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 Is Project Management Planning the Elephant in the Room No One Dares to Talk About? | PM Tools - PM Tools

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Is Project Management Planning the Elephant in the Room No One Dares to Talk About?

If you were to ask most people what they instinctively relate project management to, the vast majority would immediately say planning.  Now admittedly project management planning is a key skill which any project manager needs to have, but is it really as important to a successful project as many would like to think?

After all how many times have you come across a project or programme which is late, over budget and is basically going nowhere? And this isn’t an isolated incidence. It has been estimated that as many as 95% of projects are either cancelled, over budget, late or do not delivered quality. One just has to look at the UK’s public sector IT programmes for evidence of that!

So one has to ask the question, is this because not enough detailed Project Management planning was undertaken or is it due to something else? Looking at real world practice the one thing Project Managers should be able to do is plan. After all every course and book is full of tips on how to plan effectively, and the result is demonstrated in the every more creative and lengthy plans produced.

And yet the list of failed projects continues to grow, particularly in the public sector where detailed project management planning is given more priority than anything else. But why should this be?

Well one reason is because simply too much emphasis is placed on detailed project management planning. After all who has not heard the phrase “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”. However project management cannot be quantified as a mere paper pushing profession where creating a detailed project plan instantly means project success no matter what many outsourcing consultancies would like to think.

In fact delivering quality projects to time and budget involves a great deal of “soft skill” such as ability in leadership, communication, problem solving and lateral thinking. After all a plan is nothing more than a basis for work. Actually getting the plan delivered takes far more chasing and troubleshooting.

However all too often this gets forgotten because the effort required is simply not quantifiable and can’t be planned for. After all who can plan for power cables being dug up and stolen, ships carrying important pieces of hardware sinking, key resources suddenly quitting or even as in one case, a supplier delivering a formal release of code having “forgotten” to test it, . Yes you can do a contingency plan, but so many little things crop up which need troubleshooting that there is little point.

In conclusion detailed project management planning is definitely something which is required on any project. However spending infinite time on a plan whilst forgetting to actually make things happen or troubleshoot problems will simply lead to the project not delivering. After all it is far better to deliver a project than it is to be the proud author of a 2000 line project plan that no-one followed or delivered to!

my-project-management-expert.com provides further information on what is a project management plan and also creating a project plan

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