Note: This is a series of project planning talks I gave my team.
When to plan a project
What is a project plan?
Project planning is the process of defining your objectives and scope, your goals and milestones (deliverables), and assigning tasks and resources for each step. A good plan is easily shareable with everyone involved, and it’s most useful when it’s revisited regularly. Simply outlining a plan and never discussing it with your team again is a good recipe for wasted time and effort.
A project plan outlines the objectives and scope of the project and serves as an official point of reference for the project team, larger company, and stakeholders.
A project plan is more than just a schedule or a task list, though it does include those things. The project management plan is formally approved at the beginning of the project and then progressively updated throughout the course of the project.
Why is project planning important?
Project planning is a crucial stage. Through proper planning, you streamline the entire project into a series of steps and ensure the availability of all the resources on time.
When do I need a project plan?
If you grab a ticket or look into some work (in the form of a spike ticket or project request), you can ask yourself a couple of questions that can point towards whether or not you’ll want or need a project plan:
- Can I finish the ticket by myself in this sprint without any outside help?
If this is the case, you don’t need a project plan
- Is the amount of work the ticket describes bigger than a sprint, but is well defined, easily handled by one person, and not much bigger than one sprint?
I would share your findings around the scope of the work with the team, but you most likely don’t need a project plan.
- Is the amount of work the ticket describes a multiple-sprint effort, has some ambiguity, or could involve multiple people and/or teams?
You should probably put together a project plan.