A project planner has an all-encompassing role within the project team. The planner, much like the project manager, has the benefit of assessing the multiple facets of a project, including, budget and cost, risk, resource requirements or constraints, and financial and timeline forecasts and objectives.
One of a planner’s most important goals is to provide the big picture of what the entire team is striving to accomplish from beginning to end while supplying enough detail to provide work package plans. A well-planned execution strategy will encompass complete scope, contractual obligations, shareholder expectations, financial or resource restrictions or objectives, the company’s strategic goals, and any client-driven or environmental nuances that may affect a successful outcome.
Working through the process of building an execution plan starts with understanding the end goal, as well as any major milestones occurring during the project’s life cycle. All contract deliverables and supporting work should be represented in the schedule. This must then be communicated to and validated with team members as you work with them to develop their work package plans to provide their individual project deliverables within the confines of the project requirements.
As this development occurs, the inter-dependencies between the team members’ work will become evident, and issues will need to be mitigated. The planner will need to invoke collaboration, team work, and clear communication amongst team members in order to foster an understanding of team interdependencies and develop work-arounds to meet project obligations.
Once a workable, well-defined, logic-driven schedule has been developed, resource and cost loading and leveling will need to be finalized. Resource requirements will need to be determined, and any resource constraints will need to be identified. At this point, a certain degree of work resequencing may ensue, ensuring the committed resources can produce the deliverables as planned and the various project obligations will be met.
All team members must buy in to and agree to support the product that you, as a team, have developed as the work plan to accomplish the tasks at hand. It is a good practice to have a final review and formal sign-off of the project plan at the point of baselining the schedule. This will ensure that everyone understands and have agreed to the commitments being made.
Congratulations are in order at this point. You have taken the many requirements upon which the project is formulated, developed a successful plan of attack, and obtained team concurrence. This will enable the project team to efficiently work to the project plan and significantly increase the possibility of success for the project!