A little planning can be “good” for you!

Planning? You mean get organized? Focused? Move forward??? PLAN — a powerful 4-letter word that meets much resistance. I often hear “But we don’t have time to plan….” but it is when you don’t have the time to plan that you need it the most! Having a plan is NOT a bad thing; it actually reduces stress, saves time, cuts costs and can help you “beat your competition to market”. Sound good? Then read on!!

Today, there now exists “project management software” – it’s supposed to make a project manager’s life easier, right? One way in which some project managers work is depicted in the following scenario. They get assigned a project that really isn’t well defined, but they “go for it anyway”! They sit down at their desks, log into the software all the tasks that they “think” need to get done, attach their team members’ names to the tasks, determine when the task needs to be completed by and then have the software print a schedule. At the team meeting, they hand out the schedule to the team — and what reaction are they met with? You got it — RESISTANCE!! Why? Well, most people do not like being told what to do, never mind how and when to do it!

Software is a tool — it is there to support projects, not replace the role of the team!! There are hours of planning work that need to be done with the team before anyone ever touches the software!! Planning gives you and the team an agreed upon path to follow and a tool for monitoring progress. Most teams just start doing! The process of planning itself is a way to gain commitment from all involved.

One hour of planning saves 3-7 hours of work!!!

If you could eliminate 3-7 weeks of execution time on your project, just by taking the time to plan for 3-5 days, what would this be worth to you? Just calculating the cost of the salaries of your team members would probably come up with a fairly high number, never mind the added benefits of getting a job done early or a product to market before your competition!!

The benefits of doing up front planning (i.e., before starting “to do”) with the team are many. This process:

  • Gains members buy-in up front – it creates “our” project plan
  • Brings hidden issues to the surface early (it costs much more if they come out later!!!)
  • Teaches team to deal with conflict
  • Establishes a team decision making process
  • Promotes relationship building
  • Gets everyone on “right” track before taking action
  • Fosters commitment to the project, process and the team

One of our passions is working with individuals, groups and businesses that have an idea of where they want to go but don’t know how to get there or have so much to do they don’t know what to do first!! Would creating project plans and learning the tools of project management (Work Breakdown Structures, Logic Networks, PERT diagrams, Gantt Charts) help get your business moving forward toward its goals? You bet it would!!

Are you ready to take this step in your business now?