A Planning Process for Middle-Sized Projects
Any business project - such as reducing energy costs, or improving efficiency - needs to be planned, and time spent planning will save far more time later on.
The typical stages in this planning process are explained below.
- Your first task is to spot what needs to be done. Examine your firm’s current position, perhaps making a formal analysis of its strengths and weaknesses. Then think about how you might improve that position: what opportunities are there for achieving this?
- The next step is to decide precisely what the aim of your plan is. This is best expressed in a simple single sentence, to ensure that it is clear and sharp in your mind. Doing this helps you to avoid wasting effort on irrelevant side issues.
- Next you should work out how to do it. It is tempting just to grasp the first idea that comes to mind, but it is better to consider a wide range of options: this way, you may come up with less obvious but better solutions.
- Once you have explored the options available to you, the selection of which option to use is the next step. If you have the time and resources, you might decide to evaluate all options, carrying out some planning, such as costing, for each. Normally you will not have this luxury.
- You already have a broad idea of what your project will consist of. Now is the time to work out the full details, identifying the most efficient and effective method of carrying it out, including answering the questions of ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘when’.
- The next stage is to review your plan and decide whether it will work satisfactorily. This evaluation enables you to change to another option that might be more successful, or to accept that no plan is needed.
- Once you have finished your plan and decided that it will work satisfactorily, it is time for implementation. Your plan will cover how this is to be done.
- Once you have achieved a plan, you can close the project. At this point, it is often worth assessing the project to see whether there are any lessons that you can learn.