The 5 phases – Initiate Plan, Execute, Monitor and Control, Close Down
Preparation is only worth what you put into it and what you get out of it. Don’t over plan.
There really are 4, count them 4, deliverables from the Plan portion of the Project:
Scope, Time Estimate, Budget Estimate, and the Project plan.
You may have done this already but your Plan should have due dates next to the tasks. Some dates are ‘hard’ dates. You can’t miss them. Like SDCC is 7/12 to 7/15. That’s a hard date. You can’t show up on 7/16. Some dates are soft dates. You have some flexibility. Get the entire airline tickets paid for by 4/1. If you pay by 4/2 your trip isn’t ruined.
Since you know the convention dates, you can work backwards. This works for something like SDCC with a hard date.
If you’re like me, you Project Plan was already chronological. So you start from SDCC and move upward.
Task 11.1 Attend SDCC 7/12
Task10.1 Check into Hotel 7/11 6:30PM
Task 9.5 Arrive to SD 7/11 5PM
Task 9.4 Depart from local airport 7/11 11AM
Task 9.3 Arrive at local Airport 7/11 9AM
Task9.2 meeting with group to carpool to Airport 7/11 8:15AM
Task9.1 get up and shower and eat morning of travel 7/11 7AM
Because you knew the duration/time of these activities you can figure out when you need to get up in the morning and when to meet and when to get to the airport.
As I mentioned before – if you are creating your cosplay outfits – you have an estimate of the effort needed to complete the task. You already know when you need to have it completed by. Then you know when you need to start.
Not everything you can answer at this time. The SDCC schedule part of your Project Plan can’t be filled in yet. You have 5 days of blanks for SDCC. Not a problem. Since the tasks of the project are iterative, you were going to revisit your estimates anyway. When SDCC announces their schedule (about 2 weeks before it starts) you can add a task to review your Plan and add the tasks/panels/parties for those 5 days.