How to Plan Successful Projects - Introduction

Introducing the “How to Plan Successful Projects” series

The business has come to you with a great idea and has asked you to make it happen. Congratulations! But how do you make sure you can deliver it?

In this guide, we will take you through the process of planning your project from first principles. Most of the concepts should be familiar from many of the project management manuals out there and we have added from our own experience things you simply cannot get from a set of instructions. 

We have deliberately not focused on any type of project or methodology – the intention is to go through the principles of project planning rather than teach a specific approach - and the processes we describe should work equally well in any industry across waterfall and agile methodologies.

Guide Structure

All projects should set out to achieve a goal. This guide will take you from that goal to workable plan for achieving it, with meaningful cost / benefit analysis on the way. It is broken down into the following sections:

  1. Seven Steps to (Objective) Heaven: how to define exactly what it is the business needs you to achieve, who in the business needs it, what counts as “success” and why all these points are so important.
  2. Defining Your Deliverables: how to decide what you will need to build so you can meet your Objectives and how you will demonstrate that you have achieved the original goals.
  3. Components: how to work out how you will build your Deliverables and identify the dependencies between them - in classic terms, this will build the Work Breakdown Structure.
  4. Planning: how to group the Components into delivery streams and choose what approach to use to manage each stream. This is the first time that you will need to consider management methodologies - some parts of the project will lend themselves better to agile than waterfall and vice versa.

Project Management Tools

What you will not find in this guide is a manual of how to use specific tools. Many people will have their own favourite tools – Jira, MS Project, etc . – and we have found that the tool you use is largely irrelevant so long as your processes are sound.  By the end of this course, you will have a much better idea how you want to plan your projects and this will help you choose which tool(s) suit your way of working.

If there is enough demand, we will consider writing reviews of the different options available – please let us know if you need a specific review of anything.

In the meantime, happy reading and do please let us know if you have had similar or different experiences from our own!