At Benchmarks' Center for Quality Integration, we handle implementation projects of varying lengths and scopes. Some projects may be as brief as a few months, while others can last for years. To track progress, we monitor some projects internally while enlisting stakeholders to monitor others. Regardless of the size of the project, selecting the appropriate planning tool is crucial. It should provide enough detail without being cumbersome, keep you on track, yet still be flexible enough to accommodate changes. Our top picks for planning tools are Gantt charts, action logs, and Kanban boards. Let's take a closer look at each one.
A Gantt chart is a visual tool widely used in project management to plan, schedule, and track the progress of tasks within a project. It provides a horizontal timeline representation where tasks are displayed as bars along the timeline. The chart illustrates the start and end dates of each task, their dependencies, and the overall project timeline. Gantt charts offer a clear overview of the project's timeline, allowing team members to understand the sequencing of tasks, identify potential bottlenecks or delays, and allocate resources efficiently.
An action log is a record-keeping tool used to track and document actions taken during a project or any other endeavor. It serves as a chronological log that captures details of specific actions, such as tasks completed, decisions made, issues encountered, and any other significant events. The action log typically includes information such as the date and time of the action, the person responsible for the action, a description of the action itself, and any relevant notes or comments. By maintaining an action log, individuals or teams can keep a comprehensive record of their activities, which helps ensure accountability, provides a historical reference, and facilitates communication among team members.
A Kanban board is a visual management tool used to visualize and manage the flow of work within a project or team. It typically consists of a board divided into columns representing different stages of work, such as "To Do," "In Progress," and "Done." Each work item or task is represented by a card or sticky note that moves across the columns as it progresses. The Kanban board provides a clear and real-time overview of the status of each task, making it easy to identify bottlenecks, visualize work distribution, and track progress. Team members can easily see what tasks are in progress, what tasks are pending, and what tasks are completed. This visual representation enhances collaboration, encourages transparency, and promotes a smooth and efficient workflow.
As you plan projects for your own company, be sure to take a bit of time and find out which type of planning tool is going to work best for your project as well as your team. And, if you are having trouble deciding, just ask us! We love implementation and all the planning piece that accompany it!
When strategizing projects for your company, it's important to choose the right planning tool that suits both your team and project. Take some time to consider which approach would work best, and if you're having trouble deciding, don't hesitate to reach out to us! We're passionate about implementation and all the planning that comes with it.