Re-using Project Plans

*This post builds and concludes the post from last month.

Project Managers shouldn’t share & re-use Project Schedules.

It makes sense that a team of project managers should re-use their material as much as possible when they are working in the same environment with a lot of the same people. I recommend that in terms of project plans then they should not re-use Schedules, WBS or Flow Diagrams.

By all means, they should refer to those documents, just not start the planning on their new project using them as a template.

Ultimately a project manager needs to produce a schedule to work with and the diagram below shows the key planning work to get there:

Note: Sometimes use the term ‘deliverable’ instead of ‘product’. Therefore, you have Deliverable Breakdown Structure and Deliverable Flow Diagram.

So my recommendation is to stick with the top artefact, the PBS, for re-use. The reason is that as soon as you start working through the others then you are adding constraints that may not be applicable again in the future.

These could be noted to distinguish between those that aren’t likely to change and those that are but this would be reliant on the person creating the artefact to remember this and independently on the person using as input into their new plans.

When you specifically look at the questions when creating the project schedule then you can easily come up with various answers for the same questions when implementing a project to produce the same product:

Lastly, there is the fact that different people will create different schedules using the same source data. You can easily try this for yourself using a range of examples using more familiar everyday products such as houses or my favourite, weddings.  See below for my example on making a cup of tea:

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