You could be using the most cutting edge science in planning

The organizational benefits of learning planning that's designed around the way humans operate are numerous:

  • Reduced risk realization 
  • More reliable and accurate schedule milestones
  • Increased scope capture
  • More projects delivered closer to budget

From a professional development perspective, the benefits are:

  • Higher client trust in your planning
  • Being a project planning leader in your professional network
  • Having a premium credential that is science and evidence-based


Get certified by science in the most advanced planning process - the NPPQ credential

What’s in a name? NeuralPlan takes its name from designing planning processes around the way the brain operates and humans think - thus the words neural (designed around human cognition) and plan (project planning). It is not purely neuroscience, not purely behavioral science, not purely cognitive psychology, and not purely social psychology. It is a whole-brain perspective on how humans make predictions in plans and forecasts in projects.

The project management discipline has very few training courses and certifications that are outcome-based and have been proven to increase the reliability of the project plan. And while many of these methods provide value, they often do not directly impact the accuracy of the plan.

NeuralPlan is different. It is built from solid, evidence-based science (see snipits of scientific articles below) that has tested how humans make decisions when planning and forecasting, and mitigated the errors through redesigning processes, metrics, skills, and interfaces to reduce the errors in prediction.

Some snipits of applicable scientific articles 


Reliable plans are important because they accelerate delivery

The course is built for the practitioner, and is intended to give practical solutions for planning and forecasting that are designed around the way humans process information during predictions.

The NPPQ (NeuralPlan Project Qualification) certifies that you have been trained in why humans make the planning decisions they do, and through the online certification training you learn how to mitigate those issues. The increased risk mitigation, increased plan reliability, higher forecast accuracy, and thus more projects delivered on time and on budget, thereby increasing customer trust and boosting your bottom line.

In the future, the institute will also enable NPPQ credential holders to earn their NPPP certification (NeuralPlan Project Professional), which will certify that a professional is both competent in cognitive planning processes and have several years of practice.

It can no longer be good enough for us in the project management discipline to just monitor and organize projects. We must use proven methods to change project outcomes by redesigning our processes around the human brain.



Project success depends on accurate prediction

On-time completion of the milestone relies on two primary elements: accurate prediction of what will be delivered, and effective delivery of what was predicted

The same is true of weekly or monthly forecasting. Anything that requires looking forward in a project is prediction. Because of the nature of the human brain, looking forward into the future and calculating durations, resource quantities, and cost tend to be optimistic, which in turn increases risk and results in unrealistic plans and forecasts. Not only is this inconvenient to the organization, it reduces customer trust in outcomes, results in inefficiencies, and has a material impact on profit margins.


What we are doing about it

First, it is important to note that while there is tons of science out there to improve planning and forecasting, none of the popular existing project management methodologies have a foundation of science to design their planning process. This is a problem, because thousands of studies conducted over the last couple of decades have shown that planning accuracy can be significantly improved. Furthermore, none of the existing project planning processes in popular methodologies address and mitigate the human factor in planning. 

We are changing this. NeuralPlan is the first science-based planning, forecasting, and risk credential that is grounded in evidence-based studies that show how to help mitigate the human factor and reduce errors so that plans are more accurate, yielding more on-time projects and reducing risk, thus improving your bottom line.

We have begun to address the gap by aggregating behavioral science, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, social psychology, behavioral economics, and project management specific studies on human factors in prediction, all into one comprehensive training that brings it all together for the practitioner. This is a first in our discipline, and will provide project management practitioners a new set of tools that will improve the reliability and accuracy of their plans and forecasts. 


What's in the course - the first science-based planning process

The NeuralPlan certification preparation course is conducted at your own pace, online, with a full training manual, a platform that uses gamification for better retention, and videos that provide instruction by the scientists who developed the course. Training consists of practical implementation of cognitive strategies to reduce risk and increase planning and forecasting accuracy. While traditional planning courses may include basic administrative processes such as WBS development, critical path, scope descriptions, RACI charts and the like, NeuralPlan focuses on processes that actually change performance outcomes versus just organizing and monitoring them. Some of the topics covered in the course include:

  • Overview of the decision sciences
  • Introduction to behavioral and neuroscience
  • Explanation of applicable cognitive biases
  • The role of various cognitive functions that decrease rational and logical thinking in prediction
  • Mitigation techniques in individual forecasting
  • Cognitive functions that increase risky decision-making
  • Various modalities that affect prediction
  • Using earned value and other metrics to measure optimism bias in the organization
  • Designing planning processes and procedures around the brain to increase prediction accuracy
  • Organizational, leadership, and social considerations that impact planning and forecasting accuracy
  • Project diagnostics to identify sources of low prediction accuracy



The course roll-out

The course is online and self-paced with recorded videos by the authors Dr. Shari De Baets and Josh Ramirez, and certification tests after course completion. The NeuralPlan release occurs in the following stages:

  1. Phase 1 (complete): Full course launch: April 30th, 2021. After launch, those who had made their pre-launch purchase will be sent their login information for the training platform to begin their coursework.
  2. Phase 2 (complete): Soon after the initial launch, NeuralPlan made available at the full rate of $2,497, for those who have not purchased in the pre-launch sales.
  3. Phase 3: In phase 3 NeuralPlan will move to online proctored exams after course completion. Online proctored exams are estimated to begin in 2022. 


Meet a couple of the researchers

Josh E. Ramirez, NPPQ, PMP, MSM-PM (PhD cand.)

Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Neuro & Behavioral Project Management, and faculty at Columbia Basin College, United States


Dr. Shari De Baets, NPPQ

President of European Operations and Chief Forecasting Scientist at the Institute for Neuro & Behavioral Project Management, and Post-doc researcher at the Department of Management Information Science and Operations Management, Ghent University, Belgium



Project planning, designed around human cognition!

A science-based process for project planning, with an emphasis on the beings that predict project work: humans. If the brain is an information processor, and this processor has a tendency to make planning errors (up to 70% of projects fail their schedule and cost objectives), then why not redesign our processes around the brain?

NeuralPlan intends to deliver just that!

Please write to [email protected] if your organization is interested in training in the near future. Group and organizational discounts are available. 



Making projects better through science, worldwide...

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Joshua Ramirez
    commented 2021-04-28 16:37:18 -0700
    NeuralPlan is almost ready :-)
  • Kelly Blomquist
    commented 2021-04-28 11:20:48 -0700
    I can’t wait to get started on this training.
    Kahneman’s debunking of homo-economicus inspired me to believe this new understanding could revolutionize Project Management.
  • Ruth Pearce
    commented 2020-01-29 12:14:42 -0800
    I cannot wait for this course! I will be one of the first to sign up!
  • Ruth Pearce
    commented 2019-09-01 10:52:19 -0700
    This sounds like a wonderful development. I cannot wait to see how this helps to support project managers in more effective information processing, decision making, estimating and project progress. Time to stop fighting the brain and design our processes around it.
  • Rich Maltzman
    commented 2019-08-28 06:40:36 -0700
    This sounds fascinating! Project managers – human beings themselves – must ‘program’ and inspire, lead, and direct other human beings to get (aligned, sustainable) work done. This should help!