Project Planning Summary
What is Project Planning?
A project is usually defined as a temporary, discrete piece of work that is undertaken to
produce a defined product or service. It is not your usual “day job”. For example, building
the London Underground Jubilee Line extension was a very large project; actually running
the trains is the “day job”!
Projects come in all shapes and sizes – but there are some key fundamental principles
you can apply to all projects to ensure they are completed successfully.
This guide covers the basic tools and techniques for planning a successful procurement
The toolkit does not address all of the project tools that exist – users are referred to the
Prince 2 area on the OGC website.
Where does it fit in with Category Management?
Establishing the Category Project
Strategy Plan and Implementation
What is included in this guide?
What is a project?
Some common tools and techniques in project planning
Using brown paper for initial Project planning
Use of ‘RACI’ for resource planning.
Project risks assessment
Checklist for project manager
Which processes does the tool apply to?
Demand Management, SRM and Strategic Sourcing
Which other tools link to this guide?
What is a project?
A project has a definitive end point which represents the attainment of the project
objective. In order to reach the objectives in the shortest time and at the lowest cost, the
interim tasks must be carefully planned and managed.
Structure of programme/projects
The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is representation of the project elements in a
descending level of detail. The Scope Statement should be broken down until an
“adequate” and “manageable” level of detail is reached for reasonable duration and cost
estimates. Performance is typically measured and reported at the ‘Activity’ or
‘Workstream’ level. However, effective planning requires that the activities be further
broken down to the ‘task’ level to permit accurate cost estimating and scheduling of
A Programme represents a group of PROGRAMME
Projects which are collectively managed
in order to obtain synergistic benefits.
Project "A" Project "B"
An Activity represents a
group of Tasks which
result in a deliverable.
Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4
Task "a" Task "b" Task "c" Task "d" Task "e" Task "f"
The Project Plan contains the scope and work break down structure (activities with
milestones, tasks with deliverables, timeline, resources and estimates developed during
the work definition process)
The plan develops the work estimates into a time phased project schedule/plan and a
Resource requirements and a formal risk assessment are also included in the plan
The plan must be approved by the project board and becomes the document for
management control and accountability.
What should be included in the project plan / schedule?
Some tips on using brown
Milestones paper for project planning
Timeline – time started, time ends, duration • Key activities – keep it
Dependencies high level at this stage,
tasks can be agreed at
Resources – when resources need to be involved, the next stage
full-time or part-time? What is the percentage of
• Brainstorm all
time the resources devoted in each tasks?
activities – then
Common tools used in creating project
• Start by placing across
plan / schedule
Brown paper process mapping
• Include a mobilisation
Gantt Chart event
Microsoft Project • Workstreams may be
Excel spreadsheet. identified at this stage
from the activities –
similar to Process Map
Use of “brown paper” for initial project
Process mapping using brown paper – (or
brainstorming) - is a useful way for initial project
planning and working out the work breakdown structure. (For details, please refer to
Process Mapping module.) The detailed schedule may then be planned using a Gantt
chart or MS Project.
Why do we use brown paper?
• May involve entire team/buy-in
• Visual and visible
• Flexible – plan and the team are mobile
• Can be changed as the project develops
• Team/right people are involved
• Different views, keep process moving, resolve conflict
• Stimulate creativity.
Use of ‘RACI’ for planning resources
R – Responsibility - the individual(s) who actually completes the task, the doer. This
person is responsible for action or implementation. Responsibility can be shared. The
degree of responsibility for each role in a shared activity is determined by the
A – Accountability - the individual who is ultimately responsible. Includes yes or no and
C – Consult - the individual(s) to be consulted prior to a final decision or action. This
incorporates two-way communication
I – Inform - the individual(s) who needs to be informed after a decision or action is taken.
This incorporates one-way communication
o There can only be one accountability per activity
o Authority must accompany accountability
o Minimise the number of consults (C) and informs (I) on each activity
o Try to minimise the amount of people who check or authorise an activity.
Such actions do not add value to a process.
Project risk assessment
The management of the project through the project life cycle involves both an initial and
an ongoing risk assessment by both the Project Manager and the Project Team:
Project risks should be assessed by evaluating:
• its impact on the project activities and deliverables and
• the likelihood of which it will occur.
Initial risk assessment is done during the planning phase. A risk log is to be kept to
record the risks identified and mitigating actions
Some of these risks can be mitigated through rigorous project management techniques
and others must be dealt with through probabilistic assessments
The following are typical sources of project risk:
• Uncontrolled changes in requirements
• Poor estimates
• Poorly defined roles and responsibilities
• Misunderstandings or omissions from the scope statement
• Errors in design and execution
• Unforeseen limitations and secondary effects
• Insufficient skills among the project team
• Turnover in the project team
• Resource schedule conflicts, such as from other projects.
The Project Team may make use of any or all of the following techniques for assessing
and managing risk:
• Estimating - Basing duration and cost estimates on the smallest reasonable
increment of work as well as using weighted average estimating
• Formal Change Control - Limiting changes in scope and requiring new estimates for
remaining work when changes do occur
• Contingency Planning - Preparing “work around” plans for risks which are
reasonably foreseeable prior to starting a project
• Subcontracting - Using outside experts to perform work when internal skills are
insufficient or when fixed price subcontracts will limit cost exposure
• Computer Simulation - Using simulation techniques, such as Monte Carlo Analysis,
to determine probabilistic outcomes
• Alternative Strategies - Considering alternate approaches, which may eliminate
some exposure to risk, during the project planning phase
• Insurance - Procuring insurance or performance bonding.
Checklist for a project manager
Develop a written Project Objective which is clear and concise
Develop a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to a sufficient level of detail to facilitate
accurate task estimates
Involve the project sponsor intimately in the scope definition process
Minimise “level of effort” tasks and focus on deliverables
Limit task duration to 80 hours or else plan for an interim deliverable
Clearly communicate project team roles and responsibilities
Require the Project Team to provide the task estimates
Use “weighted average” task duration estimates rather than most likely or optimistic
Sequence the tasks and assign start dates
Identify dependencies between tasks
Assign resources to the tasks
Perform an initial risk assessment and develop contingency plans
Include regularly scheduled review meetings in the project plan
Set aside at least 10% of the project fees as the Management Reserve
Aggressively defend against scope creep
Require a formal approval process for changes to scope
Adjust remaining duration and cost estimates when scope changes are approved
Encourage detailed time reporting (at the activity level) by the project team
Use “Earned Value” performance metrics rather than “percent of budget consumed”
Use the “early warning” of Earned Value measures to take corrective action on cost and
Use the project performance data to improve future estimates
Avoid prosecution of team members during the “learning curve”
Use software tools to augment good PM techniques rather than relying on the tools to
solve PM problems.
For further information
http://www.apm.org.uk/ (Association of Project Management web-site)
http://www.ipma.ch/ (International Project Management Association web-site)
http://www.fek.umu.se/irnop/projweb.html (Guide to project management research
http://www.pmi.org/info/default.asp (Project Management Institute web-site)