It’s a Plan, Not a Grocery List

July 19, 2011 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Musings, Project Plan Refinement

It’s a Plan, Not a Grocery List
By Kerry Wills

Creating a project plan is an art; it really is. A plan should be a facilitated inventory of all deliverables with associated activities organized in such a way as to be tracked and communicated at a granular level. Let’s look at each of those components…

  • A facilitated inventory – The PM should gather all information from the team who should be the expert in the project. This also involves them and gives the team a sense of ownership over the plan.
  • Deliverables and associated activities – Plans should be organized around deliverables and activities to perform the work.

  • Organizated in such a way as to track – Deliverables should have milestones that are able to be tracked. This does not mean having 40 day long tasks. Milestones should be 5-10 days and able to be tracked.

  • Communicated – A plan has to be organized logically and be clean so a project manager can communicate it effectively to the team.

I have seen many plans which just look like grocery lists in that they just list out everything that needs to be done. They are not organized, sequenced or shown at a detailed level. This makes them hard to monitor status, hard to communicate to the team and hard to obtain status.

Now how come I can make stunning project plans and manage several hundred activities, but I always forget something at the Grocery store? Go figure.

Kerry Wills is a proven Program Manager/Portfolio Manager with an extensive background in Project Management, consulting, and application development. Kerry has consistently demonstrated the ability to plan and implement large and complex projects on time and on/under budget. Kerry runs a blog, Adventures in Project Management.

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