“My planning is awful and my project is failing”

Does this statement sound like you? Are you struggling with getting your planning under control either with regards to resources or planning itself? In this blog, I’ll be providing you some ideas and tips for what you can do to improve your planning and get your project back on track.

First things first: Why is your planning awful? What are you missing? Is it inexperience or are you missing key elements of data that you need to have to make your planning complete?

If you’re inexperienced and need help then there are a few things that you can do:

  • Get support! This could be from colleagues, a mentor, your PMO or someone within your organisation that can support you through this. It’s important to reach out to ask for help rather than risk the project failing as a result of your ego.
  • Training/ coaching: Have you considered getting a training or viewing vidoes on how to improve your planning? There are some great tutorials available on not just how to plan but also how to use the different softwares that are available.
    • It’s important if you are using a specific project management software (e.g. Celoxis, Teamwork, Asana) that you are properly trained on how to use it and get the most out of it.
  • Take baby steps: Look at what information you need to know for your planning and then process this in your planning overview. This could include things like: resource availability, talking to your team about what activities are needed and when, how the stakeholders want to see the planning (if different).

In my experience, poor planning is normally a symptom of wider issues in the project (it can be a cause as well as an effect) so if you can get this under control, then you are able to resolve the planning in the first place.

If your project is failing then it’s of critical importance to address this immediately. Discuss with your Manager, Stakeholders and come with a plan to bring it back to Green/ on track. If you are feeling out of your depth, then it’s time to raise the signal.

Recently, I was coaching a Project Manager who had a failing project and despite being given support from their Manager, was simply in too much over their head. In this case, I discussed not only the strategy for getting the project from red to green but also how to plan for a safe handover for this Project Manager to one of their peers. It is often needed to remove the emotional nature of a discussion over project failure and keep it factual: What is the issue? How can we best resolve it?

I have written several blogs on failing projects and what to do, so I’d recommend that you review these and work on your personal strategy for getting your project from Red to Green.

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