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5 mistakes of project planning

5 mistakes of project planning

“By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail”

– Benjamin Franklin

Project planning lays the foundation for projects to be successful in implementation. If you don’t do this or choose the wrong approaches, the project is doomed to fail even before implementation.

Almost only one third of all projects can be completed successfully (on time and on budget). With good and effective project planning, you can take many factors into account and ensure that mistakes are avoided in advance.

We will show you which 5 mistakes should be avoided in project planning and how you should proceed when planning projects.

First things first:

The biggest mistake is to spend little to no time planning projects!

1. Overestimating yourself

Especially in the case of project planning by rather inexperienced people, such as start-ups, mistakes occur again and again, which are based on the fact that the project planner simply overestimates himself.

For example, the extent of one’s own work, the available experience or even the available capital is rated much higher than it actually is. As a result of the overestimation, the rebound effect could occur. Especially if the plans and goals are too large and unrealistic, the motivation decreases significantly if they are not achieved.

2. Not defining a project goal

Ineffective communication occurs more often as a cause of project failure than we think. The first step of clear communication in a project should be to define and accurately communicate the goal and purpose of the project to all team members.

Therefore, make sure you talk to your team in detail about why the project is important, what it will bring to the company, and what its goals are before you go deeper into planning.

3. Do the planning on your own

If you, as a project manager, think that you don’t need help for project planning, you’re going to be wrong.

By involving your team in planning as a project manager, the project will benefit differently.

On the one hand, having multiple people planning will present different perspectives, all of which will be incorporated into the project plan. On the other hand, knowledge increases as a result of the experience the team has already gained in planning and implementing projects.

The greatest advantage of joint planning, however, is that the members can identify with the project and, by participating in the planning, also have the motivation or commitment to execute the project on time and in a professional manner.

4. Doing away with risk management

Designing a risk management strategy can also be very important to successful project delivery. One study shows that formal risk management strategies lead to greater success.

For now, make sure you’ve taken precautions against the common risks that can arise within a project. These include the aforementioned project planning failures, such as unrealistic schedules due to overestimation or definition of the project goal and scope.

In the risk management strategy, assess how high each risk is and how big the impact on the project could be. Then, as a team, consider contingency plans and develop scenarios so that if an emergency occurs, you can respond quickly to changes to get the project back on track.

5. Don’t set requirements

Even if the vision for your project has been set, not defining requirements during planning can cause the project to fail.

That’s why it’s even more important to define requirements in consultation with the customer during the planning stage. 

One way to record requirements is to create a requirements catalog for each employee so that their tasks can be derived from it.

With our project time recording tool timeghost, you can create tasks in the projects from the requirements and assign them to the relevant people. Through authorizations, which you can assign individually, the employee can, for example, book his working hours only on the tasks assigned to him.

Defining the requirements provides the necessary overview and structure in advance of the project and gives your team a more accurate representation of the project scope.

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