Project Plan


Produce a plan for the project and be aware that all steps during the projects initial phase are undertaken in parallel. It is not always possible to wait for all the other pieces to fall into place before starting work on the project plan. When the problem area is to some extent defined, stakeholders to some extent identified, and the project to some extent staffed, it is time for those who have so far been involved in the project to start work on the project plan.

It is important not to get stuck in the preparations and allow the mapping to drag on too long. People feel keen to make a start, and it is important to capitalise on this energy and motivation.


By constructing a problem tree, you get a picture of the connections between the causes and effects of the various problems you have identified.

I. Identify the problems which exist at the moment (not possible, imagined or future problems) and list them on a flipchart or at the side of the whiteboard.

II. Decide what the main problem is.

III. Formulate the problem briefly in the middle of the whiteboard.

IV. Identify important and direct causes, write each one on a sheet of A4 and place the sheets in a parallel line below the problem.

V. Identify important and direct effects, write them on A4 sheets and place them in a parallel line above the problem.

VI. Continue adding further causes and effects in the same way to create a problem tree.

VII. Finally, check that it is complete. Try moving the A4 sheets around if necessary.

VIII. The problem tree is finished when you agree that it includes all important information.

IX. Photograph or copy the tree before formulation of the project'spurpose and issues.

Think about!

The work of planning can be at least as important as the final project plan. This work forces participants to operationalise ideas, consider alternatives and work out suitable and feasible ways of carrying out the work.

"... you won't get everyone who should have been involved. You have to start somewhere with a group which you believe is a collection of people with an understanding of the subject and who want to do something with the subject, and there's a scientific and organisational range in the group. It will never be perfect, you can't get away from the fact. You have to make a start, and if something goes wrong you just have to try