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The Art of Effective Planning

Nothing helps move things along better than an effective plan.  It helps to guide those who are working under the plan, as well as maximize resources.  Since most effective projects begin with a good plan, what steps can leaders take to get things done faster, and anticipate problems before they occur?

  1. Outline the tasks of the project.  Ask questions such as, what do I need to accomplish?  What are the goals and objectives?  Within what time-frame does the project need to be completed?  What resources do I need to complete the project, and how many of those resources do I control?
  2. Establish the plan.  Utilize a flow chart or invest in project planning software to map out the project and communicate your plans to others.
  3. Track progress.  Set measurable goals and objectives.  Establishing goals will help keep projects on time and on budget. Establish goals for the entire project, then set up objectives or sub-goals.
  4. Establish sub-plans to manage complex projects.  Complex plans require leaders to manage multiple tasks at the same time.  Therefore, establish parallel tracks to help decrease the chances of spreading yourself to thin.
  5. Match people and tasks.  Employees are different, with different levels of knowledge and experience, and strengths and weaknesses.  Assign tasks according to individual capacities.
  6. Envision worse-case scenarios.  Consider the possibilities of what could go wrong and rank the problems from the highest to the lowest. Then, think about what you would do if the highest to the lowest worse-case scenario occurred, and create a contingency plan for each.
  7. Set up a process to monitor the progress of the plan.  In other words, how do you know if the plan is on time?  Establish an estimated time-frame or percentages to complete the plan.
  8. Ask for feedback.  Find someone who is better at planning and model how it is done.  Set goals and strive to increase things they are doing.  Also, ask for feedback from those who have had to follow your plan.

Good planning leaves more time to do other things, while ensuring that things are on track…click here for more information on developing effective plans in the workforce.

Happy Monday!

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