Planning is crucial to success. According to Economist Intelligence Unit, a well-planned project predicts 80% of successful product delivery, when effective control and execution gives the rest 20%. However, good planning can be a tricky thing.
Large experience in project management and limited time frames make many of the project managers really nervous. On the one hand, you can carry a project through all stages of a project lifecycle. It means you will inevitably waste part of your precious time. On the other hand, you may risk and skip project planning stage and move on to other important things.
Some days you may feel like you don’t need to spend most of your time on creating and polishing a project plan. You’ll have to find balance between the time spent on the planning stage and the time expected for project implementation. Eventually, you’ll want to skip project planning phase.
Why some product managers skip planning phase?
- Planning may seem redundant since much work is done at the Initiation phase. Before a project starts, the project manager has to define the project goals, budget, and timescale. Besides, he or she has to foresee the potential risks and issues. Since much time is spent here, it is tempting to start the implementation immediately.
- When everything seems to be ok, you may overestimate your abilities. In case agreement between all the stakeholders is achieved, many of project managers breathe a sign of relief. You might think that meeting of expected beliefs and refining the business case is easy. Especially, when you have experience on muptiple projects.
- Another reason why product managers avoid planning stage is because it is challenging. The truth is the project planning phase is a great challenge because it requires skillful management of the staff, resources, and equipment to successfully complete the project. Such a great responsibility can be indeed frightening.
What happens when you skip project planning stage?
When you skip it, you increase the chances for project failure. You may oversee the most serious problems as you will not prioritize project planning and activity. Also, losing control over the entire cyсle is easy to predict. It is so because nobody knows where the project should be anyway.
Related: The importance of project planning
When you overlook the importance of the project planning stage, you are most likely to face these issues:
- Lack of clear objectives: Noone can tell what the project is about for sure.
- Invalid scope: With unproductive planning, it’s hard to assess project needs and resources properly. Hence, more details would be needed to add later. It may lead to delays in the schedule and budget overspending.
- Lack of risk management: Blurred plan causes unpredicted risks.
- No change control: Since people add new things slowly, it occurs that the great part of the work is still not ready. So, everyone realizes the project cannot be delivered ontime when it’s too late.
- Lack of major progress points: It means it hard to keep things on track may remain unnoticed for a long time.
- Unreal resource levels: Completing a project with not enough staff or money is impossible. That is what you get with no planning.
As you see, project planning stage is of great importance and contributes to the overall success of the project. The more effective and precise your plan is the more quickly will you achieve your goals. If you fell prey to the temptation of skipping project planning stage, get ready for inevitable issues. We highly recommend avoid skipping planning stage to have only successful projects.