Four commonly used tools in project planning and project management, namely: Brainstorming, Fishbone Diagrams, Critical Path Analysis Flow Diagrams, and Gantt Charts.
Brainstorming is usually the first crucial creative stage of the project management and project planning process. See the brainstorming method in detail and explained separately, because it many other useful applications outside of project management.
Unlike most project management skills and methods, the first stages of the brainstorming process is ideally a free-thinking and random technique. Consequently it can be overlooked or under-utilized because it not a natural approach for many people whose mains strengths are in systems and processes. Consequently this stage of the project planning process can benefit from being facilitated by a team member able to manage such a session, specifically to help very organised people to think randomly and creatively.
Within project management fishbone diagrams are useful for early planning, notably when gathering and organising factors, for example during brainstorming.
Fishbone diagrams are chiefly used in quality management fault-detection, and in business process improvement, especially in manufacturing and production, but the model is also very useful in project management planning and task management generally.
Fishbone diagrams are not good for scheduling or showing interdependent time-critical factors.
Fishbone diagrams are also called ’cause and effect diagrams’ the 1960s.
At a simple level the fishbone diagram is a very effective planning model and tool – especially for ‘mapping’ an entire operation.
Where a fishbone diagram is used for project planning of course the ‘Effect’ is shown as an aim or outcome or result, not a problem.