Project planning and management

Strategic planning is a disciplined process by which an organization envisions its future and develops strategies, goals, objectives and action plans to achieve that future. It involves defining an enterprise plan of action, or direction, and making decisions on allocating its resources to pursue that plan of action agreed upon, including its capital and people.

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Various business analysis techniques are used in strategic planning, including SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological analysis) or STEER analysis (Socio-cultural, Technological, Economic, Ecological, and Regulatory factors) and EPISTEL (Environment, Political, Informatics, Social, Technological, Economic and Legal). Strategic planning is the formal consideration of an enterprise’s future set of actions.

In many enterprises, this is viewed as a process for determining where an enterprise is going or wants to go over the next year or more -typically 3 to 5 years through a systematic, comprehensive process of analysis, although some extend their vision to 20 or more years. In order to determine where it is going, the project or business needs to know exactly where it stands, then determine where it wants to go and how it will get there. The resulting document from this process is called the “strategic plan. ”

It is also true that strategic planning may be defined as a tool for effectively plotting the direction of a an enterprise; however, strategic planning itself cannot foretell exactly how the market and other future events will evolve and what issues will surface in the coming days in order to plan your enterprise all strategy. Therefore, strategic innovation and tinkering with the ‘strategic plan’ have to be a cornerstone strategy for an enterprise to survive the turbulent uncertainties in business climate.

Project management is a carefully planned and organized effort to accomplish a specific (and usually) one-time objective, for example, construct a building or implement a major new computer system which could have been developed through a strategic planning process. Project management includes developing a project plan, which includes defining and confirming the project goals and objectives, identifying tasks and how goals will be achieved, quantifying the resources needed, and determining budgets and timelines for completion.

It also includes managing the implementation of the project plan, along with operating regular ‘controls’ to ensure that there is accurate and objective information on ‘performance’ relative to the plan, and the mechanisms to implement recovery actions where necessary. Projects usually follow major phases or stages (with various titles for these), including feasibility, definition, project planning, implementation, evaluation and support/maintenance. Project planning is part of project management, which relates to the use of schedules such as Gantt charts to plan and subsequently report progress within the project environment.

Initially, the project scope is defined and the appropriate methods for completing the project are determined. Following this step, the duration for the various tasks necessary to complete the work are listed and grouped into a work breakdown structure. The logical dependencies between tasks are defined using an activity network diagram that enables identification of the critical path. The necessary resources necessary for completing task are estimated and costs for each activity allocated to each resource, giving the total project cost.

At this stage, the project plan may be optimized to achieve the appropriate balance between resource usage and project duration to comply with the project objectives. Once established and agreed upon, the plan becomes what is known as the baseline. Progress is then measured against the baseline throughout the life of the project. Strategic planning is an important aspect of strategic thinking and management which is important for project planning and management. Strategic planning serves a variety of purposes in project planning and management.

It is of major importance to a project because the project involves doing something which has not been done before. The amount of planning performed should be commensurate with the scope of the project and the usefulness of the information developed: Strategic planning facilitates management by objective in projects. Strategic planning involves determination of objectives. Setting objectives is to convert managerial statements of business mission and vision into specific performance targets, something the enterprises’ progress can be measured by.

Providing better guidance to the entire project on the crucial point of “what it is we are trying to do and to achieve”, e. g. E. g. Avis rent a car’s business mission is total customer satisfaction and the business vision is rent out cars. It highlights the purpose for which Avis rent a car exist, what it will stake out. It concentrates on the future of the enterprise and it’s a source of inspiration, providing clear decision-making criteria to the management and employees of Avis rent a car.

Visionless enterprise is often unsure of what business position they are trying to stake out. In fact, strategic planning makes objectives more clear and specific in terms of what it is to be achieved. In essence this helps in focusing the attention of everyone involved in projects on the objectives or goals of the project or business without which, an enterprise or business has no guide. It facilitates projects to prepare a Blue-print of the courses of action to be followed for accomplishment of objectives therefore bringing order and rationality into the project.