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Projects planning

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Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with planning out multiple projects?  We are looking at next year's projects and coming up with the order and timelines and it's tough.  Trying to estimate how long projects will take, what order they should be done in, etc.  And a few of the projects are still in discussion at the higher levels so need to allocate time for them to get done before we can start the project planning in earnest.

But, it is also kind of fun.  It is like taking puzzle pieces and moving them around until you've got a good picture.  And honestly, it is really reassuring to see that we've got a year's worth of work lined up without even considering the low priority stuff.

I actually think that part is fun.  But it all depends on the right people.  A lot of those discussions are so 'pie in the sky' that it's just basically liquor and guessing.  If you get the right people you can have a lot of fun with it and really play with a lot of scenarios.

What tools are you guys using to plan out projects? I have gantt charts for high level overviews but I think there are probably better ways to manage them.

I think my biggest struggle with projects is changing priorities from administration. With us, one week project A is the highest priority and then the next week project B that was on hold for 4 months because no one was willing to make a decision for something is suddenly back in the game.

We use Azure DevOps as our general tool but our Project Management team uses (well, they are trying anyways).

We use Smartsheets for planning the details and tracking progress.

However, right now I'm just using Google Sheets for collecting the possible projects, identifying their priority level, rough estimation of effort level, and high level time estimates and totals.  Then using another sheet to just lay it out by months.  This is just to create the rough picture that we can then take to the larger management team and see if anything needs to be adjusted.  Once all that is done I'll take it and put it into Smartsheets and give better dates.


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