Those that Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

There’s something to be learned from unsuccessful projects, especially if you can relate the failure to a failure to plan.

Poor and Unrealistic Project Planning & Scheduling

It is not uncommon to hear of project managers indicating, “There is no point in planning since we don’t follow or stick to the plan anyway!” In our experience, this mindsight results from 1) not understanding project scope, 2) not having an achievable target by which the project can be tracked and 3) not aligning project stakeholder expectations.

In short, this is one of the biggest project management challenges today – poor and unrealistic project planning and scheduling.

5-Step Advanced Planning & Scheduling Framework

Our 5-step ‘Advanced Planning & Scheduling Framework‘ (See APS5 Infographic) improves your project plan by generating a high-quality schedule that is,

  1. Comprehensive reflecting all activities needing to be performed, that resources are assigned and activity duration’s can be measured with actual start and finish dates.
  2. Well-constructed with logically sequenced activities that result in a correct critical path that determines the activities that drive the projects earliest completion date.
  3. Credible reflecting delivery date confidence based on data about risks & opportunities, and necessary contingency exists based on results of a schedule risk analysis.
  4. Controlled by being periodically updated to reflect actual activity progress, that is compared to a baseline plan to determine variances from plan and to forecast outcomes.

Pitfalls of Poor Project Planning & Scheduling

Consider for a moment if your organisation suffers from the following planning pitfalls,

  • No plan – just doing the work.
  • Ignoring common sense and being impractical.
  • Wrong plan – using something that looks good.
  • Over planning – getting bogged down in the details.
  • Committing to a plan too early without all the facts.
  • Repeating the same action over and over again but expecting different results.
  • Disbelieving past project evidence – doing something that hasn’t worked before.

Three Fundamental Rules of Planning & Scheduling

Three fundamental rules apply to planning and scheduling.

  1. Planning needs to be done at the beginning of the project and before work starts.
  2. All the work that needs to be done including management must be included in the plan. A plan that does not cover all of the work, serves only to increase risk and uncertainty.
  3. All of the people responsible for the delivery of the project must provide input into the plan. This ensures team buy-in which is essential to achieve a successful project.

These are just a few of the common pitfalls and rules of project planning and scheduling. Do you have any others to add? Let us know in the comments.

If you need help developing a reliable plan, then please contact us.

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