The most common method project managers are using to answer the question “is it possible” is capturing the project plan in a GANTT chart. But unfortunately, GANTT charts tolerate anything, even a plan to send someone to the moon in 6 months (which everyone knows is impossible).

While this specific example is a joke, thousands of unrealistic and unfeasible GANTT chart plans are created in the Project Management industry every day. They have tasks and dependencies, owners and hierarchies and it all looks fine. But it turns out to be a disastrous delay and an underestimation of complexity. As we all have experienced ourselves, some plans are sometimes unfeasible.

GANTT charts allow for unfeasible planning because they have no confidence assessment mechanism nor feasibility assessment mechanism. One can easily assume overly optimistic assessments of duration and perfect coordination among the project team. One can easily think wrongly that sending a man to the moon in 6 months is feasible. The chain of tasks looks good, so there’s no  problem? Right?

Well, Projectmaps are built to address this gap by offering confidence and feasibility assessments by structure.

In this article, we will go over the method created to ensure feasibility, something that doesn’t exist anywhere else other than in Projectmaps.

Coordination plan

The weakest points of all plans are the links and dependencies between teams. While most teams can easily coordinate amongst themselves, it is sometimes very hard to coordinate with an outside team. For example, the software team can do many tasks simultaneously, but if stuck waiting for requirements from “Marketing,” this can hold them up. The factory can have amazing output, but if the product casing is still with the casing vendor, then the line is on hold.

GANTT charts list dependencies, but it’s a heap of dependencies. Dependencies within teams and dependencies cross teams are all on the same level. When you have so many dependencies, there is no way to focus on the right ones to increase confidence.

Projectmaps are built using “Teams and Workstreams” by structure (see article). Therefore, it is very simple to separate important links between those teams and workstreams from internal links that are less important. Once the right links are separated, all we need to do is assign coordination plans to the links and dependencies that are important. This will increase coordination and feasibility.

Engagement level

If we want duration estimates to be feasible, we simply need to ask owners to verify its feasibility. Making such a request is as easy as sending an email. But, how likely are they to respond? And, are we measuring their responses?

Projectmaps have ownership assignment on multiple levels. Meaning, there is an owner at the top of the project, all the way down to a single task. Project owner, Workstream owner, Activity owner and Task owner, ALL can provide valuable information about feasibility. Projectmaps not only ask for such validation, but also measure responses. This is how you get the engagement score to build your confidence! Sending a man to the moon in 6 months? Engagement score will be 0% and the plan will be marked as “unfeasible.”

Perceived risk

The project risk is where the project team thinks it is. It’s as simple as that. Identifying project potential risk is easy. These are the places where we have less information or knowledge.  The real problem is not identifying the risk but handling it. So many programs out there are great at finding the risk but are not so capable of tracking risk handling. Projectmap has a built in risk handling score. If something is defined as “risk” since the project team perceive it as such, it will be added to the risk avoidance plan. This plan will then be measured. If the score is high, the risk handling is in good hands.

Confidence score

Now that we have insight into the project structure with the coordination plan, and we have information about feasibility through the engagement score with a risk handling plan in place, we can combine all of this info into a Confidence score!

With Projectmap, the Confidence score is calculated per activity, aggregated into Workstreams and Projects. This way it will be very easy to realize that sending a man to the moon in 6 months is not feasible. It will simply have low scores all over! This same method has the power to bring up confidence among your plans. This is the power of Projectmap confidence scores.

In summary

GANTT charts were great in describing production lines. When it comes to projects, GANTT charts can easily describe a project plan that is completely unrealistic. It is not rare to find such plans being presented to management and getting approved. With no additional information, managers are likely to accept these problematic plans.

The Projectmap structure is built to avoid this issue. Once Teams and Workstreams are established, the plan includes internal insights that enable confidence score. This is a revolutionary way  in which project plans are handled. A project plan means nothing if there is no score to show high feasibility.

So, sending a man to the moon in 6 months? We can’t! But we can however build a plan with confidence, using Projectmap!