A Plan is the Strategy for the successful delivery of the project. Plans state “what” is to be done (programmatically what, not technically what). Schedules state “how” it is to be done – programmatically how it is to be done.
While this may seem subtle or maybe not even useful, it is critically important for several reasons:
- The plan shows how the project produces increasing value and increasing maturity of the products.
- It’s is the “road map” from the beginning to end, INDEPENDENT from the actual durations of the work.
- The Plan speaks to What we are doing.
- The schedule is the “driving instructions” for the vehicles on the roads, following the map.
- The execution of the schedule is the actual “driving” of the vehicle by the driver along with the passengers.
All three are needed, no one can be missing, all three interact with each other.
Plans are strategies. They tell us the flow of the project in terms of deliverables and the increasing value and maturity of those deliverables. I’m going to introduce some new words here that we’ll use later. They are just words for now, so their exact meaning is not important.
This is similar to the Value Stream Map found in Lean Six Sigma.
The “map” is the flow of the Significant Accomplishments in the project or program. For these Accomplishments, there are a set of Criteria that define the “exit conditions” for the underlying work. Defining these criteria BEFORE defining the details of the work is the basis of the Planning process.
This is a top down-first approach . It is NOT a Top Down only approach, just the 1st step in the process. But with the Accomplishments and the Criteria defined, there is a notional view of what “done” looks like. Measureable in some units meaningful to the project management team and the stakeholders in the project.
This focus on the definition of “done” is important for several reasons:
- “Done” is a measure of 100% done, not partially done, not almost done. But DONE. This is the concept of “starting with the end in mind,” popularized by Covey.
- Along the way to DONE, there are measures of “getting to done” that are “mini-dones.” These “maturity assessment points” are the way to measure physical percent complete in terms of the product maturity rather than the consumption of resources or passage of time.
The Schedule shows the work needed to produce the “deliverables” in the Plan. This sounds like a tautology – a statement of the obvious. But there’s more to it than that.
This work is ONLY the work needed to cause the “exit criteria” to appear of each individual definition of the criteria for named Accomplishment. In a previous slide we mentioned the definition of the Accomplishments come first. With these definitions – and most importantly the order in which these Accomplishments must be accomplished.