August 6, 2008

A Gantt Chart and A Project Plan

Part of the solution
How to Make it Happen in 2008
There is an infatuation new PMs have with timelines or specifically Gantt charts. I guess they are visually appealing and easy to draw. Often when I review project plans – I am presented with only a Gantt or a timeline. And I always wonder – what about the rest of the plan?

What is the rest of the plan? Well – it is everything needed to draw the Gantt. The Gantt is basically stating a timeline requirement to accomplish something. So the plan should address this something or in other words the scope of the project.

Scope – what exactly is included in this project? The more detailed the better because this is the reason why this project is being initiated – to accomplish this objective. Next comes the question – how will this scope be accomplished?

That leads to metholdology, WBS, steps or tasks. The Gantt may show these steps, but any assumptions, constraints, dependencies or milestones need to be clarified and spelled out as part of the planning process.

The Gantt may show resource assignment but what is needed is the organizational structure for this project. Reporting structure, roles and expectations need to be explicitly defined. Any assumptions about skills, availability, critical resources or training need to be defined.

And finally the cost of the project in terms of hours and dollars needed to be articulated. Cost components like contingency management, resource costs, assumptions, locations, and hw/sw should be defined.

A Gantt is defendable and viable when it is backed up by core project planning attributes. Without these – a Gantt is little more than a pretty picture.

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1 comment:

John Papers said...

Thanks for this post..