The project planning and control process is really an example of the PDCA from Total Quality Management (TQM) and continuous improvement. This cycle was developed by renowned statistician and quality guru Edward W Deming. This steps in this cycle are very simple and, when repeated systematically, enable continuous improvement.
The steps involve:
PLAN: plan ahead for change. Analyse and predict the results.
DO: execute the plan, taking small steps in controlled circumstances.
CHECK: check, study the results.
ACT: take action to standardise or improve the process.
Typical Project Lifecycle
The project lifecycle varies depending on the complexity of the project and the culture of the entity developing the project.
The project starts as an idea or concept which is initiated in the Initiating phase. This phase may involve identifying the needs and requirements and options for satisfying the requirements. The planning phase will typically involve further studies and design development of a preferred option. The implementation will typically involve design completion, development, commissioning, testing and handover of the asset to the asset owner. The closing phase typically involves the closure of the project including reflecting on the project lessons and commercial closure of the project.
Typical Asset Lifecycle
Entities will have different lifecycle phases and different stage gates depending on the type of projects they perform and their organisational culture.
Higher risk projects often have a lifecycle that involves frequent assurance gate reviews in order to confirm whether the project still represents good value for money before committing additional funds. This diagram is a repeat of the asset lifecycle included in module 1 and you will notice that orange diamonds have been added. These diamonds represent project decision gates which are quite common for larger or higher risk projects. These are points in the project where the business makes a risk based decision whether to proceed to the next stage. These decisions involved an assessment of the latest forecast of benefits, costs and risks for the project and confirmation of whether the project is aligned with the organisation strategy.
How Projects are Delivered?
There are a variety of different methodologies that may be used by project teams for planning and implementing systems, assets and products.
The methodologies vary depending on the complexity of the project and the culture of the team developing the project.
INCOSE Systems Engineering Handbook 3.2.2, ”Project execution methods can be described on a continuum from 'adaptive' to 'predictive.’” Agile methods exist on the 'adaptive' side of this continuum, whereas waterfall methods are on the predictive side. stage gates depending on the type of projects they perform and their organisational culture.
Waterfall Development tends to be used on projects where the solution is reasonably well defined and lower levels of complexity exist. Project team works through each phase once to define, design, build, test and validate the system.
Incremental methods allow a project to provide an initial capability followed by successive deliveries to reach the desired product or system capability. The incremental-build model is a build-test-demonstrated model of iterative cycles in which frequent demonstrations of progress, verification, and validation of work-to-date are emphasized.
The Evolutionary style of development involves an approach in which the initial capability for the system is developed and is progressively upgraded based on customer feedback and experience. Pure Agile software development fits this model. If something does not turn out as expected and needs to be changed, it will be fixed in a given time period usually at the time of its next release.
Project team develops the system with ongoing feedback from the customer.
Projects are risky and uncertain
Uncertainty is the source of value.
Value comes in different forms.
Project planning, scheduling and controls helps manage and control risk.
Why we need Project Planning, Scheduling and Control?
Projects have the potential to transform lives of millions globally
Yet unfortunately projects are failing. Here are examples:
• Grattan Institute $28B Cost Overruns on Transport Infrastructure Projects in 15 years.
• (CII) 94.5% of projects do not meet one or more of their business objectives.
• (Bechtel) 98% of megaprojects experience overruns that average 80% over budget and 20 months late.
Two biggest causes of problems:
Strategic misrepresentation (lying)
Planning fallacy (Optimism bias)
Project planning, scheduling and control provides the opportunity to provide objectivity and data that will reduce the likelihood of strategic misrepresentation and optimism bias.