Technology is not always the answer. One should use a tool as and when appropriate – horses for courses.
Many times we sit alone or within a group and we want to lay-out a project plan. We want to know whether we can or should do the project. Further, we also want to make sure we have a good base for more detailed planning with an advanced tool. The key is that we do not want to battle with the tool, we want to get the planning done.
One way of drawing up a first-pass project plan is to go old school and use pen and paper. A blank piece of paper is usually very daunting and can become chaotic.
Sales Pitch: I propose the use of one of my I Keep a Record of Everything books – I Keep a Record of Project Planning – aka Gantt Charts.
Project planning involves deciding who needs to do what by when, and what comes first. Project management is much more, though.
In Gantt charts, you show “the what” in the first column and use several columns to show the when (from start to finish). The columns express different timeframes – depending on the extent of the project and the level of planning. Examples of timeframes are minutes, hours, days, months and years. You can plan the same project several times. You can plan at the level of months, then weeks. As the date of doing “the what” comes closer, you can plan hourly or even by the minute.
The tables in the book also allow you to show which tasks depend on each other.