Project Management

The Living Project Schedule

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 andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I wasn’t going to write this article, the theme seemed too obvious. But having spoken with some of my colleagues, and thinking back to some of my experiences, it seems like this is a topic that does need to be addressed. So, let’s get to it--when do you do your project planning?
 
The answer is not just “at the start of the project”--the correct answer is “all the way through the project.” The oldest cliché in the book is that if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail, and it’s true. However, it’s also true that if the only time that the plan is built is at the project planning stage, you will also likely fail. The project plan must be a living, evolving document that is updated and changed on a regular basis.
 
The basics
I’m going to use project plan and project schedule interchangeably throughout this article--I know they aren’t the same, but the difference isn’t particularly relevant here.
 
Let’s think about what the project schedule is used for. It should be created at the start of the project to come up with the structure of tasks, their relationship to one another, the resources needed and the initial estimate of the effort and duration needed to create them. After the project plan is created, it should be updated with “real” information as tasks are …

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"No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible."

- George Burns

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