During a discussion with a colleague, the topic of the project schedule vs. the project plan came up. The first thing I did was thank my colleague for correctly stating that the tool we Project Managers (PM) use–MS Project–is the schedule, NOT the plan. When I state this, I usually get a glazed look from folks who are not PMs or do not completely understand a PM’s role in the overall project plan. So a discussion is necessary to answer the question, “What is a project plan?” The first thing we must do as PMs is stop using the term “project plan” when we really mean the project schedule. Now, we can begin the discussion of what is in the project plan.
Once these tools are established, the PM can then meet with Human Resources to begin building the schedule. This is another common fallacy that must be dispelled: the schedule is not built by the PM alone. On the contrary, the schedule is built by the team. You see, it is the team that puts together the tasks of the project, links the resources to the respective tasks, and then places a schedule for that task, creating the whole MS Project schedule. When this schedule is put together, then reality sets in regarding delivering the project on-time, within scope, and within budget. It is at this time that the first change request may be written and submitted.
I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine. You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.
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