Good Practice: A detailed project plan should be developed and signed off by the steering committee. It provides the following benefits:
Base the plan on known metrics. How long did an earlier similar project take?
Involve all team members, not just senior management. Develop a plan in iterations over several weeks by consulting team members and drawing on their experience.
Note: Trying to manage a large and complex project without a project plan is like crossing an unknown continent without a map. You are running blind. The critical thing to get right is the balance between planning and action. Take the example of driving from London to Paris: too much planning and other cars will be halfway there before you leave; too little, and you will turn up at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone without passports.
A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.
Warning Sign: When successive project milestones get missed, this is a sure sign that a project is failing.
Question 3: Have you developed a detailed project plan?