Planning is the first step of project management philosophy of planning, organizing and controlling the execution of the projects. Project planning and project scheduling is two separate and distinct function of the project management. Here, we will learn about the planning phase of project management.

Project planning is the function in which project and construction managers and their key staff members prepares the master plan. Then this master plan is put into time schedule by scheduling people which is called project scheduling. A project plan is mostly responsible for the success or failure of the project.

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Definition of Planning:

Planning is a bridge between the experiences of the past projects and the proposed actions that produces favourable results in the future. It can also be said that it is a precaution by which we can reduce undesirable effects or unexpected happenings and thereby eliminating confusion, waste, and loss of efficiency. Planning involves prior determination, specification of factors, forces, effects and relationships necessary to reach the desired goals.

Planning Philosophy:

Planning should be done logically, thoroughly and honestly to have a chance to succeed. The previous experiences of projects provides basic planning logic. Then difference between previous projects and current projects shall be known to make any exceptional features in the basic planning logic. These differences can be unusual client requirement, out of the way location, potential external or internal delaying factors etc. these potential problems shall have to be tackled in order to reduce their negative effect preparing master plan of the project and later scheduling of the project. Provide each aspect of the plan an individual scrutiny with input from past experiences and from experts.

Types of Planning:

There are several types of project planning. The three major types of construction project planning are:

1. Strategic planning: this involves the high-level selection of the project objectives

2. Operational planning: this involves the detailed planning required to meet the strategic objectives

3. Scheduling: this puts the detailed operational plan on a time scale set by the strategic objectives.

Strategic planning is done by the owner’s corporate planners. In this they decide what project to build and what the completion date has to be to meet the owner’s project goals. The construction teams formulates the master construction execution plan within the guidelines set in the strategic and contracting plans.

Operational Planning:

Operational planning is done by construction teams. They ask certain questions before making operational plan for the project. They are:

  • Will the operational plan meet the strategic planning target date?
  • Are sufficient construction resources and services available within the company to meet the project objectives?
  • What is the impact of the new project on the existing work load?
  • Where will we get the resources to handle any overload?
  • What company policies may prevent the plan from meeting the target date?
  • Are usually long delivery equipment or materials involved?
  • Are the project concepts and design firmly established and redy to start the construction?
  • Is the original contracting plan still valid?
  • Will it be more economical to use a fast-track scheduling approach?

All these questions are answered in preparation of the construction master plan before detailed scheduling of the project.

What is Construction Master Plan?

A construction master plan addresses how will the project be planned, organized, and major work activities be controlled to meet the goals of finishing the work on time, within budget and as specified.

Contracting plan is the major consideration in formulating the master construction plan, which answers a lot of questions. Questions related to government and social restraint, resources for construction, owner’s policies or legal requirements, contractual requirement affecting master plan are not answered by contracting plan. Answers to these questions must be found during the development of the project execution plan.

Project execution plan shall be reviewed and evaluation shall be done as the work progresses. Minor variations are common but major changes shall be considered with extreme caution.

The construction project master plan shall be completed and approved and after that time plan (scheduling), budget plan, resource plan shall be carried out.