Three Tips for Better Tech Project Plans

Bill Rybinski
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In many technology companies, project plans are not utilized as a valuable part of the planning process. They may be too full of data, too vague or too unfocused to be useful. By taking the time to write an effective, efficient tech project plan, you can streamline each project and reduce wasted time.

Consider the Audience

A technology project involves a number of people, from IT professionals to graphic designers. As a result, many companies try to address every audience in the tech project plan. Unfortunately, this strategy often results in an unfocused plan that is useful to no one.

The easiest way to improve your project plans is to define the audience. For a technology project, the audiences can vary dramatically. If you're looking to satisfy auditors, the plan will contain considerably different information than one that is written to guide programmers. Before you write a word, list the people that will use the document throughout the duration of the project. In some cases, you may need to create multiple plans to satisfy different audiences. This simple step can go a long way toward helping you write more focused content and keep the project from spinning out of control.

Edit the Scope

Many technology-based projects involve multiple stages and iterations, each dependent on the phases that come before. For many tech projects, success depends on software and technologies that will be developed over time. In that case, your tech project plan should only deal with the first phases and the tasks that are possible at present. This is not to say that you should ignore the end goals; instead, create a separate section that outlines the specifications and requirements that will be necessary to complete the project. That way, your team can work on the tasks that are in its control without losing sight of the desired outcomes.

Define a Purpose

When you are writing a tech project plan, it can be tempting to include every possible piece of information for every programmer, IT professional and engineer involved. To improve your plans, focus on including just the information that will be useful to your defined audience. Consider the purpose of the document: will it give your team an overview of the process so they can develop a workflow? Will it guide individual workers through each stage of research and development? Will it help company executives with budget planning?

With your purpose in mind, write a tech project plan that will help readers accomplish specific goals. If the plan is supposed to help your team members work independently, include individual tasks. If it is going to help designers create an effective graphic user interface, include a creative brief. Be as specific as possible and explain interdependencies clearly, particularly when they involve creative and technical teams; for many technology professionals, explaining the aesthetic or "feeling" of a project is a significant challenge. If necessary, enlist the help of a designer or writer to help you find the right words.

When it is written effectively, a tech project plan has the power to be a useful and helpful tool. By writing it with an eye toward your audience and creating the ideal balance of information and instruction, you can create a more productive workflow.

 

(Photo courtesy of (luigi diamanti)/ freedigitalphotos.net)

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