In this paper, originally published as a part of the 2009 PMI College of Scheduling Conference, John Zann and Timothy Mather of PMA Consultants investigate the historical and current processes used to develop early project plans and to critique current methodology in light of new technologies available now. The authors also detail what they feel to be the future of interactive/collaborative project planning.
The human drive to put a picture to the ephemeral aspects of planning is central to the progress of planning through the ages. It is through visualization that the human mind most easily comprehends abstract and spatial frameworks.
In order to properly deal with planning today, as it relates to activities and projects, it may be helpful to first understand how humanity visualizes time. Throughout recorded history mankind has sought to clarify, classify, and visually represent time: from early attempts to create calendars to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, man has attempted to put concrete definitions to invisible forces in the physical world. How we plan today is informed by how we planned before today and how we visualize time and calendars.
Most projects, regardless of type or size, include some sort of planning or scheduling session early in their lives. The extent of collaboration, content and scope for such a session can vary dramatically, from something as simple as one person taking a few minutes to detail a few project steps on a piece of paper to something as complex as all project stakeholders participating in a multi-day interactive process to develop a project plan in detail. The authors intend to investigate the historical and current processes used to develop early project plans and to critique current methodology in light of new technologies available now. The authors also will detail what they feel to be the future of interactive/collaborative project planning.