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Planning is key to project management success

Moira Alexander | June 11, 2015
We’ve all heard the old adage ‘measure twice, cut once.’ While it might be a cliché, in the project management world it takes on a critical meaning: Choosing to rush through or ignore the project planning process can be a formula for failure.

Communication Issues. In "11 Communication Skills of Effective Project Leaders," trustworthiness, transparency, focus and stability, objectivity and fairness, confidence, leading by example, energy and motivation, consistency and flexibility, accessibility, clarity, and respect are underscored as essential communication characteristics. It takes considerable thought and careful planning to ensure communication plans take into account stakeholders needs; without these there is potential forcommunication barriers which can translate into reduced confidence and jeopardize buy-in from team members and stakeholders. 

Increased Risk. Identifying risks and performing qualitative and quantitative risk analysis and developing risk management strategies are key to successful project outcomes. These activities can require a lot of time and considerable coordination to complete because they can range from simple to sophisticated and complex depending on project, scope, size, and a range of other factors. The more risk points or the greater the consequences, the more planning is required. 

Project planning is not a guarantee that projects will go according to plans. In fact, despite all of the planning that may surrounds a project, uncertainty is always there, lurking in the background waiting to jump in and disrupt those plans. The key to having great project outcomes is to first recognize from the project's inception why careful project planning is a critical component to reducing risks and increasing success. It may seem more time consuming up front, but will save substantial undue stress, time and costly rework later.

Project planning with precision can be an iterative process, but it's worth it to measure twice and cut once, when compared to the risks associated with poor planning. The important point here is to remember that planning is vital to reducing project risks, which in turn increases the likelihood of a successful project.

We started with one cliché, we can end with another, this time courtesy of Ben Franklin: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."


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