The Importance of Project Planning

Project planning is one of the most important activities in the project cycle, if not the most important. Many underestimate the importance of this stage and the return it will yield if done appropriately.

This stage contains a roadmap which guides the project team to the right direction and prevents missing important points on the way to completion. It starts with a brain storming of the activities required to accomplish and complete the project, which then could be easily and logically grouped and put in order. The set of activities listed and grouped could be further classified into tiers depending on the depth of the activities and required information about each activates. The aim is to get clear and well-defined stages and milestones, which will allow the project team to define progress and have tangible deliverables moving forward.

Part of the planning stage as well, is to define the stakeholders and interfaces throughout the project. This activity is very important as it lays out who is going to be effected as a result of the project and what should stakeholders and interfaces know beforehand. Not going through this activity will lead to future obstacles and potential delays if not a big shift in the project’s direction and end results.

A simple example showing the benefits and importance of the planning activities is one of the first projects I have worked on. The project was to structure a live performance dashboard for several projects, which also functions as a portal to navigate through detailed information about each project. The reason I choose this project is because it made me realize how important planning is.

The planning stage started with brainstorming the activities required to accomplish the intended results. After that, they were put in a logical order and milestones were extracted to form a project plan. I was satisfied with the plan until I met with the IT department which had a different route to accomplish the project.   This is when I come to realize that the IT department should have been involved in the project planning from the beginning and taken into consideration while putting the list in order since they will be the ones responsible for implementing the dashboard. The project plan and scope of work were agreed on with the IT department and we went forward. A milestone of presenting the dashboard to senior management was reached, and unfortunately shifted the direction of the project. The proposal was not introduced to the management team before implementation as a result of not being considered in the project plan in the first stages.

This experience shows how important planning stage is in the project cycle. For me now, it is the basis of any project, and therefore it should be well thought of and invested in. more time planning will save a lot of time in implementation and give a clear direction.

3 thoughts on “The Importance of Project Planning

  1. Insightful experience, it is a matter of fact that sometimes teams working on projects fail to keep all stakeholders in the loop and this is very likely to result in negative impact on the project overall. I had a similar experience once where the entire project had to be reshaped since the senior management were not involved right at the beginning of the planning stage and due to elements that could not be foreseen by the project team, the management decided to fundamentally change the project.

  2. This is an outstanding post and I agree strongly on that as we faced many issues with our teams and that also gave us a hard time with finishing our tasks. Implementing this on all the team members will allow all of us to complete tasks as a whole and do good to the team members.

  3. Thank you Nujood for your post. I liked the planning process you implemented for your project. Also, I completely agree with you, planning is definitely a key aspect when it comes to managing successful projects. In reality, and due to time constraints people tend to cut back planning thinking it’s the least worth while they later reap the unfortunate outcomes due to poor planning. Similarly, too much of anything is bad, which brings about a key aspect people usually fail to identify – the bridge between planning and implementing. Working in a planning department we continuously seek to strategically implement and realign our plans to ensure proper implementation.

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