Good project managers work smarter, not harder, and know planning makes their job easier in the long run. They follow established practices and use standardized tools during the planning stage and throughout the life of a project. As with captains of a ship who map their course, project managers use a project plan to help reach a desired goal.

Creating Goals and Objectives

Project managers create goals and objectives during the planning phase of a project to measure progress so they can take corrective action if necessary.

Aligning Project and Business Goals

Sound planning involves aligning project goals with the business goals to make sure the project stays on course and supports the overriding goals of the company.

Acquiring Funding

A solid, well-designed project plan helps a business owner rationalize a project and acquire funding from a lending institution.

Resource Management

A project plan identifies the necessary human and capital resources so a project can proceed without being interrupted by inventory shortages, staffing changes or equipment failure.

Budget Planning

Project planning helps create realistic estimates to allow a business to factor the project into the fiscal planning and allocate a budget.

Project-specific Training

Project planning ensures employees have the necessary training to complete the assigned tasks, and identifies feeder programs to provide an adequate supply of trained staff throughout the life of the project.


Successful projects involve communicating with all affected parties throughout a project, starting at the planning stage. Talking to suppliers, human resources, distributors, employees and everyone else involved helps identify all the variables that can impact a project. Communication during the planning stage also ensures that everyone has shared expectations.


The project plan allows the project manager to give the entire project team a big-picture view so they have a sense of ownership in the project and the commitment necessary to see the project through to completion. Project planning takes suggestions, desires and ideas and brings them together to create a cohesive concept with stated goals, requirements and time frames.

Identify Weaknesses

Sound project planning identifies the weak spots and provides contingencies in the event of interruptions due to resource shortages, reallocation of budget, competing priorities or weather.

Contingency Planning

Sound project planning helps create accurate and realistic time estimates to complete required tasks to avoid project overruns and “scope creep.”