gain a foothold in a new market and to profit from the sale of motivational booklets) so that everyone could see where the project was headed. Equally important, a leader was assigned, with responsibility for completing the project successfully, on time, and within budget.

3. A key part of the leader’s duties was to co-ordinate the efforts of all the employees involved in the project, to motivate them, and to orchestrate their efforts so that they functioned as a team rather than as talented individuals.

To accomplish this, the leader held brainstorming sessions (which were an integral part of the project plan), during which creative strategies for accomplishing goals were developed and responsibilities for the various component tasks were assigned. This assured that (1) everyone had a role to play, (2) everyone’s role was clearly defined, and (3) the project leader was responsible for holding the team members accountable.

4. As a by-product of the brainstorming sessions, the firm came to the painful conclusion that its instinctive approach to marketing the booklets through direct sale to corporate buyers would be prohibitively expensive. Following the project planning approach, management focused on this obstacle, identifying it as a serious issue that would require a creative solution before the firm could proceed.

Utilising the combined brainpower of the team, the firm generated a wide range of plausible solutions, and kept refining these ideas until the participants agreed on the most promising approach: Rather than marketing directly to end users, the firm would enlist the support of an industry champion (specifically, a major distributor or network of distributors) that was active in the motivational products business. Through revenue-sharing agreements, it could use the power of these distributor relationships to market the booklets, thus moving out of the starting gate from a position of strength.

5. At the conclusion of the initial brainstorming sessions, which moved beyond marketing tactics to booklet concepts, production logistics, and retailer selection, management prioritised the workload, making certain that the most critical tasks (such as identifying the appropriate distributors) were tackled first.

6. Next, management assigned each of the tasks to one or more team members, making sure to link responsibilities with personal talents and experience.

The assignment process harnessed the power of the firm’s staff. With each team member assuming a specific function or series of functions, and with all the team members aware of their peers’ responsibilities as well as their own, the team was organised to function as a cohesive unit, reinforcing rather than conflicting with one another’s activities.

None of this co-ordination was left to chance. A master project calendar was drafted, detailing responsibilities and start and completion dates, and each team member was required to initial the overall plan as well as his or her personal duties.

7. Finally, management created mechanisms for monitoring and revising the firm’s course as it moved ahead. As part of this process, the project participants were to meet as a group on a monthly basis, gauging progress, identifying problems, seeking solutions, and making mid-project corrections. All in all, the methodology was in place to achieve success in the marketplace through a highly productive team effort. Although marketing booklets represented a new business challenge, by adjusting and refining the existing assembly line, the firm was confident of achieving great success.

The course is designed to help delegates organise their workload while planning a project. This is done with the aid of Gantt charts and project management templates, tools and techniques. This course is also a great option if you seek project management for junior staff in the workplace as it will informatively aid staff in planning successful projects.

There are many benefits of being a project manager such as; better task management; increased self esteem; the ability to negotiate more effectively and reduce the stress which results from a lack of effective planning.

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