Basic Project Planning 101

I wanted to write a basic intro to project planning but i found this which is super simple but gets the idea across very well.

Basic Project Plan from about.com

to develop a simple project plan you need a list of the tasks that need to be done , and understanding of the relationships between the tasks, and to know the priority of each task.

bigger projects the list of tasks is organized into a work breakdown structure
The relationships between the tasks, called dependencies, are established. And the critical path for the project is calculated. For our simple example project we won't worry about these.
Planning Breakfast
Your project is to prepare cold cereal for your breakfast. You know you need a bowl, cereal, milk, and sugar. You usually put the cereal into the bowl and add milk, but would it matter if you put the milk in first? When do you add the sugar - on the dry cereal or after you add the milk?
So your project plan might look like this:
Put bowl on counter
Put cereal in bowl
Add milk
Add sugar
Now let's look at the plan in more detail. This will help us reduce some of the risk of the project being late or over budget. For example, before we can put the bowl on the counter, we need to get/buy a bowl.
Go shopping
Buy a bowl
Buy milk
Buy sugar
Put bowl on counter
Put cereal in bowl
Add milk
Get spoon from drawer
Add sugar
More Details
You can add more precision to the plan by adding dependencies. In the above example, buying milk is a subtask of the shopping trip, but task 4, adding the milk, is dependent on the completion of that task. If you have not yet completed task 1.2, buy milk, you will not be able to complete task 4, add milk. If you can't complete task 4, you can't complete your project.
Bottom Line
The same process that applies to a simple project like making cereal for breakfast applies to all of project management. Larger projects have more tasks and bigger risks, but the fundamental project planning process is the same.

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