A final word… – OPEN

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Topic 8.8: A final word...

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The final step in the planning stage of a project’s life is getting your plan approved by the sponsor and/or steering committee.

Remember how we said that the project charter only authorises planning to begin within some high-level boundaries of scope, schedule and budget?

Now you need to validate your plan against that project charter.

If there is significant deviation from the ±20% tolerance you might have agreed at that time, the project’s business case should be revisited.

How often do you think that happens?

It's only money!

I can tell you that a well-conducted planning process quite often reveals an under-appreciation of the scope, time and costs of delivering a project.

This in turn implies that the business case was either rushed or advanced, with an incomplete understanding of the risks and issues involved.

Unfortunately, I can also tell you that too many organisations simply shrug their shoulders and tip the extra resources into the project anyway.

This is less than ideal.

After all, the purpose of the business case was to value the relative costs, benefits and risks of proceeding with the project.

If the delivery costs and risks to the organisation significantly change as a result of the new information revealed in the planning process, you need to properly analyse what impact this will have on project outcomes.

And that is not the purpose of the project plan – that is the purpose of the business case, so back you go!

That said, even the most meticulous of project plans will have its own margin for error – usually ±10%, depending on the context.

Therefore, a great plan does not guarantee project success; what it ultimately does is make the project that much easier to manage.

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