Friday, January 9, 2009

Planning a project

In a virtual team, a certain degree of coordination is needed to get the work done. This depends on the team size, which is usually determined by the project magnitude.

But even for personal projects, you still have a plan in mind before you begin working. In my opinion, a project plan, big or small, has to incorporate the following elements:
  • Scope
  • Requirements
  • Tasks
  • Schedules
  • Cost estimates
All of them are usually subject to change throughout the project lifespan, but you still have to take them into account when starting a project.

Image by anesterik

The scope is a high-level vision on the project. It provides a justification for the effort and describes the project by including the following:
  • Goals - what is the project supposed to achieve?
  • Major milestones - when will the goals be accomplished?
The requirements are your project's necessities, which will include at least the following:
  • People - your team, which may vary along the way.
  • Tools - Internet access, email, collaboration platform, skype and/or any other supplies of any kind.
You may start with a set of tasks for each person involved. Each task may have a brief or a long description, according to the intended audience.

Teamness has a nifty way of presenting tasks, either showing the whole description or only the first line, considered as a brief or title. This is per account, so team members familiar with the actions to be performed may look only after the title, while others may choose to see the details.

Once a task list is in place, a schedule might be started to take shape through milestones. The difficult part is knowing how much a task will take, but this doesn't mean you cannot have an overview. You can modify the due dates later, also pushing the subsequent milestones.

A virtual team would probably be distributed around the globe, thus celebrating different holidays. Earth calendar is a daybook of holidays and celebrations around the world, which can help you know which members of your team would be preparing a celebration dinner when you're getting ready for a new deadline.

Cost estimate
Once you know how long your project would take, the size of the team and their availability and which tools you need, you can create an initial rough cost estimate. This is based on the information from high-level scope, along with the tasks listed so far, but it will be refined as the work progresses by eliminating the "black box" evaluations.

1 comment:

Agile Project Management Training said...

Really nice information to go through this...please share more detail of this...