Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Introduction to Project Planning – Neil Curtis, ITT Defence

Has planning become sidelined as a professional project management discipline? Neil Curtis, representing the APM Specific Interest Group thinks so. That is why the newly re-launched SIG launched their guide Introduction to Project Planning at the APM Project Management Conference 2008.

A plan is more than just a schedule; it should include scope, deliverables, implementation strategies and processes, project organisation, constraints, assumptions, dependencies and cost estimates.

Planning is frequently viewed as a technical side-issue, yet it helps maximise success, aids communication, develops commitment, and prepares for the unexpected. Above all it provides the baseline against which a project is measured.

Planning is central to the role of the project manager, which raises the question as the value offered by specialist planners. Their skills are often ignored and sidelined, their role is increasingly to act as mentors, technical experts and consultants to the project and its planning activities.

The benefits of planning will change at different stages in its lifecycle

Concept – project need and feasibility
Definition phase – refining and optimising the plan
Implementation, handover and closeout phases – executing the plan
Closeout – capture lessons learned to inform future planning

Planning won’t guarantee success, but it will get closer to success.

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