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Project Management for R&D

Making your overall plan


Step 1. Create milestones

The majority of your milestone will be approved deliverables. Therefore start at your Project Definition Board, where you have listed all your deliverables. Pick a yellow Standard card, the smallest size from the Docket, see picture below. You may have to zoom in on your board so that you can see your deliverables and the new Standard card at the same time.


Fill in the information as follows:

  • The Card title is the same as the name (what) of your deliverable

  • Skip the Due date, Value, and Priority for now

  • Click the plus under Members and select the person responsible for the deliverable. Remember that the vast majority of your deliverables will have a responsible person from your core team. But the exception to the rule is that it can be someone in your extended or virtual team. If you don't find the name, you have to invite that person to your Iobeya room. For the time being, you may write Responsible and the person's name under Description.

  • Under Description, write customer/approver whichever terminology your company is using, and the name of the person

  • Under the Checklist, add the principle for approval/verification

  • Click save

Repeat for all your deliverables.

2. Move your Milestones

Place your Milestones in the Exchange zone at the Docket. The Docket is at the bottom of your screen.

3. Dimensions in the Overall plan

Move to the Overall plan board and add your Project Dimensions. The Project Dimensions are used to avoid sequential work, highlight important areas in the project, and describe the project's cross-functional character. It is a powerful way to reduce the lead time, avoid late changes and simplify the breakdown into Detailed plans later. Some examples:

  • project administration

  • market

  • finance

  • technology

  • product development

  • software or hardware

  • customer value creation

  • cloud solution

  • app development

  • team management

  • production

  • legal requirements

  • knowledge

4. Place your milestones

Remove your milestones from the Exchange zone and place them in the right Dimension.


5. Plan from the start-to-end

Walk through the project from the start-to-end and check that all the milestones come in a logical order. This exercise is simplified by creating a moveable timeline from the Rolls in the Docket. Check for gaps, missing deliverables, and milestones. Add new milestones to the board. Make a copy of all new milestones and place them in the exchange zone. You have to go back later and include them in your list of deliverables.


6. Plan from the end-to-start

Repeat the exercise from step 5, but start at the end. You will most likely find that some milestones come in the wrong order or some milestones are missing. Make a copy of all new milestones and place them in the exchange zone. You have to go back later and include them in your list of deliverables.

7. Introduce your stages

If you follow a Gate Model, introduce your Gates using Rolls, a line going from the top to the bottom of your board. If you are not following a Gate Model, divide the project into several stages. Remember that each stage shall contain a full Deming circle (Plan-Do-Check-Act).

8. Move Milestones to the right stage

Check the logic and move milestones to the right side of each Gate.


9. Add Due date

Open each milestone and add the final Due date. The Due date is when the milestone shall be fulfilled according to your Checklist, principle of verification.

10. Add planning horizon and planning methods

This milestone plan is your overall plan. Each stage may later be needed to be broken down into one or several Detailed plans. The Detailed plans could be a new milestone plan, a simple to-do-list, a Scrum board,  a Pert network, or a Gantt chart, or something else. For now, write down the Detail plans to be used and the Planning horizon for each plan.

11. Estimates

Impove your estimates by estimating the number of hours it takes to produce each deliverable. How to improve the quality of your estimates and find the Excel-file to be used follow this link.

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