An introduction to project management: Part 2
In theory, planners should be excellent project managers – but that doesn’t mean it’s always so. What does it take to run a planning project effectively? In part 1, we looked at a basic structure for approaching a project. Now let’s add a little detail.
Your employer may have its own project management methodology that it expects you to follow, and different kinds of planning projects may give rise to specific management approaches.
What matters is that the approach makes sense, follows the natural development of a project in a systematic way, and prompts you to take into account every element of the project – including making allowance for the unexpected.
A more detailed breakdown
Broken down once more, the four-stage model introduced in Part 1 might broadly incorporate the following tasks:
Stage 1:Set parameters
- Read/understand/clarify the brief
- Identify tasks
- Set goals
- Establish roles
- Communicate with other stakeholders to obtain commitment (e.g. a public consultation)
- Research wider context (e.g. site visits, desk research, regulatory conditions)
Stage 2: Develop the project plan
- Create task list, assign to people
- Create timeline
- Estimate costs
- Identify and allocate resources
- Assess risk
Stage 3: Implement
- Initiate the work
- Monitor progress and maintain control
- Meet regularly to assess progress, resolve difficulties and adjust the plan
- Bring to a close
Stage 4: Feedback
- Collect feedback from stakeholders
- Assess and identify lessons for future projects
- Report to relevant parties
- Feed learning into training/development
Managing a project is not an exact art. But the more you do, the more you can develop your own approach to dealing with the fresh challenges that every project presents.
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