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Planning. It’s a word that makes project managers, excited project team members, and enthusiastic project customer cringe, as they consider moving forward on a hot project. Even executive management within the delivery organization - who above all should understand the concept of planning and what it means to the bottom line of the project - often would rather push a project forward than patiently wait for the methodical planning phases and deliverables to play out.
Why do we need planning?
Rework kills projects. And proper planning kills rework. In the project management world of rock-paper-scissors, planning is the rock to the rework’s scissors. With proper planning - SMASH! - no rework.
So project managers: slow the project down, convince yourself that planning is the best thing you can do at the beginning of a good long project, then take an hour or two or three and convince the project sponsor and anyone else pushing to the start your new project with less than adequate planning that it’s the right thing to do. It’s the profitable (believe it or not) thing to do, and everyone - I repeat EVERYONE - right on down to your anxious, tight-fisted project sponsor and your disbelieving executive management team - will see the benefits of proper and detailed planning as YOUR projects are the ones coming in on time and on budget with satisfied customers and happy end users testifying to your brilliance as a project manager. Ok, this is not guaranteed, but it could happen. And you will look smarter for it...trust me.
What to takeaway from this book...
My hope for the readers of this book is that they will go from wondering how to plan for and prepare to perform things like communication planning, risk management, preparing for and kicking off the engagement with the project customer, and creating a project schedule that is ready to use as a tool to lead a detailed and complex project engagement. I am not going to go through all of the details of each of these with you - that is for another book or another article or possibly even a textbook. What I want to give you is the wisdom and knowledge from someone who has been there and done that...someone who knows how it feels to succeed in each of these areas and also to fail in each of these areas and doesn’t want to see that happen to you. This book is for new and old PMs alike...a document that can help give you confidence in each of these areas because it lays some fundamental groundwork for each concept and activity and puts you in the position to move forward with success.