Project Mistake Number 1: Inadequate Planning

Monday, March 16, 2015, 6:00 PM | Leave Comment

Have you ever attended an end-of-project meeting on a project that had major problems? If you have, chances are that one of the major themes you will hear is that “we should have spent more time planning.”

Let’s face it, most project managers potentially face numerous mistakes that affect projects in terms of causing delays and, in some cases, contribute to complete project failure.

Project Mistake Number 1 - Inadequate Planning

There are a total of 5 project mistakes. Four more to follow published primarily in the afternoon slots every day this week.

  • Inadequate Planning

    I have heard project managers say that the time they spend planning could be better spent actually “doing the work”.

    This is not right. Before the project work begins, the project manager must make sure that the work is properly understood and agreed to by the project sponsor and key stakeholders.

    The larger the project, the more important it is that this information be defined formally and explicitly.

    When you think about it, many project problems can be traced to problems in planning. These include

    • Poor estimates based on not understanding the totality of the work.

    • Lack of scope change management because scope was not properly defined to begin with.

    • Issues occurring because of poor risk management.

    • Missing work because the schedule is not thought out.

    • Not understanding all the stakeholders involved.

    It should not be surprising, then, that the best way to avoid this problem is to do a good job of planning the project up-front.

There are four main components to the planning process.

  1. Defining the work

    You need to understand the nature of the project including objectives, scope, assumptions, risks, budget, timeline, organization and overall approach.

  2. Understanding the schedule

    You should create a project schedule before the project starts. This is needed to help you determine how to complete the work, and to estimate the total project effort and duration.

  3. Estimating costs

    You and the sponsor need a good estimate of costs before the project gets going.

  4. Agree on project management processes

    This will include how the project manager will manage scope, issues, risks, communication, schedule, etc.

People ask me how much time it takes to complete the project planning. The answer is “sufficient”.

You need to spend the time to define the work, create a schedule, estimate the costs and set up the project management processes.

If your project is small, this should not take much time.

If your project is large the planning may take a log time.

In other words, planning is scalable based on the size of the project.

Spending time on good planning ends up taking much less time and effort than having to correct the problems while the project is underway. We all know this to be the case. We just need to practice this on our projects.

There are four more project mistakes – for a total of Five. We’ll specify those mistakes in future articles. They’ll be published primarily on Sundays.

Courtesy of…

This column is © copyright to and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.

Use the best project management process in the world. Method123 Project Management Methodology (MPMM) is used by tens of thousands of customers around the world.

Take a test drive with the free trial download.

Buy MPMM today – NOW with extra program management and IT development modules.

Throw us a like at

Post a Comment on Content of the Article


This is not a billboard for your advertisement. Make comments on the content else your comments would be deleted promptly.

CommentLuv badge