Top Tips for Project Planning

Proper preparation is vital if you want to ensure your projects run smoothly! It will help you visualise and achieve your goals, as well as reducing stoppages which cost time and money. In fact, in the construction industry, you must have a CPP (or Construction Phase Plan) before starting a project, and we think this ethos should apply to all projects.

So now the why is covered let’s get to the how. Any plan can be broken down into 5 simple steps; remember, when making plans just follow P.L.A.N.S....

1. Prepare Information

Before you start planning you need data, because the more you know the stronger the foundation of your plan will be. Find out everything you can about the project, including:

  • Personnel
  • Resources
  • Guidelines you'll need to follow - e.g. from the client / HSE
  • Budget
  • Risks - e.g. power lines, asbestos, nearby schools
  • Reports from previous projects                                     

Planning is easier and more effective when you have all the information available to you and will help avoid the unexpected.

2. Lay Groundwork

Now you have all the data you need let’s build a schedule for your project, first determining your main objective. Break this down into smaller goals, and then further down until you have tasks that are; specific, making the overall task less daunting; measurable, so you can track progress; and achievable, or you’re only inviting setbacks when they’re not met.

If planning a construction project, you’ll want to consider things like:

This initial plan should be discussed with your team and documented way before work begins, so everything’s ready for when you start.

3. Action!

Time to put your plan in motion. Have a team meeting to set out your goals and expectations, or – if it’s a larger team – brief team leaders so they can effectively manage their departments. Proper delegation will help employees improve their specific skills, while freeing you up to keep an eye on the big picture. Communication is vital to make sure everything runs smoothly, so be sure that key information is easy to obtain and understand. Things like:

These should be displayed in an accessible area with information shown clearly, so you and staff don’t waste time looking for it. Information will possibly change (none of us can predict everything after all) so consider displaying information on dry wipe boards or in clipframes.

4. Notice Progress

Identify your Key Performance Indicators, or KPI’s; these are objectives you’ll set and measure to evaluate your success. KPI’s will vary depending on the project and industry, but to give you an idea here are some common construction ones:

Examine these to see how the project is going, making sure to schedule regular reviews. Report both successes and failures, and how you could or have overcome these. Make sure there is a clear way for workers to give feedback to superiors and vice versa - things like suggestion cards, near miss boards, and you said we did boards – because encouraging employees to speak up about accidents is the only way to prevent them repeating. Don’t be scared to amend your initial plan, one of the most important elements of following through is being able to adapt.

5. Summarise

Compare your hopes for the project to the reality, looking at:

  • What went well?
  • What could be improved?
  • What did you need to change?
  • How will this impact your next project?

Call a final meeting to go over this with your team to get their valuable insight and make sure nothing was missed. Remember! No matter how effective (or ineffective) your plan was, there’s always something to be learnt from finishing a project that can be acted on next time.

Of course, this is just general advice as every project is different, but the foundations are the same. Now you know how to plan, why not put that know-how straight to use with a FREE YEAR PLANNER on us. Just enter code PLAN22 at checkout*.

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*Year Planner is printed at A2 on 170gsm silk paper. One per order, to be dispatched with other products. Offer ends 30.06.2022.