From Asymmetry to Transparency in Project Planning – An Approach to Collaborative Project Planning

At the 2010 PMI College of Scheduling Conference, PMA Consultants’s Timothy Mather presents a paper detailing how the Graphical Path Method™ (GPM®) and software embodiments thereof enable a heretofore unobtainable transparency in project planning. Activities, sequences, and resources are more clearly communicated in GPM, allowing all stakeholders to engage interactively in the creation of a comprehensible network diagram which graphically represents the intention of the group.
 

Preface

Even with the best of intentions it is difficult to achieve and communicate a common vision of the project plan. Collaboration in the project planning process is essential to optimizing the solution derived to execute the project. One of the key benefits of collaboration is the increased transparency, (symmetry of information) regarding the benefits and risks of various approaches to sequencing and executing project work.
 
Since its conception in 1950 by Flood and Dresher, the Prisoner’s Dilemma has been used to demonstrate benefits and pitfalls of cooperation between two people in an environment of asymmetric knowledge. Rational players choose a suboptimal response in order to mitigate the risk of betrayal by the other player. This is the reductionist approach to project planning. The world is full of possible problems and failures: the risk that needs to be managed is the mitigation of potential problems. Even better are the benefits of win-win results.
 
The free person’s solution stands in stark contrast to the prisoner’s dilemma. The free person seeks to eliminate asymmetrical information to optimize the solution and thus maximize opportunities. Due to the complexity of modern projects and large numbers of parties involved, information related to project planning is typically asymmetrical and incomplete. There is a lack of comprehensive tools to synthesize information to benefit all the involved parties. The Graphical Path Method and software embodiments thereof enable a heretofore unobtainable transparency in the planning of project; activities, sequences, and resources: allowing all stakeholders to engage interactively in the creation of a comprehensible network diagram which graphically represents the intention of the group.
 
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