The core planning processes

PMBOK Context

Project planning – the basis for project implementation and controlling

Project planning is a central and very important technique of project management (some people mix up mistakenly project planning and project management). Without an accurate planning a project will never be a success !

Project planning is a key precondition for the project controlling process (some people consider it as part of the project controlling).

How to create successfully a project planning ?

A clear and formally approved project order including the aimed project scope and project budget envelope is the basis to start the project planning. The project scope includes:

  • Project specific consistent goals
  • Project specific consistent requirements – on epic level

The project order definition could be part of the project initialisation phase or provided by an internal business department or external client. The cut and mapping of the business (demand) portfolio requirements aiming product specific requirements to specific project scopes should be done by the demand or portfolio management department.

With uncomplete or even not provided project order some project managers start already to work with MS project trying to produce a nice Gantt chart. This quality gap leads to several subsequent gaps and don’t generate a reliable value.

Only with clear project order and entry criteria and a systematically structured planning procedure you will later successfully complete your project and monitor them.

The project charter

The project has a unique timeline and achieves deliverables following unique requirements and fulfilling unique goals. Therefore the planning process is very crucial as a creative act projecting the planned exceution into the future. As already mentioned the basis of an accurate project planning is:

SMART project goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound).

The goals should be already aligned with the most important stakeholders. The goals should be already checked and approved in the context of a clear business case of a demand initiative, if they are defined by an internal demand unit. The goal could be structured hierarchically and have different priorities. In a dedicated post I will explain in details how goals can be specified.

Therefore you should have enough Spend time on this until really concrete goals are defined, which are also supported by the most important stakeholders.

To meet the goals project specific requirements have to be defined. The requirement engineering process could be part of the project itself or also provided by a client (Scope Statement), demand unit (Epics). I recommend to have the requirements at least on epic level before starting the project planning process. The requirements should be also SMART and refer to the project goals they meet (Traceability requirements <> goals). The “raison d’être” of requirements is given by serving a goal !

TBC: Based on the project goals and main requirements a preliminary estimation leads to an approved budget envelope. The project goals, requirements and budget framework build in general the projetc charter, which should be worked out clearly before starting the planning process.

The planning processes

Project planning includes according to PMBOK the following primary planning processes and secondary planning processes:

Core planning processes

  1. project scope planning – WBS
  2. activity planning
  3. resource planning
  4. cost planning
  5. budget planning

Secondary planning processes

  • Quality Planning
  • Communication planning
  • Risk planning
  • Organizational planning
  • Purchase planning

The project planning process should consider the following projects parameters:

  • scope
  • complexity
  • duration
  • project team

The chosen granularity of the project planning process should create a balance between maintainability and the ability to control the project

My Experience

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