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Know Your Audience When Developing the Project Management Plan

Know Your Audience When Developing the Project Management Plan (#10 in the series Effective Planning for Big Projects)
By Timothy Prosser

Know your audience, your organization, when reviews take place, and what makes sense to include in the plan.

There is no substitute for knowing who will be using and reading your plan, what they need in the way of both direction and presentation, and when they need it. Knowing this, you can:

  1. choose the appropriate timing granularity, as you don’t need to plan something day-by-day when the activities you’ll show all take weeks or months
  2. know when the plan and project will be reviewed, and when changes are most likely to occur. If the plan is only going to be reviewed in detail at the end of each month, perhaps you can wait to update it until a few days before the review, update it again after the review (with the inevitable changes), and spend the rest of the month tracking progress and helping people understand what they have to do and when
  3. identify the functional groups that could benefit from more detailed subordinate plans, and include the work to produce and maintain them in your estimates of time needed for the planning effort
  4. understand what information will be available to substantiate the plan.
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Proper Organization Can Make The Plan A Better Reference

Proper Organization Can Make The Plan A Better Reference (#8 in the seris Effective Planning for Big Projects)
By Timothy Prosser

Divide the plan into areas that represent different functional groups’ activities, or into work streams representing specific sub-chains of dependent tasks. This will make it easier for people to refer to, and allow them to see quickly what they need to do and when, or what will happen if a task is delayed.

The overstuffed plan is divided into separate row-areas for various activities, a good idea, but within each one there are 20 to 60 different dates, many with bars to indicate activities with start and end points, and the rest mostly attached to symbols. Unfortunately, the events and labels are crammed so close to each other it becomes difficult to figure out which symbol is associated with which date. In many of the sections there are boxes of notes and lists of dates that apparently wouldn’t fit into the chart. Read the Complete Article

Include Reference Information to Explain Symbols and Acronyms

Include Reference Information to Explain Symbols and Acronyms (#7 in the seris Effective Planning for Big Projects)
By Timothy Prosser

First a disclaimer: I don’t claim to be the world’s expert on project management, and I urge anyone who is involved in or interested in project management to seek good sources of information and study, as this is a profession requiring a lot of skill and knowledge to do well. That said, I believe my decades of experience (planning projects up to 4 years in length and over $1 billion in cost) gives me some basis to write this. You may notice that I tend to focus more on the timing aspects of large scale plans. I am not ignoring the financial side of the discipline, but not stressing it either, because I have usually had a parallel financial planning effort, run by accountants and financial experts, to lean on. Read the Complete Article

A Too-detailed Plan Can Become Nearly Impossible to Maintain

A Too-detailed Plan Can Become Nearly Impossible to Maintain (#5 in the seris Effective Planning for Big Projects)
By Timothy Prosser

First a disclaimer: I don’t claim to be the world’s expert on project management, and I urge anyone who is involved in or interested in project management to seek good sources of information and study, as this is a profession requiring a lot of skill and knowledge to do well. That said, I believe my decades of experience (planning projects up to 4 years in length and over $1 billion in cost) gives me some basis to write this. You may notice that I tend to focus more on the timing aspects of large scale plans. I am not ignoring the financial side of the discipline, but not stressing it either, because I have usually had a parallel financial planning effort, run by accountants and financial experts, to lean on. Read the Complete Article

You Have to Have Plans, but to Be Effective They Must Achieve a Happy Medium as Far as Detail and Readability

You Have to Have Plans, but to Be Effective They Must Achieve a Happy Medium as Far as Detail and Readability (#4 in the seris Effective Planning for Big Projects)
By Timothy Prosser

First a disclaimer: I don’t claim to be the world’s expert on project management, and I urge anyone who is involved in or interested in project management to seek good sources of information and study, as this is a profession requiring a lot of skill and knowledge to do well. That said, I believe my decades of experience (planning projects up to 4 years in length and over $1 billion in cost) gives me some basis to write this. You may notice that I tend to focus more on the timing aspects of large scale plans. I am not ignoring the financial side of the discipline, but not stressing it either, because I have usually had a parallel financial planning effort, run by accountants and financial experts, to lean on. Read the Complete Article

It Is Not Uncommon to Have Two or More Copies of a Plan

It Is Not Uncommon to Have Two or More Copies of a Plan (#3 in the seris Effective Planning for Big Projects)
By Timothy Prosser

First a disclaimer: I don’t claim to be the world’s expert on project management, and I urge anyone who is involved in or interested in project management to seek good sources of information and study, as this is a profession requiring a lot of skill and knowledge to do well. That said, I believe my decades of experience (planning projects up to 4 years in length and over $1 billion in cost) gives me some basis to write this. You may notice that I tend to focus more on the timing aspects of large scale plans. I am not ignoring the financial side of the discipline, but not stressing it either, because I have usually had a parallel financial planning effort, run by accountants and financial experts, to lean on. Read the Complete Article

A Good Software Tool Can Provide Some Powerful Advantages, but Can Present its Own Challenges

A Good Software Tool Can Provide Some Powerful Advantages, but Can Present its Own Challenges (#2 in the seris Effective Planning for Big Projects)
By Timothy Prosser

First a disclaimer: I don’t claim to be the world’s expert on project management, and I urge anyone who is involved in or interested in project management to seek good sources of information and study, as this is a profession requiring a lot of skill and knowledge to do well. That said, I believe my decades of experience (planning projects up to 4 years in length and over $1 billion in cost) gives me some basis to write this. You may notice that I tend to focus more on the timing aspects of large scale plans. I am not ignoring the financial side of the discipline, but not stressing it either, because I have usually had a parallel financial planning effort, run by accountants and financial experts, to lean on. Read the Complete Article

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