OK, I’ve talked about planning in the past and I’m going to mention it again, but from a different perspective. There are many different types of planning for many different types of people:
Programmers. These people need to know what they are doing now and for the rest of the week. To be honest, while they might like to know what they are doing next week, as long as they are confident that their boss knows, that is probably good enough.
Team Leads. With programmers reporting to them they need to have a much better grasp of what is currently going on and what is coming up. A week isn’t good enough. A month may not be good enough depending on the project, so let’s say that these people need 6 weeks of planning under their belt.
Project Managers. Ah, the brains behind the project. For any particular project that they are working on, they need to have a good idea of staffing requirements from beginning to end. Yes, they need to know staffing for the entire project, because if they are short, it is their responsibility to get staff. If they are going to be over staffed then it is their responsibility to see what other projects need help.
Program Managers. These people are responsible for the smooth execution of multiple projects within an overall program. For example, you may have a Program that is composed of a lot of smaller initiatives, all of which are leading to a single vision, much like PASI. Program Managers need to understand the interrelationship between the different projects and how they impact other projects and the program as a whole. This sort of planning stretches into the years.
Organization. Different organizations use different benchmarks, but it is considered a good idea if an organization can tell you what they are going to be doing for the next three calendar years. This will not be to a great deal of accuracy three years down the road, but the overall plan of the organization, the inter-relationships between ongoing programs and the intended implementation date of various projects should be at least plotted out so that both clients and staff have an idea as to what is currently happening and what the short and longer term goals are.
As you can see, the level of detail goes from the microscopic, tactical information needed for day to day activities to the macroscopic, strategic information needed for long range plans. Virtually everyone in an organization needs a different level of planning with a different focus, depending upon the roles that they are currently occupying. The key to all of this, though, is that there needs to be someplace where all of this information can be stored. Some place where the microscopic and macroscopic views can both find a home. A place to go when information is needed and a place to go when you have new information.