Once you’ve defined the objective of your project, examined your resources, and built a project team, the next step is to list the step you need to complete your project on time.
List the Big Steps First: What are the major components of the project? Make a to do list with those components. It’s good to list these in chronological order, but it’s not necessary. You can always change the order later.
List the Smaller Steps: Make a to do list under each of the Big Steps. These are the things you need to do to make a big step happen. I’ll give an example. A big step for VBS would be to recruit workers. Smaller steps might include what workers you need and how you intend to recruit them.
Develop A Timeline: Once you have your to do lists ready, make a timeline of when each large step should be done. Then add the smaller steps to the timeline. A wall calendar is a good way to make your preliminary timeline. After the timeline is complete, move each date back two weeks. No matter how great our planning, life interrupts our schedule. Unforseen events can wreck havoc on deadlines if we don’t allow enough time for interruptions.
Develop a Preliminary Plan
Assemble all your steps into a plan. What happens first? What is the next step? Which steps can go on at the same time with different resources? Who is going to do each step? How long will it take? There are many excellent software packages and templates available that can automate a lot of this detail for you. Many are free or low cost. Here are a few:
You and your project team should revise the timeline often to make sure you’re on track and to revise or tweek anything that might need more time.