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Unformatted text preview: or dry runs (planning)
to prepare for important business reviews. And it turns out that many fires are the result of not planning
properly in the first place. By definition, when you have a fire, something has gone wrong. You are
momentarily out of control.
Certainly, there will still be fires to put out, given even the best of planning, but experience shows that they
are usually fewer, less serious, and less frequent when good planning is practiced.
If you have no plan, you have no control!
The simple fact is, we have no option but to plan if we want to achieve control of deadlines, of costs, and of
ultimate organization performance.
W. Edwards Deming has pointed out that, even when the fire department puts out a fire, you are never better
off after the fire than you were before it. Fire prevention is far better than firefighting. WHAT IS PLANNING?
Planning was defined in Chapter 1 as answering questions. What must be done? Who will do it? How will
they do it? How long will it take? How much will it cost? And so on.
Note the tasks involved: estimation (how long and how much cost?); resource allocation (who will do it?);
and work identification (what must be done?). Some of these tasks (cost estimating, for example) are so
involved that they are done by spets using special tools—Work Breakdown Structures, CPM/PERT and
Gantt schedules, for example. Strategic vs. Tactical Planning
Most of the focus in project management is on tactical planning. Yet if used with the wrong strategy, tactics
are of little help. It is similar to using the right approach to solve the wrong problem.
What is strategy? Simply speaking, strategy is the approach used to do the job. As an example, for thousands
of years boats were built with the keel down, that is, in its normal, upright position. That way, when the boat
was finished, it could be immediately pushed into the water and floated.
This approach is fine so long as you are building small boats, especially those made of wood. However,
during World War II, when Avondale shipyards was called on to build large numbers of military ships,
workers found that steel presented new problems. It was hard to weld down in the keel area, partly because
you had to stand on your head to do it. In addition, the heavy weight of steel plates made them deform
slightly, so when they were finally welded in place, there were some problems with quality.
strategy: The approach being used to do the project tactics: The steps taken to implement the strategy or
Those problems could be solved by building the main body of the ship with the keel up—that is, with the ship
turned upside down. However, how do you turn a heavy ship over and float it? The answer was to build a
large fixture on which the ship was assembled, then use the fixture to turn the boat over and, eventually, to
www.erpvn.net “Any approach to strategy quickly encounters a conflict between corporate objectives and corporate
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- Fall '13