Planning forms the basis for the efficient and effective use of resources in the project. It is the prerequisite for managing and steering the project. It supports communication and the reconciliation of activities among the project participants.


After conducting the study with the objectives and option choice, the first step in project planning is the creation of a project structure. The project manager selects the appropriate scenario in HERMES online. The scenario with its modules, phases, milestones, tasks, outcomes and roles provides a basic project structure that is adopted for the project and adapted to the actual project situation.

The planning outcomes are recorded in the project management plan. It is the key instrument for managing the project and includes all the plans for the project. It is created in the initiation phase and continually updated.

The project is planned, steered and managed according to the principle of rolling planning. In the initiation phase, the project is first designed as a whole in the sense of a rough plan. Towards the end of the initiation, concept and implementation phases, the next phase is planned in detail before the phase release decision is made, and the rough plan is checked.

Rolling planning of phases

Planning of the overall project in the initiation phase

The project is planned as a whole in the initiation phase. The project is structured and the outcomes of the whole project are defined on the basis of the study. The human and financial resources are planned only in enough detail to ensure their availability for the entire project.

First, the project structure plan is drawn up. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Create a study with options. Record the scope and limitations for the option chosen.
  2. In HERMES online based on the project outcome
    1. Select scenario
    2. Check modules, tasks and outcomes; remove elements not relevant for the project
    3. Create a project structure plan and export it; it contains the phases, milestones, tasks, outcomes and roles and is integrated into the project management plan
  3. Supplement project-specific milestones, tasks and outcomes
  4. Adapt roles in the project management plan to the project

The project management plan is then drawn up with the steps listed below. They do not necessarily have to be carried out in this order and can be taken more than once.

  1. Identify risks and determine measures
  2. Create QA plan and review plan
  3. Estimate outlay for outcomes
  4. Determine interdependencies
  5. Create a schedule
    1. Ensure resources for the duration of the entire project with the agree on and steer goods/services task
    2. Factor in qualification and availability of resources when estimating outlay and duration
    3. Estimate the duration of the tasks
  6. Plan the use of resources
  7. Create a communication plan
  8. Create a cost plan
  9. Check project management plan with QA measure
  10. Coordinate the project management plan with stakeholders and verify it as a basis for the project order
Detailed planning for the next phase

The following activities are carried out:

  1. Review the project structure plan and complete tasks and outcomes
  2. Flesh out tasks and outcomes
  3. Define work packages for the next phase and specify persons responsible for each work package
  4. Flesh out the work package activities and outcomes
  5. Verify outlay estimates based on work packages
  6. Flesh out resource planning
  7. Flesh out the phase schedule
  8. Create decision plan
  9. Flesh out review plan
  10. Flesh out communication plan
  11. Update the risk list and measures
  12. Verify the overall plan
  13. Check project management plan with QA measure
  14. Coordinate the project management plan with stakeholders

Planning and steering with work packages

The detailed planning of a phase is based on work packages. They are the prerequisite for controlling and steering the project. The following notes apply for work packages:

  1. Several work packages can be created from one HERMES task.
  2. One or more outcomes result from a work package. These are achieved in activities. When creating a work package order, the activities described in HERMES are further refined.
  3. Upon completion of the work package, the outcomes have been subjected to the QA measures defined in the review plan or test concept and have been accepted.
  4. A person is assigned responsibility for a work package. Several people can collaborate in a work package.
  5. A work package typically lasts between two and six weeks.

Planning accuracy in the course of the project

By proceeding in phases, the outcomes are continuously fleshed out (see the section on phases). As a result, uncertainty is reduced over the course of the project and planning accuracy increases. The outcomes' level of detail and planning accuracy are directly related. The planning accuracy to be achieved at a specific point in time determines the level of detail at which the outcomes should be prepared.

Figure 29 shows how planning inaccuracy decreases over the course of the project.

Figure 29: Declining planning inaccuracy over the course of the project
Figure 29: Declining planning inaccuracy over the course of the project

HERMES cannot specify how accurate planning should be at a specific point in time, as this is highly dependent on the situation and on the characteristics and complexity of the project. However, this should be specified by the project sponsor and the controlling and compliance bodies of the core organization.

Estimates should generally indicate planning accuracy details, and reserves should be included in the project order and project management plan on that basis. For this purpose, the estimate assumptions must be documented in order to meet the governance requirement concerning transparent communication.