Claudia Eggers October 23, 2020 Project Management
Can Project Managers prevent projects from slipping? Ask a techie to come up with a schedule for a specific list of activities, and more often than not, he/she will present a fairly accurate estimate. Some activities might be underestimated, others overestimated, but overall, the plan will be fairly accurate. However, something happens to these estimates between the time the techie writes them down and the time the Project Manager publishes a baseline project schedule. That "something" is why projects slip.
Most larger organisations have well developed and run IT departments. They usually have formal project offices with established plan templates and standards, with project office staff and automated plan analysis systems (for example seeking orphan tasks / missing dependencies and so on to measure overall `plan quality`). Smaller organisations - for example, `IT solutions houses` - may lack this level of sophistication but will certainly use detailed project plans.
With simple projects, a tool such as a Gantt chart may make over complicate the project scheduling. Unless all team members are trained in the tool then the use of the tool may itself lead to poor communication and an unsatisfactory result. A simple project such as those identified above may only require a timetable and/or an action plan. All those in the project team should be communicated with as to their tasks content and timing. Timetables can then be negotiated and agreed, actions lists or diaries/calendars can be used for recording and planning purposes.
One of the challenges of explaining project management to people who are unfamiliar with the approach, is that descriptions are often either so high-level as to be meaningless, or so detailed that they are overwhelming. Over the years, I have come to use a model as a framework for introducing and discussing project management tools and techniques. It can be used as the basis for a five-minute explanation of what is involved in project management, but also as an outline for more detailed discussions. The actual model can be found on the Key Consulting website under free templates and info.