Complex projects often need multiple programmes to break down the level of detail to the correct audience. This is a necessary part of the plan, you can have the best plan in the world but its worthless if it cant be read and understood.
There’s a key definition that I need to make in order for my point to be clear. There can be multiple programmes breaking down the detail but in essence these should all be showing the same plan. Just because you have multiple programmes it does not mean you have multiple plans.
In my opinion the project should have 1 plan being implemented and several contingency plans ready if a key risk materialises. Now this 1 plan could be demonstrated through multiple programmes, for instance monthly high level, weekly detailed breakdown, hourly high risk activity programmes, subcontractor or area specific detail breakdowns etc…
These should all follow the same plan and break the detail down.
I’ve been on sites that stray away from this. They start the project with one plan and multiple breakdown programmes. As time goes on and the programme develops with change becoming apparent its easy for these programmes to deviate further and further apart and effectively become detached from the main plan into their own spin off plan.
Once this happens the plans then deviate further from each other. You then end up with multiple subcontractors, teams or areas working to different dates.
The practice of having a client issue programme separate to a construction programme is thankfully on its way out. But this doesn’t stop contractor discipline leads creating their own version of the plan and directing subcontractors accordingly. This then causes their programme to be out of sync with the main project programme (especially if subcontractor submissions are not being used for the update process)
Once there are multiple plans on the project the only thing that’s happening is planning for failure. Its not possible to hit the plan when there’s more than one in use. Your always going to disrupt something.
When there is a single plan with multiple programmes the issue doesn’t materialise as the programmes (should) all align with each other as they all depict the same overall plan. Its therefore necessary to cross check programmes to ensure they are all following the same dates.
Now I’ve heard people say that they have created their own plan because they have no confidence in the main plan. This isn’t the solution and wont solve the problem. In this instance the solution is to highlight where the areas of concern are with a solution for resolving them. Multiple plans is heading for disaster.
You only need 1 plan in place at any one time. Multiple programmes is fine but they all need to show the same plan. If you need help aligning your programmes to a plan or formulating a plan then get in touch.
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