Project Planning for Non-Project Managers

Key concepts and simple guide for when you have never created a project plan.

One day, your manager announces upcoming changes to the tool and process that your team is using. “Mandated by the ‘Top of the House’,” he adds, underscoring the importance and stressing the urgency. He presents a list of things that need to be changed and implemented. The ask of you:

Can you manage this as a project and provide a plan by the end of this week?

Why organizations start projects.

In business, there are two types of work activities. Routine-based work forms the core activity and delivers the core output of a team or an organization. For example, an operations team that looks after invoices is responsible for monthly billing. The team performs daily, weekly, and monthly activities, generally called business-as-usual activities or BAU. Think of activities such as collecting the billing data, preparing and reviewing the invoice, sending the invoice to the customers, and reporting on the number of paid and unpaid invoices. The BAU activities and the team or organization that performs them are “continuous” and have predefined success criteria. We shall send customers an invoice every month, right?

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