Project Plan - Landscapers' Association

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Case Study Project – Project Implementation

Monitoring and Evaluation Plan

Landscapers’ Association

of New South Wales

Project Management Plan

Centralised Database Records Management System

Landscapers’ Association of New South Wales

Project Management Plan

Centralised Database Records Management System

Restructure the Association’s current record keeping functions and implement a centralised database records system to give all staff access to the same information from individual workstations.

Project Objective

To develop a centralised database records system to significantly speed up information flow throughout the organisation and thereby resulting in more time for staff to proactively pursue tasks that will enhance and develop the Association’s service to its members.

AGGREGATE PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN

The Aggregate Project Management Plan consists four strategies: the Project Management Plan Flow Chart, GANTT Chart, and comprehensive Project Management Plans. The three strategies are the core, inter-dependent working components of the project portfolio. A fourth strategy is used to manage the on-going Program for monitoring, maintenance, evaluation, and effectiveness of the new database records system.

Project Management Life Cycle

The Project Management Life Cycle is a process map to assist in understanding the life cycle of the project. The key lesson is to recognise that each step depends on it predecessor. To manage the project successfully, each step must be completed in order:

  1. Define
  2. Plan
  3. “The Loop”
    1. Executive
    2. Adjust
    3. Monitor
  4. Complete
  5. Evaluate
  6. Celebrate

Essential Components for Effective Project Management

  1. Detailed Activity for each Plan and Phase
  2. Correct Sequencing
  3. Estimated timeframe for each Activity
  4. Responsibility for each Activity

The four Aggregate Project Plan strategies or processes are summarised as follows.

  1. Project Management Plan Flow Chart

The Project Management Flow Chart details the eight key Project Management Plans and the major tasks for implementation in each Plan. Full detail on deployment of each task, staff/ department/ Supplier responsibility, estimated duration, any predecessors, timeframe, and milestones is shown in the GANTT Chart.

  1. GANTT Chart

The GANTT Chart addresses each Plan and identifies essential Tasks, staff responsibility, predecessors, and timeframe in each step of the Plan.

  1. Project Management Plans
    1. Initial Phase Plan

Once the Project Supplier is determined, Project Plan and Procedures are determined addressing the following key objectives:

  1. Project Start Date
  2. Project Completion Date
  3. Project Methodology or Project Life Cycle
  4. Scope of Project – phases of the selected project methodology
  5. Project Review Methods
  6. Interim Milestones or Critical Dates
  7. Tasks by Project Phase (or order to accomplish)
  8. Assemble Project Team into key functional areas
  9. Brainstorm every possible task
  10. Identify Categories to organise task
  11. Personnel Responsible Available to Accomplish each task
  12. Determine Skill Level necessary to perform each task
  13. Identify Task Dependencies
    1. Which tasks can be done in parallel
    2. Which tasks require the completion of other tasks before they can start
  14. Project Control or Review Points
  15. Project Cost Estimation and Cost-benefit Analysis
  1. Communications Plan Communications within the Project Management Team, the CEO and the Board of Directors, Staff, and the Supplier is key to effectively managing the Project. Communications will influence and inspire others to take ownership of the project and become fully engaged in their roles and responsibilities.
  • Communications objectives
    • Keep staff informed
    • Motivate staff
    • Encourage leadership in the Project
    • Develop coaching and mentoring
    • Nominate Project buddies
    • Minimum disruption to services to members/clients
    • Policy and Procedures manual - reference for communications processes
      • Written: emails, staff newsletters, questionnaires, surveys, instruction sheets, Policies & Procedures Manuals
      • Verbal: focus groups, meetings, training workshops and stand alone individual training

  1. Implementation Plan The Implementation stage is the procedural control stage and critical to the success of the project. A great plan can still fail if the implementation is not carefully executed. Successful implementation depends on two main factors:
    1. Careful planning
  • Implementation Strategy – eg stand alone, parallel
  • Develop systems and procedures for systems maintenance/ information management / staff training
  • Procedure Control
  • Electronic and hard copy versions are identical
  • Intranet site
  • Keep all versions updated
    • Nominate a procedure controller and distribution method for all systems
  1. Sensitivity to those involved in the process and/or affected by it
    • Link to Communications Plan
    • Training needs analysis
    • Identify skills gap
    • Identify staff who have special needs, benefit from individual training, coaching, mentoring
    • Develop follow up (evaluation and monitoring mechanisms)
  1. Support Tasks The execution of support tasks are of relative importance to the success of the project.
    1. Monitoring and maintaining Legal, OH&S, Privacy, and Security information
    2. Procedure for System information quality checks
      1. Quality Plan for quality management and control
      2. Inspections and testing
      3. Document control – procedures and standards
    3. Celebrate Project Milestones
    4. Completed Project Celebration
    5. Staff Incentives for Project Champions
  2. Staff Training Plan The introduction of the new database system will require a training process to equip all staff with the necessary skills and competencies to manage their new job roles. A well developed staff training program will develop the employee through the acquisition of knowledge, new skills, and attitudes for future growth opportunities:
  • Minimum disruption strategy
  • Gradual phase in for changes
  • Training Needs Analysis
  • Skills audit
  • Identify gap training
  • Identify staff trainers
  • Identify Systems Administrators
  • Training in small groups
  • Rotate training
  • Some face-to-face training
  • Some self-paced
  • Training out of hours and time in lieu
  • Combine off-site training
  • Monitor budget for overtime, time in lieu
  • Plan to train new staff
  • Develop Competency Maintenance plans for keeping on-going training up to date

The Training Analysis Chart on the following page is a schematic representation of the key factors influencing successful training programs.

  1. Meetings Plan Meetings are necessary and a useful tool but not automatically effective. Four basic meetings principles incorporated into the Meeting Plan schedule will enhance meetings effectiveness.
    1. Make sure that enough has changed to justify a meeting
    2. Have an agenda and a purpose for each meeting – concise, focussed, motivating
    3. Send out action summary after each meeting – an action summary allocates responsibilities and is more effective than minutes
    4. Model desired behaviour – arrive on time, take meetings seriously, target the agenda and outcomes, finish on time
  2. Monitoring & Evaluation Plan A two stage review and analysis of the success, effectiveness, and maintenance of the Project. A future plan to ensure that monitoring and evaluation of the system takes place at regular future intervals and that changing organisation and technological needs are met.
    1. Stage 1 – Initial Evaluation (conducted immediately after Implementation – within 1-2 months)
      1. Objectives
        1. What organisational, staff, client, and industry goals have been achieved
        2. What changes in roles and responsibilities have occurred
        3. What changes in organisation structure have taken place
      1. Outcomes
        1. What improvements have been made: better system for staff to work with, better service to clients and suppliers, now industry experts, stronger research and able to better lobby to governments
        2. What changes in organisation culture have occurred
        3. What improvements have occurred in staff conditions: increased staff morale, better trained staff,
        4. What systems, procedures, and communications have improved
      2. Analysis
        1. Tools for ensuring systems are functioning correctly
          1. Communications with staff: questionnaires, meetings, emails, newsletters, individual and department reviews
          2. Consult on quality: focus groups
            1. interview operators/supervisors, random staff members
            2. use questionnaires
          3. Evaluate training, coaching, and mentoring effectiveness
          4. Evaluate and seek feedback on OH&S
          5. Monitor sick leave
          6. Redefine staff roles
          7. Measure quality of work and time management against previous manual system
          8. Seek feedback from clients
          9. Manage changes to organisation culture
          10. Record all observations, examine, report, action, and give feedback
    1. Stage 2 – On-Going Evaluation, Monitoring, and Maintenance Continuing to monitor the completed project will identify tasks or areas that require adjusting or improvement, maintain the project, and provide further lessons for future project management.
      1. Identify what has been learned from the Project
        1. What lessons are useful for future projects – document and include in standards manuals if appropriate
      2. Monitoring Procedure
        1. Documented in Policy & Procedures manuals
          1. How often to evaluate
          2. What methods to use for evaluation
          3. What strategies or processes should be reviewed
          4. Who will carry out review
          5. Manage with timeframes
        2. Maintain security
          1. Passwords
          2. Virus(es) protection
          3. Internet and Intranet security risks
          4. Confidentiality agreements
        3. Maintain Standard Practices manual – include control procedures
        4. Tools for evaluating and monitoring
          1. GANTT chart to monitor
          2. Forms for any changes to documents
          3. Check sheets
          4. Weekly tracking sheets
          5. Control charts – checks against Project Plan
          6. Performance measures
          7. Feedback from internal/external clients
          8. Observations
        5. Reporting Systems - valuable tool to manage compliance to on-going project status
          1. Incorporate into GANTT Monitoring chart
          2. Customised to the project and the organisation
          3. Design specific report formats to give the information needed
          4. Allocate specific reporting responsibilities
        6. Staff Training
          1. Professional development for all staff
          2. Train the Trainers
          3. On-Line Learning
          4. Training manuals
          5. Coaching / mentoring
          6. Buddy(ing)
  1. Budget Plan
    1. Budget reporting process
      1. Determine budget for each allocated item
      2. Determine Budget Schedule for phased Supplier payments
      3. Develop checking system for processing and paying invoices
      4. Review Budget weekly
      5. Conduct audit on payments made prior to final payment to Supplier
      6. Check over-time and time in lieu
  1. Contingency Plan Organisations and projects, now matter which industry, share some commonality in the problems they generally encounter. The Contingency Plan is useful in identifying some problems, and solutions to cause minimal disruption, or at least before the problems become insurmountable.

The following table identifies key problem areas and possible solutions.

Contingency Plan

Common Problems and Possible Solutions

Human Resources

  • Changes on organisational structure
  • Changes in organisational culture
  • Change management strategies
  • Change in systems
  • Growth or decline in roles and responsibilities
  • Manage staff concerns
  • Provide additional training
  • Establish work buddies
  • Coaching / Mentoring
  • Identify replacements for each key team member
  • Cross-train for critical skills

Equipment/Facilities

  • Allow for equipment or facilities failure
  • Negotiate commitments for key equipment and facilities in advance
  • Pilot out of hours
  • Use independent PCs so that other data is unaffected

Capital Expenditure

  • Determine the organisation’s budget cycle and know financial commitments in case of unforeseen expenditure on capital equipment

Costs

  • Monitor budget closely
  • Allow Slack-time resources
  • At least one week’s leeway
  • Eliminate nonessential items
  • Substitute less costly resources
  • Use incentives or offer a bonus for improved costs or delivery ahead or on time

Administrative Procedures

  • Develop detailed operating procedures and standards
    • Administration
    • Communication
    • Implementation
    • Support Tasks
    • Staff Training
    • Meetings
    • Monitoring/Evaluating
    • Budget Review
  • Treat support activities as “internal customers”

Contracting

  • Closely monitor Supplier’s work progress
  • Plan for possibility that Supplier may not complete job
  • Document sub-contract requirements
  • Demand compliance
  • Ensure product liability
  • Prepare for another supplier to carry on

Schedule Slippage

  • Ensue project management team works closely together
  • If one person cannot complete project ensure another is up to date and carry on
  • Make allowance for tasks and activities that are out of sequence or not started or completed on time
  • Recover during later steps
  • Shift resources
  • Allow one week’s leeway in deadlines
  1. On-going Monitoring, Maintenance, Evaluation, & Effectiveness Plans Post project review (possibly six months post implementation) at an appropriate point will provide many “rear sight” observations that will, again, be useful for future project planning. It will also determine the project’s continued effectiveness and the need for non-going monitoring, maintenance, and evaluation of systems, policies and procedures.
    1. Evaluation Chart – Project Review and Audit

Criteria

Procedure

Performance

Financial

Audit on accounting systems

Assess return on investment, assess cost variances to Plan

Time

Conformance to Plan

Customer satisfaction with the timelines of completion and the costs required to provide this

Quality

Conformance to quality

Performance level of project output, perceptions of quality by customers and stakeholders

Human Resources

Treatment in accordance with contract/ legal conditions of employment, or organisational policy

Team spirit, motivation, attitude survey

Environmental

Conformance to policy set out in environmental management manual

Absolute level of environmental impact of project activities

Project planning

Conformance to Plan

Cost of the planning process assessed and appropriateness of techniques

Project control

Were measures in place and did corrective action take place?

Did the control activities provide the basis for significant improvements actions?

Appendix

  1. Sample questionnaire

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Principles of Supervision – 1st and 2nd Level Managers Muczyk, Schwartz, Smith
  2. Supervision in Action Claude S George Jr., Kris Cole
  3. Supervision: The Theory and Practice of First-Line Management Kris Cole
  4. Practical Project Management Michael Dobson
  5. Project Management – 2nd Edition Harvey Maylor
  6. Management, A Pacific Rim Focus Bartol, Martin,Tein, Matthews

Appendix

Staff Survey / Questionnaire on Project Effectiveness

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