PROJECT PLANNING – Managerial Considerations (Part 1)


After a long period [since March 2012] of inactivity, McLaughlin and McLaughlin is pleased to resume posting activity in this blog.  Project Professionals is intended to offer advice and tips regarding various aspects of Program and Project Management.  For a statement of blog Objectives and Goals, please follow this link.

During this inactive period, M&M has been performing two time-consuming assignments.  One is program management support work on large Canadian oil sands investment/expansion program.  The second is a construction claim on an international power plant project.

In considering the general topic of project planning, consider the following question.  Why do so many projects experience serious negative issues, if not failure, when project planning has been pursued?  Often the answer is that the plans are defective or ignored.  Alignment, implementation and updating are essential features.  Good quality plans must be developed and implemented.  Often, this is not the case.


In this Subject Series, we intend to address:

  • Planning process
  • Methodologies – (some best practices)
  • Implementation – (adding enduring value)
  • Lessons Learned – (use and value)
  • Integration (of the process pieces)

This post is the first in a series of discussions regarding challenges being encountered in current project planning, a subset of project management.  More specifically, we have titled the series PROJECT PLANNING, since we intend to focus heavily on the managerial aspects of program / project planning.  This post introduces the topic and sets the framework for ongoing posts on individual challenges.  This series is intended to draw upon many sources within the project management discipline or profession.

Authoritative information and guidance regarding project management comes from many sources.  A few that may be obvious include:

In order to frame and organize this topic, we will use the PMI Project Management Processes for a Project as presented in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).  Further, we will rely on PMI’s The Standard for Program Management.


There are so many prominent authors that are sources and deserving of mention.  The names will emerge as the series unfolds.  Among the many, here are some that we have used in the past [to name a few, sorry for the many omissions]:

  • Harold Kerzner
  • Edward W. Merrow
  • James J. O’Brien
  • Frederic L. Plotnick
  • Keith Pickavance

PMBOK® Guide defines five process groups:

  1. Initiating Process Group
  2. Planning Process Group
  3. Executing Process Group
  4. Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
  5. Closing Process Group.

Our discussion will be organized along the structure of these process groups.  Hence, the first discussion will focus on the Initiating Process Group.

M&M experience in program and project planning includes:

  • Canadian Oil Sands program and project management
  • Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) program management
  • Worldwide Data Center Consolidation program management
  • Pharmaceutical Remediation program management
  • Venezuelan Heavy Crude Development Program program management
  • Many commercial and industrial projects project management

Good luck and let us all attempt to approach the practice or managerial challenge of project management with all knowledge, tools and lessons learned that are available.  Setting a solid foundation in the issues as well as the process is essential and has long term (project duration) benefits.  Happy reading and good luck in your project management challenges and endeavors…

It is important to note that McLaughlin and McLaughlin [M&M] is not a law firm and is not intending to provide legal advice.  M&M is a consulting firm providing (among other services) non-legal expertise in dispute resolution and litigation support.  The Resource Center is for the convenience of blog visitors and M&M does not offer this for commercial purposes.  For further information on M&M services, please see