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Topics: Leadership, Schedule Management
Planning VS Execution

"The most important phase of a project is the planning phase, not the execution." Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
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The point is: it has no sense to think that there is a more important phase than other. For example, the critical phase to achieve is close. When things have to be closed then you will experience lot of things like team is relaxed and others. And when you work with adaptive life cycle models you will find that it is not easy to diferentiate a phase.

I agree with the phrase to a point. If you want to execute things well (or correctly), then you need to have a well laid out plan of attack. This isn't to say that execution isn't also important, but I definitely think planning needs to have a certain level of priority for a project to be performed with every needed aspect included.
1 reply by Daniel Nyakwabe Laurence
Sep 23, 2017 3:11 AM
Daniel Nyakwabe Laurence
In my case, i can't choose which one is the best between planning and Executing, you may have all planned skills for a project and due to the poor level of execution may results to poor quality and increase high level of maintenance(Cost of Quality(COQ)). So nothing is better than the other you need to have a full package of well administered process Groups. to meet the Project Requirements.

I fully agree with Sergio. With all respect, but he statement "Planning vs Execution" and how the question is raised does not make sense to me.
Important is Planning AND continuos re-planning throughout the project with regular customer involvement on delivered results in parallel powered by strong communication management and stakeholder management.

I don't think that one is more important than the other. I think the mindset that planning is more important exists because it is often neglected and we oh so often try to jump to execution as quickly as possible because we feel that is what is expected of us. We give planning more importance in our minds because execution is treated like it is more important.

Say it with me... We don't have time to do it right, but we have time to do it three (or more) times.

I know I've felt that way. Taken to the extreme opposite end, if all you do is plan, without executing, what good is the planning? Projects need adequate planning AND good execution. And they need this before you close the project, if you want to close a successful project.

Is the foundation more important than the building?

Depends on the viewpoint and context. 'More important' may not be the right description. Each holds their own level of importance, entangled with related dependencies.

Yes, as Andrew pointed, out the process "planning" is interrelated with "execution", as the execution results (further assuming we work in agreed, time-boxed and change locked sprints) mjust have an impact on current planning. And this makes sense as the execution results does show the team whether they are on the right track. Planning and Execution goes hand in hand and there is NO versus.

I agree with Mr Conte.

Disagree, the most important phase is Initiation, where the project is approved, the budget and scope is defined and the project manager appointed. Without approval, scope and budget there is nothing to plan and execute...
Apart from that a good project manager knows how much planning a certain project needs depending on things like project type, scope, quality of the requirements documents, stakeholders and the team. For a large and complex construction project with lots of dependencies you may have a very large planning phase as the most important success factor, while for an agile software development there may be only a very short planning phase until execution starts with the first sprint and further planning happens along the way and the incremental approach greatly reduces the need to plan everything way ahead before actually executing. And also for predictive waterfall projects the importance of the planning phase may depend on how clear the requirements and the scope are.

To modify the old cliché, planning is important, planning phases are not!

Important is in the eye of the beholder. For a customer, the most important phase might be when they receive the deliverables and start realizing their business value. For the PM, it might be when they develop and get approval on their baselines.


I consider them they're equally important; defining "important" as how much they add value to the project completion itself.
I think I cannot go from point A to point B just by starting to move towards B; that is, if we just jump to execute withouth planning may lead to overcost, delays and all sort of issues.
Likewise, I cannot go from point A to point B by not moving at all; that is, cannot spend the whole time planning and planning without actually executing, because the lastest help to validate planning.
In that regards, rather than one being more important that the other.. I see them as complements; as Peter mentioned "going hand by hand"
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"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."

- Mark Twain



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