-This is the first part of a blog series about the background to the new collaborative planning tools that we will be rolling out over the next year. I hope to keep you continuously informed about what’s going on in the project
For a long time we have felt, believed and preached that communication, collaboration and a shared view of where we are heading are key factors in project success. So how do we best support your need to communicate what the overall goal of your project is is and what you need to do to achieve it? You can call it a roadmap, a timeline, a master plan, or just the way forward. For simplicity I’m going to call it the master plan because this is the term we use for this particular concept.
We believe that one aspect of planning in the real world is that we will always need to change the plan. Because the world is a changing place and because we need to adapt to these changes rather than fight them. (I recommend for instance to listen to the podcast “Accept what is” from inspired project teams http://www.inspiredprojectteams.com/?p=752.) This means that detail planning the future is a waste of time and energy and will also be likely to make it harder to accept the changes that will inevitably affect your long term plan. This doesn’t mean that we can only focus on the here and now. We still need to have the goal very clear and some milestones/tollgates/checkpoints that we can tick off to ensure that we are heading in the direction that will take us to the goal. Here we need commitment and active involvement from all stakeholders, sponsors and team. This is what we are looking at implementing in the Projectplace service (internal beta at the moment) – This is the Master Plan time horizon, the strategic path to the goal created by the project manager and sponsors and visible to all with the possibility to contribute and comment. It contains the deliverables that make up the project.
The intermediate future needs a little more detail. We call it the Look Ahead Plan. It contains different strategies for what and how we complete the deliverables. It is typically created by the Project Manager and/or persons in charge of the deliverables and is visible to the team with possibilities for the team to contribute with input and feedback.
The near future, and this could be the next hours, days, weeks or months depending on the nature of your project, is usually easier to plan in detail. Here we also have a need to know who’s working on what and how it’s going and have very intense follow-up and feedback to ensure that problems that arise are dealt with as promptly as possible and that resources are optimised right here and now. Here we need commitment and control. We call it the Action Plan and it contains the actual activities and their status. It is created by the project manager and/or team. We have started coding on the Action Plan but it’s very early days and I would currently call it an internal Alpha.
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