This is the second part of what’s required to generate a project plan – as I’m sure you’re beginning to understand, it’s not perhaps as simple a progress as some might think. However, putting a plan in place at the beginning of a project that is accurate, well thought out and as complete as possible will pay dividends in saving time & money once the project has commenced, especially when it starts to throw up issues as most projects have a annoying tendency to do on a regular basis! We’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this and whether you agree (or disagree) – please take the time to leave a comment in the section below…
Having defined the project objectives, & identified the constraints, tasks, durations & relationships, the following still needs to be carried out to ensure the plan is as accurate as possible:
- Identify the resources required
Identify the people, equipment and materials (the resources) that you will need to work on the project. Identify how much of each resource you will need and when the resources are available to work on the project. For example, your technicians may only be available during the last two weeks of the project.
The duration of a task may depend on the amount of work that a resource needs to complete. This means that the length of time a resource works on a task controls the duration of the task. Such a task is said to be resource-driven. For example, if a task has a duration of one week and you assign a resource that has a duration of two weeks, the duration of the task is increased to two weeks to give the resource enough time to complete the task.
- Identify the calendars you require
Decide whether all tasks will work to the same calendar, or whether some tasks will be worked on at different times. For example, the holidays of key employees may affect the time during which a task can be worked on. You may find that each task will be worked on at a different time, in which case you need a separate calendar for each task.
- Estimate the cost of tasks
Estimate the cost of each task. Each task may have a direct cost and additional resource costs. For example, the cost of packaging a product may include the cost of renting the warehouse in which the packaging takes place (a direct cost) and the cost of packaging materials and labour (resource costs). You also need to be aware of the budget for the project and any income that will be received during the project.
- Decide how to categorise the tasks
Categorising tasks makes a project plan easier to interpret. For example, you could categorise each task according to the department responsible for the task, the location at which the task is taking place, the risk involved with the task, or the person who will be working on the task.