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What Is The Difference Between Scenario Planning And Project Management?

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Project planning is part of the process of project management. It deals with the planning of one specific project within a fixed time period. Scenario planning, on the other hand, is a longer term strategic planning method that allows organizations to make flexible long-term plans.

According to Matthew Spaniol of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, project management controls the processes in known systems, whereas scenario planning explores contextual environments for potential system disruptions.

Project management is defined on Wikipedia as the discipline of planning, organizing, securing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of the goals and objectives of a project. The primary objective is to ensure that all the project goals are achieved within the preconceived restraints. Typical constraints are scope, time and budget.

Financial management is a key part of project planning. Resources need to be estimated for a project and costs for each particular activity can be allocated to each resource. Once the resources and costs for an entire project have been estimated, then a total project cost can be presented. The object of the project planning process as a whole might then be to stick within this projected cost structure.

The 'project management life cycle' works in four stages:

• Define
• Plan
• Implement
• Close

Scenario planning is different to project management in the sense that it deals with simulated and hypothetical future events and invites organizations to make contingency plans for such an event occurring.

Scenario planning may involve aspects of systems thinking and the recognition that factors will often combine in complex and unexpected ways to create a surprising future situation. Therefore scenario planning will often involved novel insights about the future, deep shifts in recognized values and unprecedented regulations or inventions.

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