Importance of Project Planning
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Project Planning follows the Project Initiation phase and is considered to be the most important stage in project management.
Project Planning is not a single activity or task. It is a process that takes time and attention.
Project Planning defines the project activities and describes how the activities will be accomplished. Time spent up-front identifying the proper needs and structure for organizing and managing projects saves countless hours of confusion and rework in the Managing (Execution and Controlling) phase of the project.
The purpose of the Planning phase is to:
More clearly define project scope
Establish more precise cost and schedule of the project (including a list of deliverables and delivery dates)
Establish the work organization
Obtain management approval
Provide a framework for management review and control.
Without planning, a project’s success will be difficult, if not impossible. Team members will have limited understanding of expectations; activities may not be properly defined; and resource requirements may not be completely understood. Even if the project is finished, the conditions for success may not have been defined. Project Planning identifies several specialized areas of concentration for determining the needs for a project. Planning will involve identifying and documenting scope, tasks, schedules, risk, quality and staffing needs. The identification process should continue until as many of the areas as possible of the chartered project have been addressed.
Inadequate and incomplete Project Planning is the downfall of many high-profile, important projects. An adequate planning process and Project Plan will ensure that resources and team members will be identified so that the project will be successful.
The planning process includes the following steps:
Estimate the size of the project
Estimate the technical scope of the project
Estimate the resources required to complete the project
Produce a schedule
Completion of these steps and others is necessary to develop the Project Plan. Typically, several iterations of the planning process are performed before a plan is actually completed.