10 Reasons Why Planning Is Important in Project Management
If you’ve ever missed a deadline, gone over budget, or faced an unhappy team or client, you know just how tough managing projects can be. It’s not fun to let people down.
That’s why we believe having a plan is the most important thing you can do as a project manager—for your own peace of mind as well as that of your project mates.
A plan is your best defense against the common pitfalls that cause projects to fail. Let’s take a look at 10 benefits of project planning and why having a plan is so important in project management.
1. Plans minimize stress
Imagine building IKEA cabinets with only a picture of the finished kitchen to go by. You’d start out completely overwhelmed, and every wrong move you make would only amp up your stress and frustration. And anyone else you rope into the build will feel it too.
You’d never bring that kind of pain on yourself, so why do that to your team and projects?
Think of a project plan as the instruction manual that guides everyone seamlessly through the steps to success—no wild guesses needed. This kind of clarity sends confusion packing and makes way for project peace to settle in.
2. Plans inspire confidence
Good project planning doesn’t just neutralize negative project vibes. It provides a positive boost of confidence to everyone involved in the project.
You don’t have to wonder if progress is keeping pace with the deadline. Your team doesn’t have to guess what they should tackle next. And leaders and clients don’t have to worry about whether you’ve got a strategy for delivering what they need on time and budget.
It’s all right there in your plan!
3. Plans drive communication
A plan is one of the most effective communication tools you can use to keep everyone informed about your project. That’s because it documents every important detail about your project—even when things change.
With TeamGantt, you don’t have to act as the sole go-between pushing projects forward. Everyone has access to the plan and can check up on progress and collaborate on work in real time.
Having all your project communication streamlined around a centralized plan leads to better efficiency and fewer mistakes. That’s something everyone can get behind.
4. Plans unite and focus teams
Agile workflows tend to skip the plan in favor of getting down to the tasks at hand. But a plan doesn’t have to get in the way of project work.
In fact, a plan rallies your team around a single project vision so they can power through tasks faster. Priorities are clear, expectations are aligned, and everyone knows exactly what needs to happen to cross the finish line on time.
With a plan, your team can easily see how their work affects others and impacts the final deadline. This provides an extra boost of motivation to stay on track and keeps confusion from bogging your project down.
5. Plans create accountability
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot of plans I never write down or share with anyone. Funny enough, these “plans” never seem to go anywhere.
It’s not a coincidence. Plans that aren't documented don’t hold anyone accountable.
When your team and stakeholders can be called out on tasks in a plan everyone has access to, it raises the stakes. Clearly outlining roles and responsibilities in your plan will push people to get things done on time and up to standard. It really is that simple.
6. Plans keep deadlines on track
Agile may not run on deadlines, but stakeholders do. If you want to earn goodwill and trust, you need to deliver projects on time.
Here’s the thing: Having one big date to shoot for isn’t enough. You’ve got to ensure you’re making the right progress along the way.
That’s where a plan comes in.
A plan breaks the project timeline down into measurable steps so you can track progress against the final deadline. If things start running behind, you can intervene early and determine what needs to shift to right the ship.
Bonus: When you assign people to a task or milestone in TeamGantt, they’ll get notified when it’s coming due so you don’t have to send constant reminders to keep them on task.
7. Plans prevent team overload
In the ideal world, your team would only work on one project at a time, making it easy to keep workloads balanced. But that kind of project focus is a luxury at most organizations.
Project planning enables you to map out a schedule that takes your team’s entire workload into account. That way you don’t load anyone up with too many tasks or assign deadlines they can’t possibly make.
In TeamGantt, you can check team availability across projects right from your gantt chart. This makes it easy to figure out who has time to do the work when you need it so your project has a better chance of delivering on time without burning people out.
8. Plans take fear out of change
You can’t avoid project change, so you might as well embrace it. Despite common misconceptions, planning gives you the flexibility to adapt to change more easily so you have a better chance of hitting your project goals.
That’s because a plan holds all the important project details in one place. When something unexpected pops up, you can weigh the potential impact on project scope, timing, and workloads and adjust your plan to forge a new path forward.
When these updates are documented in your plan, it’s easy to bring your team and stakeholders up to speed on the changes so you can all move forward successfully together.
9. Plans mitigate risk
Just like change, risk is an inherent part of project work. While you can’t control every possible risk, you can manage it with a project plan.
Think of your plan as a living document that lets you keep a thumb on the pulse of your project as it progresses. You can look ahead in your project and address issues before they become a major problem.
For example, a plan lets you monitor the pace of work to ensure you’re not blowing through your budgeted hours faster than expected. That way you can have important scope or budget discussions early and avoid unwelcome surprises (and unhappy stakeholders) down the road.
10. Plans increase profitability
A lot of factors can drain the profit out of projects. Any of these sound familiar?
- Scope changes that sneak in under the radar and draw out your deadline
- Stakeholders who ghost you when progress depends on their approval
- Team members who spend more time figuring out what they’re supposed to do than actually doing it
With a plan, you’re more likely to hit your project goals on time and budget. And less time and money wasted means more room for your business to actually grow.
Get a confident start to planning
Want to build a project plan that helps your team deliver projects on time—and convince others planning's not a waste of time?
Check out our Plan Up education hub for free resources to help you create solid project plans and get buy-in from your team and stakeholders.