A project can fail even before it starts. When a critical element, such as scheduling an important phase of the project, is completely overlooked, it could result in delayed delivery or end up costing the organization more money. So it is crucial for businesses that are embarking on a project to keep an eye on every detail, especially for large-scale, expensive projects. And it all begins with planning.
A proper plan can make or break any project, whether it is as simple as widening a road for the government or as complex as constructing hundreds of luxury villas for an international developer. Every plan begins with considering several essential factors that can affect the flow of the project. Businesses need to sort out the goal of the project and what should be done in terms of strategies in order to achieve those goals.
Additionally, the business needs to establish those who need to be involved, plot out their responsibilities, and consider how they will influence the success of the project. Once all these factors are defined and resolved, a project planning guide can be formulated.
The guide should include a breakdown of the work schedule, which can be accomplished by providing work summaries, breakthroughs, tasks, and constricting dates. From this breakdown, you will want to translate this information into a visual guide. Most organizations use the recognizable Gantt chart, which Henry Gantt developed in 1910 for manufacturing supervisors to gauge whether their work was meeting its schedule or whether it was behind schedule. Other businesses might use the activity-on-node chart, which illustrates the flow of task execution and classifies which ones need to be completed so that other tasks may begin.
Whatever visual guide your business will end up using, know that charts help you and your team look through all the tasks that have to be involved, to ascertain the very persons or group responsible for each one, to recognize how long each one will take, and to identify the potential problems of the project. By following such a thorough process, your business can then discover whether your schedule is practical, that you have assigned the right people to certain tasks, and that you will have enough time to address potential problems before the project gets underway.
Charts like Gantt or activity-on-node are also very valuable in terms of determining the critical path, which is when you identify the sequence of tasks. Are there certain tasks that have to be fully accomplished before your project can move on to the next ones (i.e., sequential tasks)? Can certain tasks be completed at the same time (i.e., parallel tasks)? In plotting out your sequential and parallel tasks, your project has a good chance of being delivered on time, if not ahead of schedule.
The success of every project hinges on how organized and well-informed your business is from the very start. So invest heavily in the planning stage and you will eventually secure big returns for your projects.