What’s Our Plan to Reach Done as Needed?


Now that we have the description of Done in units of measure meaningful to the decision makers ‒ Measures of Mission Effectiveness, Performance, Technical Performance, and Key Performance Parameters, what’s the Plan to show up on time, on budget having delivered the needed Capabilities for success?

First, let’s clarify some words. A Plan is set of actions to achieve something in the future. Plans are strategies for accomplishing those achievements. Strategies are hypotheses and hypotheses need to be tested to continually confirm we’re headed in the right direction. The Plan defines the direction and the capabilities produced by the project along that direction.

The Schedule defines the work needed to move the project along the path toward Done, the order of that work, the outcomes of the packages of work, the Technical Performance Measures used to assure the results meet the requirements.

A credible Plan and Schedule means there is a model of cost, schedule, and technical performance of the deliverables that can be assessed to assure there is a probabilistic confidence sufficiently high to assure those funding the project they will get want they are paying for.

Together these form the Performance Measurement Baseline. Constructing the PMB requires knowledge of the business requirements, skill in developing the Work Packages that produce the deliverables for these requirements, and discipline in assembling the cost, schedule, and relationships between the Work Packages. It is the discipline that requires the most focus for the planners and program controls staff. Without this discipline, the development of a credible baseline is simply not possible.

There are three elements to the Performance Measurement Baseline

The Technical Performance Baseline is the requirements flow down and traceability map for each deliverable in the program.

  • A critical performance measure of the Technical Performance Baseline is the stability of requirements. The expected technical achievement for the actual progress is compared using periodic measurements or tests starts with the Technical Performance Baseline.
  • An important aspect of the Technical Performance Baseline is to define the units of measures for each deliverable that defines what “done” looks like at each incremental assessment of maturity.

The Schedule Performance Baseline is the sequence of Work Packages and Planning Packages that produce the products or services from the program. This baseline contains the schedule margin needed to protect the delivery date from the reducible and irreducible uncertainties in the project. What these mean, how they’re derived, and how to use them will come in the risk management post. But for now, any project without risk management and schedule margin is late and over budget before it starts.

The Cost Performance Baseline is the “authorized time‒phased budget‒at‒completion used to measure, monitor, and control overall cost performance on the program.” This budget is held in the Control Accounts, the Work Packages and Planning Packages owned by the Control Account Manager.

With these three PMB’s integrated into one, we can now ask what resources are needed to start the execution of the project.

Glen Allenman is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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