The degree of project planning necessary for a successful outcome depends on the project and the associated circumstances. A small, uncomplicated project may not require a formalized planning process and project management tools. When a project is large or is one of many assignments, however, formalized structure in the planning phases may help.

The structured approach to successful project planning consists of (Larson and Gray, 2014):

  1. Defining the Project Scope
  2. Establishing Project Priorities
  3. Creating a Work Breakdown Structure
  4. Integrating the WBS with the Organization
  5. Coding the WBS for the Information System

This approach to planning is necessary to develop a clear and accurate foundation for the project. As you begin, use a Project Scope Checklist to clearly define deliverables expected and establish rough estimates of time, cost, and resources. When approved by the customer, this creates an agreement to guard against scope creep (the tendency to add or change deliverables after the project begins) as the project proceeds.

Establishing priorities is also important in the planning process because project success is closely tied to budget, schedule, and scope. These interdependent, changing components can impact each other, so the project manager can use a project priority matrix to visually identify and categorize these priorities and determine whether each criterion should be constrained, enhanced, or accepted.

The Work Breakdown Structure is developed by subdividing the project tasks into successively smaller work elements. The WBS provides a visual of the project and allows one to identify cost, time, and performance expectations at various levels of the organization. Integrating…