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Why Have Project Plans

8 replies [Last post]
Alan Chadwick
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A few questions that i am asking project & programme managers in the "hope" of getting them to think a little are:

Why have project plans ?

What benefit are project plan ?


Jonathan Kirby
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A project plan can be viewed as the projects map. How to get from A [the start] to B [the finish]. there may be many ways of getting there, the planners skill and analysis finds one way which is a balance of being the quickest route and the lowest cost. It is not the only way to get there.
The planners task is to communicate the route and alternatives to the team and if the way becomes blocked, to find the new best way to the finish.
Razi Khan
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I need a plan to arrange and manage the resources (Men,Material,Machine and Money).

A very basic and honest reply.

Roger Gibson
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Peter / Alan,

A few words of wisdom;

It’s vital to know the difference between good planning and too little or too much planning.

Not enough planning allows the process of construction to get unruly and take on a lift of its own. Too much planning stifles the ability to adapt to changing conditions. Good planning allows the project’s manager (e.g. contractor) to have a game plan and impose order and adapt to the often chaotic process of construction.

Roger Gibson

Alan Chadwick
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In no way am i trying to sow doubt in the minds of employers ....turning up to work keeps me out of trouble ...and the pub !!

I could’nt agree more with your statement re fixes and appears that most people posting replies on this website are more interested in how software works rather than base reason for having plans at all.

I was really expecting to see some good replies to my questions....perhaps we are all still hungover from christmas and the new year.
Alan Chadwick
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Thanks for the responses, but i was not really after proverbs or quotes from manuals.

Upon asking these questions to project managers you would be amazed at the disparate/ lack of meaningful responses....and these are the people responsible for the projects delivery !

These are fundamental questions, we simply produce a plan because clause 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc of a contract asks for it, print out a nice A0 colour copy and stick it on a wall or file it never to be looked at again, do we produce them because we have bought some whiz bang software and we want to to keep some poor sod in a job.

Where do project boards and stakeholders come into play.

The reasons or similar that i was after for having a plan (and these are just starters).....

• to define what we are we delivering (scope)?

• to define why are we doing it?

• to define how are we delivering them?

• to define when are we delivering them?

• to define who is delivering them ?

• to estimate how much will they cost?

I am sure you lot out there have all experienced the frustration of trying to get PMs to put something down on paper with which they will be accountable for delivering only to feel that you may as well be dealing with unruly children who you wounld’nt trust with a tenner in the local sweet shop.

So original questions

Why have project plans ?

What are the benefits of project plans ?

Se de Leon
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This is another planning proverb:

"If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail".
Peter Hibberd
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Project plans are a means of reducing the clients expectations and the contractors capabilities to an agreeable state, which is then monitored and responded to by the client and contractor alike. The method of doing this is a subjective issue. Streetwise logic dictates that there is so much software and operators involved with the process, that there must be a financial benefit in doing so or the bean counters would have sent us packing long ago.
There is also no way that a project can be done from the top of your head without confirming it in writing. I agree that far too much emphasis is placed on the desired output as opposed to the required facts - witness to this is the huge volume of ’fixes & fudges’ listed on this website. Whilst these are of obvious benefit to all planners to fully understand what is a huge discipline in itself, the plan is still a simple process by which the project is executed, and all other information about cashflows resource requirements, levelling etc are derived from this.
(By the way - a lot of us make a living this way, please dont sow any doubts in the minds of our employers !!)
Ernesto Montales
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From the definition of the word project as per PMI Book of Knowlegde.. "A project is a tempory endevour undertaking to create a unique product or service". Since the nature of projects are temporary (limited time frame). We must plan to meet the objectives of finishing the project on time, on budget and the quality accepted by the stakeholders. We cannot achieve this without a plan.

There is a planning proverb that goes like this " The only good thing of not planning is that failure comes a complete surprise"


E. Montales
Datem Construction