From my previous post: Imagine Cup 2011: Creating a project plan part 1 of a few, we started discussing how to create a project.  It seems like even if I use a magic wand, there are quite a few steps involved in creating a solution to water pollution.

We need a clear project goal along with a list of tasks to do.  Some of the tasks to do take time and there is a special type of  tasks that take zero time, a milestone.  That pretty much does it, or is there more?

Who does what task?  In our case, you are responsible for procuring a magic wand, transporting the magic wand to the beach, and using the magic wand.  What if someone else needs to use the magic wand to solve another problem, how do you track that?  Well in our scenario, that isn’t going to happen, we have one worker, you; one resource, the magic wand.  By the way, how did you get to the beach?  Did it take time?  Oh-oh, travel doesn’t occur in zero time.  Below, I show an example of an Excel spreadsheet that I might create for starting my project.

For your Imagine Cup project, you might feel uncomfortable with putting dates and time into the columns.  Initially these are simply guesses at the beginning of the project.  When you work for a company, you will get better at guessing the timeframe, and other people who are more experienced are going to team with you to help make the guesses more accurate.  Bottom line: At sometime in your career you will need to be able to make estimates, and you get that skill by making guesses.  So get started.

 

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Project Planning for Magical Solutions
Company Confidential
Goal Project Type Estimated Start Estimated Finish Estimated Work (in Hours)
Quotes for Magic Wand Purchasing 4-Jan-11 7-Jan-11 6
Purchase Order for Magic Wand Purchasing 8-Jan-11 9-Jan-11 2
Release the Purchase Order a Purchasing 9-Jan-11 9-Jan-11 2
Receive and test Magic Wand Quality Control 12-Jan-11 14-Jan-11 8
Go down to beach/pipe/cast spell Implementation 16-Jan-11 16-Jan-11 8
Test water purity Quality Control 17-Jan-11 24-Jan-11 8
Evaluation if success or failure Management 25-Jan-11 25-Jan-11 2
Evaluate completion of project Management 26-Jan-11 28-Jan-11 4
TOTAL 40