You walk up to the microwave to heat up your lunch. You know it takes 1 minute, but do you hit 0:60 or 1:00? Does it really matter how you punch in the numbers? The outcome is ultimately the same. Project management and proper planning - the "in-between" aspects of making your lunch - are what determine the end result.
In this situation, it doesn’t matter how you get there. You can heat up your food by putting in either number (since they ultimately are equal to the same amount of time). However, if you look at this scenario in terms of a project, the small differences in how you get to your intended outcome can result in failure. Planning and execution can ultimately make or break your project.
Most projects have a set of requirements and an identified outcome that needs to be achieved. We take the time to define what is needed to achieve said outcome and take several steps to prepare and plan our projects. This may require defining stakeholders, solidifying the project management team, creating the budget, allocating time and estimating risk. If you simply plan your project around a desired outcome and don’t care about the steps needed to get there, your project is sure to fail.
As an example, there are many different development standards in the marketplace today (agile, waterfall, v-model, etc.). Organizations are only focused on the outcome of a project and not the specific path required to get there. It is up to the project manager and project management team to help an organization understand that, although 60 seconds is the same as 1 minute, you still need 0 through 59 to get there.
It is not always easy to get your stakeholders and senior management on board with budget and time for a project. Some projects may not even get off the ground due to these constraints. Do not let this deter you from properly planning your next IT project. It is better to have a project rejected than to have an approved project fail for lack of planning.