Project planning

Planning for the project begins early in the project life cycle. In most cases, it begins with the preparation of the proposal or Feasibility studies.

Project Feasibility is evaluated which means whether the proposed project is viable in all respects or not. The Feasibility study evaluates the project’s potential. It outlines the project’s time and cost implications and the project’s preliminary implementation plan. Usually following parameters are studied thoroughly in the Planning stage:

  • Construction Site Reconnaissance
  • Construction and technical specifications feasibility
  • Market Analysis
  • Costing Analysis
  • Financial Analysis
  • Environmental Analysis

Project Go-Ahead Decision

The feasibility study, if found acceptable is followed with an investment cash flow/appraisal. Depending on the nature and complexity of the project, the following may assist the executing agency in making investment decisions.

  • Client representatives: These include the prospective project manager or his nominee and the related officials.
  • Specialists: These include architects, engineers, planners, and finance and management consultants.
  • Concerned officials of the administration and technical departments.

The process of formulation of needs, collection of information, critical examination of concepts, and re-examination of needs may have to be repeated several times before a project go-ahead final decision is taken.

Master Plans

Master plans vary depending on the size, complexity, and nature of the project.

Project planning starts with determining the objectives, deliverables, and major tasks of the project.

Under master plans many crucial documents are to be prepared. Project Charter is one important document that is described in a previous post.

Determining the project scope begins during project conception, first in project initiation and then in the initial description of the project.

Project Work Scope

A project scope statement is a document that outlines the project’s objectives and provides an overview of all its components. It is typically an internal document created to provide participants in the project with clarity and direction.

Project Work Statement includes the permanent works (end product) required by the client/owner. It is defined in terms of project description, design, drawings, specifications, and deliverable value (in the form of BOQ).

InputsTools & TechniquesOutputs
Project Charter and Operating EnvironmentDesign and Drawings Construction Specifications Work Quantities and Cost EstimationProject Indicative Cost Estimate Bills of Quantities (BOQ)

A project scope statement usually includes the following points:

Objective– Stated objectives or goals of the project.

Deliverables– Outputs or end products desired.

Time schedule– Project start and end date as well as the schedule of work packages and activities.

Budget– Cost of the project and its major components

Stakeholders– Key Personnel involved in the project.

Constraints– Limitations or issues that may impact the project.

Risk– Various risks that may negatively impact the project.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

Once the objectives have been fully developed, the project must be divided into manageable sets of project tasks or activities. This is necessary to produce project drawings and specifications, generate a detailed cost estimate for the project, and schedule and control resources (e.g., materials, labour, equipment, and time) for all project activities.

The method typically used to break down the project into manageable components or work activities is called the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS).

The WBS is a deliverable-focused hierarchical decomposition of the project works to be completed for achieving the project deliverables.

WBS defines the total work scope of the project starting from the top and systematically breaking down the deliverables into hierarchical levels with the last level containing the desirable smallest components.

WBS includes all tangible deliverables of the project. Deliverables are tangible, measurable parts of the project.

The below diagram is a typical WBS of a house

The WBS is widely used in the construction industry because it divides the construction project into manageable and ordered parts.

LevelDescriptionMain criteria
1Sub-project levelAn independent, deliverable end product requiring processing of multi-task having a large volume of work.
2Task LevelAn identifiable and deliverable major work containing one or more WPs.
3Work Package levelA sizeable, identifiable, measurable, and controllable work item/ package of activities. A WP is a level that defines the lowest level of work for which the cost and duration can be estimated, planned and controlled.
4Activity levelIdentifiable lower level job, operation or process, which consumes time and possibly resources. It is normally not included in the project WBS.
Levels of WBS

Project Life Cycle/Project Stages

Every project has a beginning and a finish, and it all starts with the definition of its objectives and goals, followed by the creation of a project plan to achieve those goals, and finally, its execution. A thorough understanding of the project management life cycle is crucial to carrying out projects successfully and achieving their goals. The project management life cycle is an organized, systematic, and timely procedure for initiating, planning, and carrying out a project successfully. A distinct aspect of the process of managing a project from inception to completion is addressed by each project phase.

The project management life cycle is divided into 5 phases: project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring & control, and closure.

1. Project Initiation

The project planning phase, which establishes the project’s road map, is the most crucial and necessitates total thoroughness. The initiation phase’s objective is to define the project in general terms in terms of what must be done and accomplished for it to be successful. Here, the project’s stakeholders (the individuals or business unit that will fund it), goals, objectives, and deliverables are established, and the resources and funding required for its completion are high-level estimated. Feasibility studies are conducted.

  • Create a Project Charter, a Scope document that outlines the vision, objectives and goals of the project
  • Identify key project stakeholders or participants
  • Once the project gets a go-ahead, assemble the project team and establish a project office

Once the project is approved, one or more project initiation meetings are held to finalize the project. This is where the project initiation phase ends and the planning phase begins.

2. Project Planning

It involves defining the work to be done and figuring out how to accomplish it. The project manager begins setting goals with a project plan. A well-drafted project plan outlines a detailed project schedule, and communication plan to give direction to the team. During the planning stage, the scope of the project is defined in detail which involves the cost, quality, resources and project timeline. The scope is defined by the project manager with a scope statement and Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) (the deliverables for the project). Another crucial activity during this phase is resource estimation for the project.

Create a Statement of Work document to flesh out the details of project deliverables

  • Develop a Work Breakdown Structure
  • Create a project plan, assign team members (and other resources) to the various tasks and build a detailed project timeline.
  • Identify the Project Team roles and other resources for the project.
  • Create a risk mitigation plan to identify potential risks and develop a strategy to minimize them
  • Create a communication plan to schedule interactions with relevant stakeholders

3. Project Execution

This is the stage where planning is turned into action. The project team is assembled. Resources are assigned to the tasks identified in the project plan. The project work is carried out in the required sequence as per the schedule prepared in order to complete all of the work in the most efficient manner. The many deliverables that are created in accordance with the specified project plan are the main result of the execution phase. The project manager keeps the team members organised, develops workflow, and continuously assesses progress to ensure that work is completed as planned and that the project team and other stakeholders are working effectively together.

4. Project Monitoring & Control

This phase typically runs in parallel with the Project Execution phase and involves keeping the project on track and ensuring that objectives and project deliverables are met.

The project manager monitors the progress of the work and ensures that it is proceeding as planned and scheduled. This makes it easier to monitor any deviations from the project’s budget, schedule, and quality objectives. In order to minimize the impact on any of the project goals, this phase also entails regularly scanning the project environment for risks or problems that could affect the project’s performance. If any such problems are found, proactive measures must be taken to prevent or mitigate them

Project Manager tracks all changes to the project scope (whether from team members or the stakeholders) and reports on their impact on project goals and monitors overall project performance, including all project plan changes, and ensures that all stakeholders and the project team are on the same page about the project status and its expected outcomes.

5. Project Closure

Project Closure is the final phase of the project management life cycle, which indicates the end of the project and the final delivery of the project deliverables.

Project Closure involves the completion of the final delivery of a project and its approval by the stakeholders. Once the project’s closure is formally approved, other aspects of the closure can be carried out. It gives an opportunity to comprehend lessons learned to improve productivity in the future. Once the above activities are completed, the project team members are released to other projects.

 “End of Project” Review to understand project performance and a formal analysis of successes and failures that is to be documented. The final settlement of all bills and claims is also an important thing to be sorted out at this phase. All reports are to be completed in full and final.

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