Anyone who has known me for any length of time will tell you that I am not renowned for my planning skills. While I am always thinking future and big picture, and certainly have lots of ideas to expand and diversify our business, I am not someone who had traditionally sat down and done the step by step planning.
After 15 years in business I can honestly say that this lack of detailed planning cost me, in both time and money.
That said, I have finally mastered the skills and learned that the detailed planning of any project or expansion is the one thing that will make it come home on time and on budget.
So here are three tips to help you do that planning to increase your chance of success and save you valuable time, allowing you to move onto other projects sooner and with more money in the bank.
- Plan the use of your resources down to the day. Without this planning you will not know the number of staff, contractors or service providers you will need to get the project done. Do a projection on those salaries and add this to your total project cost. That way you know if you come in ahead of time and can use resources for other projects or free up the cost of labour in your business.
- Use a project management tool –like Microsoft project. That way you can manage any changes to your timeline and process very easily, and see the effect that any change has on the end delivery timeline.
- Hold yourself and your people accountable. If you have a budget and a timeline, then stick to it. If you can’t or don’t, then there needs to be recognition of this. There needs to be clearly understood KPI’s attached to the performance of everyone on the team. Let people clearly understand what they are accountable for and understand the consequences for the business and team if they are not delivered upon.
As a leader, it is of course important to have a vision, identify opportunities and manage stakeholders. But without the ability to plan, all the leadership in the world will not deliver on tangible business outcomes.
I urge you to start today.