Kick These Old Planning Habits in the New Year

According to InEight, a top producer of construction project management software, companies have four bad habits that should stop in the coming year. The overarching goal of project planning is to create a model that “best reflects what we believe will be a reality”. However, many software tools teach us bad habits that are better left in the past.

  1. Starting From Scratch – When you begin a new project with a critical path method (CPM) tool, nothing much happens. You are presented with a blank workbook in which to create a master schedule. Construction organizations are becoming increasingly concerned about losing project expertise through software and other employee conditions, such as retirement. Instead of starting from scratch, the right software will allow companies to achieve knowledge-driven planning with all new project schedules.
  2. Work-Driven Planning – Work-driven planning is a top-down scope that breaks a project down into deliverables and what is needed to deliver them. The work required is modeled by a CPM, but this work is often not the only ingredient in getting things done. A separation of scope and work to be done allows planners to report what matters most during the planning process. While getting estimates wrong is seen as one of the worst results in project planning, it can be just as bad to miss scope and detail in the planning phase. On the other hand, deliverable-based planning helps to explain what is being done in addition to how it is being done. This creates a model that “truly reflects and includes all of the scope we are being asked to build.”
  3. WAG Planning – WAG planning is an acronym for wild-ass guess planning. In the modern age, this simply does not suffice. Each project is a unique endeavor, but if you break it down far enough, there are enough similarities with past projects that you can find the commonalities. WAG planning only precipitates re-planning, which gets you nowhere in the long run. With the right software, however, you can benchmark similar projects based on duration, cost, sequence of work and common issues or risks. Historical benchmarks alleviate the need for WAG planning and let you get into calibrated planning, which allows for differences in location and the scope of a project.
  4. Planning Alone – Planning a project and coming up with an accurate estimate should not be a job for a salesperson alone. That is a tremendous amount of responsibility to carry for someone who is not involved in the work. Planning is not simply a “done-by” timeframe. It is important for the customer to know exactly when each step will be carried out. Rather than silo planning, strive for consensus planning. Your workers will be able to buy-into a project by giving details on what can go wrong and how long it will actually take.