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Project Management: How to Create a Fantastic Strategic Plan

Most likely you are creating a strategic plan – otherwise known as a project management plan – because you, or an entity that you are associated with, have identified a matter in which dissatisfaction is apparent…

And so it is in your perceived best interest to conduct yourself in a more favourable manner for the future in a way that fulfils this certain void. Whatever this may look like, it can prove difficult and even impossible if you have not narrowed down your limitless possibilities. A strategic plan helps to make articulated sense of this and acts as your go-to guide for achieving your goal.

Do You Need Project Management Software?

Having project management software can prove to be beneficial for achieving your vision as defined by your strategic plan. If you choose to use certain relevant software they can effectively operate as project management tools. Tools that act as a method of implementation serving a digitised function to assist you in executing your strategic plan more seamlessly. What would otherwise be laborious when analogously completed is made easy and simple to use and understand by many parties when using project management software. Project management software can serve many streamlined functions including client, project and task tracking, timesheet functionality, invoicing and more with the added convenience of internet connectivity. You might be away from the office or anywhere in the world but your device can travel with you and allow for added convenience. The need for project management software remains a matter of preference but the changing landscape of the business world demands ever-increasing punctuality and convenience regardless of geography. As we become more connected, our project management tools evolve into software.

6 Steps to Create a Strategic Management Plan

Step 1: Understand the Scope of the Project

The scope is defined as the area of which a subject matter is relevant. Your project is left without relevance if the scope is not understood. If you attempt work without understanding the scope, the fruits of your labour will have you aimlessly accumulating resources and knowledge that will amount to nothing because there is no encapsulation of the end product and direction. To do so, you must first define what the end goal will consist of (its required elements)/things that must be built into its design. Next, define what is required to support the project’s processes (i.e. transactions). You must then identify which stakeholders are relevant to your project and processes and engage with them accordingly when needed throughout the project. Identifying limitations follows this to allow those working on the project (including yourself) what is to be excluded so that you are not allowing you or your budget and resources to be overwhelmed by possibility. Project requirements may shift as you delve further, so be open to the idea of potentially changing the management structure of the project.

Step 2: Conduct Research

Research is your way of uncovering information regarding what you might need to know, gaps in information that you may need to work out, and flaws in previously completed projects. This can yield results to help you understand your stakeholders, client base, market positioning, room for potential growth, demand, supply, limitations and more regarding issues such as PESTLE factors etc. Your research supplies you with the basics needed to flesh out the details of your strategic plan and is necessary to be completed before doing so. This always starts with a research question where you ask yourself what you want to know.

Step 3: Write Up the Outline of the Strategy

The outline of the strategy is your best friend, caretaker and disciplinary figure all in one. It allows you to go out and achieve while keeping you afloat with the relevant structure and also showing you when you deviate from the track, allowing you to correct yourself. The project management strategy outline consists of certain elements that may be covered later on. It consists of deliverables and KPIs, the delegation of time to certain tasks, resource proposals which are to be connected to tasks and deliverables, explicit limits which highlight when exactly something needs to be done by and the true limit of your budget, assumptions about your plan and a client approval process.

Step 4: Get the Human Resources Needed to Assign Responsibility

No man is a mountain, or woman for that matter. A research project may usually need many human resources. Through collaboration, a project can be finished efficiently and be of higher quality without overexerting yourself. Using the internet there is free project management software such as employee time tracking software which can make managing the human resources needed to assign responsibility more simple and effective. With the sharing of information and labour being conducted over the internet becoming more frequent, this type of human resource software can track time, billing and employee output anywhere in the world with a device and internet connectivity.

Step 5: Create Deliverables and KPIs

Deliverables and KPIs are essential parts of creating a successful strategic plan. First, let’s begin by defining the terms. A deliverable is a product or service that is produced or provided as a result of a process. KPI is an acronym for “Key Performance Indicators”. They take into consideration the time, cost and scope of your project and in regards to that, allow you to determine the level of performance. In a practical sense, deliverables provide you with incremental steps and ultimately direction towards completing your strategic plan. A good deliverable has a due date, it’s specific to avoid confusion and ambiguity, and it’s measurable so that you will know when it is completed. The KPI is a rough guide which indicates how well you achieved these steps. Some examples of KPIs include your project schedule (whether you’re behind schedule or not), labour costs (whether you’re over or under budget), and resource usage (whether your resources are over or under-utilised). Together they serve to keep you on track and aligned with your goals.

Step 6: Execute Strategy

Once your strategic plan is articulated and you have direction and a means of measuring your performance, the next step is to execute the strategy, following through with your extensive planning and allowing it to manifest. Your human resources have been assigned responsibility and as a team, everyone has a role in achieving the plan. Time, tasks, employees and budget are being tracked as you pay employees and keep a watchful measure of your time budget and resource allocation. Your deliverables are being met and you should incrementally be reaching and achieving the steps that you have decided upon to execute your goals. You are to track your progress and weigh them up against your KPIs while referring constantly to your project strategy outline as it provides you with the fundamental structure (the bones) of your strategic project plan. This displays the macro level of the project and while the micro-level consisting of deliverables may vary in results, the macro-level shall remain much more sturdy and insusceptible to change.

Don’t Forget to Evaluate the Execution of Your Strategy Afterwards!

With scarcity being the fundamental issue of project management, all projects come to an end. The work, however, is not done yet! An evaluation of your strategies execution is necessary to settle any unfinished business and plan for the future. It’s always important to evaluate the performance of your project and to measure against KPIs to know what went wrong and what was done well. Your KPIs were your predetermined measures of success and greatly influence the conduct to which you and your employees performed during the execution phase. In the strategic plan outline, you had written a set of assumptions now is time for a conscientious analysis of the eventual outcomes and compare them to these original assumptions and goals. You should do so with the intention of identifying the outcomes and impacts produced by your project’s execution. Finally, writing a report based on the findings of your evaluation can allow you to explore and discuss the outcomes, draw conclusions and offer recommendations to ensure better and continued success for future projects.