How To Streamline Your Project Planning

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How to streamline your planning, and better complete projects successfully, in one go?

Over the past years, I studied projects organizations. It was part of my research why all organizations struggle with the same problems. I’ve visited over a hundred organization. High-tech, construction, automobile, software development, IT, government, offshore, engineering, ….

All with project management in the core of their processes. I interviewed hundreds of directors, project managers and professionals in projects. And consulted many consultants myself. They all struggled with the many problems. Faced similar concerns and challenges. And all admit that
their project management discipline and processes are not in order.

Most project managers didn’t enjoy formal project training or don’t have a PM certification. And those who did, don’t consistently follow the project management best practices. That is what they said.

Suppose that in a hospital, the surgeons were uneducated? Or pilots of a 747…. I must not think about it. Brrrr….

Is it the project managers to blame? Or their managers? I spoke both. Right or wrong, this is what they say: A PM certificate is a too big investment. In time and money. It is just too difficult. You need years to build the experience to keep all the balls in the air. And even then, no guarantees.

Having several certificates on project management myself, I know exactly what they are talking about.

This is the dilemma for us as PM community:
Either promote all in one method, like PMBoK, IPMA, Prince2, that are too difficult for many project managers, so they don’t use it.
Or promote a method that easier to learn and to apply, but isn’t perfect or complete.

The question is, what helps those project managers best? To better complete their projects successfully?
Project Management is far too complex for most project managers. But that wasn’t my first eye-opener. My first finding was, that most problems can be traced back to someone who didn’t have the time to do a proper job. I wasn’t the first who to draw this conclusion. You can’t solve these problems when people don’t have the time to do their work. On top of that, 94% of the participants in my research recognize in their organization people with more work than they can complete.

My second ‘open-door’ finding was about communication. Most complaints from a business owner, project managers and project professionals are about poor communication. Also this won’t be a surprise to you.

You can expect any problem when your people don’t have enough time or when they don’t collaborate. On the other hand, when your team has enough time and work close together, they can resolve practically any problem. That implies that enough people, enough time and collaboration are critical factors for success.

I’ve reviewed I don’t know how many project plans. Most plans don’t tell how many people are needed for how much time. And people in projects say these plans don’t help them to collaborate and align their work.

So, when most problems are caused by lack of time and lack of collaboration,
and most problems can be solved by enough time (and people) and better collaboration, but project plans don’t give this insight, then what if we would fix the planning for just that? And skip all the rest?

It would make Project Planning much more focused on preventing and solving problems. And much easier to learn and easier to apply. Would this strategy work?

I’ve studied many success stories from around the world. From organizations who dramatically improved their project performance. Key in their success was, they took care their people have enough time for their work.
And they helped them to better collaborate, align and synchronize their
work.

This key insight, of both the problems and lessons from success stories, put
me on the track to design ‘Primary Planning. A streamlined planning cookbook that is easier to learn and project managers better help to complete their projects successfully. That helps them to focus on what really matters.

For Primary Planning I used the PMBoK as a starting framework. It is a great framework with lots of proven best practices. I could also have used IPMA or Prince2 Product Based Planning. I only kept the processes to determine to create the project deliverables. And from these processes, I also kept those that help to determine the people you need and for how much time you need them. And I kept the processes that help project members to collaborate and align their work.

I streamlined these processes even further. I noticed that most of them prefer to figure it out themselves, then reading a book. Only when the processes are not obvious or essential insights are missing, I added them to Primary Planning.

In the coming weeks, I release training videos about Primary Planning
on a new youtube channel and on empoweryourprojects.com. Starting today. To help you to streamline your planning, and better complete projects successfully, in one go.

View all free training especially the online training about the Primary Planning here (or click the button below). No costs are involved.

 

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