The Implementation of a Plan into a project pt1

Introduction

When you are managing a project you could spend hours creating wonderful flawless plan however you will still need to implement the plan to the project.

When you are implementing a plan you should try to agree, with the people who are working on the project, the outcomes of different aspects of the project. There are multiple topics that can be the control element however you should always try to answer the questions what is likely to go wrong, how and when will I know and what will I do about it. By answering these questions you will also be able to prepare yourself with the necessary resources in case the problems arise.

The People

When you are trying to implement a plan you should also take note of the team culture within the project. You must think of the way you approach your goals, are they just announced to the workforce and then they try to achieve them, are they communicated throughout the workforce so everyone understand them and they try to fulfil them or do you properly communicate with the workforce and try to create a goal that is agreed on by the team.

You will not understand the culture of your team just by knowing how you create goals. You should also try to understand if you use a closed, part open or fully open culture with information, motivation, decisions, mistakes, conflicts, control, managerial style, authority and manager. Understanding the culture of the workforce will allow you to smoothly implement the plan without changing the way the workforce operates too much.

Participation

Next you should try to get everybody in the workforce participating in the project. One way you can get good participation is forming strategic goals. Conduct a training session explaining what is going to be changing and who it’s going to affect. You should then try to resolve any issues that the team have regarding the project, as being left unresolved could have a negative impact later on in the project and the staff members’ productivity. When you are working on the problem treat them as if they are part of the project follow processes to resolve the problem don’t just dump the problem onto a team.

Get everybody to do the same amount of work, just because somebody is higher up in the pay scheme doesn’t mean they should be doing less or more work than someone who is earning less.

Decision Making

Making a decision within a project is a group effort. Nobody within the project should make a solo decision as everyone working on the project should understand everything that is happening within the project no matter which forum. This rule also applies to team meetings, presentations and team briefings.

Always make people accountable for the decisions they have suggested. This will encourage other members of the team to come up with new ideas for the project.

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Ensuring your Project is aligned with the Needs of your Organisation

To invest in a project an organisation first must ensure that the needs of the organisation are correctly aligned with the objectives of the project in question. Knowing that the project is correctly aligned with the organisations interests is something you will need to discuss at length with any project stakeholders.

 

To determine what must be done to ensure correct alignment, consider the following:

1. Will the project deliverables be of any benefit to the organisation?

2.Bearing the organisations interests in mind, do you understand the overall strategy and culture of the organisation:

  • Is the project at hand already aligned with the organisations best interests?
  • Will this project have a knock on effect on the overall completion of the organisations strategy or any effect on the culture of the organisation?

3. Are there any problems in the organisation that are being solved with the projects implementation?

  • For what reason does this problem require a project to solve it?

4. Is the project the only way to solve the problem or are their more efficient or culture friendly methods that can be used as an alternative to the project?

5. Is the organisations problem severe enough to justify the expenditure of the project implementation process?

  • Are alternatives set in place should the expenditure be an issue?
  • Is the project a wiser or more efficient choice than other alternatives? (i.e Plan A)

 

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Selling a project

To start a project you will need the support of managers, staff and organisation stakeholders – however, to get the support of these people we need to first sell the project to them.

1. Make sure you are able to answer all of the following questions to satisfactory standards:

  • Exactly how important is the goal for this project?
  • Is this project the best option for achieving the desired goal, if so why?
  • Are the resources going into this project a worthwhile investment, more so than other alternatives?

2. Knowing the problems your project is likely to face, consider how you will manage to overcome them:

  • Will the people at your organisation be positive or negative toward the project, depending on which, how will you use the positive response to your advantage or how will you get past the negative culture.
  • Will the people at your organisation be able to see what your project hopes to achieve, if not, how will you enlighten them?
  • Are there any habits, cultures or rules that will be challenged by this project, if so, how will you overcome these issues?
  • If other projects are in competition with this project, how will you show that this project is the worthwhile investment?
  • If any similar projects have been carried out in the past at this organisation, is there a foundation already in place that you can build upon?

 3. Know your stake holders:

  • Of the potential stakeholders, who stands to benefit from this project?
  • Who will see a recession in either resources or time because of this project?
  • Are any other stakeholders showing an interest in the project?
  • Consider who stands to lose and gain from the project and weigh it against the potential success the project will deliver.

 4. Group off your stakeholders:

  • Any influential stakeholders with a positive view of your project should be encourages to try and support your project and help overcome any who are resistant to the change your project may be delivering.
  • You should try your best to talk around any stakeholders with a negative outlook and encourage the projects advocates to do the same or block their influence.
  • Once you have categorised the stakeholders into groups – focus on those who are the biggest advocates to your project and determine a way they can help overcome any resistance to the project.

When you have addressed all of the above possibilities and have successfully sold your project into the organisation it’s time to continue building upon and improving expectations held by the stakeholders. Selling a project is essential for the project to start life – prolonging its life cycle by maintaining relationships and positive attitudes amongst those who bought into it is equally as important.

 

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Personalize your writing

When you are writing you will always want to get the attention of your reader. You will want to ensure that they fully understand your writing as well as ensuring they read all the information that you have provided.

One way you can help ensure people will read and understand the information you give them is by personalising your writing.

 

Address the reader

In a piece of writing you will always want the reader to feel involved with the writing. One way you can do this is by either adding the readers name into the text or by adding the words you, your, or yours. The one word that will always get the attention of reader is their own name. This is why when you can put the name of the reader into the writing you should. If you are unable to put the name of the person into the writing, for example you don’t know their name or there are going to be many different people reading the piece of writing so it’s impractical to put all their names on it. In cases like this you should use words like you, your and yours. These words are the next set of word that will get the attention of the reader.

 

Use of language

When you are writing you will have to understand what language that the reader will be using. In this case I do not mean what type of language in the sense of English or French. I mean the different types of language in your spoken language. For example there are over 2,000 words that people use in England to express the word intoxication. You should ensure that the people who are reading your piece of writing will understand the word that you are writing down.

 

Courteous

You should always be courteous when you are writing. This means of should never be abusive or offensive you should. If you do have some bad news to give to someone try to start it off as a positive and then if possible deliver the news as a positive criticism. You should also ensure that your pieces or writing should be in active tense this means for example if you typed the goods were ordered by the customer notice is hereby given should be changed into the customer order the goods we are advising.

 
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Lean

When you ask someone what lean is they will first think about people who are tall and thin. This description is correct when you are asking someone what a lean person is however I am asking what a lean company is.

The term “lean” was first used to describe a company in 1988 a research group at Massachusetts institute of technology were conducting observations of the motoring company Toyota. The research team was first unable to describe their findings on the company. They had discovered that the company needed less effort to design and produce their products, they needed less resources to produce their products, all of their products where produced with fewer defects, needed less inventory to set up, and performed all its key processes, these included delivering the product on time and resolving issues with products.

They concluded that they would name a company that could still run efficiently but was using fewer resources in every department a “lean” company.

Quickly after the release of the findings the term “lean” quickly became related to business capability and the ability to achieve more with less.

Lean in a nutshell

The term lean in a business point of view is trying to get the most out of your business by using the least amounts of resources. The lean strategy is focus on satisfying the customer by giving them what they need, when they need it and to the quality they are satisfied with while still trying to use the least amounts of resources available.

Advantages of being “lean”

When a company is being “lean” it doesn’t mean everything will reduce. By being lean the company will be able to employ more staff members, increase the satisfaction of customers, the company will be more organised, more and more success in the long term. The company is able to achieve due to the fact they have cut down using other resources within the company meaning they will be able to allocate the spare resources towards a much more needed part of the company.

What isn’t “lean”

“lean” is not something that should be taken light heatedly  When you are trying to make a company lean it should be thoroughly planned out before you begin to implicate it into the company. However making a company “lean” does not require vast amounts of training to implicate into the company. This is because most of the steps in making a company “lean” are straight forward.

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Knowledge Gained From A Project

When a project is finally completed the company will be able to learn from the project. By looking at the project the company will be able to improve the overall performance of the company. They can increase the performance by looking at what was successful in the project and what wasn’t and then they will be able to adapt the knowledge they now know into the company.

Success?

After the completion of a project the company will have to make a decision and decide if the project was successful or not. The decision on if a project is a success is mainly based off personal judgement. This can cause many different people to have many different decisions on the successfulness of the project.

To get a clear understanding on the effectiveness of the project you should asks yourself come questions that will allow you to get information that will give you a clear picture about the effectiveness of the project.

  • Have all the criteria that the project was supposed to meet been met? – By looking at this you will be able to understand if the project is actually achieving some of the goals it was supposed to achieve.
  • Was the project completed on budget and in the correct time scale? – This information will allow you find out if the project wasted the company’s time or caused the company to spend more money than required.
  • What do others think? – By knowing what other think about the project you will be able to get different views about the project. If a vast majority of people say that the project has not been successful you will be able to ask them why and try to correct the problem in the project and future projects.

Review

Next you should create a project review. This will give an overview on all the different aspects of the project. The review should take place soon after the projects conclusion but it should be done after the company is able to see the effects of the project to the company. If you are unable to conduct the review at the appropriate time you should conduct two separate reviews. One should be to review the project and the second should be to review the project and the second should be to review how successful the project was.

When you are planning the review you should first decide who is going to be attending the review. This will allow you to find a suitable place and set the meeting at a suitable time. When the review begins you should inform the participants of the meeting that it is not a progress review. This will put people in the correct frame of mind for the review.

During the review you should allow the participants to give their own opinion on the project. This will allow people to share their ideas about how successful they believe the project has been.  You should also allow the members of the meeting a short brake to allow them to relax and not become frustrated with the meeting.

When you have managed to get people’s opinions on the successfulness of the project you should then ask structured questions to get more information from the team members. You should ask questions like “What went well during the project and how can we use that in future projects?” and “What went badly during the project and how can we avoid the same situation in future projects?”

All findings from the review should be documented and any changes that are going to be put in place should have an action owner to ensure that the task is carried forward.

Lesson learned?

The main problem following the reviews is that people do not change the way they are behaving in the work place. You should ask the members of the teams questions like “How are you going to ensure that you take on the important lessons learned in today’s review?” This will make the members think about everything that has been spoken about during the review and will also encourage them to make a plan on how they are going to show how they have taken on the different  positives and negatives during the review.

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Getting a project team rolling

Getting a team rolling is one of the main responsibilities of the project manager they should ensure they mobilise the projects team. First of all they should encourage and align the team as this will help in long scale projects. They should also ensure that all stakeholders are ready for the project as well as the different ensuring all project members understand what tasks need to be done by them.

In the know

The Project manager should ensure that each member of the project teams understands:

  • What tasks are allocated to them -  By doing this people will not forget things as well as allowing every member of the team to do their own work without needing to remind someone else what they need to do.
  • Inform them on how their contributions affect the whole project – This will give team member motivation and will also allow them to understand the importance of the task that they are undergoing.
  • What the next task should be after the completion of the last – By knowing this the members of the project team will be able to constantly work allowing them to be able to understand what should be done next and not waste time.

Remove confusion

The project leader should ensure that nobody is confused about the work they need to complete. If a member of the team is confused about what they need to do they will have to change the way they are trying to complete the tasks that they are given to a good standard thus slowing the whole project down or even causing the project to collapse.

Prepare

The manager should ensure that all stakeholders are prepared for the start of the project. By doing this the stakeholders will be able to give the project the resources that it needs on time.

Infrastructure

By setting up a project infrastructure the project manager will be able to keep information about the project much easier. By having this information the manager will be able to use the information at a later date.

Kick-off Session

This session should set the expectations of the project. This session should also be used to ensure that every member on the project teams understand what they should be doing and when the task that they are about to undergo should be finished.

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Leadership Styles

A leader throughout there carer can shift between many of these different leadership styles. The leader will not go through them all in a certain order and they will not just go to the same style once. Depending on their career path they may go back to different styles of leadership quickly or they may have to change back to a leadership style they have previously used to help compete with the current situation.

There are seven different types of leadership style. Below there will be a list of the different styles of leadership followed with a description of each.

  • Opportunist – Opportunist are leaders who will just focus on self-success. They will not care about the members of staff who are working for them and they will use anybody to help them create success for themselves. The main advantage of having a leader who is an opportunist is that they are good in emergencies this is because they will do anything to ensure they are able to get out of the situation. The disadvantage of an opportunist is that people will not want to work for them over long periods of time. This is because the leader will not care about the well being of the staff and will overwork them.
  • Diplomatic – Leaders who are diplomatic will focus on having a calm and well balanced workforce. They are very good at keeping working conditions calm and ensuring that staff members are all working together. However diplomatic leaders find it difficult to give bad criticism as they do not want to “rock the boat”.
  • Expert – This leader will work using his own knowledge. Expert leaders will contribute largely to the work and they work around hard facts. These leaders are very good for adding work to a project as they will contribute to large parts of the work. However these expert leaders and not very good at keeping track on the emotions of the work force and they tend to be generally disrespectful of people who have led knowledge then them.
  • Achiever – Theses leaders will always meet goals and encourage cooperation throughout the workforce. This leadership style is very suited to managerial work. The disadvantage with this type of leadership is that the leader will never think of new ideas thus restricting the potential growth of the company.
  • Individual – Leaders who use this type of leadership have to regard for rules. These leaders really only good in consulting roles. The disadvantage with them is that they can become very annoying as they will constantly keep breaking the rules.
  • Strategic – These leaders are good at aiding a company change. They are highly collaborative and they also will challenge assumptions that already exist in the company.
  • Alchemist – These leaders are able to generate massive social change. These types of leaders are able to make historic changes to a company or society. They can be very rare to come across but they are make excellent leaders.

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Managing External Members On Projects

When you are managing a project not every member of the project will be a member of you staff. Sometimes a company will have to get people from a third party to complete tasks that your members of staff will be unable to complete.

This can require a large amount of attention from project management so below there is some key pointers that will aid you with this task.

  • Scope – You should ensure that the third party understands what work they will need to complete. By doing this you will not have members of your staff doing the same work as your members of staff.
  • Standards – You should ensure that the members of the third party understand the standards of the company. By them knowing this they will be able to work with these standards and produce work that your company can use.
  • Contract – You should also consider how you want the structure of the contract. You should consider are you going to be sharing the risk and rewards. Are they going to be on a fixed price contract? Are you going to be working after them after the project is finished?
  • Selection – Who will be the best for you? This is where you will try to find the best price but still find someone who will give you the best quality of work.
  • Manage – How will you manage the third party? Do you want to see progress every day?
  • Ensure handover – You should ensure that all work that the third party has completed is handed over so then implemented into the project.

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