When is a plan not a plan…

I asked myself that question when i was reviewing project plans/schedules recently and thought about the true characteristics of what makes the plan/schedules usable and useful. Before you start you must have a clear understanding of what the project is meant to achieve (the scope).

1. It has a clear set of deliverables that are required for the ultimate result of the project to be successful e.g. if i was building a house the plan/schedule may include a basement, floors, walls, electrics etc
2. It has clear tasks defined that can be executed to deliver the deliverables and are in the right order
3. It has the right resources assigned to each of the tasks to be able to complete them
4. It has defined duration for each task and the right effort to be able to achieve it within the duration
5. It can be picked up, reviewed and understood 🙂

It all seems so simple to do but too often there are reasons as to why this isn’t always the case. I hear people say

“It is too early in the process to plan” – not true – it is never too early to plan and set dates even if you are planning to plan 🙂

“I have a project plan” and then when you review it you realize it hasn’t been kept up to date and tasks have not been completed

“i don’t have any time to plan” to which i tell people it is strange how you always have the time to fail

“i have my key dates” and then you find out that that is all they have with no detail behind them

For so many reasons people fail to plan or fool themselves into thinking they have one that is useful. Don’t treat the plan/schedule as an item to tick the box against – an up to date plan with the right tasks, resources and deliverables will prove you have your project under control 🙂


About chriscashell

I have been working in IT for most industries during my career and delivering change through solutions combining process re-engineering and software systems. This has involved taking a disparate group of people to form project teams and setting out on a mission to change the business and drive it forward to meet compelling goals. Building and being part of a successful team is a great experience and seeing organizations and individuals embrace change is a rewarding experience. I want to share my insights into those experiences and thoughts and find out what others believe can make change fun and enjoyable.
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