This article will give you an introduction on how to plan ahead your activities and manage the plan. Planning is one of the most critical activity a Manager need to be able to do. Above all a project or company can succeed or not based on the how the planning is done.
Planning require managers to have a particular mindset. It is not a question of intelligence is more a way of thinking, some people have it wired already and for them it is easier to plan, other will need more discipline and effort to develop this skill.
Planning ahead is something that become second nature to managers, the more you practice the easier it become. No matter what are you planning for you will need to consider the following:
Roadmap, the more far ahead you are planning the more complex is to plan. It helps if you can have a broad roadmap as a guide and plan in details stage by stage the closer you are at each stage. To create a roadmap you can use various available tools such as Jira, Google Spreadsheet, Excel.
Involve people, If you know people in your team with the skills you need it can save you time and effort to plan, involve them. Avoid critical and negative people who may discourage you in your planning process. Ask them for simple solutions, you can build on it.
Risks and mitigation, when planning consider that any decision you make has consequences. You need to foresee risks and mitigation for each one of these decision. Logging possible and future risks helps. Use a risk mitigation document, it will help to be prepared in case of a deviation from the original plan. Here is a sample of a risk log, you can adapt it to your needs.
Prepare for changes, Be prepared for changes to your plan because nothing stay still and you have to be able to change the plan if required. It helps to have a risk mitigation log to help on it. Sometime the unexpected happen and you will have to deal with it.
Follow up, once plan is agreed and you kicked off all the activities with your team measure and track progresses. Set up check point meeting and make sure you are able to adjust on time if anything change.
Focus, You need to be focused on the final outcome /goals of the plan. When things are not perfect or are late, you can change the plan and focus on what can be done to achieve your goals.
Resilience. Everybody make mistakes so do not get frustrated if things don’t go as planned. You will learn from it and get better at it. You need to accept that to get better you need to work harder on it. Practice is what make you better so don’t be hard on yourself.
In conclusion some people are better at planning for two reason, their natural way of thinking and for practicing it. You probably already use planning skills in everyday life without even knowing and you need to practice in order to get better at it.
Hope this article help and encourage you to a better and less stressful way of planning. Remember always learn from your mistake but never be hard on yourself.
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I am a problem solver, a communicator and a digital entrepreneur. I have more than 20 years experience in digital and advertising, I went through all the digital revolution / evolution, starting my career as a developer and ending up on the dark side as a Manager.