Project Management

Back to PM Basics (Part 5): All Project Plans Aren't the Same

Following 20 years at a large Canadian telecommunications firm, Bruce established the project management consulting firm Solutions Management Inc (SMI). Since 1999, he has provided contract project/program management services, been a source for project management support personnel and created/delivered courses to over 7,000 participants in Canada, the United States and England.

As this series moves to the fifth installment of building a foundation of project management knowledge, the focus moves to developing a project plan. This article will address:

  • The purpose and types of project plans
  • Identifying the first steps of project planning
  • Defining and identifying project scope

Project Plans: Are They All the Same?
Repeat after me: Project work can be completed without the help of project managers.

That statement can be unsettling to current or aspiring project managers. The reality is, however, that work always has to be completed in any organizational environment. A need or opportunity is recognized, consideration is given to how the goal will be achieved, and people responsible for completing the desired outcome start chipping away at the list of tasks. Eventually the work gets done (or not), and the team moves on to the next opportunity.

Imagine you live on the east coast of North America. Your goal is to drive to the Pacific Ocean. Assume your vehicle does not have GPS. How hard could it be? Simply drive toward the sun each afternoon and you will eventually reach the west coast.

Most people would agree that is not a good strategy. There are places on that journey you don’t want to be when looking for accommodations. How much will fuel cost in different areas? What if the gas station only accepts cash? How will the …


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"Interestingly, according to modern astronomers, space is finite. This is a very comforting thought--particularly for people who can never remember where they have left things."

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