“Finish it” is not a plan: The Project Plan Conundrum

Today’s blog is about a strange concept called a “Project Plan” or a “Sales Plan.” I have no formal training in this topic unless you realize that my experience in research design is surprisingly relevant. So here goes.

These are NOT project plans.

  • Finish the new product and launch it
  • Try to get it done in the next few weeks
  • Work on it really hard until I’m satisfied with it

These ‘plans’ are fluffy and you cannot measure fluff. Try measuring the ‘fluffiness’ of this pretty kitty. You can even borrow my ruler.
On the other hand, this IS a project plan. It has tasks, names, dates, and it’s written down. And, it’s often many, many pages long once you list out every task in a project.

  1. Break entire project into specific tasks by end of day tomorrow. A task is something like “write a case study,” or “design the cover page.” Of course, you could get even more specific and list “decide on a case study topic” as one of the tasks.
  2. Assign specific tasks to specific people with specific deadlines by end of day tomorrow.  Specifically, John must complete this task by Friday at 10am.
  3. Meet Monday and Thursday for 15 minutes to see which tasks are on or behind schedule.
  4. Reassign people to tasks to accounts for lags
  5. Add in new tasks with dates and people as tasks are discovered.
  6. Update your written down plan with any changes. WRITE IT DOWN

These are NOT sales plans.

  • Make a lot of sales
  • Sell $50 000 this year
  • Grow our sales as much as possible
  • Talk to a lot of people on the internet

earl53 from morguefile
This IS a sales plan. It has numbers, dates, sources, and it is written down.

  1. LinkIn with 10 new potential contacts every single day
  2. Interact with at least 10 potential clients on Twitter every single day
  3. Discuss your product in detail with 5 potential clients every single day
  4. Demonstrate your product to at least 1 potential client every single day
  5. Find 1 new relevant conference every month, whether to attend/present/network around
  6. Write down which goals were met and not met every single day

If you want to be successful, you need to define what success is and measure it.

Today’s goal? Write a blog post about project planning.
Success or failure? Success!

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