One of the critical upfront activities you need to do when you have a group project is to develop a project plan. The project plan should consist of the following:
- A list of tasks that need to be done
- A target date for each task to be completed
- Person(s) responsible for completing the task.
To develop the list of tasks, consider the following general categories of work that needs to be done in most projects.
- Team startup activities (team rules, selection of team leader, communication plan)
- Data collection and analysis activities
- Development of a solution strategy
- Testing of options
- Development of recommendations
- Development of report/presentation
Each of the items listed above will need to be translated into specifics for your project. Each of the items listed above could also be broken down into 2-4 steps. You should include team meetings as tasks as well.
The best way to develop the target dates is to work backwards from the project due date. In some cases, you may decide to do some activities in parallel while in other cases. One activity will have to be done before others can begin.
The third step in the project plan is to make specific responsibilities for each task. The responsibilities could be one or more persons. Responsibilities are generally assigned based upon who the team feels would be best for each activity. Just because one or two persons is assigned to a task doesn’t mean that the entire team shouldn’t have responsibility for each activity as well.
Developing a project plan may seem excessive, but it’s something you will be expected to do whenever you are assigned a project when you graduate.