Planning pitfalls and opportunities

What to do when plans go wrong.

In a recent LinkedIn article David Hilliard, CEO discusses why in the complex world of program management, too often program plans are based on guesses and estimates that don’t take into account the full suite of customer requirements.  

 Read the synopsis below or the full article here. Let us know what you think.

Estimates are the biggest blindspot on every program.

The CEO sat at his desk and said:

“We’ve been running this program now for over a year. It’s late. We are in breach of contract and I have a very dissatisfied customer threatening legal action.

We’ve made several attempts to recover the program and rebuild customer confidence – but none of the plan resets have gone well.

I’ve just come from a meeting with the Program Director and her team and they are unable to show me numbers we can confidently deliver.

Two years earlier, a major customer asked the company for a proposal to meet a new requirement.

The supplier responded with a proposal that was based on a partial understanding of what the customer wanted as well as  some comparisons made with previous programs the company had run.

This meant estimates were not only naïve – but customer commitments were made far too early. Two factors are at play here which ensure that delays are inevitable –

  1. a mismatch in expectations between the customer and supplier, and,
  2. a deeply flawed approach to estimating.

What does a good plan look like?

There is no planning hack that allows you to skim over the critical considerations required for a well established plan. Skimming is a colossal mistake and is the fastest way to lose customer trust and confidence. For a reliable plan – you simply can’t cherry-pick what parts of planning you do and don’t do.

There are smart ways to significantly reduce estimating uncertainty by using expert judgment, benchmark data, and collecting hard facts “in-flight” from the program itself.

The key elements of a good program plan should:

  • Clearly describe all the work that needs to be done
  • Spell out the time schedule and key milestones for completing the work
  • Explain the key program dependencies
  • Give details of key supplier roles and specific responsibilities
  • Specify key performance criteria
  • Detail the main assumptions underpinning the estimates
  • Illustrate the skills required – by number, mix, and type
  • Define the program budget
  • Describe the program organisation
  • Explain the management control system, problem resolution process, etc

Find out 7 steps to successfully manage your program portfolio.

A proven program execution framework.

Fortunately, we have a solution that cuts through all the clutter for you.

The MentorBlueprint is a proven program execution framework that guarantees success on your business-critical program.

It focuses on the 6 critical factors you must nail in from the start, and planning, is the the bedrock of every successful program.

Our approach works. We’ve seen teams do it over 100 times in different settings, without any drama.

Just suppose you could help your team make every program plan a “safe bet” – so you could hit all your program targets with ease.

If you’re prepared to put in the work, it will connect you with what you need to focus on to make success inevitable.

Get in touch to find out exactly how The MentorBlueprint can connect you with remarkable program success – and help you run your program like clockwork.

Learn everything about program execution here.

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