How do we figure out what we are going to do? A good method is to use project planning and management. A project plan is not a required deliverable for the Future City Competition and we can't guarantee that if you use one that you will win an award.  However, we believe that preparing a project plan before you do anything else will make the rest of the project easier and less stressful.

Project Planning

Project planning is planning your work and project management is working your plan. There are many tools and techniques used to produce and manage project plans.  Among the most used are PERT and critical path management.  Microsoft Project software is an example of tools used to build and run a project plan (click here for examples).  Since your Future City Competition project is much simpler, we made a worksheet for you to use.

A project plan is simply a list (yes, another list) of the things that you're going to do (tasks) to produce the deliverables, when you're going to do them (schedule), and who is going to do them (assignments).  Tasks are sometimes called intermediate deliverables.  Click here to look at a sample task list.  Your project plan should always be in the Project Plan Folder in your Project Archive.  Preparing a project plan will get your Future City Competition project off to a good start and have benefits throughout your effort.

Project Management

The person that you chose as the project manager/budget controller should manage the project plan. He or she should fill every "How Long Will It Take" and "When Will We Start It" space on the worksheet.  If you're using the Excel version of the worksheet, it will calculate the "When Should We Finish" and "How Much Time Do We Have Left" columns.  If you're doing this on paper, follow the instructions in the downloaded PDF file.  This will give you the first version of the schedule for your project.  Look at the deliverable dates that are highlighted on the worksheet and make sure that the dates in the "When Should We Finish" do not occur after the date that the deliverable is due.

The project manager/budget controller should review the worksheet to make certain that tasks are done on time. He or she can change "How Long Will It Take" and "When Will We Start It" numbers as things change during the project.  It is very important to make certain that the new dates are not beyond the deliverable due date.  There should be an agenda item at every team meeting to review the project plan and make changes as necessary.  The project manager/budget controller should also tell the person responsible for a task (Who Is Going to Do It) when his or her task deadline is getting close.

After you have prepared the project plan, you do not have to do the tasks one after the other (serial development). You can do many things at the same time (concurrent development).  This method is also called multitasking.  For instance, you can be running the Virtual City simulation, doing research for the essay and city narrative, and collecting material for the scale model all at the same time.  This is especially true if different people are assigned to the tasks.

Now you know what you have to do, when you have to do it, and who is going to do it.

Remember, plan your work and work your plan.