Would you agree to build an IKEA kitchen with only the first page of the instructions?

No!! So why are you doing it with your projects?

Among the companies that I have had the pleasure to work with or the clients that we meet regularly around projects management, there is a fairly common.

Indeed, when we ask them to share information relating to the construction of the project plan, we face several common traits:

  • A list of actions defined more or less precisely;
  • A Gantt chart;
  • Or even a series of brainstorming “things to think about on the project”

At this stage of the conversation, we begin to challenge this common practice among our clients, which goes against what the project management frameworks indicate.

The most classic analogy we use is the IKEA build-in kitchen.

Indeed, for some of us, setting up a kitchen can be a real project in itself.

However, when we buy the kitchen, we are fortunate to have a notice provided.

This manual is in two parts: the list of features – which we could call the nomenclature in production or the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) in a project – then the construction sequence of this kitchen – which we could assimilate in manufacturing to the range of the Project Network Diagram in projects. 

We ask our customers what would happen if they set up the kitchen with only the first page?

We agree that it will be challenging to finish the kitchen, and likely still be things to fix.

Then we ask them what would happen if we didn’t give them the first page but the rest of the leaflet?

In general, customers say they can set up the kitchen. It might take longer than expected, but they think they can do it! 

We make them aware that they can set up the kitchen and establish the nomenclature from this range of projects. It is not the case if you attempt to assemble based on the Bill of Material alone. 

The Project Network Diagram is the name of the range approach; it is a tool AND a method for building the range of any project to give you the full picture of your project in logical form.

So the next time you start a project without knowing the range for that project, tell yourself you’re putting together an IKEA piece of furniture with only the first page!

And ask, what are your real chances of success without this range?