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. You may also notice that I am trying to address the realities, the impact of human nature, on the work. That said, be aware that good planning requires a focus on all three major components of business processes and projects: time, cost, and quality. I have summarized with a list of suggestions at the end, and hope you find this entry helpful.
Whether you use a software tool or manage your plan in a graphics tool, a spreadsheet program, on a whiteboard (I have done this successfully), or on paper, you may need to maintain more than one copy. You may well wind up with a working plan copy you keep to yourself and use for analysis and prediction of schedule changes, and a presentation copy you make visible to the project team and only change when you have received the appropriate approvals from the stakeholders. As in accounting, one “set of books” may not be sufficient. (If you not familiar with business accounting, it is common to keep a standard set of financial books for reporting to investors and owners as required by law, a second set of books for tracking cost and managing business activities, a third set of books to track the business from a tax perspective, and some businesses even keep a fourth set of financial books structured for potential investors.)
Timothy Prosser – Ann Arbor, MI
Timothy spent the past ten years planning vehicle development programs and tracking parts at a major auto manufacturer in the Detroit area, employed by Integrated Management Systems, Inc. of Ann Arbor, MI (www.imsi-pm.com).
Past experience, in reverse order, includes 3 years writing and supervising technical documentation at a major automotive supplier, 7.5 years engineering computer printers for Unisys Corporation, 3 years of technical work in the image processing and automatic inspection industry, 5 years of network and peripheral service work for ADP, Inc., and 3 years selling wholesale electronic parts.
Education includes an MBA from The University of Michigan (1991), a BS in Geography from Eastern Michigan University (1974), and *countless* training classes by various employers. Timothy has also taught many seminars on project management and various tools involved in the work.