What story does the plan tell you

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I posted this on a mixture of social media to get discussion on what this plan tell us.  Using the simple case above to suggest some of the things that large “real” project can show that might be misleading.  Then posing the following question:

What percentage complete is this project

Assessing the Plan

Well from simply looking at the percentage of tasks complete one might guess this project is about 50% complete, maybe even a little more.  If you look at it in more depth, you can ask the question how can task 3 have started when it is dependent on task 2 completing.  This is where the plan might not be a good model of the real world.  To verify the situation you need to talk to the team involved.  It is possible that the dependency shown is incorrect.  If task 3 can start before task 2 is completed;  then the plan would need to be amended.   In that case it is no longer a good model of the intended path through the project.  


It could be that the team have simple recorded progress against the wrong task and what was recorded should be reflected in task 1 and 2 and the plan remains a reasonable model of the world.


But just from a quick review it is easy to see that you can form a mistaken picture of a project if you do not look deeper.


Will the Project Finish on Time

The key question is whether the project will finish on time.  The plan in any project will give a picture against whether the project will finish on time.  Analysis of the tracking will help give some answers but it is only as good as the current understanding of the project.  If the knowledge of the projects path is flawed then the plan will be flawed.   Few Projects can expect to finish without some modification to the plan.  Experience has shown that all projects of any but the very smallest size will involve some adjustment to schedule and approach.  A good plan is a foundation of success, but a rigid inflexible plan is a model for failure.  This is regardless of your chosen project management method.