Given the high number of project failures and disappointments experienced in many companies and organization as result of ineffective project planning, it is essential to conduct an effective project planning before embarking on any project regardless of the size and timeframe of the project. The only way of achieving the project objectives and avoidance of the disappointment and losses incurred as a result of poor project planning is through the use of effective project planning techniques and processes.
Considering the moment the project is defined, there is normally a need to create a work plan. The work plan normally provides the instructions that are used in the building of the project deliverables as well as management of the entire project. It is also essential at this stage to use the project models that are essentially similar to the project being undertaken. In an event where no project models exist, it is normally important to build one using the network diagrams and the work breakdown structures (Wysocki et al, 2000).
The project work plan should be detailed and need to include estimation of the entire work, resources, and requirements essential to complete the entire project. It is also essential to lay out the entire project while reflecting the elevated level of project uncertainties; all those aspects of project that appear to be unclear need to be defined more precisely and realistically to avoid making wrong assumptions.
The moment one has the explicit understanding of the project though the use of the work plan, it is normally essential to breakdown the work structure into simpler descriptions that are easy to manage. This is because human brain efficiently processes information when it is essentially broken down into finer details. This is also important in project management, because it ensures that the project manager does not overlook the details of the project. It also allows the project manager to get the real grasp of the project. It is also important to avoid creating too much details during the initial planning stage. The work breakdown structure needs to stop the moment there is a sufficient description of the activity (Larson et al, 2011).
The next essential issue in effective project management is the task allocation. This involves the allocation of different task to different people in the project team. Task allocation should not merely be viewed as just distribution of task among the member of the project team, but it should essentially be viewed as being a part of project team development. Therefore, this should essentially mean building and increasing the experience and skills of the project team. The task should essentially be allocated in accordance with individual team member’s skills and capability in order to enhance effectiveness and efficiency. Furthermore, it is important during the allocation of task to devise a mechanism of monitoring the progress of each team member so as to avoid slackening down of the project. Effective and realistic timeframes need to be devised in order to assess each and every team member’s progress.
For the project planning to be effective, it is normally important to test the quality. This is because no project plan is normally complete without being subjected to a quality testing. This means that it is important to establish the objectives of each activity as every activity needs to pass the defined criteria that will essentially establish the quality of the work to be done. These criteria are normally best defined during the project planning process. Therefore, a schedule chart indicating the timeframe of each activity needs to be made during the project planning, which will essentially act as a baseline quality control tool (Young & Industrial Society, 1993).
Another important aspect of project planning that enhances effectiveness is the time management. The project manager must regulate the workload and pressure that is normally imposed on the team members, a pressure that is normally associated with timeframe allocated to a certain activity. In order to enhance the overall quality of the project, the project manager needs to protect the entire team from unreasonable demand from the company or organization. This is normally enhanced during the planning process by allocating a practical timeframe to each activity during the work breakdown (Randolph & Posner, 1987).
Another essential strategy that promotes effective project planning process is planning for errors. Countless projects are known to fail because of making an assumption that there will be no errors during the implementation process. Effective planning process should anticipate the possibility of occurrence of errors at the later stages of the project. Therefore, the project planning should make the entire project work plan flexible enough to accommodate changes that are normally inevitable during the project implementation. Anticipation of errors in advance during planning process ensures that changes can effectively be made in the original work plan in order to enhance tolerance. Errors prediction is normally done through the examination of the activity list so as to pinpoint activities that are considered to be more risky and insecure to the project (Wysocki, 2009).
When project planning process is done correctly, it normally gives the entire project team an explicit strategic direction and the right tools that can essentially enable the project team to manage the entire project into achieving the desired goals and objectives. Project managers who normally embrace effective project planning process normally achieve success when directing their key projects and in provision of the project deliverables. In addition, maintaining and developing new effective project planning systems normally helps in bridging the project knowledge gaps between the project team and the organizational evaluation teams.