Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Difficulty of Wise Planning and its Importance

As I have read the introduction of product management section of the book called Systems Analysis and Design with UML, 4th Edition from Alan Dennis; Barbara Haley Wixom; David Tegarden, I have learned how important it is to plan ahead when doing a project, especially when it involves a lot of people, and how difficult it is to successfully plan and actually manage the project to overcome any unexpected issues or problems and reach its objective.

Why is Planning So Important?

This book gives us an example of a wedding ceremony planning - when a wedding ceremony is held, there are always people involved to plan ahead (usually a month before the cerebration day) and manage that everything is set up and ready. This task sounds easy, but usually a task of planning and managing is a lot to do and more than people can imagine before they actually start working on it. In addition, unexpected issues or problems usually go with a project, especially when the project involves a lot of people. Thus, it is important that people plan well and appropriately as possible.

Common Problems or Issues When Planning

According to Systems Analysis and Design with UML, 4th Edition, the common issues or problems managers face are usually these two things below:

  • Optimistic time schedule
  • Too little attention to the essential aim or goal of the project

Optimistic Time Schedule

The first common issue - optimistic time schedule, is usually set due to the pressure or responsibility that project manager feels especially when the business comes around to the important, serious seasons within a year where business must get customers and make profit to survive. In that situation, project managers think that they must make the project done on time at all costs. Yet, planning and forcing themselves to think that something that seems impossible possible usually does not work, and the project will be delayed from as it was scheduled.

Little Attention For Objective

The second one - the issue of Too little attention to the essential aim or goal of the project usually occurs when business tries to make use of new technologies or information systems to experience the innovation of it. In that case, making use of new tech or info systems naturally becomes the main focus of the project; that sort of project imaginably tends not to success since there is no specific aim or goal of the project.


The book clearly suggests the solutions for those common issues above. The first one is having no underestimation for planning and plan very carefully. I strongly agree with this solution and assuming others also, because underestimating the project and being optimistic about it does not help the project done at all - the job of project managers is to manage project done on time with expected quality and result. Thus, I do not think project managers should ever underestimate or be optimistic especially when they are planning and making time schedule for their project. In fact, I think this lesson could be implemented in any situation in our lives not just for business aspects though.

The other solution that the book suggests is identifying business need or opportunity and clarify what is the goal of that project. By doing so, not only having what to focus on, but also people involving in the project can possibly be able to share clearly what the objective of this project is. In addition, having clear goal for it may motivate people to work on and foster the project done, which definitely is positive for project and it makes project managers a lot easier to manage the people involved in the project.


I personally thought I learned a lot just from the introduction of the project management section of the book Systems Analysis and Design - as becoming to be a tech professional, being aware of how project should be going and planned is essential for me and my work. I reconfirmed that how difficult it is to plan things and make things done as planned before.. so LETS PLAN WISELY AND CAREFULLY!

Is there any suggestion or issue that you have encountered while doing some project with a lot of people? Please feel free to comment below and share some of your ideas! :)


  1. Lovely post Shohei. I think that avoiding underestimation and doing an appropriate amount of planning are laudable goals, however the problem in an uncertain world is knowing when you have underestimated and when the amount of planning you have done is enough :-) In general a good rule of thumb might be to assume that everything is going to be very hard, so estimate everything as taking a long time, and do as much planning as possible.

    The problem with this approach is that you might end up saying we can't start anything as it takes to look and spend all your time planning while others make better progress than you because they spent less time planning and more time doing.

    The real challenge is that in a world where you are competing with others you need to get the best estimates possible, and get just the right amount of planning done to achieve your goal. The best approach might be to try and learn from your previous efforts at estimation and try to gradually get better at estimating and working out how much planning to do. Of course there is no guarantee of success since the world may change, but systems like pivotal tracker as introduced by Dave and Armando seem like they might be helping many people track and improve their estimation process:

    1. Sam, I strongly agree with your idea that estimating from the beginning prevents people from overestimation, but at the same time, it interrupts people from actually doing something since it may lower the motivation that people have since people may be just mentally overwhelmed in the stage of planning.

      I have done a lot of this process, and been seeking the 'best' way for planning, and I think what you have written here is reasonably considered as the 'best way' among what I have done so far. learning from the experience in the past certainly maximizes the certainty of what you plan and in that way, people still do not lower their motivation by themselves.

      I did not know about this service - pivotal tracker.. will certainly try it out in the project next semester (or maybe this semester)!