Project or Task Planning Guide

NOTE: This page is also downloadable in a handy worksheet.  You can download it as a worksheet that you fill in by hand, or you can download a 'word' document that, using your computer, you can fill in, change, update and totally make as your own, personal planning sheet. Just click on the links at the bottom of the page.


The following questions are very handy in planning any type of task or project.  Some of the questions may not really apply to certain tasks, but over-all these planning questions are a great tool in anyone’s planning.

  1. What is the primary activity or task you wish to accomplish? This is a mini description of what task or activity you need to work on. It gives a focus to what you want to do.
  2. What are the specific goals to be accomplished? Here is where you start getting into details.  How many people will be involved?  Are there costs? List what elements or things that will be completed. (Use numbers if that will help)
  3. What are the specific manpower assignments? Make a list of jobs, duties, tasks, and assignments.  Is this something you will do yourself or will you have other family members assist.  Or maybe you will hire or have someone else do the task.  (Put names with each task) (If you have phone numbers, list those too.)
  4. What materials and supplies will you need for this activity? Think about or walk through the actual task you are working on.  If it is in a special location, why not be there.  If you can’t do that, imagine you are there. Think about how you will be set up?  What will be going on? If others are with you, what is everyone doing?  As you imagine the activity, list what materials and supplies you will need.  Create a list or checklist to help yourself and anyone working with you.  Review the lists in your planning.  It will aid you in shopping, and making sure nothing is forgotten.
  5. What outside resources will be used? These are items someone else will supply or bring.  These may be items from the last question.  It could also be what a vendor, contractor or caterer is responsible for.  List the items, supplies, materials, and or equipment they are responsible for.  This is especially true if what you need is not normally at your home or the location of the activity.  Review your checklist and single out items you might be able to borrow, or have someone else bring.
  6. What problems do you worry about, or anticipate needing to overcome, to successfully complete this activity? This is sometimes call negative brainstorming.  Think of all the things that could interfere or go wrong with this activity.  Decide on how you might take care of the problem if it arises.  Can you fix it?  Will you need to cancel it?  Have a simple plan on how you plan to address the problem.  Once you have a plan, you can move on to the next activity.
  7. List the specific steps to be taken. This is your time line for this activity. What steps do you need to make or take to bring this activity to a successful competition? Sometimes you can make a task simpler by breaking down the work into smaller tasks, and then spreading them out. Create a time line.
  8. What are your costs. If there are costs, say for the materials and supplies you need, list them here. If you need to buy something, add it here.  These items need to be in your budget.  Think of food for meals: boxes, paper and gift wrap; gifts to order, decorations; postage and shipping, fees or payments carpet cleaning or to vendors, etc. Even cash gifts or donations you might want to make.   Knowing the costs of an activity may also be a factor in deciding to go through with it or cancel it.

FREE Download  – Working copies of the Planning Guide:

This is a word document that you can fill out, change, update and edit on your computer

This is a pdf form to print-out and fill out by hand