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5 Key Steps to Planning A Project

4 mins read

<p>Projects are hard. Much harder is successfully planning and implementing one. The ability to properly plan a project can either make or mar it. Many professionals who have been tasked with the role of planning and managing a project can relate to how tasking the process often is. As it is popularly said, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Failing to define the step-by-step process and follow through with it is a sure recipe for wasted time, effort, and money.&nbsp;</p><p>### Here are five key steps to planning a project to ensure business growth.</p><p>&nbsp;**1) Outline your goals** It is needless to say that it is critical for any individual to set goals for every facet of their life. By extension, it would not surprise you to realize that this is also crucial in planning a project. Why is setting a goal important? It is important because it aids the actualization of a project. Understanding the ultimate goal of a project helps to sketch a framework for what needs to be achieved. Goal-setting also helps to measure the progress of the plan and determine when the project has gone off the right course. It is important to note that for these goals to have a potential for success, they should be SMART - that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. Overall, the metrics for measuring the success of a project would be determined by its goals and objectives.</p><p>&nbsp;**2) Carry out background research** Rather than going blind into a field or a business idea, do some research. Find out what has been done in that field in the past and what the outcomes were by doing some [research]( on your competitors. This would help you identify gaps and possible opportunities for your own idea. This begins to form the foundation of your idea; analyzing how [viable]( it is, its strengths and weaknesses, factors that could work against it, aka, feasibility studies. These studies help determine the risks associated with the idea and if it is worth investing in. Useforms to [carry out surveys]( that can contribute to the research to aid decision making.</p><p>&nbsp;**3) Assemble the right team** Any professional who has worked with the wrong set of people can attest to the agony that comes with it. First and foremost, it is mandatory to recruit the right hands for your project. Subsequently, it is necessary to assign clear roles to each team member and define their deliverables. Establishing proper communication channels between team members and managers would also enhance a smooth planning process. Managers must learn to avoid micromanaging team members, rather they should give space for creativity and innovation within the bounds of the project. It is also a morale booster for the team to celebrate milestones whenever they are reached.&nbsp;</p><p>**4) Understand Your Budget** There is virtually no project without financial implications, no matter how little. This suggests that you must be realistic with how much funds are available to undertake the project. In turn, you must allocate the appropriate amount to each portion of the project and ensure you stick to it. Allocating insufficient funds to a project, or surpassing your budget often sets a project up for failure.&nbsp;</p><p>**5) Pay Attention To Timing** Planning a project without setting realistic and feasible timelines is counterproductive. At the same time, planning for a project without a timeline at all can result in unproductivity and losses. A [project timeline is important](, as having clear expectations helps avoid overworking team members which may eventually lead to burnout. It also ensures that the project is completed in a reasonable time frame and is beneficial for the intended purpose.&nbsp;</p><p>#### Here's a bonus tip for you; Have a BackUp Plan According to Murphy's law,</p><p>&nbsp;"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Having this in mind, it is important to acknowledge that no project is without potential risks. When developing a plan for your project, you should know how to manage risks and consider the steps necessary to either prevent certain risks from happening or limit their negative impact. Predicting such risks ahead of time and formulating a contingency plan acts as a shock-absorber. It should be noted that preparing a contingency plan does not indicate that the project is expected to fail. Instead, it shows that the project has been thoroughly planned for and all loopholes have been accounted for. If you would follow these processes diligently, you would be on the path towards planning a project with high chances of success. Finally, remember that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Let's get planning!</p>

Ore Badmus, and Charles Ani

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