The Value of a Plan

It doesn’t take a single week in project management until you are introduced to the all-powerful concept of the Project Management Plan. The opposite of a one line vision statement or strategy, your PMP may consist of double digit number of sub-plans, each with multiple pages themselves. Suddenly, this PMP may seem like a mini-thesis outlining how each of the members of your team should conduct themselves. The question in my mind can become, “don’t these folks already know how to deliver a project? Certainly they know better than if you tell them how to do it?”

The fact of the matter is that your team members hopefully do know how to deliver a project better than you do. That is why you chose them for your team, because they are smarter than you. So your role needs to be to solicit and incorporate their input into the PMP. Guiding them within the known constraints of the project and asking probing questions to help define the boundaries, metrics and goals. With your expert team’s full input and buy-off, you are more than half way toward success!

The problem is that this last step can be fairly involved with no rewards in sight. Many a great project has been delivered through on the fly consensus between a strong group of open minded individuals. Why put in so much effort into a PMP when it may not be needed?

This point is hard to appreciate until you see the value of a plan realized through execution. It is only well after the PMP is developed and endorsed by the Team that you often begin to see the tremendous benefits of the thoroughly understood and agreed-upon constraints, metrics and goals. Furthermore, it is easy to lose sight of these agreed-upon elements of the PMP during the interim time. Consistent reference to and emphasis of the PMP milestones will keep your team aligned and ultimately will show all of your team members the Value of a Plan.

Good Luck!

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