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Blog > If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail

If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail

posted on 12:11 PM, May 1, 2017
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A project plan gets everyone on the same page, working for the same goal. Importantly, it sets out what the expected resources are and schedules their use – so that you can get the budget you need, and not have to fight to book an all-important meeting room the night before. Also, having been clear about all of these expectations at the start, you are well-set when unexpected eventualities arise. You can have a very clear discussion with your boss or your stakeholders to state exactly what is different now, and exactly what resources will be needed to keep the project on track.

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) suggests that a project plan include the following components:

1.      Scope

You’ll have set general goals in the Initiation phase of the project. In the Scope phase, you define the boundaries of the project. For example, if your project is to run a summer camp, the Scope phase will define what ages of children you will accept, what dates the camp will run, and what activities the children will do.

2.      Activities

Specifically define what will need to be done to achieve the scope, and how they will be done. If you’ll accept children with developmental disabilities, for example, maybe you’ll need to offer extra supports to help them complete the activities with their peers. How much time will it take to plan the camp activities? Will you feed the kids? Will they sleep over? How will parents drop the kids off?

3.      Resources

What will you need to achieve the activities? How many rooms do you need? How many staff people? What qualifications do your staff need to have? What supplies do you need?

4.      Schedule

When will the activities be done? This is also where you identify activities which depend on prior activities being completed. For example, you can’t feed the kids until you prepare the food.

5.      Quality Assurance

Define what success will look like. Is it strictly a number of participants? Does satisfaction factor into it? Will you measure learning outcomes? Once you have defined success, you decide how to measure it. This needs to be decided ahead of time so that you know what to look for as you do the activities.

6.      Risk Analysis

What could go wrong? For each possibility, you assess

  • the likelihood that it will happen, and
  • the potential consequence (what’s the worst that could happen?)

Things that are high likelihood and high (bad) consequence need a plan in place to reduce the likelihood that they will happen. You may be able to ignore things that are low likelihood and/or low consequence.

Planning is one of the five phases of the project life cycle. Come to our course to learn more about project management. The course fees include up to 20 hours of one-on-one coaching in the three months following course completion, a $3,000 value.

Volunteer Ottawa offers a comprehensive suite of courses related to organizational operations. Click here for more information, and to register. Subscribe to our Event RSS Feed to be among the first to know when a new workshop is added to the schedule.

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