Project Management Planning

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Mar 13th, 2015


It is fact that many projects fail to be delivered on time, within budget and with required specifications, known as iron triangle. The question arises, why projects fail if we possess managing tools and processes of project management. The answer is simple. The tools are not used properly and/or misunderstood. One such tool is project planning. As mentioned in my other article that “if you fail to plan, then plan to fail”. Nevertheless, a very detailed planning is not required as things most often will not turn up the way they are predicted as George Patton (1885–1945) said,“ A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” Therefore, adequate planning is required before commencing work and then project is monitored and controlled.
One of the major root causes of projects failure is lack of planning. Research shows that while planning may not guarantee project success but lack of planning will probably guarantee failure. Sometimes the project team does not give sufficient time to think through scope, objectives, resources and timeline at the outset of a project, consequently face hard time managing a project while execution. The significance of planning can be judged that out 39 processes identified by the PMBOK, 21 are planning processes and it has been identified as one of 10 critical success factors in a project along with Project Mission (initial clarity of goals) and Monitoring and Feedback (timely provision of comprehensive control information).
Competent project managers understand that creating credible and robust plan is stepping stone for project success. Planning requires common sense, experience and realistic analysis without being biased to get lucky along the way. Human beings are optimistic biased by nature and plans are peppered with that. It is necessary to be realistic while planning otherwise it would be tough while carrying out activities in execution phase.
Now I will discuss what makes a good plan. It is much more than just a schedule or a framework of coordinated activities. It includes objectives and requirements, project scope, deliverables, resource required and key delivery dates. Plan encompasses all relevant information in one concise document what you asked to do and what you are going to do it.
It reports all the key focuses identifying with a task going from its goals and deliverables right through to the key turning points and asset prerequisites. A decent arrangement is one of the establishment stones for any task and ought to move certainty in all concerned.
The simple demonstration of making an arrangement is a superb wellbeing weigh in itself. Delivering one is the speediest path for you to diagnose issues and start tending to them. In a decently characterized and legitimately set-up undertaking this ought to be a basic methodology. For undertakings based on an establishment of sand – and there are a lot of them – this will turn out to be a test in undertaking.
An imperfect arrangement is superior to none whatsoever. Project team can then help you to refine it. This is generally a useful methodology than spending an unnecessary measure of time attempting to deliver something near to flawlessness first time.
A good plan is much more than just a schedule. A schedule merely outlines individual tasks, sequence of activities to be carried out, dates, resources and milestones.Stephen Barker and Rod Cole mentioned in their book Brilliant Project Management that a good project plan contains schedule and much more than that, as given below:
• Overview: A summary of the project’s key features including its objectives and how to meet them.
• Objectives and key requirements: A clear description of the project’s objectives spelling out what the project needs to achieve to fulfil its business case. Plus a list of the corresponding key requirements that must be met.
• Approach: A description of how the project is going to be tackled, including the stages it will be broken into and any standards to be adhered to.
• Major deliverables and key milestones: A summary of the project’s outputs and their delivery timescales.
• Scope: A clear description of the boundary that will be drawn around the scope of the project, identifying the key items that are both inside and outside the scope.
• Resource: A summary of all of resources that are required to complete the project, broken down by type of resource.
• Organisation/roles and responsibilities: A list of the major project roles, the extent of their responsibilities and how the people resources will be organised.
• Internal and external dependencies: A list of the project’s important dependencies. Some will be within its control, while others will involve third parties.
• Assumptions: A list of the assumptions that have been used in preparing the project plan.
• Implementation strategy: A description of how the project deliverables will be put into service.
• Schedule: A diagrammatic view of major project phases, milestones, activities, tasks and the resources allocated to each task.
• Risk and issue management: An initial log of the project’s key risks and issues, together with how they’ll be managed.
• Quality assurance and control strategy: A description of the processes that will be used to make sure the project’s deliverables are fit for purpose.
• Configuration management: The procedures that will be used to manage the versions of the various project deliverables.

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