After you have spoken to all of your stakeholders – before the project ever begins – is the most important time to write everything down. As time progresses after those conversations, your memory starts to fade. The clarity that you had begins to be replaced with complicated issues. If you have not written down a clear concise plan, you will lose sight of your objective and wander off course.
Plus, we all know that “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” This is an age-old military truth…and it is just as valid for your project. Therefore – if you haven’t even written down your plan – how can you possibly know what to do when it starts to fall apart?
What elements should be contained in your written plan?
- What is the primary objective of this project?
- What are the specific deliverables (outcomes) to be produced in this project?
- When are these deliverables expected?
- Who is responsible for each one?
- How are they prioritized?
- What are stakeholders going to want, but is not included in the scope of this project. Why were these tasks left out?
- Who needs to be communicated what information when? What method should be used to communicate with each person?
- Who needs to sign off at each phase of the project? How will that be documented?
- What are the external constraints, restrictions, or limitations (that I should be monitoring because they could affect this project)?
If you have talked to all your stakeholders and written down this level of detail in your plan, you are ready to begin. And, I personally guarantee that you will be successful in your project. Most people have already failed at this point…because they took shortcuts and began working on their project without taking these critical steps.
Thanks for listening.