TECHNICAL PLAN

Planning is one of the fundamental functions of management at any level. It provides the basis for the other management functions, particularly tracking and controlling. This practice area is concerned with the planning of projects. By project, we mean an undertaking typically requiring concerted effort that is focused on developing or maintaining a specific product or products. Typically, a project has its own funding, accounting, and delivery schedule. In a product line context, a project might be responsible for developing specific core assets or for developing a specific product from the core assets. A companion practice area is "Organizational Planning," which focuses on the strategic planning that transcends projects. It is useful to distinguish between the process by which plans are created (the planning process) and the product of that process (the plans). Most planning processes are very similar regardless of the organizational level at which the plan is applied. They usually differ in the personnel involved and the scope of the planned effort. Generally, all planning processes should include
   

establishing the plan and its contents establishing estimates of the resources required to carry out the plan having those who will be bound by the plan review it for feasibility establishing commitments to the plan

The planning process needs to be iterative and ongoing–after all, plans change. Plans should be updated and revised as needed during their lifespan. Different types of plans address different purposes. Examples of project-oriented technical management plans include project plans, software development plans, quality assurance plans, configuration management plans, test plans, and technical risk management plans. Although the contents of each plan should be tailored to fit its particular use, plans typically contain the following:
    

goals: A goal is a statement of a desired state that will be achieved by the successful execution of the plan. strategies: A strategy is a description of a way to achieve plan goals. objectives: An objective describes a significant, measurable, time-related intermediate state that will be achieved as the plan is executed. a set of activities to perform: An activity is an assignable, discrete step that helps achieve the specified objectives. resources allocated: The plan should include an assessment of the resources that the planned activities are allowed to consume (chief among which is time).

Aspects Peculiar to Product Lines There is nothing fundamentally different about a planning process for a product line. progress measures. with relation to the core assets. production plans: These plans describe how products will be developed from a set of core assets (as described in "Core Asset Development") and include the process to be followed. hierarchical relationships: Some plans contain subordinate details. and risk management plans.Other potential plan contents include responsibilities and commitments. possibly at the organizational level. In practice. Project plans for product lines have a richer set of dependencies than those for single systems. software integration plans. However. Examples of project plans that may have dependencies include configuration management plans. relationships based on a supporting infrastructure: Some plans depend on the existence of an organizational function–for example. risks. A product production plan lays out the production process for an individual product. relationships involving critical dependencies: Some plans depend on the execution of other plans. The most usable plans have a particular focus. a quality assurance or process group. . as well as project details such as the bill of materials and schedule estimates. a good deal of the production plan and product production plans are common. the product line production plan is a core asset that applies to the entire product line and from which individual product production plans are derived. resource and schedule estimates. certain types of technical plans are unique to product lines:   core asset development and maintenance work plans: These plans describe not only how core assets will be created initially but also how the core asset base will grow and evolve. testing plans. and traceability to other plans. Planning a complex task often requires a set of interrelated plans that might have these relationships:     temporal relationships: Some plans might cover a time period that precedes or follows that of other plans. funding plans. relationships. work breakdown structures. They also have external dependencies among different groups and other plans. Project details such as the bill of materials and schedules are product specific and therefore differ.