Project Planning (Plan) is where you get ready to work on your project. You have the Idea or Vision of what you want to get done, but before you start “doing”, you need to take some time to plan and prepare.
In this phase, it may seem like there are a lot of things to work out (and sometimes there can be), but if you do them then it will save time, effort and produce a better result. You will want to:
- Define your Requirements, in more detail. What are the results of your project going to look like? Smell like? Taste like? (if you are cooking). How big will it be? etc.
- Think about your schedule – when do you want to be finished? Once you start planning and figuring things out, you may find out that your desired “target deadline” may not be realistic – it may actually take longer than you thought. However, if you don’t have some idea of when it should (hopefully) be finished, the project may never get done. It is good to have a target dedline, even if you have to change it during your planning.
- Think about what materials, people, or resources you will need to do your project. Do you need wood? Paper? Glue? Hammers? Scissors? Pens/Pencils? etc.
- Who do you need (or want) on your team? Projects are more fun when you don’t do them alone (although you can). Who do you think you could work well together with on this project of yours?
- What skills do you need to get the project done? Does it involve drawing, measuring, building or carving things? Who do you know who has these skills? Try to get them on your team!
During your project planning, you will want to break things down into smaller pieces, so it is easier to talk about what you need to do, and so you can do things in smaller chunks. This is the basis for a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).
Once you have a set of things that need to be done, broken down into smaller levels, you need to look at sequencing them – putting them into a logical order, where starting on one task is dependent on a previous task being completed.
Common questions during planning:
- What do you want to have at the end?
- Can you break it into parts?
- When do you want to be finished?
- What tasks (actions) do you need to do?
- What tools and materials and people do you need so you can do the tasks?
- Which tasks have to be done before other ones?
- In The Ultimate Tree House Project, what did the boys not do?
- How much time should you spend on this phase?
- What do you do in this phase?