Effective Project Planning for Better Project Management

Project Management pic
Project Management
Image: execprojectmanager.com

An engineering graduate of Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Rao Chalasani most recently served as the director of trading risk management and the business CTO at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch. Currently based in Livingston, New Jersey, Rao Chalasani also has held the role of project manager of global derivatives technology at JP Morgan Chase, where he led the design and implementation of new vendor systems.

Effective project management starts with effective project planning. Many information technology project managers do not allocate enough time in project planning, opting to jump straight into the execution phase. This approach is partly responsible for high project-failure numbers. Time spent on planning the project leads to reduced implementation time and cost.

Project planning begins with defining the project. Start with an overview of the project, detailing what the project aims to achieve, why it is being implemented, and how it will benefit the organization. Clarify the scope of the project, such as the departments involved and how phase-to-phase transitions will be affected. Assign clearly defined roles to the implementing team, making sure there is a clear line of command and a response framework for complications that may arise. Estimate a timeframe and cost for the project implementation.

After defining the project, create a planning horizon. This is the work plan for the project. Estimate the work as far as possible, outlining the assumptions made and uncertainties prevalent. Once the project implementation starts, the planning horizon will be a reference point. Activities that were vaguely outlined can be reassessed and better defined when they come up.

Finally, outline the project management procedures, including best communication practices, risks involved, quality required, and management of obstacles. Only after such planning should implementation begin.