Project Plan Design

Planning a good project is vital in order to ensure a professional structure during all stages of the work involved. Perhaps, project planning is often undervalued – but time and time again, contracts awarded on the basis of a good methodology, a coherent structure and impeccable wording. These are certainly vital traits when dealing with EU grants and other projects. In this connection, KIC is well versed in the creation and setting up of detailed work-plans – aimed at achieving the desired project outputs (in line with European Commission recommendations and best practices).

Planning entails a series of decisions, from general and strategic decisions to specific operational ones, based on the gathering and analysis of information. The field of planning encompasses a broad range of different approaches, including strategic planning, program planning and operational planning. Project planning is a form of operational planning, whereby the consecutive steps to implement the project activities are carefully mapped out, based on an analysis of relevant information and linked to the program in which the project takes place and to which it should contribute. Essentially, project planning involves establishing the scope, aims and objectives of a project, the way in which the project will be performed, the roles and responsibilities of those involved, and the time and cost estimates. It answers questions such as:

  • what are the project objectives?
  • what will be done to reach the project objective?
  • how it will be done?
  • who will do it?
  • when it will be done?

The output of the project planning process is a project plan that will be used by the project manager(s) to implement the activities, monitor the progress and make decisions

Project planning is essential for a project’s success, and as such is often considered the most important phase in project management. By establishing the scope, aims and objectives of a project and mapping out the procedures, tasks, roles and responsibilities, project planning helps to reduce the main pitfalls leading to project failure, such as:

  • Selecting an unimportant problem
  • Not addressing the key determinants of the problem
  • Not choosing the best intervention strategy to address the problem determinants (e.g., choosing solutions that are not supported by evidence, or reinventing the wheel)
  • Choosing interventions that are not sufficiently adapted to the target group or context
  • Poor quality of implementation
  • Not performing the right kind of evaluation (e.g., wrong evaluation level or poor evaluation methodology)
  • Insufficient dissemination (e.g. poor visibility of the project, or not enough sustainability of the results).

On the other hand, establishing the scope, tasks, schedules, risks, quality and staffing needs helps project team members to understand their responsibilities and expectations. As such, the effort spent in planning can save countless hours of confusion and re-work in the subsequent phases. The time spent properly planning will result in reduced cost and duration, and increased quality over the life of the project.

KIC offers tailor-made designs of project-plans as per client specifications – conducted as part of iterative design process over a series of meetings. KIC officials will certainly prioritise client meetings and ensure that the project plan is tailor made to ensure the client’s overall aims and objectives are met. Our meetings will always kick off with the general wishes of the clients – we will then formulate a plan of action which involves a project suitable for implementation in the scenario being presented. This could obviously vary from an EU grant, a call for any national or international tender or even the implementation of a work-plan for the Association. Our KIC experts possess great experience in this particular field and will be more than happy to help our and share similar experiences and concerns.

On a slightly different note, KIC’s recommended project plans are typically designed along a logical framework matrix, i.e. defining aims, overall objectives whilst defining activities and outputs at each step, identifying KPIs, risk factors and outlining required inputs for project management. KIC generally maps Project Processes onto GANTT and PERTT charts for a professional structure. As previously stated, this system is not necessarily exclusive to EU Project Management.