There’s an old, old saying that’s likely been uttered millions of times throughout the ages, in multiple languages and scenarios. “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” The significance and impact of this long accepted ideology is important in life and perhaps even more important in business. After all, it is possible to stumble through life (though not very practical).

Project planning guide

However, few businesses or organizations can simply luck out and nail an important project such as a launch, fundraising, or marketing campaign without a legitimate plan in any sector of business. Edison was meticulous in his planning and failures while creating the first original, successful light bulb.

This infographic – published by Wrike free it project management software – makes for a great primer for how a perfect, or near perfect project should be planned from inception to execution.

10 Essential Elements for the Perfect Project Plan - by Wrike project management software

Let’s take a look at a few important highlights.

1. Identify the project’s significance

Figure out exactly how the project you’re working on will lead the company onto further success, including growth. If the project isn’t fulfilling a specific (or immediate) need or objective, perhaps it needs to be curbed, or at least put on the back-burner for now in favor of more pressing projects.

2. What end result will the project deliver to the organization?

It’s important to gather all team members working on the project to determine each step that needs to be taken in order to achieve the end goal(s). Identify all the features and benefits the proposed project should offer the organization and/or client.

3. Create a scope statement to ensure everyone’s on the same page

A scope statement basically finalizes the project details and ensures everyone is working toward the same goal(s). Using a scope statement makes sure miscommunication is reduced to a bare minimum

4. Nail down the deadlines

Firm deadlines are the key to executing any successful project. This is why dentists and doctors in most countries charge you a fee if you try to cancel an appointment at the last minute. Time is money and time-sensitive milestones ensure nobody is slacking or otherwise holding the project back.

5. Gantt charts are still the project management standard

Henry Gantt’s legacy is still running strong over one hundred years after his death. The importance of plotting each task out including order of importance, task deadlines, and how each task relates to the successful completion of the other and meeting the desired end goal.

6. Look for hiccups and hazards

The best project managers plan for hiccups, hazards, and well known barriers that can impact various projects. Not only do you need to identify as many as you can prior to launch, but also document them for future use. The whole team needs to be involved in a brainstorming session to determine all potential obstacles and/or blow back that can result from the project and its various steps.

7. Who’s doing what?

Things can definitely change as the project is implemented. However, the best candidates for each task should be assigned to the areas they’re most strong in. Starting out on your best foot (feet) possible will set the team out on the right foot. If weaknesses start to show themselves, you can easily make changes or be prepared to step in and offer mentorship as needed.

8. Assign a “cost” to each activity

Everything from start to finish of the project will have a cost associated with it. Figure out the cost associated with labor, supplies, and other budgetary items that the project will eat up. At this stage, you and your accounting team and other stakeholders may decide the project isn’t worth the eventual cost.

9. Address all QA concerns

If you don’t have a quality assurance plan in place, there’s really no way to determine what makes a project a success or failure. Whether you’re building a team, marketing plan, physical product, or completing a service, every project needs to be held to a certain standard in order to be considered a success.

10. How/when communication should take place?

In order to meet task deadlines and ensure everyone is staying on track and on pace to the finish line, everyone needs to know when they’re expected to communicate with other team members and their superiors or subordinates. The also need to understand when it’s appropriate to communicate, such as when approvals are required or if/when they need help with certain elements of the project.