Bad Project Planning Tools – A Project From Hell Video

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
Dick’s Books on Amazon

A Project From Hell always begins with bad project planning tools. Watch as a project manager uses fairly typical, but poor, planning tools and estimating techniques to develop the hours and due dates for the project team. Then you’ll see private interviews with each of the team members and hear their reaction to the project manager’s planning techniques. They clearly reveal their lack of commitment to their tasks and the entire project.

The project sponsor is demanding an “on time finish” for the project and really tight control. The project manager thinks tight control means an extremely detailed plan broken down into small tasks for each team member. So he launches into the planning process with this mind set. The plan and schedule list hundreds of small tasks and he thinks that gives him tight control.

Listen to the project team talk about the planning process and the kind of assignments they’ve been given.  We soon understand that the project manager is not going to have tight control. Instead, he’ll be working with demoralized team members who fully expect the project to fail. And they’re right because the project manager is unable to make a proper plan aimed at producing the project’s scope. All this project manager can do is list hundreds of micro-tasks for the team complete.

The project manager should have used a very different tactic. Instead of micromanaging the project team, the project manager should have planned crystal clear assignments. That means that each of the team members understood what they had to deliver and what the project manager expected of them. The project manager also needed to tap into each team member’s creativity by making assignments that are as large as they could handle. With this approach, the team members would be challenged and committed to completing their assignment. And they would use all their creativity and experience to deliver their assignments on time.

Project Planning with the Team: see how they react

You can learn the project planning best practices in our project management basics courses. Take a look at the basics course in your industry specialty.

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Author: Dick Billows, PMP

Dick has more than 25 years of project and program management experience throughout the US and overseas. Dick was a partner in the 4th largest professional firm and a VP in a Fortune 200 company. He trained and developed 100's of project managers using his methodology. Dick is the author of 14 books, over 300 articles and director/producer of 90 short project management training videos. He and a team of 25 project managers work with client companies & students across the US and in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. They have assisted over 300 organizations in improving their project performance. Books by Dick Billows, PMP are on