Planning in project management takes as long as the entire project. First, the broadest picture is created, milestones are set and the most important areas of implementation sometimes called epics are identified. However, even the day before the project terminates, there is still an end-of-project meeting left to plan.

Planning in project management – table of contents:

  1. Planning in project management – introduction
  2. Project domains
  3. Planning domain
  4. C.L.E.A.R
  5. Summary


In the traditional cascade approach, there was a planning phase preceding project implementation. It was in this phase that the drawing up of a detailed schedule of activities setting milestones and the allocation of budget resources among the various tasks was supposed to close. Once the planning in project management was complete, it was enough to move on to implementation and tick off completed tasks step by step. However, the reality of project management has diverged sharply from the idealized image, in which the planning and implementation stages of a project can be easily separated.

Project domains

The latest PMBOK no longer refers to consecutive stages of project planning and execution. Instead, the project management domain has distinguished performance domains, which are the areas in which a project happens, rather than its temporal framework. Indeed, these domains are:

  • stakeholders
  • team
  • methods and project life cycle
  • planning
  • project implementation
  • delivery of results
  • monitoring
  • uncertainties and risks

They intermingle and intersect in many places. However, talking about domains instead of stages makes it easier to distinguish between the project life cycle and the method of operation applied. In many approaches, planning, execution and delivery of results happen many times during the project.

Planning domain

With planning in project management, the project is carried out in an organized, coordinated and purposeful manner. The knowledge and skills acquired during project execution are adapted on an ongoing basis to most effectively pursue the project goal. This is why the planning domain is defined in the PMBOK as:

“The domain of activity involving the activities and functions associated with the initial, ongoing and developing organization and coordination necessary to deliver project results and outcomes.”

This means that elements of planning can be found in almost every moment of the project. They are present in the initiation phase when the work to implement the project has not yet begun, but also in its final stages, during which the results of the team’s work get tested and implemented at the client’s site.

Associated with the planning domain are documents and tools, collectively known as artifacts. Although they are mainly used in the project planning domain, they are often used in other domains as well. For example:

  • Backlog – often takes the form of Kanban boards and is a collection of tasks scheduled for execution, it also belongs to the domain of project execution,
  • Project management plan – also applies to stakeholder domains and project implementation,
  • Risk management plan – also belongs to the domain of uncertainty and risk.

However, invariably the most important aspect of planning is to create a course of action that will lead to the effective realization of the project goal.

The domain of planning in project management


C.L.E.A.R. is one of the methods to formulate goals. It was formulated by Adam Crick. The acronym expands as follows:

  • C – Collaborative, or Shared – when planning a project goal, it is important to remember to encourage the project team to work together
  • L – Limited, or Restricted – the framework of the planned project must be defined and known to all interested parties
  • E – Emotional, or Emotionally Influenced – the goal of the project should inherit from its vision the ability to arouse the desire for realization
  • A – Appreciable – planning a goal that is too small simply does not work for the imagination, it should set the bar high enough to stimulate ambition
  • R – Refinable, which means able to change shape and get adjusted under new conditions

The last point of the C.L.E.A.R. method is particularly important for the planning domain. This is because it emphasizes the need to adapt the goal to the conditions of project implementation and the continuity of the planning process.

The use of C.L.E.A.R. can help in effective planning to achieve a project goal. This is because it ties the planning domain to the team domain. This, in turn, is sometimes marginalized when using commonly used methods of formulating goals, such as SMART, for example. So it is worth combining the two methods, thus gaining a broader picture and more interesting planning possibilities.

The domain of planning in project management. Summary

The planning domain is ubiquitous in project management. It accompanies almost all the Project Manager’s activities. This is because it is present as early as the initiation phase defining what the project is for. In turn, it plays a major role in the initial planning, scheduling and defining of project milestones. However, when planning project tasks, the most important thing is to act in the spirit of lean, that is, to plan in detail only what planning requires. And adaptation, i.e., immediately using the knowledge gained during the project to improve the efficiency of operations.

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The domain of planning in project management | #17 Getting started with project management caroline becker avatar 1background

Author: Caroline Becker

As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.

The most important questions

  1. Are there any projects where the planning ends before the project implementation begins?

    Given the unpredictable nature of reality, such a project could happen. It would probably be a small, short-term project, such as painting the walls of an apartment. However, planning everything in advance is highly inefficient. On the other hand, the chance that no circumstances will change in the course of its implementation is very small. Returning to the example of painting an apartment - it is enough that the stain in the hallway cannot get painted with the planned two coats of paint.

Getting started with project management:

  1. What is a project?
  2. What is project management?
  3. How to manage projects?
  4. Project management methods
  5. Types of projects
  6. 4 examples of projects
  7. Prioritization of projects
  8. Areas of project activity
  9. Definition of success in project management
  10. Why use project management software?
  11. How to choose the best project management software?
  12. Overview of project management software
  13. Project life cycle
  14. What is the project vision for?
  15. Project goal. What is it and how to define it well?
  16. Project initiation phase - what to pay attention to?
  17. The domain of planning in project management
  18. What is a project schedule and what is it for?
  19. How to use milestones in a project?
  20. Project execution
  21. How to prepare a successful project contingency plan?
  22. Importance of project closure
  23. Project failure. 5 reasons why projects fail
  24. 4Ps of management: project, product, program and portfolio
  25. Most important tasks and responsibilities of the Project Manager
  26. Most useful project manager skills
  27. How to become a project manager?
  28. 5 books every project manager should read
  29. How to set up a project team?
  30. Work breakdown structure - how to delegate work in a project?
  31. How to lead a team during hybrid work?
  32. Challenges project managers face when working with a team
  33. Types of project meetings
  34. Project monitoring. What parameters to watch?
  35. How to write a compelling
  36. How to define the scope of a project and avoid scope creep?
  37. Feasibility study – can we implement this project?
  38. Risk analysis in projects and tools to facilitate it
  39. How to create a project charter?
  40. What is a stakeholder register?
  41. Gantt chart in project management planning
  42. How to create a project budget?
  43. Time management in project
  44. How to create a project risk register?
  45. Project risk management strategies
  46. Project marketing
  47. Sources and areas of change in the project
  48. Project management change models
  49. What's after Agile? Methods in project management