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Project Planning Phase Checklist

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Chloe Boreham November 6, 2020 Project Management

The next phase is the execution phase. Here the project must be monitored and managed. A schedule is derived which includes work breakdown, followed by allocation of tasks to people, allocation of resources and finally setting up deadlines for tasks. It is very important to have both a short-term goal and a long-term goal. While the long term goal is to get the product done, the short goals must be imposed by the project manager, who helps in guiding and motivating the members of the team working on the plan. Two important documents namely the issue log and the risk log which are both maintained by the project manager. The issue log keeps track of issues raised by the stakeholders and the risk log considers the vulnerabilities of a system.

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One of the features of checklists is that they can be designed to extend hierarchically, such that a sub-checklist could be developed to facilitate any or all of the checks above (e.g. a stakeholder analysis checklist or a risk management checklist). The PMI, training firms and PMOs would do well to promote checklists more strongly - project managers like to use checklists; not many want to read through an overweight methodology. And managers like checklists because they improve quality and instill consistency.

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Prior to creating the project schedule the project manager must have a work breakdown structure (WBS), an effort estimate for each task, and a list of resources with availability for each resource. Once these data are established a project scheduling tool can automatically do much of the tedious work of calculating the schedule. However, before a project manager can use such tools, he should have an understanding over concepts like WBS, dependencies, resource allocation, critical paths etc. These are the real keys to planning a successful project.

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Project Managers are all too familiar with the project triangle. We know we can shorten a schedule by either (a) reducing the scope of the project, or (b) adding more resources to it. Unfortunately, management either has not seen that triangle or, more likely than not, simply chooses to ignore it. Consequently, Project Manglers who are more interested in pleasing upper management than keeping honest have come up with their own universal algorithm for shortening project schedules. Take the number of days that need to be cut from the schedule, divide it by the number of major milestones, and then deduct that number from the duration of each milestone. In other words, if a project comprising of 4 major milestones is estimated to last 6 months, but you need to reduce it by one month, you`d take 20 days, and divide it by 4. Take the answer (5), and deduct it from the duration of each milestone. And voila! Works every time.

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