Online Project Plan

discover who wins the top down-bottom up project plan debate

One of the oldest, and often more heated debates in IT project management world has to do with top-down and bottom-up approaches to project planning.

Those on Team Top-Down proclaim that their preferred approach lets leaders do what they’re supposed to do: establish goals, select techniques and methodologies, and streamline the planning process. They also point out that while the bottom up approach has a nice, inclusive and democratic feel about it, it’s impractical and unsustainable.

Of course, those on Team Bottom-Up view things rather differently. They praise the virtues of how their preferred approach is flexible, responsive and smarter, since it requires input from resources who will be accountable for project plan execution. They also note that the top down approach is error-prone and alienating.

And the Winner is…

Unlike many debates, the winning side here is neither and both, because the notion that bottom-up and top-down approaches cannot co-exist is a fundamentally false dichotomy; one that, unfortunately, has crept into conventional on premise project management software, which imposes one vs. the other.

In reality, both approaches can and need to support each other. That is why organizations need an advanced online project management solution like Clarizen to:

  • Build high level views of the project’s main phases and stages, and populate them with deliverables and milestones.
  • Break the project into smaller, more manageable sub-projects.
  • Establish dependencies between corresponding sub-projects and milestones, which can be done one-a-time or (more commonly) concurrently by different teams.

Once the project plan’s high level framework is in place, project managers, functional managers, and all required other execution-level specialists (such as developers or programmers) can use Clarizen to efficiently lay the foundation by adding specific task planning details, including execution deadlines. And during this process, if the required work cannot be fulfilled in the proposed timeframe, managers can be proactively notified and can collaborate and escalate accordingly.

The Way Forward

Project planning needs BOTH approaches, because leaders and teams require big picture and execution-level perspectives to rapidly build robust, realistic plans. Simply put: on-premise project management software can’t deliver on this requirement, while Clarizen’s online project management solution makes it happen.

To learn more, take an informative product tour, and request your free 30-day trial of Clarizen.