Planning a project is key to its success. Detailed planning is not always possible, but a minimum of activities are needed to reduce risk and the chance of surprises along the way.
Key planning activities:
- Collect requirements. Requirements include functional and technical requirements of the application(s) or service(s) involved in the project. You can classify requirements as ‘must have’ or ‘nice to have,’ or rank them in order of priority. The team should revisit the requirements throughout the project to make sure they will be met or to revise them.
- Define scope. The scope provides detail about the project’s goals and objectives, deliverables, resources, schedule, and costs. The project sponsor and other stakeholders should review and accept the scope statement before the project begins.
- Develop a project plan. The most basic project plan identifies major deliverables (tangible products of the project), major tasks to achieve each deliverable, the resource(s) responsible for the tasks, and finish dates or task durations to help inform the project schedule. If you can, identify any tasks or deliverables that depend on completion of others.
- Estimate resources and costs. Given what the project seeks to accomplish, what resources are needed? Does the team require a Web developer, a systems administrator, a writer? Will software or hardware be required? Estimate all the resources and their associated costs. Share this information with stakeholders.
- Plan for quality. Your organization may have metrics and standards that help ensure a quality product or service. At OIT, the Service Review Board is a major resource and helps determine a project’s readiness to transition to normal operations. Be sure to engage the SRB early on, by sending email to co-chairs Charley Kneifel and Debbie DeYulia. Learn more about the SRB’s role at OIT.
- Plan communications. No matter the project, its progress and outcomes need to be communicated to an audience in a timely manner. At OIT, our News and Information group provides consulting and guidance; they can assist with identifying target audiences and media as well as with final edits and publication.
- Identify risks. Every project has risks, whether related to user adoption, third party involvement, or other factors. Identify project risks and discuss how the project team will undertake tasks to minimize the risks and plan for their eventuality.
- Plan procurements. Does the project team involve a contract with a third party provider, or purchasing equipment from a supplier? How will these items be negotiated and procured? Discuss this with the team, stakeholders, and most particularly, with project sponsors.