A Good Project Plan
I wrote about how I am screwed, and I also wrote about projects and the importance of making a good project plan. A good project plan is a guide and helps you understand what steps you must take to achieve the result you want.
It also helps you identify the steps that depend on other steps. In management jargon, we call them dependencies. I don’t know if this is an actual word, but management folk love using jargon.
Complex Project Plans
When you are planning a large project, this is critical. Now may just be the right moment to give an example from my corporate days. We had bought a large company, and this was a global project. In our parlance, we refer to ‘Day Zero’ as the day you sign the deal.
From here onwards, each country’s organization must complete all regulatory and other work, gain all approvals, before you can merge the two teams together, and start working together. We refer to this event as ‘Day One’. It can take several months between Day Zero and Day One. You can imagine that reaching Day One without undue delays and heart attacks, you need a good project plan. In fact, I’d go further and say you need an excellent plan!
Now, if you don’t get product regulatory approval, you cannot implement supply chain plans. Therefore, the implementation of supply chain plans is contingent on getting product regulatory approval and are a dependency.
This sort of project is quite complex, and people across departments and countries work together to make everything work perfectly. Not only must you know the timelines and dependencies, but you must also know who is responsible for which part of the project.
How do you track the progress of a project? Well, most organizations use a ‘Gantt Chart’ and use complex software like Microsoft Projects. You can make Gantt Charts for several years, one year, a quarter, a month, a week, or a day. Each is a subset of the other, and this depends on the length and complexity of a project.
Now, at this moment, you may believe that the process is confusing, but don’t worry! When in doubt, remember, hope is not that far away!
You Need A Simple Process to Make a Good Project Plan!
Do you, as an author or photographer, need such a complex process? No. However, you can still use the principles and apply them to your own project. A good project plan need not be complex, but it must do the job.
For instance, if you are working on a photography project, which you want to publish, you may find that planning the book is a critical early step in the project. If you don’t do this, you will not shoot and edit the images to fit the final size of the publication.
Then, you must ask yourself if you are going to self-publish or search for a publisher. Will you use formats that services like Blurb provide, or will you take the time to learn a program like Adobe InDesign or Affinity Publisher?
If you believe that time is money, then you must factor all this into your plans.
First, ask yourself some questions such as the two below:
1. What project ideas do you have? Put them onto sticky notes, as you see in the image.
2. Similarly, identify the major steps of the project and put them onto sticky notes.
Once you perform basic steps like this, you can arrange these notes along rough timelines, and list down the detailed steps relevant to each note. Then, put the plan down in a comprehensible manner.
Finally, what software will you use? You can use something as simple as Excel, or even pen and paper!
Make it simple, but make it work. That’s all you need to know. Make a good project plan, but choose the format that works for you.