Project Management

Project Planning for Beginners

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Every now and then I read something in a project management publication (not on gantthead, of course!) that encourages project managers to involve their team in planning the project. Well, no kidding!
What’s the alternative, sit at their desk by themselves with Microsoft Project and magically hope that a bunch of tasks will coalesce into the semblance of an accurate plan? I hope no project manager believes that they can create a solid project plan without the involvement of their team, but how many PMs help their teams understand how to plan a project?
Planning the plan
Throughout this article I’m going to refer to a project plan for simplicity’s sake. In most cases we’ll be referring to the detailed tasks that make up the project schedule, but let’s make the assumption that we understand that a project plan and a schedule are different but related artifacts and move on.
In order to come up with a project plan that is a fair representation of the tasks that have to be completed, the way those tasks relate to one another, the people responsible for them and the amount of time that they are going to take, we need to ensure that we are all speaking the same language. You will likely have a project team that has a lot of different experience--some may be on their first project, some may be hugely experienced but have never …

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- William Shakespeare