How to avoid project pitfalls by creating a project plan

photo (2)What is it about a New Year that makes us all want to change the things around us?  It has been thirty days since Father Time closed out 2012 and we are all in the swing of things for 2013.  Many of our “resolutions” are long forgotten, but if you are like me at least one has still stuck.  For me I am in a renovation mood.  I spend so much time on the out of doors, my interiors sometimes get neglected, and so I am scrubbing, painting and making some general updates all over the house.  My “big” project that I am working on right now is wainscoting my dining room.  It took me two weeks just to decide what I wanted to do and make my project plan.  Whether your project is inside or outside a project plan is essential to making sure things go smoothly and on budget.

For me, I do project plans all the time in the form of estimates I give my customers so this is nothing new. If you plan to do a project yourself, you may be in such a hurry to get started you eliminate this valuable step.  This could be a big mistake.  Without a plan, you often lose focus, spend too much money or waste too much valuable time.  How do you create a project plan? Let’s take the scenario of Mrs. Smith: she plans to update her front entry to include replacing a broken up concrete walkway with new pavers and replacing the foundation plantings. Both Mr. and Mrs. Smith are pretty handy and figure that they can complete the project in two weekends (time estimate).  Mrs. Smith spends some time on Houzz.com to look for examples of projects she likes while Mr. Smith gets all of his measurements and reads up on specific techniques needed.  Next they need to list out all of their materials that will needed to complete the work and then source them out so they are aware of the costs and where to get them.  It is really important to iron out all the materials needed so that you are not surprised by any added costs.  Before project day begins Mr. Smith gathers all of the tools and materials he needs to complete the project to eliminate any last minute trips to the big box store.  Mrs. Smith reserved the equipment they needed from the tool rental store and called the nursery to schedule the plant delivery.  On the day the project began they were ready to go, got things completed on time and within budget, with very little frustration.

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