Case Study Part 3 of 6

The Planning Phase

As explained in the earlier parts of this case study (see related posts below), this case study is about constructing an industrial building.

The objective of the planning phase of a project is to produce a project plan, which contains a quite accurate budget (+/- 10%)

To achieve that for this project, we went through the following project management processes:


Collect Requirements

The first step in this process was to establish the exact size of the required building. At this stage of the project, the size of the equipment that was to be housed in the building was known. The size of the equipment would determine the required size of the building.

Together with the customer, we next selected a location for the new building. Here is a close up of the chosen location.

The chosen location was long but not very wide. That posed the first challenge on my team: design a building that would both house the required equipment and fit the chosen location.


Define Scope

With the size of the equipment known and location selected, the consultancy determined that the building had to be 41 feet x 19 feet, which works out to be 780 square feet. Note that this is much bigger that what we had in initiation phase of the project (436 square feet).

Create WBS

To create the work Breakdown Structure (WBS) we broke down the construction of the building in the following WBS-elements:

  • Construction
    • Mobilization of the contractor
    • Pouring of the foundation
    • Pouring of the floor
    • Erecting of the walls
    • The roof
    • Electrical work
    • Painting

 Develop Schedule 


The schedule was developed using the same WBS-elements as in the Create WBS  process. The WBS-elements become the activities in the schedule. Using a scheduling program, we came up a total duration of 53 working days for the construction of this building.

Remark: develop schedule is discussed here as one process. In reality, Develop Schedule, consists of five processes (Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Resources, Estimate durations and Develop Schedule). Because of the simplicity of this project, all five processes have been done as one process.

Determine Budget

To determine the budget, we used the same method as we used during the initiation phase: a contractor built a similar building for us not so long ago for $50 per square foot. During the Define Scope process discussed above, we saw that the building has to be 780 square feet. This works out to budget of $39,000 at $50 per square feet. This method of estimating is called parametric estimating.

Plan Procurement

As mentioned above, a contractor had built a similar building for us in the past. Since we were satisfied with the job the contractor had done, we decided that we would ask the same contractor for a quotation once the project plan was approved.  

Verify Scope

It is good practice to verify the scope before developing the project plan. This is very important in ever project. so we discussed the building once more with our customer before developing the project plan.

 Develop Project Plan

Developing the project plan is one of the most important processes (steps) in doing a project. The project is going to be the basis for managing the project. A project plan should contain at least the following:

  • An explanation why the project is needed.
  • A description of the project.
  • An explanation of how the project will be done
  • The schedule of the project
  • The budget of the project

We included all of the above in our project plan and submitted it for approval.

Approve Project Plan

The approval of the project is one the important milestones in every project. Once the project plan was, it was submitted for approval. since the building (and the budget) was straight forward, the project plan was approved without any problems.

   Developingdd lllllll

During this planning phase of the project, we used thirteen (counting Develop Schedule as five processes) of the forty two (teal italic headings) processes. The planning phase usually has the most processes, so this is the longest blog post in the series. At the end of the case study we will count the amount of processes used per phase.


Related Posts

Case Study Part 2 of 6

Case Study Part 1 of 6

Project Management Process Groups

The Project Life Cycle

7 thoughts on “Case Study Part 3 of 6”

  1. Thanks for the long awaited case study and Congratulations on this great feet. Construction is where I’ve majored on over the past +11years and I think several steps are not mentioned between the Mobilization of the contractor and Pouring of the foundation. Are these steps not important or they were not done?

    1. Livingston, first of all thank you for your comment.
      All steps are important. Mobilizayion is a standard step in preparing my budget for construction projects. Mobilization/demobilization is part of any construction project WBS.
      However mobilization is a specific process for construction projects, so it is not mentioned as a process in the PMBOK. The PMBOK is a general document (“…most projects most of the time…”).

  2. @Shivaramakrishnan.
    Vijay, thank you for the congratulation.
    Also thank you for your keen comment and observation: you are completely right, "Approve Plan" is not discussed in the PMBOK as a project management process. I was waiting for this comment
    However, before any project can be executed, it has to be approved by the sponsor, so I have "Approve Plan" as a standard process for every project.
    Maybe PMI will address this process in the future.
    I read that you are preparing for your PMP, success with your exam.

  3. Let me first congratulate you for posting a wonderful case study. I have a question for you. You have mentioned "Approve Plan" as a project management process. this is not mentioned anywhere in PMBOK 4.0 anywhere. Can you explain why have you put this? Where can I find the reference?

  4. Asad, Thank you for your comment. What I am presenting here is a case study, illustrating how project management processes were used in a real life project. So, I am just explaining which processes were used on that particular project. This is not a discussion of project management processes.
    For a detailed discussion of the project management processes you have to use the PMBOK, which does an excellent job in discussing all the processes in detail.
    Thank you for your comment again, which allowed me to clarify this point.

  5. Thanks Victor, for posting part 3, which I was waiting for anxiously. However, I was expecting a little more detail. Here you have just mentioned those whose processes in a couple of sentences. As this site will also be viewed by PM experts, will it not be nice to elaborate the Planning Processes as given in PMBOK and then apply them in reality?

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