How to Plan for Success

3 Unlikely (But True) Things To Know About Project Planning

May 12 2017 read

While every project manager's situation is different, our experience has shown that certain approaches work pretty well for project planning (and others, not so much). With that, here are three unlikely (but true) things to keep in mind when it comes to project planning:

1. Don’t approach it top-down

Life is fluid, so your project plan should be too. When you approach it top-down with a strict plan and timeline, you’re essentially shoving the body of a project into an outfit it hasn’t tried on yet - so it probably won’t fit. Ever experienced a project bursting at the seams? It’s not pretty. While this might sound disastrous, it's still a popular go-to strategy for many managers. But tight plans like these are only going to cause more stress as projects unfold because they simply don’t survive in an unpredictable world. 

2. Agile can be problematic

The hot word these days is agile, but in reality, this method doesn’t always work well for a lot of projects and businesses. With this bottom-up approach, you’re continuously trying to plan out how you’d like to accomplish tasks each day and week. While this is nice in theory, it also makes it nearly impossible to set deadlines, estimate the financial cost of a project, or any of the other things clients and project managers need to be successful.

3. Hybrid is golden

When it comes to managing projects well, there are a lot of grey areas. That’s why a hybrid approach is best. When you combine the flexibility of the bottom-up agile method with the structure of the top-down Gantt strategy, you get the best of both worlds. You can set higher level milestones and below those, create a structure for team members to determine how they’ll work together to complete them by carving out tasks with estimated timeframes using smart technology.

For stellar project planning, you need a flexible platform that allows you to plan dynamically - something that’ll let you keep track of deadlines and budgets, but without having to predict all of the granular details from the get-go. That way, there’s an overall goal to accomplish and several deadlines to meet along the way, but team members have the flexibility they need to figure out how they'll reach those goals.

What are your experiences with the top-down, agile, or hybrid approaches? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below. If you found this helpful, click here to try working with a smart project management software today!

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