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Mastering Project Planning with PRIVV: Your Key to Success


Starting a new capital project can be exciting but also scary due to the scope and constraints. Without a solid plan in place, the project can easily be set up for failure before it even begins. At PRIVV, we understand the importance of meticulous planning as the foundation for project success. Our company name actually stands for a model we believe in as steps for a great capital project. These steps are: plan, review, implement, verify, and validate. Our PRIVV model breaks down the planning process into manageable steps, ensuring that your projects are set up for triumph from the get-go.

Step 1: P is for Plan

Planning is the cornerstone of any successful endeavor. Before diving headfirst into execution, take the time to craft a comprehensive Project Definition Document. This document serves as a roadmap, outlining every aspect of your project, from its purpose and scope to budget and timeline. Think of it as your project's bible, guiding you and your team through every stage of the journey.

Scope Definition:

Defining the scope of your project is not just about listing tasks; it's about setting boundaries and expectations for what the project will achieve. Take the time to consult with stakeholders and subject matter experts to ensure that all aspects of the project are captured. Be as detailed as possible in documenting what's included and what's not, as changes to the scope can have significant implications for your budget and timeline. Use tools like Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) to break down the project into manageable components and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Crafting an Elevator Pitch:

Your elevator pitch is more than just a summary of your project; it's an opportunity to inspire and engage your team and stakeholders. Start by clearly articulating why your project is important and how it aligns with the organization's goals. Highlight the benefits that the project will bring to students, faculty, and staff, emphasizing how it will improve their experience or address their needs. Finally, distinguish your project from similar initiatives by showcasing its unique value proposition or innovative approach.

Budget Development:

Developing a realistic budget requires a combination of research, estimation, and contingency planning. Start by gathering data from past projects and benchmarking against industry standards to estimate costs for materials, labor, and services. Be sure to account for any unique factors or challenges specific to your project. Building in a contingency fund of 10-15% allows for flexibility in case of unforeseen expenses or changes in scope. Collaborate with finance and procurement teams to ensure that your budget is aligned with organizational priorities and guidelines.

Scheduling and Timeline Creation:

Creating a comprehensive timeline is essential for keeping your project on track and ensuring that all tasks are completed on time. Start by identifying the critical path—the sequence of tasks that determines the overall duration of the project. Factor in lead times for ordering equipment, obtaining permits, and scheduling inspections. Be generous with your time estimates, especially for tasks that are dependent on external factors or subject to potential delays. Regularly review and revise your timeline with input from key stakeholders to accommodate changes or unexpected challenges.

Team Assembly:

Assembling the right team is crucial for the success of your project. Identify the required skill sets and experience levels based on the project's objectives and scope. Consider using modern project management tools to streamline communication and collaboration among team members. If necessary, hire an owner's representative or project manager to oversee contractors and ensure that the project stays on track. Follow institutional procurement processes to select partners who share your commitment to quality and excellence.

Risk Management:

Effective risk management involves identifying potential risks, assessing their likelihood and impact, and developing strategies to mitigate or manage them. Brainstorm with your team to identify potential risks across all aspects of the project, including budget, timeline, quality, and stakeholder satisfaction. Prioritize risks based on their probability and potential impact, focusing on those that pose the greatest threat to project success. Regularly monitor and reassess risks throughout the project lifecycle, making adjustments as needed to minimize their impact on your project's outcomes.

Quality Assurance:

Quality assurance is not just about meeting minimum standards; it's about delivering excellence that exceeds expectations. Clearly communicate your expectations for quality to all stakeholders, including contractors, consultants, and suppliers. Set clear benchmarks and metrics for evaluating performance, and don't hesitate to request rework if standards are not met. Remember that quality is an investment in the long-term success of your project, so prioritize it throughout every stage of the project lifecycle.

Brainstorming and Prediction:

The road to project success is paved with proactive planning and preparation. Encourage open communication and collaboration among team members to identify potential risks and opportunities. Use available data sources and modern AI tools to predict potential unknowns and mitigate their impact on your project. By anticipating challenges and opportunities early on, you can position your project for success and ensure that it delivers maximum value to your organization.


In the world of project management, planning is not just a step—it's a mindset. With the PRIVV model's meticulous planning approach, you can embark on your project journey with confidence, knowing that every detail has been carefully considered. Stay tuned for the next installment where we'll delve into the second step of the PRIVV model: Review.

Stay tuned for the next installment where we'll delve into the second step of the PRIVV model: Review.


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