Planning a project can be overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be.  Like many things in life, planning a project can be broken down into easy do-able steps.  But what are the steps?  And in what order should they be done?  That’s the trick!

The process that I’m going to show you will work for planning any kind of project: from designing a manufacturing process to writing a speech to planning an event.  You will use the same steps; the details will just be different.

So, what are the steps to planning a project with ease?  Well, first you need to define the purpose of the project.  Why is it going to be worth your (or your company’s) time and manpower?  What is the outcome you wish to see?

Second, each time you sit down to work on the plan determine what the purpose of that session is.  There is a flow and sequence to planning and the biggest mistake people make is jumping to planning details before they have really allowed the big picture to develop.

Third, brainstorm and explore ideas—the crazier the better.  Let the creative juices flow.

Fourth, define the major categories.  In writing a book these might be the possible chapters.  In designing a manufacturing process they might include raw materials and supplies, tools and machines, quality assurance issues, and physical space requirements.

Fifth, let the ideas ferment.  Sometimes we need to take a break from the planning process to allow our subconscious to work on the problem.

Sixth, focus, refine, and organize.  Take all the crazy ideas that you have come up with and begin to cull out the good ones.  Put them in your categories.  Fill in the blank spots.

And the final step is to determine what needs to be done first to bring your plan to a reality.  I’ll be sharing more about each of these steps in later posts.

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