An efficient planning is one that is constructed without causing conflicts and the progress of the activities is happening smooth. A good planning is the planning that is capable of orchestrating all of the above, achieving the best outcome within time limits, with proper utilisation of resources and at the same time not consuming more budget that originally predicted.
Project management requires the skill and experience to manage time, means and available resources properly in order to fulfil task(s) or complex activity(ies), for the sake of the discussion a project can be anything and not necessary a software artifact, as most of people think so.
It would be of great value to mention here also that a good surrounding environment, procedures and documentation are attributes - conditions increasing the possibilities to have successful management and execution of the tasks assigned and goals expected on a project.
By having a good surrounding environment to work, (invest some time to read the corresponding article and you will realise what i mean), procedures and documentation you could say the perfect conditions are met. Combine this with the professional mentality in people involved in the project and you will have an establishment to work with efficiency and high standards.
People don't so often manage to be in such surrounding environments so resources for project management are not easy to find. And if you manage to find them, don't let the chance go by!
Looking for such material on the Internet i come across to something that i feel deserves to be called first clever and then professional enough. All the templates, guides and forms you will ever need in a single place!
It is a single repository of anything that someone could imagine for project management: From Initiation and Planning, Monitoring and Control, to Cost and Finance. Check this Professional management offer!
Terms like the following are heard frequently on a daily basis on a Project meeting, conference call or discussion(s) over work and progress:
- Project Plan
- Flow Chart
So as a start of setting up a new plan for a project, you have to put on paper first the target(s), the means to achieve them and the available resources that you will need to mobilise in order to make the plan actual work!
Target can be literally the outcome of a certain sequence of tasks, can have a milestone, meaning the very definite date in time you want, must or you are obliged to have it finished.
Means can be literally the products that you will have to work with in order to produce outcome, can be certain conditions that must exist in order to start continue or finish a task, can be the framework, environment that you must set in order to actually start working.
Resources are the people that get assigned to tasks in order to complete them in defined time.A task has always a start and a finish date, effort included e.g 10 working days
These dates can have an early or a late start date and/or early or late finish date.
Contingency is considered the margin of time that is promoted in advance to a task in order to handle unexpected but possible to happen delays.
So in order to manage creating a good planning, it is fundamental to distinguish the basic elements of a plan, in high level, on paper first, putting them in a logical order in sequence or having some of them "running" in parallel.
Try it, as this will become your first mini project that you can learn working on something personal oriented. As I have mentioned earlier above, if you need something that you want to for the industry you work with or for your personal business/interest, this project management template repository seems suitable!
I would appreciate to hear from you, so your comments on this are more than welcome!
A relevant article to read also: Strategic Thinking for Strategic Planning
p.s Credits go to Smashing magazine and Navdeep Raj for the graphics on this article.