By Charles Alvarez Contributor, the Price of Business Show. * Sponsored
The Project Planning Model
In project planning, you write the days, weeks and months that you think the project will require to complete across the top of the page. If it is a 12-month project, or goal, you write the names of the 12 months, from this month forward. This gives you a time line for the project.
Down the left hand column, you make a list of all the tasks that must be accomplished, in proper sequence, for you to achieve the ultimate goal. What will you need to start or do first? Second? And so on.
In the lower right hand corner, you write clearly what your final, ideal result will look like. The greater clarity you have about your desired goal, the easier it will be for you to reach it.
You can now use horizontal bars to indicate the amount of time necessary, from beginning to end, to complete a particular task. Someof these tasks can done simultaneously and others will have to be done after something else is completed. Certain of these tasks are of high priority and others are of lower priority. But with a project planning sheet, which you can make yourself with a sheet of paper, you can now see your entire goal laid out in front of you with great clarity .
Assemble Your Team
Everyone who is responsible for carrying out a part of the plan should be involved in the planning process. It is quite common to make the mistake of assuming that a particular task can be completed quickly and easily. It is often a shock to find out that something that seems simple and easy is actually going to take several months from beginning to end. A time constraint on a critical part of your plan can force you to revise your plans completely.
One of my managers decided to put out a newsletter to all out customers on a new development in our business. He called our commercial designer and told her he needed it by the end of the week.
He was shocked to discover that a professionally written, designed and produced newsletter would take 6-8 weeks to print and mail, and cost more than $2000. The project was immediately scrapped.
When you start the planning process, your biggest concern should be accuracy in identifying every step necessary, and the exact time required to accomplish every step in the plan. There is a time for optimism and there is a time for realism in making plans and achieving goals. You must be absolutely honest with yourself at every step of the planning process, and never trust to luck, or hope that the laws of nature will be suspended temporarily on your behalf.
Identify The Potential Bottleneck
In the process of planning, there is usually one major problem that must be solved before any other problems can be solved. There is usually one major goal that must be achieved before any of the other goals can be achieved. There is usually one critical element in the plan that must be dealt with before any other part of the plan can be successful.
For example, many companies will start up with every single detail in place except for a professional sales process to bring in revenues. The company will engage in a strategic planning process, rent or lease offices, buy furniture, set up the necessary computers and equipment to produce the product or service, hire the administrative and business staff, set up the books of account and begin advertising. But a first class selling process has not been installed, and within a few months, or even weeks, without sales revenues, the company grinds to a halt. To a large extent, this is what happened to turn the dotcom explosion into a dot-bomb collapse.
Determine the Critical Results
What are the critical results that you must accomplish, at each step of the way, to achieve your final goal? How can you plan them, prioritize them and assure that they are completed on schedule? What is your plan if things go wrong? What will you do if it takes much longer and costs much more to achieve your critical objectives on your way to the goal? What is your fallback plan? You may haveheard the line, “A great life, like a great ship, should never be held by a single hope, or a single rope.”
Planning Is The Key To Success
The good news is that the very act of planning improves and streamlines the entire process of goal achievement. The more often and more carefully you plan before you begin, the better you will get at the planning process overall. The better you get at planning, the more ideas and opportunities you will attract to you to plan and achieve even bigger and better things.
Your ability to decide exactly what you want, write it down, make a plan and then execute that plan is the key to personal effectiveness and high achievement. These are learnable skills that you can master. In no time at all, you can transform your life or business, double your sales or profitability, achieve your goals and fulfill your true potential.
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