A series of doubts and mishaps can mark the elaboration of a project plan. And many of them fail because of poorly established goals, lack of detailed scope, inefficient control and an unrealistic budget.
It would help if you prepared to prevent these problems from jeopardizing your progress and achievement. And two planning strategies stand out: the project plan and the project model canvas.
These methods allow project managers to create a scenario with all the activities that must be carried out, the deadlines and the people involved. Something that makes it easy for ideas to be successfully taken off paper.
This post will explain how these techniques work and how they can be implemented in your company. Interested? Read on!
The Difference Between The Project Plan And The Project Model Canvas
A project plan is the set of all the information needed to carry out a project — from pitch creation to the lessons learned. After all, they are the ones that will guide future actions and avoid possible mistakes.
In theory, it defines step by step how a project will be executed, monitored and completed in a company and what are the necessary strategies to achieve the objectives and scope for which this project was approved.
Even though it is highly beneficial, only some managers still use it correctly. In practice, only fragments — essentially useless — of this plan are used just as a way of complying with the protocol for the company.
The project model canvas, also known as PM Canvas or PMC, works as a more straightforward but no less effective version of the project plan. It uses management, neuroscience and design thinking concepts to simplify its development and has an entirely visual character.
With the publication of the project model canvas in the book that bears the same name, the project plan suffered a decisive blow. Even though they have the same utility, they are entirely different. While the latter is a long, textual document that can take up dozens of pages, PM Canvas is done on a single page.
It consists of a diagram in which it is possible to evaluate an entire project integrating scope, time, and requirements, among other aspects, in one place. Its versatility is an advantage for teamwork, as the dynamics of the PMC require brainstorming between the employees and the client.
The Project Plan In Practice
The project plan combines and organizes all documents from the planning phase—such as the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Resource Plan, Roles and Responsibilities Matrix, Procurement Management Plan, Quality Plan, and Communications Plan. It is trendy in academic courses as well.
This type of planning must be prepared by the project management team and approved by the sponsor with the “Project Opening Term” document. In practice, a project plan can be designed as follows, follow along!
In this first stage, the main objectives of the project are defined. Many managers fail early because they need to align their goals with the customers.
Therefore, it is essential to remember that brainstorming and collective work, with the participation of all involved, are fundamental before taking any idea to paper.
The first phase of project planning is the scope definition, which is everything that will be done during its progress, the activities carried out, who will carry them out, the delivery phases, the tests, etc. It is essential that this step is very detailed to avoid errors and rework in the future.
Next, effort and cost estimates are made. They must be accompanied by mapping risks that may impact a project and the nomination of stakeholders: customers, users and staff. That is each stakeholder in the project.
All this information must be placed in a schedule, with all the stages of execution, the delivery dates, the resources involved, the costs, the milestones and all the aspects that will guide the execution of the project and will serve to control in cases of doubts or problems.
As the name suggests, this is the step of making things happen. In this phase, resources are acquired, teams are coordinated, communication between those involved and the work itself is carried out.
Even during the execution of the project, it is essential to monitor the progress and control the results.
At this stage, the manager can assess the changes, measure the risks that appear and apply corrective measures to solve problems and prevent the arrival of new ones.
And finally, the project plan needs to be approved by the stakeholders. In this closing stage, the project’s progress is evaluated, contracts are closed, all documentation is gathered, and the final report is presented.
It is essential that the manager not only completes the work but discusses with the team what lessons were learned. As we mentioned earlier, they are the ones that will guide the execution of future projects and avoid common mistakes which delay the progress of actions and increase costs.