If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail (Benjamin Franklin)
There is a lot of truth in this statement, especially when developing products. In this posting, we will demonstrate the 1) Value of planning and 2) How to document the plan.
Let’s compare a project to taking a trip in a car to a place you have never been to. What would happen if you just jumped in the car and drove? So, how do you approach the trip? You identify the destination. Then you look at some maps to determine the best way to get there. You may look for construction zones to avoid them.
When time is important, you evaluate different routes to find the fastest way to reach your destination. You figure out the total distance and determine how well you are doing by checking the miles traveled along the way and calculating the distance to your destination.
Now let’s evaluate these road trip activities in project planning language.
Just like the road trip, planning a project helps ensures you deliver the right item (which could be a product, service, or any other result), at the right time, though defining how you will get there and managing the risks.
Sometimes, people confuse planning with documenting the plan. The project plan or schedule is an output of the planning process. It is the map that gets you to your destination. The method to document the plan should be selected based on the size and complexity of the project and the level of detail needed. Methods to document the plan may include a spreadsheet, a written document, or a software tool specifically for project management. Whatever is used needs to allow you to manage the following.
Your plan is like the maps you use to arrive at your destination. Sometimes the information is just the major steps and at other times, you will have very detailed steps to get through problems or respond to roadblocks that get in your way. The plan allows you to visualize and communicate how you will complete the project.
We often recommend PLAYBOOK (full disclosure we are a PLAYBOOK partner) because of its ability to show not only the Gantt chart view of the entire plan, but its integration of the Kanban/Project board view. Teams can see the critical path and where they fit in. It also shows individuals priority tasks across the organization, so people’s time can be effectively managed and top tasks are worked on to keep the project moving forward.
Taking the time to plan and documenting the plan are essential to the overall success of the project. Just jumping into a project without planning often leads to projects which are late or require rework since it wasn’t planned correctly from the outset.
If you have any questions regarding product development, please submit it through our Contact Page, and we’ll answer your question in a future post.
Strategy 2 Market helps companies increase growth and decrease product development complexity. www.strategy2market.com
For more information or to speak with one of our consultants, please contact Mary Drotar at 312-212-3144 or [email protected]