Project planning is an essential stage of the project management process. When done well, it can significantly increase your odds of success. But, when executed poorly, it can lead your project down the perilous path of failure. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” This is precisely where visual project planning can help.
The project planning predicament
The many faces of failure that can rear their ugly heads run the gamut from cost overruns, implementation delays and missed requirements, to poor quality and performance.
The Harvard Business Review reported that the average IT project overran its budget by 27%, and that at least one in six IT projects turn into a “black swan” with a cost overrun of 200% and a schedule overrun of 70% (HBR). More recently, IDC reported that big data-related AI projects were operating at a 50% failure rate. According to the Project Management Institute’s Pulse of the Profession, data from the 2019 Pulse survey shows that organizations wasted almost 12 percent of their project investments last year due to poor performance—a number that’s barely budged over the past five years.
Project planning is arguably the most challenging part of the project management lifecycle. It is during this stage that the plans are developed that will guide the project teams and managers throughout the project execution. In order to avoid the pitfalls of project failure, planning must be inclusive and thorough enough so that project goals are met, risks are mitigated, and costly mistakes and delays avoided. Project planning is the ‘heart’ of the project because it determines everything that follows and, ultimately, drives the outcomes.
What is visual project planning?
The start of any project is crucial to its success. For the process of project planning to be improved and optimized, there are different strategies and techniques that you can implement which will increase the likelihood of your project starting off on the right foot.
There are various visualization and diagramming techniques, with names like Starbursting, Fishbone or Ishikawa diagrams, Affinity Diagrams and Mind Mapping, to name a few, that will support and enhance project planning on a whole new level. You can apply these techniques to the entire project planning process to help you navigate and resolve complex problems as they arise.
The benefits of visual project planning
Visual project planning techniques offer effective solutions, helping to align project stakeholders and team members with clear and harmonious communication, all while staying within budget and resource constraints.
Some of the primary benefits of visual project planning include:
- Effectively plan every stage of the project in advance.
- Easily navigate and resolve complex problems as they arise.
- Align project stakeholders and team members with clear communication.
- Visual project plans can be applied through project execution to aid in problem solving.
- Offers a clear perspective on your goals, and the steps needed to achieve those goals.
What’s even more promising is that the visual tools used to enhance project planning can also be applied throughout project execution to aid in problem solving, help mitigate new risks as they emerge and ensure continued alignment with the project’s full scope and objectives.
When you have a clear visual perspective of your goals and all of the steps that are necessary to help you achieve those goals, you can minimize – if not eliminate altogether – the chance of project failure.
Want to learn more about visual project planning, and the tools you can use to access these benefits? Download our FREE eBook titled The Ultimate Guide to Visual Project Planning. Follow the link below.
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The Ultimate Guide to Visual Project Planning
Download this free eBook to get a primer on the concept of visual project planning, an exclusive Project Planning Visualization Toolkit, and 13 downloadable visual project planning templates to get you started right away!