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Project Management

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Broad Contents

Sorting Out Projects

Objectives and Reasons of Project Planning

Policies, Procedures and Standards in Projects

18.1 Sorting Out Project:

As we move into consideration of details of project, we need to know exactly what is to be done, by

whom, and when. All activities required to complete project must be precisely delineated and

coordinated. Necessary resources must be available when and where they are needed, and in correct

amounts. Some activities must be done sequentially, but some may be done simultaneously. If large

project is to come in on time and within cost, great many things must happen when and how they are

supposed to happen. In this section, we propose conceptually simple method to assist in sorting out and

planning all this detail.

To accomplish any specified project, several major activities must be completed. First, list them in

general order in which they would normally occur. Reasonable number of major activities might be

anywhere between two and 20. Break each of these major activities in two to 20 subtasks. There is

noting sacred about these limits. Two is minimum possible breakdown and 20 is about largest number

of interrelated items that can be comfortably sorted and scheduled at given level of task aggregation.

Second, preparing network from this information is much more difficult if number of activities is

significantly greater than 20.

It is important to be sure that all items in list are at roughly same level of task generality. In writing

book, for example, various chapters tend to be at same level of generality, but individual chapters are

divided into finer detail. Indeed, subdivisions of chapter may be divided into finer detail still. It is

difficult to overstate significance of this simple dictum. It is central to preparation of most of planning

documents that will be described in this chapter and those that follow.

Some times problem arises because some managers tend to think of outcomes (event) when planning

and other think of specific tasks (activities). Many mix two. Problem is to develop list of both activities

and outcomes that represents exhaustive, non-redundant set of results to be accomplished (outcomes)

and work to be done (avidities) in order to complete project.

Procedure proposed here is hierarchical planning system. First, goals must be specified. This will aid

planner in identifying set of required activities for goals to be met, project action plan. Each activity has

outcome (event) associated with it, and these activities and events can be decomposed into sub-activities

and sub-events, which may, in turn, be subdivided again. Project plan is set of these action plans.

Advantage of project pan is that it contains all planning information in one document.

Assume, for example, that we have project whose purpose is to acquire and install large machining

center in existing plant. In hierarchy of work to be accomplished for installation part of project, we

might find such tasks as “Develop plan for preparation of floor site” and “Develop plan to maintain

plant output during installation and test period”. These tasks are two of larger set of jobs to be done.

Task “ . . . preparation of floor site” is subdivided into its elemental parts, including such items as “get

specifics on machine center mounting points”. “Check construction specification on plant floor” and

“Present final plan for floor preparation for approval”.

Short digression is in order before continuing this discussion on action plans. Actual form action plan

takes is not sacrosanct. In some cases, for example, amounts of specific resources required may not be

relevant. On others, “due dates” may be substituted for activity durations. Appearance of action plans

differs in different organizations, and may even differ between departments or division of same

organization (though standardization of format is usual, and probably desirable in any given firm). In

some plans, numbers are used to identify activities; in others, letters. In still others, combinations of

letters and numbers used.

Tree diagram can be used to represent hierarchical plan. Professor Andrew Vazsonyi has called this type

of diagram Gozinto Chart after famous Italian mathematician, Professor Zepartzat, Gozinto, of

Vazsonyi’s invention (Readers familiar with Bill of Materials in Materials Requirements Planning

(MRP) – system will recognize parallel to nested hierarchical planning).

Objective: Career Day

Steps Responsibility Time (Weeks) Prec. Resources

1. Contact Organizations

a. Print forms Secretary 6 -

b. Contact organizations Program Manager 15 1. A

c. Collect display information Office Manager 4 1. B

d. Gather college particulars Secretary 4 1. B

e. Print programs Secretary 6 1. D

f. Print participants’ certificates Graduate Assistant 8 -

Objective: Career Day

Steps Responsibility Time (Weeks) Prec. Resources

2. Banquet and


a. Select guest speaker Program Manager 14 -

b. Organize food Program Manager 3 1. b Caterer

c. Organize liquor Director 10 1. b Dept of Liquor


d. Organize refreshment Graduate Assistant 7 1. b Purchasing

Objective: Career Day

Steps Responsibility Time (Weeks) Prec. Resources

3. Publicity and Promotion

a. Send invitations Graduate Assistant 2 - World processing

b. Organize gift certificates Graduate Assistant 5.5 -

c. Arrange banners Graduate Assistant 5 1. d Print shop

d. Contact faculty Program Manager 1.5 1. d Word processing

e. Advertise in college paper Secretary 5 1. d Newspaper

f. Class announcements Graduate Assistant 1 3. d Registrar’s office

g. Organize posters Secretary 4.5 1. d Print shop

Objective: Career Day

Steps Responsibility Time (Weeks) Prec. Resources

4. Facilities

a. Arrange facility for event Program Manager 2.5 1. c

b. Transport materials Office Manager .5 4. a Movers

Important of careful planning can scarcely be overemphasized. Slevin developed list of ten

factors that should be associated with success in implementation projects. Factors split into

strategic and tactical clusters. Of interest here are strategic factors:

Project Mission:

It is important to spell out clearly defined and agreed-upon goals in beginning of project.

Top Management Support:

It is necessary for top managers to get behind project at outset and make clear to all

personnel involved that they support successful completion.

Project Schedule or Plan:

Detailed plan of required steps in implementation process needs to be developed, including

all resource requirements (money, raw materials, staff and so forth).

At this point, it might be helpful to sum up this section what description of how planning

process actually works in may organization. Assume that you as project manager have been

given responsibility for developing computer software required to transmit medical X-Ray

from one location to another over telephone line. There are several problems that must be

solved to accomplish this task. First X-Ray image must be translated into computer

language. Second, computerized image must be transmitted and received. Third, image

must be displayed (or printed) in way that makes it intelligible to person who must interpret

it. You have team of four programmers and couple of assistant programmers as signed to

you. You also have specialist in radiology assigned part-time as medical advisor.

  1. Ajax management advised of changes 24/7 Bob, Van -
  2. Begin preparing Instat sales dept to sell Ajax consumer Division products effective 1/1/96 24/7 Bob 1
  3. Prepare to create two sales groups: (1) Instat (2)
  4. Ajax Builder Group effective 1/1/96 1/8 Bob 1
  5. Advise Instat regional managers of sales division changes 1/8 Bob 2,3
  6. Advise Ajax regional managers of sales division changes 1/8 Van 2,3
  7. Visit Ajax management and plan to discuss merger of operations 1/8 Smith 4,5
  8. Advise Ajax sales personnel and agents 14/8 Smith 6
  9. Visit Instat to coordinate changeover 26/8 Bob Gerard 6
  10. Interview Ajax sales personnel for possible positions 30/8 Instat Regional Manager 7

Your first action is to meet with programmers and medical advisor in order to arrive at technical

requirements for project. From these requirements, project mission statement and detailed

specifications will be derived. (Note that original statement of your “responsibility” is too vague

to act as acceptable mission statement). Team then develops basic actions needed to achieve

technical requirements for project. For example, one technical requirement would be to develop

method of measuring density of image at every point on X-Ray and to represent this

measurement as numerical input for computer. This is first level of project’s action plan.

Responsibility for accomplishing first level tasks is delegated to project team members who are

asked to develop their own action plans for each of first level tasks. These are second level

action plans. Individual tasks listed in second level plans are then divided further into their level

action plans detailing how each second level task will be accomplished. Process continues until

lowest level tasks are perceived as “units” or “packages” of work.

18.2 Objectives and Reasons of Project Planning:

One of the objectives of project planning is to completely define all work required (possibly

through the development of a documented project plan) so that it will be readily identifiable to

each project participant. This is a necessity in a project environment because:


If the task is well understood prior to being performed, much of the work can be


If the task is not understood, then during the actual task execution more knowledge is

gained that, in turn, leads to changes in resource allocations, schedules, and priorities.

The more uncertain the task, the greater the amount of information that must be processed

in order to ensure effective performance.

These considerations are important in a project environment because each project can be

different from the others, requiring a variety of different resources, but having to be performed

under time, cost, and performance constraints with little margin for error.

Without proper planning, programs and projects can start off "behind the eight ball" because of

poorly defined requirements during the initial planning phase.

There are four basic reasons for project planning:

  • To eliminate or reduce uncertainty
  • To improve efficiency of the operation
  • To obtain a better understanding of the objectives
  • To provide a basis for monitoring and controlling work

There are involuntary and voluntary reasons for planning. Involuntary reasons can be internally

mandatory functions of the organizational complexity and an organizational lag in response time; or

they can be externally correlated to environmental fluctuations, uncertainty, and discontinuity. The

voluntary reasons for planning are attempts to secure efficient and effective operations.

Planning is decision making based upon futurity. It is a continuous process of making

entrepreneurial decisions with an eye to the future, and methodically organizing the effort

needed to carry out these decisions. Furthermore, systematic planning allows an organization to

set goals. The alternative to systematic planning is decision making based on history. This

generally results in reactive management leading to crisis management, conflict management,

and fire fighting.

18.3 Policies, Procedures and Standards:

A policy is a deliberate plan of action to guide decisions and achieve rational outcome(s). The

term may apply to government, private sector organizations and groups, and individuals.

Presidential executive orders, corporate privacy policies, and parliamentary rules of order are all

examples of policy.

A procedure is a specification of series of actions, acts or operations, which have to be

executed in the same manner in order to always obtain the same result in the same

circumstances (for example, emergency procedures). Less precisely speaking, this word can

indicate a sequence of activities, tasks, steps, decisions, calculations and processes, that when

undertaken in the sequence laid down produces the described result, product or outcome. A

procedure usually induces a change.

Standards in the context related to technologies and industries, is the process of establishing a

technical specification, called a standard, among competing entities in a market, where this will

bring benefits without hurting competition. It can also be viewed as a mechanism for optimizing

economic use of scarce resources such as forests, which are threatened by paper manufacture.


18.3.1 Categories of Planning:

Strategic Planning:

Strategic planning produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide

what an organization is, what it does, and why it does it. It requires broad scale

information gathering, an exploration of alternatives, and an emphasis on the future

implications of present decisions. Top-level managers engage chiefly in strategic

planning or long range planning. They answer such questions as "What is the purpose

of this organization?" "What does this organization have to do in the future to remain

competitive?" Top-level managers clarify the mission of the organization and set its

goals. The output needed by top management for long range planning is summary

reports about finances, operations, and the external environment.

Tactical Plans:

Top-level managers set very general, long-term goals that require more than one year to

achieve. Examples of long-term goals include long-term growth, improved customer

service, and increased profitability. Middle managers interpret these goals and develop

tactical plans for their departments that can be accomplished within one year or less. In

order to develop tactical plans, middle management needs detail reports (financial,

operational, market, external environment). Tactical plans have shorter time frames and

narrower scopes than strategic plans. Tactical planning provides the specific ideas for

implementing the strategic plan. It is the process of making detailed decisions about

what to do, who will do it, and how to do it.

Operational Plans:

Supervisors implement operational plans that are short term and deal with the day-today

work of their team. Short-term goals are aligned with the long-term goals and can

be achieved within one year. Supervisors set standards, form schedules, secure

resources, and report progress. They need very detailed reports about operations,

personnel, materials, and equipment. The supervisor interprets higher management

plans as they apply to his or her unit. Thus, operational plans support tactical plans.

They are the supervisor's tools for executing daily, weekly, and monthly activities. An

example is a budget, which is a plan that shows how money will be spent over a certain

period of time. Other examples of planning by supervisors include scheduling the work

of employees and identifying needs for staff and resources to meet future changes.

Resources include employees, information, capital, facilities, machinery, equipment,

supplies, and finances. Operational plans include policies, procedures, methods, and


Policies, procedures, and standards vary from project to project due to the uniqueness

of every project. Every Project Manager can establish project policies, within broad

limits set by the top management.

Although project managers have the authority and responsibility to establish project

policies and procedures, they must fall within the general guidelines established by top

management. Guidelines can also be established for planning, scheduling, controlling,

and communications.

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