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Project plan VS project schedule

Gantt-chart-textless

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Those two terms are amongst the many that bring a good amount of confusion. So let’s try to clarify everything!

Project plan

The project plan is the mother of all documents for your project, the one that documents everything from initiation to closing. It includes several subsidiary plans gathered from all knowledge areas, including the schedule.

The project plan is the go-to document to manage your project until the very end, and it’s the document you want to refer to if you inherit an ongoing project.

Project schedule

The project schedule is part of the project plan, and includes all your project’s important dates, including milestones like a BETA deliverable for example.

The format may vary from a bar chart, to a Gantt chart, to a calendar, but the important thing to remember is that the schedule = dates!

In conclusion

The confusion between those two terms can bring conflict between two colleagues if one asks for a project plan and simply receives a schedule, so it’s important that those terms are the same for everyone.

Hope this helps!


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4 tips when you inherit an ongoing project

If you are starting a new job as a project manager, chances are, you are going to become responsible of projects that others have started.

If you are lucky, the previous project manager will be available for a week or two, or maybe permanently, but what may happen is that you have to do your best to take control with limited help, if any.

Here are some tips to help you with that:

1. List/use available resources

Resources may vary from documents to people that may have information. It is important that you know what’s available as a source of information concerning the project so that you can gather everything and either talk to everyone or read everything available.

2. Clarify everything

Being new on the project, you have a clear unbiased point of view of the available information, therefore, it should be relatively easy for you to spot what’s clear and what needs clarification. If notes are unclear, fetch information, verify the project, and clarify those notes. Same goes for a schedule, plan, or anything else for that matter.

3. Update the team

After those 2 tips, the project should be clear enough for you, now, you must make sure it’s clear for the team. Either by having a team meeting or by transferring the appropriate documentation, make sure the whole team is up-to-date and that everyone, including you, are on the same page.

4. Positive attitude

The state of the project you will recover will vary from stable to completely fuzzy but hang in there, be pro-active, never assume anything. Think of it as a chance to prove yourself to your new employer (if applicable).