Essay: the Importance of Planning Project Boundaries

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  • Topic: Project management, Management, Work breakdown structure
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Essay: The Importance of Planning Project Boundaries

By: Camila Ferrari - 09175130

1 - Introduction:

“Project management is a series of activities embodied in a process of getting things done” (Cleland, 2007, p.51). What stages would be involved on defining the ‘series of activities’ and what needs to be ‘done’? Would a complete definition of the project and its boundaries be directly linked to the project success?

This essay will critically analyze the following statement: “The First step in making project management work must be a complete definition of the boundaries across which the project management must interact” (Kezner, 2009 p 381) by: detailing the importance of planning, the importance of defining boundaries, and how detailing boundaries could lead the project to succeed.

2 - Discussion:

2.1 The Importance of Planning

According to Kezner (2009) the main responsibilities of a project manager are: planning, integrating, executing the plan and controlling. Independent of size, projects will require formal and detailed planning which will consist in identifying the work required and how will the project and company’s objectives be achieved.

Brown (2008) states that the main tasks of a project manager: “is to have the right thing at the right place at the right time”, so the manager can integrate all the inputs leading the project to competition. What consists on the rights: ‘things’, ‘place’ and ‘time’ mentioned on Brown’s statement will be defined on the project planning stage.

Planning will also help managers to predetermine strategy and ‘the course of action’ within a forecasted environment’. Kezner (2009) also states that successful project managers will make use of planning not just at the beginning of the project, but also throughout the life of the project as changes, adjusts and adaptations might be required due to external or even internal factors.

Planning is the most important part of the project management, according to Mochal (2004), the carefully planning and the definition of the project is the first step that will lead the project to succeed, followed by a good execution. If the planning stage is not carefully and wisely defined and detailed, executing and managing the project will be almost impossible. “After You plan the work, you have to work the plan”(Mochal, 2004).

2.2 Project Boundaries – a Link to project Success

There are many factors to be taking under consideration on the planning stage, Mochal (2004) affirms: the most important part of the whole planning process is defining the scope and boundaries of the project in question. It is during the definition of the scope, that ‘agreement’ is gained on the boundaries of the project, and specifically what is ‘within’ the boundaries and what is ‘outside’ those boundaries.

“Without Boundaries the project Journey might take you anywhere but the desired destination” (Thomas, 2011 p.24). Managers will, after defining boundaries, obtain the answers for the following questions: such as ‘what’s part of the project? What’s involved? What’s required to conclude? And what’s the limits and timeframes?

Based on Mochal (2004) as mentioned on the previously (2.1 and 2.2) of this essay, it is correct to states that: the planning stage is the most important part of the project management and the definition of the scope and boundaries the most important part of the planning stage.

The Project Management Body of Knowledge – PMBOK (3rd edition) also mentions the importance of defining boundaries and on a slightly more complex approach than Mochal (2004), also associates the importance of defining the boundaries on the planning stage by stating that boundaries and deliverables (unique and individual products) and defined on a process called “Scope Planning”, which is divided in three main categories: initiation, planning, and definition.

Understanding what project boundaries mean and what is included in the...
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