Brad Bigelow, a PRINCE2 V7 Author, provides insightful commentary on the nature of project management in contrast to ongoing operations. He emphasizes that project management is a technique used to deliver finite packages of change within organizations, characterized by a distinct beginning, middle, and end. Bigelow highlights the critical aspect of planning in project management, noting that it is often misunderstood.
He points out that in the early stages of a project, particularly during the startup phase in the PRINCE2 framework, it is acceptable to conclude that a project may not be feasible. This acknowledgment is crucial for project managers, who must be able to professionally recognize and communicate when a project is too risky or unlikely to yield the desired results. Bigelow stresses that many high-profile project failures are often rooted in unrealistic expectations, excessive risks, and overly ambitious schedules from the outset.
Bigelow also discusses the importance of evaluating options during the planning phase to select the most viable path for success. He notes that once a project moves from planning to execution, the level of effort and investment escalates significantly, marked by contractual commitments, allocation of resources, and procurement of materials. At this stage, changes become more challenging to implement, underscoring the importance of thorough and realistic planning and the establishment of a well-defined project scope in the project initiation documentation. The planning stage, being mostly conceptual, offers more flexibility compared to the execution phase, where deviation from the set path is less likely.