Schlagwort-Archive: Planning

Is there a right moment?

Digitization virtualizes business processes and overcomes physical limitations. How long will it take, until we are no longer ordering a spare part and receive it in a parcel, but rather print the parts with a corresponding 3D printer, wherever we are. Based on the provided instructions, we are able to install the part. This leads to a tremendous acceleration, since the delaying physical delivery is eliminated. What does this mean for our planning? Do we change our procedures? Do we still need the right moment to take care of the plan?

Even production and logistics processes are shifted into the computer and accelerated that way. Automated agents, equipped with appropriate rules, decide independently and unimaginably quickly. People with their feelings, doubts and their slow way of thinking become a risk. To what extent are human decisions possible in a timely manner and still necessary in the flow at all? Or how quickly can people in charge react? Are the following planning approaches still necessary in the future?

  • Frontloading
    This planning approach is not only important by its early planning moment, but also by advancing certain activities, which are actually needed later. The main advantage is the overview of all tasks and dependencies at the beginning of the initiative. That way complicated subsequent adjustments and the resulting overloads are avoided. Complying with the time and financial budgets is more likely with Frontloading. The disadvantage is the uncertainty that the activities are potentially not yet required and eventually no longer needed, because the framework conditions changed over time.
  • Just in time
    The prompt planning is attractive because it only takes place when you really need it, that is, shortly before the activity comes up. Until then the circumstances are clearer and offer less surprises. This makes the planning less complex but at the same time more reliable. Attention is always here and now. Were there no dependencies that one recognizes too late or not at all – with the fatal effect of increasing risk. Due to unforeseen disturbances, dates are missed and the further expiration stalls at unexpected places.
  • Backloading
    In reactive mode you run after the dates. Like the fire brigade, you are in a waiting position in order to timely limit the damage. In Backloading, a rough plan is being continually improved and means for emergencies are prepared accordingly. The advantage is that as long as there is no fire, everything takes its course. The participants can manage everything by themselves without unnecessary coordinating overhead. The disadvantage arises in case of many fires that can not be brought under control. This planning approach is one reason why two thirds of the projects fail.
  • Procrastinating
    The most irresponsible variant of planning is postponitis, the passive sitting tasks out. There is no activity before or after, but the whole thing is simply repressed. This leads to an accumulation of undone tasks, which eventually cannot be mastered. To what extent the avoidance of expenses is an advantage for the shifter is in the eye of the observer. The appropriate description of this behavior is probably too unfriendly. There are no advantages for the project, because the desired results are not created.

Only a few people are suitable for the decisive business of planning. The necessary foresight requires an understanding of the tasks, the relevant components with their parameters and sufficient imagination to anticipate the potential bottlenecks. And even if the corresponding skills are available, the planners need sufficient information with a corresponding level of detail – Who does what? When are they available? Who needs what? How is everything connected? What is the current status? And so on.

Bottom line: People are constantly needed, who take the responsibility and do the business of planning. The personality determines the chosen approach – as long as it is not postponitis. Frontloading is the safest way to get a coherent planning, even so the most time-consuming. Just in time is pragmatic and successful, as long as there are no big surprises in the interplay of the activities. Backloading is the last way to achieve a result. In any case, nip procrastinating in the bud, since no results are produced. Everyone should consciously decide for oneself when is the right moment for the planning – and bear the consequences.

Failed Project Planning

The horizon of expectation for a project is already determined by the requirements before the actual beginning. The predicted project scope and timeframe as well as the available budget are important premises for the project. Although the action and the components of an orderly project completion are well prepared, projects achieve the goals rather rarely (see here: On the one hand, this might happen because of the operating team. On the other hand, the goals could have been formulated over-ambitiously outside of the limits of the undertaking, due to a failed project planning.


The following reasons contribute to an unrealistic planning.

  • Unrealistic expectations
    The description of the requirements is certainly determined by the existing budgets and the lack of details. For the clients, the desire can become quickly the father to the thought and, as a result, they calculate the defaults unrealistically scarcely. The temporal delay and the excess of the budget are preprogrammed, if the contractors accept it.
  • Bargain wins
    The previous bullet-point will be amplified by the approach to choose the cheapest offer. In principle, this is correct as long as you do not compare apples and oranges. However, since before the beginning of a project sufficient figures, data and facts are missing, the client has difficulties to compare the offers, because a lot of details are hidden behind general headings.
  • Faulty variable Full-time-Equivalent (FTE)
    The crucial factor for the estimation is the basis of all work – the people. That begins with the estimate of the availability of a full time employee, who is determined by the full time equivalent. Out of the 260 possible working days of a year, an employee is available 200 days, due to vacation and other absence time. A look into the project planning is sufficient, in order to compute the project delay that has to be expected.
  • Smooth-going-Distortion
    Improved variables lead to the optimistic expectation that everything will go smoothly and to an additional distortion of the planning. People are not robots and the project planning is not a computer program. Therefore wrong defaults, changes of the requirements and errors in the realization have to be expected. These breakdowns result in adjustments, unplanned rework and subsequent changes that pollute the capacities additionally.
  • Neglect the calendar
    Due to the spreading of vacation periods by the fact that not all employees are available at the same time, the working teams are not always complete. In Germany, these idle times follow the calendar – Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, Summer and Autumn holidays. These difficult project times occupy approx. 60 working days that lead potentially to a further project extension. If a project planning considers all these times, the losses of productive time are minimized. Anybody can determine this factor, but in the end employees can only be employed less than 200 working days per year.
  • Wrong risk assessment
    Every planning has to deal with uncertainties. For this purpose, risks are assessed. Depending on the attitude of the planners, risks are classified as more or less probable and appropriate accrues, i.e. buffers, are prepared. Since these are only assumptions, the risks can quickly become reality and delay the project further.

Bottom-line: The project success is considerably determined by the planning. The too optimistic, limited planning leads without detour to failure. The examination of the points mentioned above leads to a safer forecast of the project life cycle.