Common Phases in Project Planning

Project planning
Whether the system is an organization, department, business, project, etc., the fundamental planning process typically includes similar nature of activities performed in similar sequence. The phases are carried out carefully or -- in some instances -- intuitively, for instance, when preparing a very small, straightforward effort. The complexity of the various phases (in addition to their duplication through the entire system) rely on the scope of the system. For instance, inside a large corporation, the next phases will be completed within the corporate offices, in each division, in each department, in each group, etc.

NOTE: Different categories of planners might have different names for an additional activities and groups them differently. However, the type from the activities as well as their general sequence continues to be same.

NOTE: Listed here are typical phases in planning. They just don't comprise the entire, ideal planning process.

1. Reference Overall Singular Purpose ("Mission") or Desired Result from System
During planning, planners are considering (consciously or unconsciously) some overall purpose or result that the plan is to achieve. As an example, during strategic planning, it's vital to reference the mission, or overall purpose, with the organization.

2. Take Stock In and out of the System
This "taking stock" is definitely implemented to some extent, whether consciously or unconsciously. As an example, during strategic planning, it is critical to do an environmental scan. This scan usually involves considering various driving forces, or major influences, that may effect the organization.

3. Analyze the Situation
As an example, during strategic planning, planners often conduct a "SWOT analysis". (SWOT is an acronym for thinking about the organization's pros and cons, and also the opportunities and threats faced from the organization.) With this analysis, planners can also work with a selection of assessments, or solutions to "measure" the health of systems.

4. Establish Goals
Based on the analysis and alignment to the overall mission with the system, planners set up a set of goals that develop strengths to consider advantage of opportunities, while gathering weaknesses and warding off threats.

5. Establish Ways to Reach Goals
The particular strategies (or methods to reach the goals) chosen rely on matters of affordability, practicality and efficiency.

6. Establish Objectives As You Go Along to Achieving Goals
Objectives are selected being timely and indicative of progress toward goals.

7. Associate Responsibilities and Time Lines With Each Objective
Responsibilities are assigned, including for implementation from the plan, and then for achieving various goals and objectives. Ideally, deadlines are set for meeting each responsibility.

8. Write and Communicate a Plan Document
The above mentioned facts are organized and developed in a document which can be distributed around the system.

9. Acknowledge Completion and Celebrate Success
This critical step is often ignored -- which can eventually undermine the prosperity of lots of your future planning efforts. The goal of a plan is to address a present problem or pursue a development goal. It appears simplistic to claim that you ought to acknowledge if the problem was solved or the goal met. However, this in the planning process is usually ignored in lieu of moving on the subsequent problem to resolve or goal to pursue. Skipping this step can cultivate apathy and skepticism -- even cynicism -- in your organization. Don't skip this.