Planning your project is essential. A project plan documents the project’s objectives and how and when these objectives are to be achieved by detailing the products, milestones, tasks and resources required on the project. Project planning allows the project team to refine their thinking and facilitates efficient and effective implementation of the project.
A project plan can be broken down into simple steps:
- Define what you plan to achieve and how will you achieve your desired outcomes
Why? - Why is the project needed? What is the problem being addressed? Where? - Where is the location of work to be undertaken? What? - What work will be undertaken? What are the major products/deliverables? What resources are needed for each task? What are the costs? What outcomes will the project provide? What will success look like? Who? - Who will be involved and what are their responsibilities within the project? How? - How will people and resources be organised? How will success be measured? When? - What is the project timeline and when will certain tasks be completed?
- Draw up a simple plan and organise your ideas
- Review your ideas and expand upon them if required.
- Identify any risks of the project and options to overcome these. For example, on-ground works can be affected by weather, so include a contingency for this.
- Schedule the project tasks
- Prioritise the project tasks. Immediate tasks may include funding and permit applications.
- Set some deadlines; one for the project’s completion and several short-term milestones for individual tasks or stages.
- Measuring progress and outcomes
- How will you demonstrate that you’re making progress and/or achieving milestones? Even simple things like counting the number of people who attend an event or the number of trees planted can be useful and easy to do.
- What can you measure before the project commences, during the project and then after the project finishes to show how conditions have changed as a result of the project? Look for simple, easily repeated options, like setting up a photopoint or measuring water quality.