Why Project Planning is a Must-Have for Professional Services Companies

Anastasiia Andriiuk
4 min read
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Project planning is an instrumental part of project management. It can either set your projects for smooth sailing or, in the event of being overlooked, doom them for a rocky ride from day one. A recent report by the PMI found that the companies that undervalue the importance of well-rounded project management report an average of 67% more of their projects failing. No doubt, a good project management planning process will always take effort and time. But not doing it means running the risk of project failure, poor communication, financial losses, low stakeholder satisfaction rates, missed deadlines, and other issues you can otherwise avoid. 

Planning your projects and using advanced project planning software will help you stay ahead of your competitors and be in control of the workflow at all times, keeping you in shape for ad-havoc situations that can delay or even ruin projects. There are a few things you need to know about planning to get started with your projects.  

What is project planning? 

Project planning is, according to many PM experts, a crucial step that follows project initiation and precedes its execution. When working on project management planning, you get to define all the available resources, potential pitfalls and risks, scope, deliverables, timing, costs, and any other component that can impact project success. It basically helps you disassemble the upcoming project into stages, getting a clear look at future needs and setting a project baseline. The latter is something of a reference center you can check anytime to see if your project is meeting the initial planning. 

With a clear project plan at hand, you can always compare your actual progress with initial calculations and be sure to finish everything on time and within budget. Instead of  “figuring something out” when the project is already running, you can take the driver’s seat from the get-go. Here is why you don’t want to miss this chance. 


The importance of project planning 

A recent report by the PMI states that 9.9% of every dollar gets wasted because of poor project performance, but that’s a number you can drastically reduce by adopting an effective project planning methodology. If you are still not sure whether it really is necessary to go the extra mile and plan your projects, this is how you can benefit from doing it. 

Setting clear goals and strategies

Initiating a project and then letting it go with the flow is just as risky as it sounds. It will get you buried in messy data, numerous data reporting requests, unclear objectives, and unrealistic goals. However, by seizing that planning phase of project management you can be sure that the whole team is on the same page as to where they are going and how they can get there, executing the overall strategy and vision of the company. 

project planning gantt charts

Forecast is an all-in-one solution for planning, managing, and tracking projects.

Reducing risks and failure rates

Projects are always beset with risks, quite possibly overloading you with ad-hoc requests and force majeure situations, which, in turn, can hurt project managers’ credibility. Using cutting-edge project planning tools and innovative strategies is how you always stay one step ahead of the project flow and anything that can undermine it. 

Planning resources effectively

Having a solid resource planning strategy can help you avoid overloading your team or leaving someone on standby. When comparing the initial plan to the actual progress you’ll be able to track your project performance, taking the necessary steps to level it up, and determining when and if your project team really needs to hire new people.

planning resources

Keeping projects on budgets

A McKinsey study found that 66% of enterprise software projects exceed their budget. This is another reason for going through all the project planning stages, including budget planning. To see the big picture, you need to forecast project profitability and calculate project price early on.

Managing stakeholders

Getting all the stakeholders on the same wavelength might be one of the most complicated parts of any project planning process, but without it, your project might be vulnerable. A working plan will always help you make the project transparent. It will set a single vision for the team, establish clear expectations and realistic goals for the project, and develop effective communication among all the stakeholders and team members. Not to mention that you'll be able to speak to your stakeholders on the individual level.


Achieving transparency & improving communication 

Communication and transparency are key when planning a project. Getting unfiltered information and having to constantly ask the project team for progress updates are among the main pain points of PM experts. This is why project plans feel like a breath of fresh air to those who manage to establish transparent communication among all the stakeholders.


Common project planning challenges 

In 2020, the PMI conducted a survey revealing that 11.4% of investments go down the drain due to poor project performance. Experts have been trying to define project planning in all its colors for decades now but projects still fail. In fact, while developing a complete project plan might take, depending on the size of the project, 3 to 6 months, 39% of them still fail due to poor planning. So why does that happen, you might wonder?

From unrealistic timelines, overlooked requirements, and inadequate resources to underestimated costs and unanticipated complications — all those challenges and many more can still cause project failure. After all, there is a limit to what you can do unaided. But this is where technology enters the picture. Opting for the best project planning software is what sets PM innovators apart from PM laggards, helping them improve stakeholder satisfaction rates, save money, and increase project success stats. Embedded automation removes unnecessary manual work and uncovers blind spots, making project planning faster, easier, and more efficient.

No matter how challenging your market is, effective project planning and management can help you outrun your competitors. With the right approach, you will be able to set clear goals and objectives, establish transparent communication, plan your resources well, reduce failure risks, and avoid financial losses. If you want to see more on the way project planning can benefit your company or are looking to take your planning skills to the next level, be sure to read the following articles for simple guidelines and effective strategies on how to plan projects like a ninja:

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