It's easy to go overboard with planning, and do too much
planning and not enough actual work on the thesis.
Nevertheless, some level of project planning is definitely called
for your project.
- Create a rough planning
Make sure it is detailed for the coming few weeks. After that,
it should be less detailed. The main line can be set, but the
details will follow later.
So: don't plan in the first week to "write unit tests for class
XYZ" in the last week. Instead, plan that period for
- Focus on the right things
If you're doing a research project, don't focus the planning on
implementation details, focus on literature, developing theory /
proofs, writing. The implementation may still be there, but it's
not what the project is about.
- Add breathing space
Projects everywhere inevitably go over time. Give yourself some
time to deal with unforeseen circumstances. 10% is not a bad
- Update the planning
Update the planning about once a month. This will give you and
your supervisor a clear idea of whether you are on track.
- Neither planning nor project is set in stone
Your project may stumble upon an interesting venue for further
exploration. Or a task that seemed simple, turns out to be
complex. Don't worry! That's fine! Discuss this with your
supervisor and adjust the planning and/or project accordingly.
- Start early with writing
Everyone starts writing too late. Plan writing in every week,
and begin in the first week with writing. Every week, add
something to the report. Don't worry too much about the report
becoming a hodge podge - your main goal is to give yourself
sufficient information to assemble the report later.
- Keep track of time
Keep track of how much time you've spent on the project,
compared to how much time the project has available. Also keep
an eye on the project deadline. If you're not going to make it,
recognise this early on so that your supervisor can help you
with a backup plan.
- Describe risks and mitigations
Some risks can be foreseen.
Describe how you will prevent or otherwise mitigate such
risks. If you cannot fully exclude a risk, what's your backup
strategy? Or will the project inevitably fail then?