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Project plan vs problem solving

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  • Project plan vs problem solving

    Are project plans and problem solving one and the same thing?

    They appear to achieve the same objective, how to go from 'not what you want' to 'what is required'

  • #2
    GTD & Project Management Methods


    From a GTD Point of view a Problem usually leads into a project, for example a problem may be that the Garage is untidy and needs to be cleared out which would be captured as a thought as part of the capture phase.

    A Project would then be created when time/energy available - Garage Tidy Project, next actions might be to sort through a cupboard, then to put identified trash out, stuff that could be sold/ebay'd, etc.

    You could also think of this in terms of the Problem being the Objective of the Project.

    From a Project Management Point of View, a problem could be something unforseen when the project was started, which would then be managed using an issue log, which would detail what the identified issue is, , what the impact of that issue is and what countermeasures can be put in place to reduce the impact or risk on the project.

    As an example, computer hardware/software required for a project is being quoted on a longer than average leadtime from the preferred supplier, which would be the issue. The impact would be a 2 week delay on the project, countermeasures would be try to source from an alternative supplier or source an alternative product.

    Hope this helps.


    • #3
      That was a great help. And the software development example was a good addition as I have just landed into a role of IT project manager with good knowledge but very little experience. So i feel quite daunted


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gideon View Post
        Are project plans and problem solving one and the same thing?
        I say: No.

        A project plan is your initial approach for solving a problem.

        The actual process of solving the problem usually does not follow the plan exactly. Life's too messy.

        This is why GTD has a Project (goal) and a Next Action. Because so much can change between the Next Action and completion of the Project, GTD doesn't force you to plan that out rigidly. You can come up with whatever plans you want, but you only need to record the goal and the next step. The plans can change, as they should.


        • #5
          I say no, a project plan is only the first part of your problem solving, not the whole thing. It is your initial approach for solving a problem.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Gideon View Post
            Are project plans and problem solving one and the same thing?
            Not to me.

            Project planning is what you think will work to accomplish your goal and how to go about doing it. Problem solving is for when Murphy shows up.

            Example from my life:
            Project plan is
            Put scale into sheep chute
            Run sheep into sweep
            Take weights in chute

            Problem solving is
            Sheep won't step on scale because they slip so find a bit of pond liner rubber I forgot to put into the trash and use it to make a less slippery step.
            Lambs can wriggle out under the chute and get into the wrong sort pen so get small jug panels and tie them onto the chute sides using baling twine.