A delusional programme is one that looks right but doesn’t operate like a programme should.
A pretty broad statement so I will explain what I mean. Once a programme is produced it should be able to react to change that is put into it. If the initial programme was built and linked correctly in the first place. All too often programmes are made to look right (or what the producer wants to see).
Constraints are one of the biggest problems here. In theory you should never really need to use a constraint or at least in rare circumstances and they should always be explainable. The problem is that they are used very often to override the logic. If you need to override your logic, is your programme realistic or delusional?
I’ve never really got my head around productions a programme that looks right, its pure vanity. A programme needs to operate correctly and have all the information the contract requires for it to be of any use. Just because you can make it look right on a bit of paper or a computer screen doesn’t mean its deliverable and this is again a problem. Having a delusional programme gives a massive false sense of security that it can be met. It’s only when things start going wrong that the programme falls to bits.
A good, well written plan will be able to cope with changes and issues and help to identify the critical areas where resources should be focused. Even a good programme will need to be maintained to remain realistic. This process can all too easily change a realistic programme into a delusional one. Deleting links to release float, overlapping activities and use of constraints are all issues that will turn a good programme sour.
I am a firm believer that if you identify the issues then at least you will have a fighting chance at delivering a more successful project. Sweeping issues under the carpet will rarely if ever pay off.