Why is Planning Important for Successful Project Management?

India’s sophisticated Vande Bharat express project led by Mr. Sudhanshu Mani was completed in less than 18 months with just Rs. 97 crores, where the external agency has quoted Rs. 250 crores. He owes the success of this project to his team and the planning behind it. Irrespective of the project type, planning plays a crucial role in reducing risks, identifying desired goals, and ultimately delivering the agreed prototype.

According to PMI, most organizations waste an average of $97 million of the total $1 billion investment due to poor project performance. So, a project manager needs to have the ability to plan a project effectively to ensure success. While planning, the team needs to define the objectives and scope of the project, as well as determine the resources and activities needed to achieve them.

In this blog, let’s delve deeper into the planning phase of project management, what teams usually miss out on while planning, the advantages of the right planning, and how to plan effectively for a project’s successful completion.

Potential Reasons for Insufficient Planning

The old saying, “The failure to plan is planning to fail,” certainly holds true while handling a project. After all, managing a project without a clear idea of how and when to manage it is impossible. But we often notice that project managers and senior management rush this planning step in haste for project completion. Here are a few other reasons for insufficient planning −

Unrealistic expectations

The pressure of completing the project within the timeframe compels project managers to set not-so-feasible deadlines, which can ultimately lead to timeline extension.

Jumping into execution right away

One thing both project managers and clients want in common is the timely delivery of the product. Surrendering to impatience, most project managers gather the team and steer them toward the execution phase right after the project has been assigned. This will not only kill the result but also lead to rework.

Lack of understanding

Being unaware of the importance of the planning phase in project management, the project team starts with the sprints and ends up in a fix once the team reaches the mid-phase. So, it is always important to stay updated on the latest trends in project management and get constantly upskilled to lead any project.

How Does Careful Planning Help in a Project’s Success?

Now that you know how the planning phase is usually ignored by organizations, it’s time you understand why planning plays a crucial role in a project’s success.

To put it in simple words, planning in project management and the project's success are deeply intertwined. Planning helps to ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. Here are some other key ways in which planning plays a crucial role in project management −

Identifying potential problems and risks

Planning allows project managers to anticipate potential problems and risks early on and develop strategies to mitigate them. This helps to ensure that the project stays on track and that any issues are addressed promptly.

Allocating resources effectively

By breaking the project into smaller, manageable tasks, project managers can ensure that resources are allocated effectively. This helps ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.

Setting clear milestones and deadlines

Efficient planning helps project managers to set clear milestones and deadlines for the project. This helps to keep the project on track and ensures that any delays or issues are addressed on time.

Managing costs

A perfectly laid action plan for a project impacts budgeting and cost management. Project managers can create a detailed budget outlining the project's costs by identifying the resources required for each task and activity. This helps to control expenses and stay within budget constraints.

Effective communication and collaboration

Planning is critical for effective communication and collaboration within the project team. By clearly defining roles and responsibilities, project managers can ensure that everyone knows their tasks and how they contribute to the overall project goals. This helps to foster a sense of accountability and teamwork, which is essential for the successful completion of the project.

Who Should Be Involved in the Planning Phase of Project Management?

The planning phase is a collaborative process that should involve a diverse group of stakeholders. The following is a list of key individuals or groups that should be involved, irrespective of the project type.

Project Manager

The project manager is responsible for leading the planning phase and ensuring that all stakeholders are involved and that the plan is comprehensive and achievable.

Project Team

The project team is responsible for delivering the project and should be involved in the planning phase to ensure that their roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and that they have the necessary resources and support to complete their tasks.

Subject Matter Experts

Subject matter experts are individuals or groups with specialized knowledge or skills that are relevant to the project. They should be involved in the planning phase to ensure that the project objectives and scope align with the organization's needs.


Stakeholders are individuals or groups affected by the project and should be involved in the planning phase, ensuring their needs and expectations are considered. When we say stakeholders, you may include customers, clients, end-users, and other groups with a vested interest in the project.

Senior Management

Senior management should be involved in the planning phase to provide guidance, support, and oversight for the project. They should also be informed of potential risks or challenges arising during the project.

What Should Be Covered in the Planning Phase of a Project?

When we say planning is important for any project, you also need to know the way of planning. It means you must steer through the right pathway to reach the right destination. Here are a few things you must definitely include in your planning strategy.


A project management plan must be developed by considering the organizational process assets. This means the project manager takes individual planning inputs from each knowledge area and integrates them to create a working strategy.

Defining the scope

Once the inputs are taken from each stakeholder, the next step is to define the scope and then create a breakdown structure.

Managing the stakeholders

Here, project managers collect requirements from stakeholders regarding the project’s goal and try to balance their expectations on reaching the goal.

Time Schedule

The next step is to decide on the resources and the work durations. Once this is decided, you can develop a proper schedule in a sequence.

Cost management

Once the resources and time allocation is done, it is time to estimate and come up with the budget for the entire project while considering the contingencies.

Managing risks

Once you’re done with drafting the final schedule, you need to look out for identifying risks and drafting a mitigation plan. You must work on qualitative and quantitative risks that may arise during the project cycle.


In a nutshell, a project manager plays a key role in the planning for a project’s success. He/she needs to be alert in making a viable plan as the project execution relies on this planning. So, take some time, slow things down, and plan for all aspects of the project - risks, costs, resources, deliverables, milestones, and other considerations.