Project Management for Planners

A Practical Guide

By Terry Clark, AICP

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Busy urban planners who increasingly are required to do more, faster, with less are uniquely qualified to use structured project management, a technique long practiced by the military and the construction and information technology industries. AICP member and certified project manager Terry Clark tell planners how to use this proven system to write comprehensive plans, review development proposals, and complete other important planning projects on schedule and within budget.

Project management is a natural fit for planners because it takes advantage of planners' strengths to overcome their weaknesses. Planners are enthusiastic and result-oriented. They have great planning and communication skills and they're used to working with diverse individuals to achieve common goals. But they also may be visionaries or perfectionists who get bogged down by deadlines, budgets and bureaucracy. Clark shows the way around these obstacles and encourages planning directors to adopt a "projectized" organizational structure that gives planner project managers the autonomy and the authority they need to succeed.

Clark shows how to break any project down into five steps: initiating, planning, executing, controlling and closing. He describes specific tools — project scope statement, project charter, and work breakdown structure, for example — that equip project managers to organize information, deploy resources, and divide complex tasks into manageable pieces. Each chapter includes templates of essential documents and charts, a review of important points, and a list of additional resources. Case studies illustrate how the system worked on four real-world planning projects.

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Date Published
Jan. 1, 2002
APA Planners Press

Table of Contents


1. Introduction
Welcome • Not new • It's not just for engineers anymore • Professional development • The latest fad? • What is project management • Review

2. To manager and supervisors
Introduction • Planning staff are self-motivators • Beyond motivation • The importance to planning managers • Let go! • Review

3. Initiating
Interview • Initiating • Review

4. Planning
Interview • Planning • Review

5. Executing
Interview • Executing • Review

6. Controlling
Interview • Closing • Review

7. Closing
Interview • Closing • Review

8. Case studies
Introduction • Case Study #1:Saving the Everglades • Case Study #2:The little town that could • Case Study #3: A sub, is a sub, is a sub • Case Study #4: Water, water everywhere

9. Perspectives
Introduction • Affirmations • Conclusion