9 Secrets to Successful Project Planning

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The key to a successful project that produces result lies in its planning and conceptualisation even before the project kicks off. The focus on getting work done is essential in getting the desired deliverables but in truth, the planning stage is often overlooked and in hindsight, that could be a fatal mistake. Very few people value the process of project planning that can ultimately help to save time, cost and prevent problems from occurring during the course of the project.

Project planning is vital to a project’s completion and seeing that it meet deadlines. Critical factors of project planning includes productivity optimisation and tool integrations to make a project manager’s work easier so that he can focus on important tasks. With advancement of technology systems and enterprises in the workplace, the emergence of human resource management software has helped to create a shift in the way businesses operate to increase employee productivity and capacity to get more work done.

Some examples of technological advancements in the workplace includes the usage of time-tracking software, attendance management system, staff scheduling software and web-based timesheet among other helpful systems and tools that can maximise operational output.

#1 Set timelines and deadlines

Establish a timeframe structure to facilitate the ease of completing a project. By setting time-sensitive goals, you can work towards a benchmark that is quantifiable and can become one of your key performance metrics to evaluate individual team member work performance and chart your project’s status. Use excel or project management tools such as time management software or staff scheduling software to keep track of employees’ work productivity.

#2 Streamline communication channels & processes 

The cornerstone of teamwork is effective communication among team members that can make or break a project’s success. Standardise your communication channels to allow clear information dissemination to reach the right team member  and to facilitate quick responsiveness to matters pertaining to the project. Deploying project management tools can help facilitate teamwork and streamline communications between team members and clients. Some useful digital tools such as issue-tracking software and customer support software can make communicating with clients a breeze.

#3 Define scope and breakdown tasks clearly & precisely 

Breaking down a project into segments and tasks is important to delegate work effectively so that there are no overlapping of tasks. Using task tracking software can also help to speed up the process of managing such tasks. With that you can assign specific roles and work out the various job scopes with ease. This also helps in making team recruitment easier and facilitate coordination and teamwork, ultimately benefitting the completion of major tasks as a team.

#4 Risk and contingency planning 

For every one thing that goes right, there can be a million things that can go wrong. Which is why having a plan B, C and D can be just as important as the initial plan. Addressing all business-critical operation aspects, identifying and prioritising risks can prepare you effectively for the unexpected. With alternative plans, you can now have a peace of mind knowing that you have back-ups in place should things go awry.

#5 Optimise work productivity & efficiency management 

While most HR professionals acknowledges that their job entails establishing policies and procedures to manage people, few attempt to connect such elements to increase employee output. Many HR departments may admit that minimising cost is always valued above maximising manpower capacity and capabilities. But few realise that with efficient management and productivity optimisation, more employees will be happy and less manpower issues will arise. This is a win-win situation that defines a good management system.

#6 Choose the right team members

Choosing the right team members can seem like a no-brainer but when it comes down to the actual selection stage, this aspect is often overlooked. Set a list of requirement attributes for each member role so that you can tick off criterias against as a reference guide. Having the right team members can make or break your efforts to establish a cohesive project team.

#7 Use life cycle planning

Making decisions at the right time can prevent costly mistakes and speed up the process of completing tasks. Thus its best to identify the different stages in form and functional activity to facilitate successful reoccurrence of activities/processes to achieve specific goals. Lifecycle planning involves setting goals, defining targets, establishing schedules and estimating budgets.

#8 Create an incentive program to motivate team 

Consider whether your project is challenging and long-term enough to warrant the offering of incentives to motivate your team. First breakdown tasks into smaller ones that can be distributed throughout the project’s timeline to keep the momentum going and keep team members on track. Then set KPIs and quotas to measure performance. From there, offer rewards and perks when they meet the benchmarks set. To keep track of such progress, adopting the usage of employee management tools such as attendance management system, time-clocking software or time-reporting software will go a long way in ensuring your team is on track.

#9 Regular evaluations & reviews 

A good project plan should involve inserting periodic reviews and evaluations to track progress so the team can detect problems early and predict foreseeable challenges more accurately. This will help minimise the risk of encountering and confronting problems too late that can be detrimental to a project’s goals and timeline.

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Rei Yap
About Rei Yap
Rei manages all content related to Qliko. He is constantly on the lookout for new ideas on how to leverage on technology to help companies manage time, increase productivity and have better insights of their operations. Get in touch with Rei on Linkedin (Rei Horng Yap) or email: rei@qliko.com
About QLIKO

Qliko is a complete cloud-based time-tracking and help desk tool with predictive time scheduling. Manage your employees better. Bring your clients closer. Grow your profits faster.

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