Smart Steps for Project Planning

imagesProject planning is an important part of any business, no matter how small. It ensures that people stay on track, meet deadlines and work collectively towards a goal. Developing a clear path for getting the work done is part of effective leadership, and it guarantees that you will reach your goal faster and with more success. The following steps will help you when planning any project at work:

Define the Project

Specify the details of the project and be sure that it is aligned with company goals. Make sure everyone is clear on what the final result should be and what the objectives are. Once the scope of the project is outlined, inform the team to ensure everyone is on the same page from the very beginning.

Assess the Situation
You must regularly assess the current situation and the status of the project. Is everything going as planned? Are team members on track? Where are you in the process compared to where you expected to be? You may need to make adjustments due to unforeseen factors or skip a step in the process if need be.

Set Goals

Define realistic goals so that you can judge how much progress has been made. Develop a list of short, mid and long-term goals. For each of these, determine a deadline, available resources and a way to measure results.

Outline the Process

To achieve these goals, you’ll need to figure out what steps to take. Establish specific actions that must be completed, and prioritize them according to what is most important. Each step should specify how the job will be done, who will do it, what must be done and how to communicate the results. These details will help team members understand the overall process.

Budget your Resources

For any project, you must determine the cost. This includes your monetary expenses as well as the use of company resources, such as personnel, materials and time.

Develop Deadlines

For every action step, there should be a deadline. Make these realistic so that the project will stay focused and on-task. To determine what these should be, work backwards from the final due date. Distribute a schedule to all project members and even create a visual such as a calendar for additional reference.


Now that you have defined your goals, process, resources and deadlines, it is time to implement the project plan. Make sure that everyone understands their tasks and can commit to what is expected of them. Always remember to reassess the status of the project.

Report and Measure

The ability to quantify your results and evaluate your success is important for future projects. If you can see what went wrong or what worked well, you will be able to use this feedback later on. You also need to report on the project outcome. Not only is this important if you are presenting to a client or partner, but for your own internal documentation.

Follow these steps for all your company projects to ensure that you reach your goals. Not only will you have more successful projects, but perfect your ability to plan future projects as well.

This article was written by Dale Carnegie, a company specializing in leadership training, offering people the knowledge, skills and practices they need to add value to business. Visit Dale Carnegie online to learn how our corporate training programs deliver results.



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