Description: Project Planning is one of the key phases in the life cycle of Project Management. It relates to the use of schedules such as Gantt charts to plan and subsequently report progress within the project environment.
As part of Project Initiation, the project scope is defined and the appropriate methods for completing the project are determined. Following this step, planning the durations for the various tasks necessary to complete the work are listed and grouped into a work breakdown structure. Project planning is often used to organize different areas of a project, including project plans, workloads and the management of teams and individuals. The logical dependencies between tasks may be defined using an activity network diagram that enables identification of the critical path.
Project planning is inherently uncertain as it must be done before the project is actually started. Therefore the duration of the project tasks is often estimated through a weighted average of optimistic, normal, and pessimistic cases.
At this stage, the project schedule 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 project schedule becomes what is known as the baseline schedule. Progress will be measured against the baseline schedule throughout the life of the project.
While Project Planning can be done manually, it is usually easier and faster to use project management software.