How to plan your projects like a pro?

A practical guide to kickstart a project

Do you know what’s the difference between a successful project and an unsuccessful one? It’s “Planning”.

There are numerous surveys and case studies suggesting the importance of planning the success of a project. For instance, there is this one study carried out at the University of Ottawa that states close to one third of the projects fail because of lack of involvement from the top level. A clear reflection that most of the companies and teams lack in project planning.

Teams are enthusiastic about getting things started as soon as a new project arrives, but they forget about the fact that unless the project has been planned properly handling it can be more like handling a can of worms.

The recipe to a successful project lies in project planning to the core. And, how can teams do it? Well, that’s exactly what this post is all about.

How to begin with a project?

As soon as a new project arrives, it is the responsibility of a project manager to vividly understand the scope and break it down into task lists. For instance, you can break down a new website project into — Research and Ideas, Designing, Development, Testing.

Now an integral part of the planning process is to make sure that tasks get distributed to the right individuals. And, at ProofHub we have a solution for this. You can assign team members to the task lists as well as individual tasks and make sure that distribution of work is carried in a seamless manner. These task lists have filters so you don’t have to break a sweat while figuring out status of the task, to whom it is assigned. You can further add labels to individual tasks to manage their priority. For instance, all the tasks which are currently under progress can be labelled so that it becomes easy for anyone who is assigned to the task list to see which task in progress.

And, when a task gets completed you can simply strike it out to mark as complete. Further, you can use filters to see which tasks are complete and which ones are still pending/incomplete.

Handling the time paradox

You started the project on time, completed all the tasks within time deadlines, but still it was not delivered on time. How? The answer to this how lies in the factors that you did not take into consideration while setting the final deadline of the project.

Let’s take a small example to understand this.

You have a designing project at hand. And, you begin it by researching and reviewing for design samples to create the sample designs. Lets just say you gave the client a timeframe of 24 hours to share the design mockup. It took you 36 hours to complete and share the mockup with client.

Now supposedly the client took a day to respond back with the feedback. And, he does not like the mockup, asks for some changes which you need to make within a certain time frame, say 12 hours. Now you complete the mockup with the changes and share it within 16 hours. The client takes another day to review and Ok it.

This means that a task which should have been completed within a couple of days took more than three days to complete. Did you plan for it? No. And, this was one task. Just imagine how many tasks in total are there in the project and how these small delays in each of them impacts the overall timeline of the project. And, that’s the reason why you were not able to deliver project on time.

So to avoid the confusion, keep all these factors into consideration before giving a deadline for the project to the client. Make sure to keep buffer time when deciding the deadline.

When it comes to estimating the time of each project and deciding the deadline for it, ProofHub has a quick fix. You can add estimated hours to each task. Based on these estimated hours you can eventually calculate the entire duration for the project, share it with the client and bill accordingly.

Making team-members accountable

A project manager is accountable for the team’s performance. However, a team can be successful only when each team member takes accountability for his/her performance. And, to make sure that each team-member is accountable for their tasks, how their work is going to influence the other associated tasks and which are the tasks that are lagging behind, there is the Project Timeline in Gantt Chart. So, every team member can keep an eye on how things are progressing in the project and ensure that they keep the work flowing at a speed which it is intended to flow.

And, these activities are shared with the project manager as well. So he/she gets to see how much hard-work an individual and further plan other projects. For instance, when a single team-member has to be involved in multiple projects then the manager can get to know about the workload by checking the timeline for various projects and then plan things accordingly.

Taking it to the autopilot mode

So, now you are done with the planning of your first designing project using ProofHub. Once you are done planning one project, you have done planning it all. This is where project templates come into the picture.

When you have multiple projects, of more or less the same nature, (like website designing projects) you can create project templates. What this means is that you won’t need to start from square one every time a new designing project arrives. You can simply use the template, edit it according to the new project details and get set go!

One for the team, and business!

Not just for handling projects, but for handling teams as well; ProofHub has amazing features. When it comes to ensuring that you make the most of your time and don’t waste it doing repeated activities, there is this option to create recurring events.

For instance, you organize weekly meeting to discuss the project progress. And, every Monday morning this is the first thing you do when you reach the office. Rather than beginning from scratch every week, ProofHub gives you the option to create recurring events. What this means is you can create an event, mark it as a recurring one and set its frequency (daily, weekly, monthly etc.). And, you won’t have to spend time creating event week after week. ProofHub will automatically do it for you.

And, to make sure that team-members don’t get confused looking at all the tasks in each task-list (to which other team members are assigned as well), there is Me-view tab. Me-view shows all the upcoming tasks, events and milestones assigned to the user. So, they can keep a birds eye view on what they have to do at work, without any confusion, and plan their day and week at office with ease.

A wise man once said, failing to plan is planning to fail. And, at ProofHub we believe that success resides in successful planning of projects.

When everything is defined and broken down into task lists, everybody has a clarity of thoughts as how to progress in the project; estimated time and timelines are defined and team members are accountable for their work, the only thing left is to co-ordinate the flow of information within the team.

So now you can go ahead and plan your projects like a pro using ProofHub. Next, we are going to talk about ensuring that projects remain on the right track once things start to move on.

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