Project Management Planning(The steps to a good one)
Any successful Project Management Plan is a collaborative effort of the entire team. This would include all the stakeholders – the Client, project manager, design team, leasing and sales team, legal team and the general contractor. Let’s look at the steps in getting the processes in the plan right.
Project Brief – The first and foremost step in creating a project brief is to understand the Client’s goals, objectives and constraints. This means having an understanding of the project requirements and the project scope from every stakeholder which may also include investors, lenders, government bodies, developers, and the land owners.
Communication – Setting up lines of communication and authority structures is a very important step of a project plan. Constant communication between the planning team, supply chain management, site teams and Client representatives is key criteria for the success of any project. This includes working out procedures for execution and obtaining approval on cost & budgetary items, schedule items, permitting issues, contractual issues, etc. It is also important to define the type and magnitude of issues which will require immediate action or approval from the Client during the process.
Budget & Cashflow –A detailed budget and subsequent cash flow provides the management with an understanding of how funds will be utilized and spent over the life span of a project. It is important to note that although a budget should meet Client’s expectations it also needs to be realistic. A project manager needs to ensure that either the budget or the project planning is modified in case there is a mismatch. It is the key for a project manager to account for uncertainty and assign an appropriate contingency to the budget. A good rule of thumb is 15% at concept stage and 5% – 8% once all the contractors are assigned.
Quality Plan – Quality management ensures the end product meets the Client’s expectations. The emphasis on project quality should be more on preventing errors, rather than inspecting the product at the end of the project and then eliminating errors. Creating a quality plan includes setting the standards, and the metrics that will be used throughout the project. The plan then becomes the foundation for all the quality reviews and inspections performed during the project and through the whole process of execution.
Risks – Managing project risks is a vital part of project management. Identify potential risks – create a list of every possible risk you can think of. Brainstorm with your team during the project planning process and ask them for inputs, considering they might see possibilities that you don’t. Then determine the probability of these risks occurring and rate them within the probabilities of low, medium and high risks categories. Finally determine the impact that each risk would have on the project both in terms of time and cost. If you can successfully identify and plan for risks, you will be in a better position to deal with them in case of occurrence.
Defining Responsibility – At the start of the project and once again after all the contractors and consultants have been assigned – the Project Manager will develop a design and construction responsibility matrix, or differentiation document that is tailored to the project. This document will itemize all aspects of the work on the project and will outline each work item’s budget category, and the team member responsible for execution.
Schedule – Finally, the project schedule is the culmination of all the above. It indicates what needs to be done, which resources must be utilized, and when each task begins and ends. In short, it’s a timetable that will establish milestone dates for all aspects of the project including all entitlement approvals, permitting, completion of design phases, construction start and finish dates, as well as operational handover and soft launch. The schedule should include an early purchasing strategy for long lead items which takes into account the time required for manufacturing, shipping schedules, warehousing, etc.
It is important for a project manager to constantly go back to the initial project plan and adjust it throughout the life of the project recognising that the schedule and budget may be affected by anticipated and unanticipated factors.
BY Raghav Kapur, Assistant Vice President, SILA