How do I plan a project?

Project planning plays a crucial role in the management of any project, and is a decisive factor in its success.

As Benjamin Franklin put it: "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail". This quote underlines the importance of planning in the realization of projects.

It's also interesting to note that only 29% of companies manage to complete their projects without any delays, according to Standish Group. This statistic reveals the major challenge many organizations face when embarking on projects.

Project planning is therefore of crucial importance to the success of your organization.

In this article dedicated to project planning, we explore in detail the various facets of this discipline.

From planning management to defining roles and responsibilities, from the key elements of planning to the tools available, we'll look at how companies can improve their planning practices to increase their success rate while reducing costly delays.

Project planning: definition 

Project planning is a process that defines the objectives to be achieved, the resources required, the implementation stages and the monitoring methods. 

In project management, planning consists of : 

Planning, the second crucial stage in a project's lifecycle, plays an essential role in ensuring that resources are well used, deadlines met and objectives achieved.

At this decisive stage, the project manager and his team join forces to validate the project's feasibility. Meticulous planning will lay a solid foundation, ensuring the continued success of the project throughout its execution.

To learn more about the basics of project planning, we invite you to read our article on the subject.

What is the purpose of planning? 

Without effective project planning, your projects can quickly be in jeopardy. Costs can spiral out of control, and deadlines can get seriously out of hand. Worse still, in a multi-project management context, the final objective can be lost sight of, wasting resources and jeopardizing your organization. 

Good planning therefore increases the chances of success, by reducing risks, improving coordination of the various project players and optimizing resources.

The main benefits of project planning : 

To find out more about the benefits of planning, read our article: Why is project planning important? 

What are the 4 dimensions of project planning? 

Project planning has four dimensions: 

  1. The time dimension: (When) This concerns the definition of project milestones and deadlines. This includes establishing a detailed schedule with start and end dates for each task or phase of the project, as well as identifying critical deadlines and milestones. 
  1. The resources dimension: (WHO) This dimension involves identifying, allocating and managing the resources needed to complete the project. This includes the human resources (skills and manpower required), material resources (equipment, tools, etc.) and financial resources (budget) needed to carry out the project effectively. 
  1. The scope dimension: (WHAT)Thisconcerns the precise definition of the project's objectives, deliverables and expected results. It involves determining what is to be achieved and what is not part of the project, in order to clearly define its scope. 
  1. The quality dimension: This dimension aims to define the quality standards and criteria that the project must meet. It involves identifying the quality requirements for the project's deliverables and processes, as well as the quality control and assurance mechanisms to ensure that these standards are met. 

Other dimensions are also commonly cited:  

By combining these dimensions in a balanced way, project planning becomes more solid and enables better overall management of the project throughout its life cycle. 

To find out more about the components of planning, read our article: What are the 4 dimensions of project planning?

What are the key planning stages? 

Although each project is unique and requires its own specific planning, there are some common elements to all projects.

Here are the main planning steps:

To find out more about the main stages in planning, read our article: What are the stages in project planning? 

Who is responsible for project planning?  

Project planning is primarily the responsibility of the project manager , who : 

The PMO (Project Management Office) also plays an important role in the management of several projects, ensuring : 

However, it is important to note that planning also requires the contribution and expertise of project teams. Their involvement is fundamental to realistic and effective planning, as they possess the technical and operational knowledge needed to make the project a success. 

Collaboration between the project manager, PMO and project teams is therefore essential to ensure solid and successful planning. The resource manager also plays a key role in ensuring that the necessary resources (personnel, budget, materials, etc.) are available and allocated efficiently, while respecting project constraints. His contribution optimizes the use of resources and ensures that teams have the right means to accomplish their tasks on schedule. 

Learn more about project planning responsibilities

Choose the ideal planning tool for you! 

There is a wide choice of project management software on the market, offering project managers and PMOs numerous options to facilitate their tasks. Each has its own specific features and benefits. However, of all the options available, project portfolio management software, such as Project Monitor, stands out as the most comprehensive tool.

By opting for PPM (Project Portfolio Management) software, you benefit from a global view of all your projects, enabling you to better understand how they fit together and align with your company's overall strategy. 

In addition to this overview, project portfolio management software enables you to prioritize projects according to their strategic importance, helping you to allocate your resources optimally.  

Thanks to advanced simulation functions, you can simulate different scenarios to determine which project needs to be scheduled when, in order to respect your resources' capacities

Finally, one of the key benefits of project portfolio management software is its ability to optimize the use of your company's resources. You can identify resource overload or under-utilization, enabling you to reallocate resources efficiently and optimize their use across all your projects

Want to find out more about PPM (Project Portfolio Management) software? ? Read our dedicated article 

💡A to remember

Planning can be a real challenge, especially when managing multiple projects. Careful planning is essential to ensure project success. To facilitate this process, we suggest you use project portfolio management software, such as Project Monitor.
This project portfolio management tool helps you plan all your projects, enabling you to lay a solid foundation for your projects' success!
Request a demo or talk to our experts today!

Discover all our articles on the same theme:

Why is project planning important?
What elements should be included in project planning?
What are the tools for operational planning?
What are the stages in project planning?
What are the 4 dimensions of project planning?
What is project planning?
How is project planning carried out?
Who is responsible for project planning?

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