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Why is the Project Strategy so important?
The Project Strategy is one of the most important and helpful documents in your toolkit, and really should be referred to and up-to-date throughout the project lifecycle. The initial purpose is to kick-start the project by persuading the decision makers (usually the folks who control the money e. g. the Task Board or Steering Committee) that the project is practical and will meet the requirements and timeframes / financial constraints/expectations.
If the Venture Plan is poorly published or contains insufficient fine detail, the project may not even see through this first decision door and may never actually log off the ground. Many viable tasks have floundered at this stage because of poor planning and conversation. On the flip side, if you can deliver an excellent Project Plan, it determines your credibility as a Task Manager, starts the task on a sound footing, and offers the team a mandate to use it and a clear direction to follow along with.
Don’t confuse a Project Strategy with a Project Schedule. The schedule is merely a component of the Project Plan, and usually requires the form of a timeline or GANTT chart depicting responsibilities vs . timeline. A project timetable is a vital tool and will complement the project preparation. Larger Project Plans have several schedules, normally appendices, that are referred to throughout the entire document. Such schedules might include an overall timeline, a test schedule, an implementation routine, a critical path evaluation, a resource allocation schedule…. and so on
Part 1 – Exactly what should be in a Project Strategy?
The Project Plan is a roadmap for the entire task team providing guidance on the actual priority of activities, the actual scope of work, the actual methodologies and governance specifically, who the stakeholders tend to be, the broad strategy to get, how costs and people are going to be managed, the quality standards within the project, how the project can communicate with stakeholders, how functionality and benefits will be scored… etc
The main areas it is advisable to cover in your plan incorporate:
Dependencies as well as Impacts
Issues & Challenges
Methodologies & Strategy
Settings – Scope, Time, Charge, Quality, Resources
Timetable of delivery
As you can see there are several elements to a Project Prepare, and some of the larger ideas can stretch well over one hundred pages. This makes structuring your own document all the more important. A regular format with a logical purchase and clear headings enables your readers to quickly traverse the document and get to the details that are important to all of them.
Try not to omit any of the crucial areas outlined above, because doing so may come back to chew you, proving costly additional down the line should a false impression arise. For example, if you do not adequately document what is to send and receive of the scope of the venture, you may get into a dispute with regard to who is delivering what. Or perhaps you may find that the project gives a product that you believe is usually satisfactory, but fails to match the expectations of the customer while they have different quality criteria for your requirements.
These are not situations that you just want to find yourself in, and they might be easily avoided by composing a thorough Project Plan. The greater relevant information and fine detail you can include in your plan at this time, the better….. but there is a focus on relevance! Avoid the temptation in order to bulk out your document along with unnecessary paragraphs and do not repeat yourself. If you do have to re-emphasize a point, simply cross-reference the original section in your record (using headings), rather than duplicate the whole section.
Your readers will be glad about this, and it will also create editing the document much easier for you. Gauging the appropriate higher-level detail is difficult with comes with experience. Once you have published a few project plans on the boat how to tailor each one in accordance with the size of the project along with the expectations of your audience?
Target your audience
The Venture Plan is often one of the first parts of reference for stakeholders if they are new staff, operatives, customers, users, suppliers as well as interested third parties. So when producing your plan bear in mind that it is suitable for such a vast audience and could be examined by someone with no preceding knowledge of the project. Generally, ensure that you introduce the wording of the project and provide much background and history behind actually doing it. Include a glossary as well as terms of reference to reveal any abbreviations and shortened forms. When referring to other papers it may be useful to include facts in the appendices for the benefit of people who have not read this kind of document before.
Part 2 – Selling the Job Plan
Writing your project program is only the first part of the career. The equally important next step is always to successfully sell the job to stakeholders – with no this all of your efforts will probably be wasted. Whilst some Job Managers are in the fortunate placement of already having the ‘go-ahead’, most projects have to be competitive for funding and prioritization with a realm of additional business priorities, whether in just a program/portfolio regarding work, or across diverse business functions. This makes the work of selling the job plan that much harder.
Typically the business case is the main offering tool of the project because it states WHY a project will be undertaken, listing out each of the potential benefits and prices of completing the work. Nevertheless, the Project Plan in addition forms a key component of your tactic, as you have to be able to prove credibility and feasibility. Deciding makers need to be convinced really are up to the job, that they know in what way you want to deliver the project, the fact that the project is feasible in addition to worth doing, and that it’ll be delivered in accordance with their objectives.
So be realistic – have a tendency to make bold claims and possess overly optimistic expectations you can’t substantiate. These may come back to bite you sometime soon! It is far better to play the item safely and includes fairly careful and realistic statements that you’ll be confident can be delivered. May create a noose for your own neck of the guitar!
Working with your stakeholders
Work together with the decision makers and require them early in the process if you possibly can. It is far easier to take these individuals on the journey with you, rather than sell it to them ‘cold’ towards the end. Consult with them about their needs and expectations, talk because of your thoughts and review early drafts with them. Make sure that you have got addressed any concerns they will raise before you get to the ultimate review, so by that will stage they are entirely at ease with what’s in the document and a lot importantly there is no surprise.
Working one-on-one with all of the major stakeholders may be time-consuming, but nevertheless well worth the effort, especially if you never have yet built a romance with these people. This process lets them see how you do the job, and will help you build critical allies which will be crucial as the project progresses. Getting people on the side early will make life much easier when things get more durable later on. Taking this approach really should mean that the final version of the Project Plan sails over the Planning stage and is thoroughly endorsed to proceed to your next stage of the project.
Once the Project program gets approval, make sure you base the document and ensure we have a clear and transparent method in place for managing more changes. Note – you need to have documented this in the ‘Project Controls’ section of your program! It is vital to do this, as the program must maintain its integrity as a possible endorsed document so that it may be referred to as a ‘baseline’ throughout the project. Every time a alter is made to the plan, it is up to date to a new version and also re-baselined; that then turns into the latest version to refer to help.
Once your plan is definitely signed off and baselined, you are ready to move on to the future stage of the project instructions the Execution Phase.
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