Planning Guidelines

Software projects span a broad range of application domains. It is valuable but risky to make specific planning recommendations independent of project context. It is valuable because most people in management positions are looking for a starting point, a skeleton they can flesh out with project-specific details. They know that initial planning guidelines capture the expertise and experience of many other people. Such guidelines are therefore considered credible bases of estimates and instill some confidence in the stakeholders.

Inception

WBS Element

Fidelity

Management

High

Environment

Moderate

Requirements

High

Design

Moderate

Implementation

Low

Assessment

Low

Deployment

Low

WBS Element

Fidelity

Management

High

Environment

High

Requirements

Low

Design

Low

Implementation

Moderate

Assessment

High

Deployment

Transition

Construction

WBS Element

Fidelity

Management

High

Environment

High

Requirements

High

Design

High

Implementation

Moderate

Assessment

Moderate

Deployment

Low

WBS Element Management Environment

Requirements Design

Implementation Assessment

Deployment

Fidelity High High Low

Moderate

High

High

Moderate

Figure 10-3. Evolution of planning fidelity in the WBS over the life cycle

Project-independent planning advice is also risky. There is the risk that the guidelines may be adopted blindly without being adapted to specific project circumstances. Blind adherence to someone else's project-independent planning advice is a sure sign of an incompetent management team. There is also the risk of misinterpretation. The variability of project parameters, project business contexts, organizational cultures, and project processes makes it extremely easy to make mistakes that have significant potential impact. Within this book, I have tried to provide an adequate context so that such misinterpretations can be avoided. To temper the project-independent discussions, Appendix D presents a very detailed case study of a specific real-world project. The case study provides a good example of a project that is 90% consistent with the project-independent planning guidelines given here. It also provides examples and rationale for several minor deviations from these guidelines.

Two simple planning guidelines should be considered when a project plan is being initiated or assessed. The first guideline, detailed in Table 10-1, prescribes a default allocation of costs among the first-level WBS elements. The second guideline, detailed in Table 10-2, prescribes the allocation of effort and schedule across the life-cycle phases. Given an initial estimate of total project cost and these two tables, developing a staffing profile, an allocation of staff resources to teams, a top-level project

Table 10-1. WBS budgeting defaults

first-level

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment