Before any project is undertaken to ensure smooth going of the project, a process called project identification is carried out by the concerned parties mostly by the administrators of the project and stakeholders in a participatory approach. The process is aimed at identifying the best project to be carried out depending on various factors.
6.2 Project Planning
A plan comprises good objectives, policies, strategies, measures, projects, programmers and targets. Plans are based on end results on the basis of:
- ultimate end aimed at by programmers.
- indicate clearly the kind of actions necessary for the achievement of objectives. They give concrete meaning to development projects.
- provides framework for organizing and communicating, identity and intentions.
- express collective ambition.
- what an organisation stands for.
- something tangible to shoot for
- a realistic, credible, attractive condition better in some ways than what is there .
- operationalise vision, mission and policies.
- Tools for building, communicating and maintaining direction of a project.
- designated performance outcome.
- Represent commitment to produce specified results in specified time. They should be: S - Specific
A - Achievable
R - Realistic
T - Time bound
- Should be challenging.
Project planning, therefore requires sound knowledge of objectives, goals, targets, priorities, policies, standard and financial budgeting and cost control. Given the total plan, the approved tender document or feasibility study will have included a breakdown of the work to be done into broad categories and identification of the resources needed for each. This work breakdown structure gives a framework for the detailed planning and scheduling which is to follow.
An early decision concerns how project work is to be organized. The outcome depends on factors such as the firm's prior experience, how many projects are to be carried at once, the significance of any project and preference of decision makers and the expertise. All this planning is done by a project management team. The major participants in project management are:
He or she should be able to coordinate the efforts of people who make any specific contributions in teamwork capacity. The project manager should have the skill to develop plans using both manual and computer package technique. He or she has also the responsibility to monitor the progress of the project and provide feedback in various formats to the line managers, accountants, technical staff and external contacts. The project manager is basically responsible for the successful outcome of the project.
Senior managers make the final decisions on projects and vested in them the authority to provide resourcing and give strategic guidance. They also provide essential lines of communication to staff of all levels who are involved in the project, and with suppliers, trade union officials and customers.
The customer may be an individual or an organisation wanting something done. The project is ultimately designed to meet the needs of a customer.
For a project to succeed, a well balanced tea is needed. This team should be able to provide a great deal of support to the project manager, with each member inputting specific skills and expertise.
When organizing a project team, we need to remember the general principle of unity of command. Accountability and responsibility are always vital issues in project management, and the execution of the whole plan can flounder due to weaknesses in these areas. The publications of the organisational chart prior to the commencement of the project will greatly facilitate a smooth running process.
For a small project, an organisation chart may look like figure 6.3.