Project Planning and Controlling

Learn about the constraints that arise in large projects due to project planning and controlling departments, and learn how to deal with such challenges.

Large companies sometimes have a separate department in place that focuses on planning and controlling projects. Other times, this unit is organized as a (project) office. The units under the plan are components that respect dependencies but ignore the goal of having a running application that provides the highest business value for the customer.


Most often, we will find that those departments are used to developing a plan for the whole project upfront and ensuring that project members follow the plan during the project. Of course, they have to adjust the plan whenever the project takes a different course than planned. However, taking a different course is seen as a bad sign for the project in this traditional planning approach.

It is common for an agile project to change its course. The course is plotted by the customer, and the customer (like every other project member) will learn exactly what we want during project development.

Therefore, the project planning and controlling department is required to plan continuously, which means the plan is not an artifact anymore; it is a steady activity. Therefore, changing from component-based planning to result-oriented planning and accepting that planning is an ongoing activity are the major requirements for this department.

The project planning and controlling department is responsible for the rough plan as well as the customer’s highest business value. This plan also takes the dependencies between different team efforts and risks into account. This plan serves as the input for the detailed plan, which is developed by the individual subteams for every iteration. The project planning and controlling department then collects those detailed plans and, at the end of each iteration, measures how the estimates compare to the actual achievements. This way, the department is able to figure out the status and progress of the different teams.

In this manner, the project planning and controlling department coordinates the planning effort and tracks the progress of all teams using the tools they are familiar with. It is important to prevent them from including information from the detailed plans of all the subteams. Otherwise, they will be overwhelmed with this huge amount of information.

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