The paper defines a project plan as the guide towards the execution and control of a project. Project plan forms a fundamental base towards the success or failure of a given project. According to Kerzner a project plan defines the appropriate methods to be employed during the project. The defined methods ensure successful completion of projects. Project plan ensures optimisation of the resources towards achieving the objectives of the project. The plan, therefore, acts as a guideline in maintaining a balance between resource utilisation and project schedule compliance. The plan ensures proper utilisation of project resources and timely completion of projects.
The project planning process in the construction industry forms a fundamental activity for the entire project. The planning process consists of numerous stages. The stages include.
• Choosing of correct technology and construction method to be employed in the project.
• Establishing the work tasks.
• Defining the existing relationships between various activities.
• Estimating the activity durations.
• Estimating the resource requirements for the work activities involved.
Numerous factors within the construction sector affect the planning process. The factors affecting the project planning process lie within the financial and time functions of the project. The factors can, therefore, be defined as cost factors and schedule factors. The chart below shows the factors affecting the planning process.
These uncertainties form what project managers consider project risks. Risk management becomes an essential part of projects execution in ensuring the success of a project. Ireland (2006) defines the element of risk assessment as the critical analysis of the expected constraints and uncertainties before embarking on a project. Comprehensive analysis of the risks becomes essential in minimising the probabilities of project failure. Ireland continues to discuss that failure to analyse these factors efficiently and critically, poses surmountable problem of project failure. The process of risk assessment involves, identifying the uncertainties, analysing them, and prioritising the risks as analysed. The last phase, of prioritising, ensures the arrangement of the risks in relation to the impacts they may posses on the project. This phase allows project managers to eliminate the substantial risks perfectly while managing the other risks throughout the project duration. Financial planning Project management process includes financial planning as an element within the execution process. A financial plan defines and identifies the financial needs of the entire project. All expenses expected within the project execution, need to be indicated within the scope of financial plan. Kerzner (2009) defines financial planning as the element of drawing the budgetary needs for the different phases of a project. Financial planning provides a breakdown of all expenses to be incurred at different stages during the project execution duration. The importance of financial planning lies in ensuring controlled utilisation of financial resources available for projects. Financial