“If I do project planning successfully, then I’ll have a focused project objectives and a clear project plan with correct approximations of the necessary features, time, and resources, but I am not sure how to anticipate the project needs.”
You’re probably still a little confused on what I mean by “project planning.” I’ll tell you that is normal, it is not building or helping to build anything, that’s project management, which comes after you’ve sufficiently planned. In project planning, you determine the benefits, time, function, money, and resources needed to complete the job. Have you ever seen a half-built house that never got finished? There is a good chance that they did not accurately estimate cost, time, and effort necessary to build the whole home.
Building a "house" is a big project, but how big, exactly? That depends. Do you need one or two floors, how many bathrooms, etc. What will it take to make the future "residents" (aka your customer) giddy with excitement at the mere thought of “coming home." Next, to understand how long you’re going to be working on this house you’ll need to do some research. Ask someone who has done the task before as well as potentially create a prototype. Logically, the next step after time is the budget, how much is this going to cost you? To do it, you need to know who is doing the work, what materials are needed, as well as the time it will take to complete each task. Finally, the competing demands of feature vs. time vs. money, need to be balanced against the realities of your market, budget, and resource availability. The scale of this project should be daunting and highly compelling, but doable by the time you are done estimating and adjusting.
At pmNERDs, we believe in the importance of planning so much that we have a whole online course devoted to project planning called the Project Planning Essentials and it’s FREE. In it we discuss how to correctly gather the essential project information and then correctly estimate the time, resources, and functionality required to deliver a successful final product.
Yet by the end, you’ll know exactly what it will takes to build that big beautiful house, because the goal of project planning is to have a solid foundation for what you’ll be doing, who is doing what, how long, as well as how much it will take to complete the project. An accurate project plan helps track your progress, get team coordination/collaboration, get focused project objectives, and help you improve as you grow.
So gather the approximations, gain the control, motivate the masses, and start planning!