Fixed or Flexible Project Plan - The Project Managers' Critical Choice

  • 31 July, 2015

"Plans are nothing; planning is everything."- Dwight D. Eisenhower
"It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see." - Sir Winston Churchill

An organization running its project using the Project Management methods usually has a secured plan for executing project activities. But how concrete the initial plans are determines how the company will handle future elements of unpredictability in the project. A project manager with PMP Certification is able to design a good project management plan.

There are a few industries where the project activities are fixed with steady roll call of deliverables. Equally, there are industries that require more flexible elements for bringing out the best output within the time and cost budget frames. On such instances, it becomes very important the initial scope plan is not so rigid. Preventing changes in the future as and when required will not only hinder the project but also jeopardize it.

1. Positives of Fixed Plans
Having a fixed plan allows the Project Manager to draw out the future course of the project. Given the predictability of the course of the activities related to project helps in turning out deliverables at the assigned time with growing familiarity of the production process.

Another positive point for fixed plans is that planning for future project of similar kind could be easily handled with team's skillset to quickly getting into the groove of things. This leads to specializing or creating a niche for a particular kind of product that has a growing market demand.

2. Challenges of Fixed Plans
One element of the whole plan that is overlooked is the growing change in requirement. The huge amount of changes that forms the part of changing scope requirement almost changes the course of the project. In such a case a good Project Manager must be able to come up with the right ways to tackle the change request from the product owners.

It is important that the team is able to incorporate the changes demanded while ensuring that the fixed cost and deadlines are met with efficiency. Project Managers are responsible to tackle issues related to the efficient completion of the project.

3. Balancing Fixed with Flexible Plans
Then it becomes all the more an experiential skill to be able to balance fixed time and budget with flexible requirement. Project Managers usually will make sure that the team works towards prefixed deadline date for their deliverables with some buffer time.

The extra time ensures to allow the team in tiding over the unexpected events that prevent timely delivery of the finished product of the project. Project Managers desiring to gain a PMP Certification can add industry standard recognition of being able to create a project plan and executing it efficiently.

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