Planning is one of the critical phases in project management. This is one of the first steps a project manager focusses on before initiating a project. If project managers fail to devise a good plan then it might lead to a project failure. In other words, there is a close nexus between project success and right project planning. A good project plan will lead to perfect project execution. It is not only important that the project plan is correctly designed but it is also important that the plan is implemented effectively and constantly monitored by the project managers.
When a project is executed as per the initial plan, it will meet all the expectations in terms of budget, timeframe, and product quality. When all these are met it will meet the expectations of the organizations in terms of goals and objectives. When the client is happy with timely service and quality product there is every possibility that the client will give continous business to the organization. In the absence of proper planning, projects tend to slide towards catastrophe. So, it is important that project managers set everything right from the word go. In this article, we will talk about ways to avoid pitfalls in project planning.
1. Failing to Understand Project Requirements
During the project's initial stages, it is important to gain complete understanding of the project. If the project managers do not have the complete understanding of the project requirements then it is advisable not to go ahead with the project. They must start the project only when they have complete information about the project.
So before initiating the project, managers should ensure that all requirements are discussed with the project stakeholders or sponsors. They should also ensure that they have written approval from the stakeholders or sponsors. It does not matter if it is a small or large project, project managers should get all the documents in place before going ahead with the project. After getting all the approvals in writing, project managers can start their project planning process and devise an effective project plan depending on the requirements of a project.
2. Lack of business support
It is important that the project managers clearly highlight the main features of a project and present it to project stakeholders. This is important because they can allocate the budget for the project as per the requirements of the project. If the characteristics of the project are not clearly defined by project managers , they might lack the support of the stakeholders and sponsors. Once the project managers prepare all the documents pertaining to the project they have to be presented to the stakeholders for their formal approval. If the project managers fail to fulfill these duties, it will be difficult for them to execute the project successfully due to lack of funds and support.
3. Wrong Estimates
Project managers have to make appropriate project estimates so that it will be easy for the stakeholders to make budget allocations. Project estimations also include timeframe that needs to be completed within the stipulated time period. According to a survey conducted by an independent organization, one of the major reasons for project failures have been poor project estimates. When the project managers estimate in a wrong way, it would lead to insufficient funds for project completion and also, time is wasted because of lack of resources. Estimates are also part of project planning mechanism, so if the project estimates are not defined properly then it would lead to project failure. These mistakes are committed by the project managers who are less familiar with project management or are less experienced.
4. Lack Of Control On Project Scope
Project scope has a key role in project management. If the scope is not properly explained , it will have a bad effect on the project and might lead to project failure. Even if the project managers define project scope properly they have to get an official approval from the sponsors to avoid ambiguities at the later stages of project commencement. If there is no formal approval of the project then it will be difficult for them to handle the project effectively.
Projects managers tend to face problem in the absence of a good project plan. So it is always advisable that the project managers dedicate good time upfront while designing and developing a project plan.
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