A prerequisite for Successful Project Planning

A prerequisite for Successful Project Planning

A prerequisite for Successful Project Planning
A prerequisite for Successful Project Planning

When I was summarizing some knowledge and know how about project planning in a mind map I was surprised by how big the map became. But I found one factor that was more central than others.

We have a lot of methods to estimate workload, finding root causes, break down work packages, schedule tasks and deliverables, etc., everything to create a picture of the steps to take us from the current state to a specified state defined by project goals and requirements. Correctly used they give us a lot of understanding during the planning work.
Even though we have a lot of support in our methods and tools, some thoughts caught my mind more than others.

What is a plan worth if it is not committed by the team, managers, customer and the stakeholders?

I went back to my experience from working in a project with a time plan that was seriously truncated by management over the head of the project manager and against the project team advice. All the team estimations were neglected. What happened in the team was that every team member performed his/her work in a something like “keep on jogging” manner.
Everything was done correctly but almost nothing was put on low or high priority. The members that worked with the tasks on the critical line were hunted by the project manager and speeded up and worked more overtime than the others. We had no chance to deliver on time and became tired from all the overtime. At least I felt that I was not at my productive top. Of cause the project delivered very late. Even much later than expected in the plan based on the team estimations. No one in the team believed in the official version of the project time plan. No one felt that they could deliver on time no matter what.  

What do we need to do to make a committed plan?

When did I feel that I was as most committed to the plan? I would say when I had been included in the estimation-, scheduling- and planning-work. Even if it had been only a small contribution from my side during the estimation I used to feel that is important to show that I can deliver according to the estimation. 

I also believe I am not unique in making it an honour to live up to the estimations to whom I have contributed. My advice is to get the commitment you need to include the team members as well as management and the stakeholders in the estimation work. Is commitment of a persistent nature or is it growing like a plant?
The Author : Daniel Kilbo

About :  
15 years experience from SW development in embedded systems and control systems with requirements, design, leadership and test. 5 years experience from leadership and management. Words that mean much to me are as person: team, goals, high quality, customer value, different perspectives, openness, lack of prestige, fast delivery (on time), hard work, running and chocolate.

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