Is there a solution for cross-company distributed task planning?

Hi all,
For projects with many participants, suppliers and service providers, it is difficult for the project manager to create a reliable project plan. You hold a lot of meetings, send e-mails, make phone calls, obtain further information, etc. And in the end the times are only roughly estimated or only guesses. If the structure becomes more detailed in order to achieve better accuracy, you lose the overview and half of the tasks were still forgotten. Apart from the fact that the plan can no longer be maintained. In particular, QA tasks and approval of deliverables do not make sense to plan as individual tasks, but these tasks in particular then take a long time in the end because the people were involved too late and legitimate questions suddenly come up. Some of you know that - I guess ...

I've searched for a long time and haven't found a solution in which the planning of the tasks can be delegated to the person who will actually carry out the task. In principle, I imagine it to be like this: the project manager, the requester, creates an initial rough plan as usual. He breaks down the task as far as he can do it technically correctly. The requester defines the input and the expected deliverable for each "bar" in its Gantt chart. This request is then sent to a responsible person. The recipient in turn breaks down this task as far as he can and then sends each individual task to the person responsible for further planning and so on. It goes through the whole plan in a cascading hierarchy. Detailed planning is then always made within a task, but only the task responsible sees it. So that the overview is not lost in the details. Everyone only sees what he needs to know.

Isn't it possible to have a system in which those directly involved, those really doing the work, can provide their input to the planning? And in the end, the many small tasks result in a collaboratively created project plan without everyone having to know every little detail.

And before I start building a plugin for e.g. OpenProject to enable task delegation, I wanted to ask whether something like this already exists.




  • Interesting idea, seems complex though. How do you envision the administration of permission sets and authorization?

  • In my opinion, the permissions are less of a problem. In one or the other CDE I can also send a BCF issue to external parties for comment without the person having an account. So basically it works like this: I send you the task as a link to the system with a UUID via email without further credentials. If you have the link to the planning task, you can edit the item, create further sub-tasks and in turn send them to other external parties by e-mail. The authorizations are inherited in each case without someone having to assign them explicitly.

    I know that the distributed approach is used in budget planning, forecasting or portfolio planning. But always within the boundaries of a company in a closed software system.

    And now I find it really difficult to imagine that it has never occurred to anyone to solve the problem of cooperation in this way. And that's why I rather ask myself whether I'm trying to solve a problem that doesn't even exist like that. Or maybe I'm just searching with the wrong terms? For me it's distributed planning or collaborative planning or federated planning. Any other suggestions?

    If such a system really does not yet exist, does anyone have an idea, which system could be a good starting point to connect to and develop this distributed planning?

  • @derWilkens - What you describe as your problem sounds an awful lot like what the last planner methodology was designed for. A quick google for software in this direction will yield a lot of different software solutions.

  • Ahh, thank you very much. I have now found a paper by the developer of the method, Glenn Ballard, from the year 2000, in which he and his colleague describe exactly this problem. But I have not yet found any software for applying the method across company boundaries.

  • I don't know can it apply to a building project scale but the task managing tools I use is Trello, Notion and MS Planner
    This kind of scrum board layout could provide an overview and task detail for my personal tasks/daily work tasks so I really love to use them.

  • @derWilkens - You may well be right when it comes to planning before the construction phase, the software I had in mind really only focusses on the construction stage and the collaborative planning of tasks with sub-contractors. I'll do some more research on this as it's also something that has frustrated me for a long time in our industry (among other things!). At the moment, this kind of problem is usually resolved by really good PMs and or tight collaborations between client, planner, contractor and co.

  • edited January 11

    So I looked back on some of my notes and asked some former colleagues, and the following two software kept coming up:

    I haven't looked at these software in over a year, so perhaps some things have changed since then, but I distinctly remember that these solutions had little or non-existing integration with metadata defined in BIM Models, which was a major turn-off for me. To think that you would take an analog approach to defining activity flow, durations and dependencies seemed like a major step back so that's where my interest faded..

    In my humble opinion, the area of 4D/5D integration with site planning/logistics and material delivery has gaping holes in it that represent a real opportunity for new software ideas. Perhaps we start our own OSS !?? :)

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