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I am looking for an answer to a question I received during a test on PM theory:

Generally, as the project proceeds, complexities involved in project planning and re-planning

  1. increase
  2. decrease
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2 Answers 2

For the real world picture, see David's answer.

However, if we look at it strictly in terms of planning and re-planning, all other things remaining the same, I guess the complexity should decrease on the basis that as the project progresses more and more work is done, more and more tasks are completed, and there are fewer and fewer outstanding decisions to be made and tasks to be re-planned.

The problem is, as David so eloquently narrates, the outstanding task list rarely reduces through the life of the project and tends to increase until it reached a local maximum. Then, as long as scope does not change, it will decrease until delivery when there is, theoretically, no more left to deliver.

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There's a PM theory that suggests one of these two options is always correct for every project, every industry, all the time or even generally? There's not a third option that says, 'it depends'??

As projects progress, you learn new things, discover errors in your original planning, pull out additional requirements or change requirements as time goes on, so from that point of view you have more clarity which ought to driving planning complexity down. However, you may also have a ton of poor variances to overcome, money running out, losing critical resources you cannot replace easily, discovered a host of threats no one saw previously, coping with a very upset customer who is ready to fire you, and on and on. Real life project factors can grow the complexity of planning and replanning.

I would argue there is no general rule on this and to have one, teach one, is a grave error.

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