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Project planning - Why the simulation of scenarios and risks is important

Ulrike Wanner
06.11.2020 | 4 min reading time

Project planning is one of the most important stages in project management, because accurate, forward-looking and precise project planning is the key to a stable foundation for the entire project. However, in order to be able to plan unerringly and far-sightedly, it is important to have a clear idea of the possible processes and possible risks in the project.

 

Project planning - what makes it special?

AdobeStock_169105562-800x533Project planning is an important project phase, because in order to plan a project, a mere list of tasks to be done and the corresponding schedules is not enough. Rather, it is necessary to have an overview of all the activities that are necessary to make the project a real success.

 

The five steps of project planning at a glance 

When planning a project, it is advisable to stick to the following steps - in the manner of a checklist for project planning:

  • Work breakdown structure (PSP)
  • Project schedule
  • Schedule
  • Resource Planning
  • Cost and budget planning


In detail:
 

The work breakdown structure

The aim of PSP is to give a clear structure to the totality of tasks and activities.
During the WBS, it is identified which activities are essential for the success of the project and which functions could only possibly support the achievement of the objectives. The activities are then grouped into work packages to provide a clearer overview.
 

The Project schedule

The project schedule determines the chronological order in which the individual tasks are to be carried out in order to achieve the optimum result.

It is important to decide which activities need to be completed before others can be started and which activities can be planned and carried out in parallel.

In complex projects, where it is not obvious at first glance which dependencies exist between the individual tasks, it can be useful to appoint sub-project managers for the individual work packages. This enables efficient project controlling.

 

The timetable

The schedule defines the times when the respective activities - or work packages - must be completed.

The best methods for scheduling are:

  • The operation list
It is the simplest method, where the tasks are processed one after the other. The task list is the right choice for simple and easily manageable projects.

  • The bar chart
The bar chart offers greater clarity and is therefore intended for more demanding projects consisting of several work packages.

  • The network planning technique
The network planning technique is intended for complex projects with a large number of tasks. It works according to the pattern of nodes and critical paths. Critical processes are those which, if delayed, could endanger the entire project deadline.


The resource planning (or also called resource planning)

The planning of resources is mainly concerned with

  • the necessary personnel,
  • the required materials,
  • the equipment to be used as well as
  • other services (such as external service providers).

When planning resources, it is crucial not only to know what is needed for the project, but above all to ensure that the necessary resources are available at the planned time.


Cost and budget planning

Based on the resource planning, the project costs are now determined in the budget planning.

Experience shows that personnel costs are the highest cost factor.

 

The simulation of scenarios and risks in project planning 

If the project to be carried out is complex, project management is often faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge of planning for all eventualities, providing adequate resources, assessing risks and estimating calculable costs.

The larger and more extensive the project, the less likely it is in practice that even the most experienced project manager will be able to manage it without help or additional support.

Fortunately, he does not have to.

Modern project management software with comprehensive, versatile and customizable project planning tools - as well as examples of project planning - provides the solution.



The advantages of the software for project planning in agile project management

The advantages of a good simulation software in project planning for agile project management are manifold.

Die wichtigsten davon sind:

  • The rapid identification of risks
  • A well prepared team
  • A stable data basis for sound decisions
  • A defined and justified emergency budget
  • A realistic and achievable project objective


The rapid identification of risks

The simulation makes project sections visible which may be susceptible to faults. This enables management to pay increased attention to these areas of responsibility in order to prevent problem cases.

This saves costs and enables the project to be completed on schedule.

A well prepared team

If several scenarios have already been run through during project planning with the help of the simulation software, the team is well prepared for the possible eventualities. If the worst comes to the worst, the team members know exactly what their task is and how they should react. This means that project challenges can be identified quickly and dealt with quickly.

The success is a highly efficient project implementation that can keep to the budget and time constraints.


A stable data basis for sound decisions

By simulating different scenarios, valuable data can be obtained, which management can use for trend-setting project decisions.

This leads to a well thought-out project plan and flexible project implementation.


A defined and justified emergency budget

On the basis of the simulation data collected, project management is no longer tied to empirical values - or mere estimates. The emergency budget can always be clearly defined and clearly justified.

A sufficient emergency budget ensures the success of the project and thus ensures customer satisfaction.


A realistic and achievable project objective

With the help of modern software for project planning, it is possible to set attainable expectations for the project.

This increases work morale, productivity and thus the efficiency of the team.

 

Conclusion

With Can Do's modern simulation and project planning tools, a well thought-out project plan can be created that can be applied to all conceivable scenarios. The comprehensive checklist for project planning provides a simple overview of the tasks at hand. With practical examples of project planning, the system provides management with valuable information.

Our team in Germany and Switzerland will be happy to advise you on all questions concerning simulation-based project planning and the corresponding project management tools.

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Ulrike Wanner
Written by

Ulrike Wanner

I am responsible for the corporate communications of Can Do GmbH and examine the effects of digitalization on conventional planning strategies. Of particular interest is the increasing influence of individual skills and artificial intelligence on the quality of project planning.