Thought Leadership

Are You Wasting Time and Money on Bad Planning?

The project itself probably isn’t what’s taking most of your time. Sometimes, 80 percent of a project is in the planning. Engineers consider features like asset conditions, systems, crews, vendors and workflows, then the costs of each.

But what if you could plan with twice the focus in half the time?

If you think it’s too good to be true, consider this:

On the surface, planning is easy. You incorporate triggering events among human and systems actors into a swim lane, then build out a functional decomposition to show the individual elements of a business process. From there, you can estimate the time and cost for each business process.

It’s scaling this, however, where cracks tend to appear, resulting in challenges during the implementation.

Why Something as Simple as Planning Often Proves Difficult

Perhaps the planning process works well for projects that cost between tens of thousands of dollars to the low millions, with durations less than a calendar year.

But the process may not be consistently applied, nor well understood across stakeholders. Results may not spring from project objectives because of misaligned expectations, unexpected issues, perfectionism, stakeholder demands or scope shifting.

Whatever the case, it might seem intuitive to hold working sessions that extend daily over weeks or months, with too many semi-contributors not fully contributing or engaged to the end.

For example, what better way to avoid misunderstandings than to lay out all aspects of the project unambiguously for both project managers and business analysts? After all, both are charged with meeting project objectives, developing goals, identifying risks and developing strategic plans.



While project managers and business analysts have similar roles, they differ from one another in key areas.

Project managers manage schedule, cost and scope. Business analysts develop work breakdown structures (WBS) and tasks, elicit requirements from stakeholders and subject matter experts (SMEs), and manage the information that comes from them.

Consequently, bringing the two together for an eight-hour session not only eats up a huge chunk of their time, it at worst can cause the very misunderstandings you’re trying to avoid.

For a superior method, consider this.

How to Rapidly Improve Business with an RPM Approach and Block Schedule

In a nutshell, the challenge to large-scale planning and estimation is scope management. Modeling working sessions after a Rapid Process Map (RPM) block schedule can save time and money.

With the RPM approach, you’d engage four hours per day across two sessions, with a focus on having the right people in the room, rather than incorporating everyone all at once for the duration. This could potentially cut the time in half and lead to more focused work sessions with aligned and communicated goals. Employees could keep up with their day jobs, yet engage fully during the work-sessions.

The result — a solid scope management plan and a requirements plan.

The scope management plan would document how the project scope will be defined, validated and controlled. The requirements plan would describe how project requirements will be analyzed, documented and managed.

Next would come the process of implementing your project objectives.

How to Guarantee Results by Detecting Hidden Scope and Technical Issues

With planning, a five-step Initial Estimating Sprint Zero can achieve a 75 percent confidence level. The five-step approach provides early detection of “hidden scope” and technical issues.

The five steps include Scoping and Prioritization; Decomposition; Abbreviated Impact Analysis; Budget Estimating; and Initial Program Planning.

  1. Scoping and Prioritization considers core objectives, phases and key dates.
  2. Decomposition breaks down high-level processes into individual steps and systems.
  3. Abbreviated Impact Analysis identifies and prioritizes features and reports, tying the features to the objective.
  4. Budget Estimating considers the cost of implementing these features based on the amount of hours they will take. A top-down approach is most effective here. Start with epics, which are a collection of user stories usually short on the details. Then work down from there.
  5. Initial Program Planning tunes financial estimations by engaging all the user stories from the bottom up to determine options and potential savings.

Daugherty RPM is Daugherty’s trademark innovative approach to handling large-scale estimation. We can provide a faster, better and cheaper solution with our approach, which has been proven in our success with large-scale organizations.

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