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Daniel Wentzel
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Comparing Project Planning Methods

Published on 4/29/2014
For additional information  Click Here



ProjectPlanningis a difficultprocess in the project management cycle. Nevertheless, it also the mostimportantphase tocoordinatetheproject activities effectivelyand make theprojectworkimplementedsuccessfully. In Hughes & Cotterell (2009) theStep WiseApproachframeworkcomprisesanumberofsteps that should be taken into consideration when planning a project. Themajorstepinprojectplanningistoplaninoutlinefirstandthento flesh out moredetail.Step Wise allowsindividualtechniquessuchasestimating,criticalpathnetwork analysisandriskmanagementto be appliedat different steps. Althoughthe frameworkcontainsastepexecuteplanitonlycoversthe planningnotthemonitoringandcontrol.Theapproachwasdesignedtocomplement the PRINCE2method,whichisaset ofprojectmanagement standards.


Step Wise follows a 10 step technique starting at Step 0 ‘Select Project’. Step 0 is defined as outside the main project planning process. This is where the feasibility study is done and the project selection is made. The main steps are Step 1 through to Step 10. Each step of the project planning has different activities to perform:

·         Step 1 and 2, ‘Identify the scope and objectives’ as well as ‘Identify project infrastructure’ respectively can be done simultaneously.

·         Step 4, ‘Identify the products and activities’ are reviewed

·         Step 5 and 6, ‘Estimate effort for each activity’ and ‘Identify activity risks’ respectively are iterative in nature that is to say, they need to be repeated for each activity in the project.

·         Step 7 and Step 8, ‘Allocate resources’ and ‘Review/publicize plan’ are prerequisite to execution of the plan.

·         In a large project, Steps 5 to 8 are repeated at each lower, more detailed, level of planning.

·         In Steps 9 and 10, ‘Execute plan’ and ‘Lower-level of planning’ respectively: Planning continues into the project life cycle and thus there is a reiteration of the planning process requirement at a lower level. That is, once the project is underway, plans needs to be drawn up in greater detail for each activity as it becomes due. Detailed and lower-level of planning of the later stages is normally delayed because more information will only become available as we near the start of the next stage.


There are other available software project planning methods that can be applied in the software project planning process such as the Top-Down Estimation method which is more suitable the project planning in the software engineering context and Vision-to-Projects (V2P) Framework. V2P provides a dynamic framework from which we can derive the most necessary projects that the organization should implement in order to achieve or align to the individual organization’s strategic intentions. In V2P these projects can include a wide range of fields, one of which could be, should be, would be, software engineering. In a nutshell, software project planning is more focused on creating a plan to implement the selected project(s), whereas the V2P framework is more focused on determining which projects to implement.

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