Sunday, 11 January 2015 01:22

Developing a Plan Featured

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Developing a Plan

A plan is a written account of intended future course of action (scheme) aimed at achieving specific goal(s) or objective(s) within a specific timeframe. It explains in detail what needs to be done, when, how, and by whom, and often includes best case, expected case, and worst case scenarios. A plan is typically any diagram or list of steps with timing and resources, used to achieve an objective.

Planning is one of the most important project management and time management techniques. Planning is preparing a sequence of action steps to achieve some specific goal. If a person does it effectively, he can reduce much the necessary time and effort of achieving the goal. A plan is like a map. When following a plan, you will always see how much you have progressed towards your project goal and how far you’re from your intended destination.

Every plan should be linked with some objectives. This defines the purpose for the plan. It is very important you have an objective. The planning done by managers is aimed at achieving the organizational goals. The same applies with your personal plan. You have your plan so you can achieve your personal goals. It helps you to concentrate your efforts on what is most important to you in achieving your goals. This ensures you spend your time appropriately without undue wastage because your time is very precious. With plan you evaluate and concentrate on what is more important and this ensures you cut off time wastage from your schedules.

The purpose of planning is also to minimize the cost of performance and eliminate unproductive efforts. It also helps you in adopting and adjusting according to the changes that take place in the environment. Planning also provides a basis for teamwork. This is possible when the goals are properly defined, assignments can be fixed and all the members can start contributing in the achievement of these objectives. Do I mean teamwork for individual plans? Yes of course. Your plan connects you to other people, places, activities and organisations so you know what roles each contact plays to make you achieve your goals.

Planning gives a sense of direction and ensured that efforts are being put to useful purpose instead of being wasted. Planning also facilitate control because without planning there will be nothing to control.

Two very important words in trying to understand what a plan is are:

1. Goals
2. Time

Your plan is to enable you achieve your goals in a set time. So what then is a goal? A goal is the purpose toward which an endeavour is directed. An objective is something that one’s efforts or actions are intended to attain or accomplish; purpose; target. A goal is an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe.

There are many approaches toward understanding the phenomenon of time. Time is a measure in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future, and also the measure of durations of events and the intervals between them. Time is a real phenomenon a continuous change through which we live. Time becomes evident through motion; sunrise, sunsets, night and day, the changing seasons, the movement of the celestial bodies all is indicative of continuous change.

You need to develop your own personal plan so you can make the best of who you are. Development is a process of expanding, shaping and improving skills, knowledge and interests to improve your abilities and effectiveness. Here I will make it as simple as possible.

First you list down your goals and by each goal you state the objectives you intend to achieve. By each objective you outline your success criteria and the action required from you to achieve these criteria’s. You list next who you need to accomplish these criteria’s and the time frame needed for this achievement to be accomplished. You continue by listing by each action the impact and further action it requires.

Okay let’s make it more elaborate:

1. Sit down with a piece of paper. This can be in a journal, spiral notebook, or a blank document on your computer--whatever works best for you. List out what you need to get accomplished
2. Create a timetable for yourself
3. Know where you are going by outlining your goals and objectives
4. Not only must your goal be specific, but you must also create a specific intention as well as very specific tasks or steps that will move you toward the completion of that goal
5. Once you have a clear picture of what you’re out to accomplish, as well as what targets you will need to hit throughout the time span of the project or period, the next step is to create measurable milestones
6. Create a list and accompanying time line of specific action items or tasks to complete in order to hit those milestones
7. Break large tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks
8. Put timelines on everything. Without specific time frames and deadlines, work will definitely expand to fill the time allotted, and some tasks may never get completed
9. Once you’ve created your action items and set a specific timeline, the next step is to create some type of visual representation of your plan
10. Schedule out your accomplishments
11. Work your plan and don’t stop until it’s complete
12. Change the date if you must, but never give up on the goal. Occasionally, circumstances or unforeseen events can emerge that throw a wrench in your ability to meet deadlines, complete tasks and achieve your goal. If this happens, do not get discouraged – revise your plan and continue working to meet targets and move forward.

If you follow this principle then you are a project manager, you have the skill and ability to handle your project because a goal is a project. It is important you understand why you need to embrace revision in your plans if the need arises. No matter how good your plan is, it’s unlikely your work will go exactly as you intended. It’s a good idea to set two or three key dates during your project where you go through your plan and match up what you have actually done with what you said you would do. If you are behind, this is a good time to change your plan and set new deadlines and objectives. You may need to be less ambitious about what you hope to achieve. A revised plan allows you to stay on track in your endeavour to achieve your gaols. The only thing that might change is your set time or time frame but the good news is the fact that you are still pursuing it to the end no matter what.

You need to make this year work for you by doing things you haven’t done before or for a while. You need to stop everything you are doing if you don’t have a plan and start creating a plan now. You need to develop a plan for this year. You need to be on top of your game and understand what is working in your life, areas you need more resources, areas you need improvement and start working to get much better results.

“A vision without a plan is just a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery. But a vision with a plan can change the world.” – Old Proverb

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