Project Planning and Project Success: The 25% Solution, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Project Planning and Project Success

The 25% Solution, 1st Edition

By Pedro Serrador

Auerbach Publications

228 pages | 40 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-11-24
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Project planning is generally accepted as an important contributor to project success. However, is there research that affirms the positive impact of project planning and gives guidance on how much effort should be spent on planning? To answer these questions, this book looks at current literature and new research of this under-studied area of project management.

The author presents his findings from an extensive review of project planning literature that covers more than 270 sources. He also discusses new research that analyzes data from more than 1,300 global projects. The book confirms that the time spent on planning activities reduces risk and significantly increases the chances of project success. It also concludes that there can be too much planning and shows that the optimum ratio of planning to effort is 25%.

The book examines the impact of project planning on different industries. It discusses research in the construction and information technology (IT) industries, and presents a case study of how to plan and track a software development project. The book also looks at the impact of geography on project planning and success.

Intended as a basic tool in the library of any project manager or general manager, this book brings to light project planning techniques and information that have never been published previously. It is an important resource on how to plan projects properly and propel your career forward.


"While careful planning can reduce risk and increase the success, excessive planning can hinder timely completion of a project. Pedro Serrador considers nearly 300 project planning sources and concludes that spending 25% of the time allocated to a project on planning results is an optimal level of timely success. He then considers this model in terms of real life project planning including construction and information technology examples. This book will be a useful resource for any project manager or general manager. Also included are supplemental checklists and forms that can help to optimize the planning of projects to benefit customers, stakeholders and companies."

Ringgold, Inc. Book News, February 2015

"Project Planning and Project Success looks at current literature and new research of this under-studied area of project management. … Intended as a basic tool in the library of project managers and general managers, Project Planning and Project Success brings to light project planning techniques and information that have never been published previously. It is an important resource on how to plan projects properly and propel careers forward.", February 2015

Table of Contents


Spectacular Project Failures

Mars Climate Orbiter

FoxMeyer Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program

Canada’s Long-Gun Registration System

Homeland Security’s Virtual Fence

Proper Planning

Academic History of Planning

The Study of Project Planning

History of the Study of Planning in General Management

Project Planning in Academic Literature

Modern Views on Planning


Project Planning Practice

Reasons Not to Plan

Value in Planning?

Errors in Planning

Planning and Business Success

Planning and Avoiding Failure

Planning and Delays

Project Success and Planning: What Are They?

The Triple Constraint

Project Time Frames

Broader Success

Efficiency and Success

Efficiency versus Success

Project Efficiency versus Project Success

Practical Applications

Planning Variation by Industry

Approaches in Different Industries

Geography and Industry and Success

New Research



Planning in the Construction Industry

Research in construction


Planning in Information Technology

Research in IT

Critical Success Factors

Empirical IT Research

How Much to Plan

Practical Planning Impacts on Success: A Software Development Case Study

Estimating Faults

Replanning Mishaps


Estimate Right the First Time!

Tracking Changes

Planning and Success in General Project Management

Impact of Planning from a Conceptual Standpoint

Critical Success Factors

Planning Tools’ Effect on Project Success

Planning Phase Component Completeness/Quality and Project Success

Planning Phase Completeness and Project Success

Planning Phase Effort and Project Success


Consensus on Planning and Success

Literature Summary

Empirical Results

Planning Deliverable Quality and Success

Original Research

Quality of Planning and Success

Planning and Efficiency

How Much to Plan

How Much to Plan in IT

Other Industries


Planning Phase Effort and Success

Planning Effort versus Success

Nonlinear Relationships

Impact of Moderators

The Final Model

What Is the Optimum Planning Phase Time?

Optimal Planning Effort

Maximums for Subsets

Further Analysis


Planning Budgets and Success

New Research on Planning Budgets

Optimal Planning Budgets

Planning and Agile/Iterative Methods


Up-Front Planning in Agile/Iterative

Planning in Agile

Agile versus Traditional

Agile Methods and Success

Overview of Agile Methodology and Success Rates

Agile Usage around the World

Agile Usage by Industry

Agile Usage Analyzed Using Moderators


Planning’s Importance to Manager Success

Manager Planning Time

Planning Strategies of Successful Managers


New Research: Planning and Manager’s Success

Personal Planning Habits

Planning and Job Function

Additional Analysis

Manager’s Project Planning Time

Experience and Project Success





Appendix A

Appendix B

Appendix C

Appendix D



About the Author

Pedro Serrador, PMP, ITIL, P.Eng., MBA, PhD is a senior project/program manager with more than 20 years of experience. He is a teacher, writer, speaker, and researcher on project management topics. His specialties are studying aspects of project success and managing technically complex and high risk project consulting engagements.

He holds an Hons. BSc in Physics and Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, Canada and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. He is an accredited professional engineer in computer engineering and has been a PMP since 2000. He holds a PhD in Strategy, Programme & Project Management at SKEMA Business School (Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Lille).

About the Series

Best Practices in Portfolio, Program, and Project Management

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Project Management
COMPUTERS / Information Technology
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Engineering (General)