John Glenn School Corporation
Administrative Guidelines
 

2252 - STRATEGY FOR PLANNING A PROJECT (JOB, TASK, ACTIVITY)

This guideline has been provided as a resource to help staff members create an effective plan. It provides a planning strategy that can be used in its entirety or in parts. The end result should be a plan that meets the criteria described in Step 4.

Step One - Envision the End-Product (Result)

Prior to deciding what should be done, it is essential to clarify what the desired results of the project (job, task, activity) should be. Without a clearly defined "end", the "means" are not only harder to determine, but are also difficult to justify.

Strategy

 A.Define all the important features or elements of the end-product.

 B.Questions to ask:

  1.What should ___________________________ look like after all the work is done and the project (job, task, activity) is finished?

  2.What should be its specific features or characteristics? (Describe each in detail.)

  3.What would I not want to find true of the end result?

  4.What should not be true in the situation after the project (task, activity) has been completed?

  5.What would the end-product be like if it is just minimally acceptable?

  6.What makes this end-product important? What might happen if the end-product doesn't meet expectations?

 C.Confirmation:
  Review the desired end-product and confirm the description is:

- clear - each element is comprehensible to relevant others;

- complete - all elements have been described;

- accurate - all details are correct;

- justified - each element is essential to achieving the desired end-product.

Step Two - Develop a General Outline of the Plan

It is usually more efficient and effective to "sketch out" all of the tasks or steps before developing the details of each. It helps to avoid both gaps and getting too focussed on a particular part of the plan before its diversions are clear.

Strategy

 A.What to do:

Determine that necessary resources are available and then identify and list each step or task necessary to produce the end-product.

 B.Questions to ask:

  1.Are the resources (time, money, people, equipment, etc.) necessary to produce the desired end-product, available when and in the amount needed?....If not, what changes will have to be made in the end-product?

  2.What needs to be done first?......What is the first task?

  3.Why should _______________________ be the first task (step)?

  4.What does the result of that task (step) have to be in order to move on to the next task (step)?

  5.What should be the next task (step)?

  6.Why does that need to be done next?

  7.If that task (step) is done properly, what should the result be?

  8.Recycle questions 5, 6, and 7 until sequence is complete.

 C.Confirmation
  Review the list of tasks (steps) and the description of the end-product. Ask, "Is there any part of the end-product that would be missing, incomplete, or unacceptable if just these listed tasks (steps) were taken?"

Step Three - Develop the Plan for Each Task (Step)

The heart of a plan is the details associated with each major task (step). The more complete the details (written or thought), the more likely it is the desired end-product will be achieved.

Strategy

 A.What to do:
  Create a written description of how each major task (step) outlined in Step Two will be done.

 B.Questions:

  1.Who will do this task?

  2.Where will it be done?

  3.When does it have to be done?.....How long should it take?

  4.What resources (materials, tools, supplies, etc.) are needed?.....When will they be needed?

  5.What specifically is involved in performing this task?

  6.What policies or guidelines have to be adhered to?.....What conditions have to be met?

  7.What could go wrong? (list possibilities)

  8.What can be done to deal with the problem and still achieve the desired result?

  9.Recycle 1 - 8 for each major task listed in the outline.

 C.Confirmation:
  Review each detailed task and confirm that:

- the knowledge/skills needed to perform the task are available;

- all needed resources have been identified and are available;

- the funds necessary to procure the resources are located;

- enough time has been allocated to perform the task well enough to produce the results needed for that phase of the plan;

- probable "roadblocks" have been identified and a workable contingency procedure developed to eliminate or "get around" each one.

Step Four - Assess the Effectiveness of the Plan (Use Form 2252 F1)

Step Five - Obtain Approval of the Plan

It is essential for both implementing the plan and obtaining the necessary support that the plan is both understood and agreed to by all parties who have responsibilities associated with the management of the project.

Strategy

 A.Reaffirm the commitment to the desired end-product and its benefits before reviewing the plan.

 B.Present the general outline accompanied by a schedule of completion for each of the listed tasks.

 C.Provide details of the plan to the extent desired by those who must approve. Be sure to include the contingency plans designed for the anticipated "roadblocks."

 D.Obtain a commitment to a list of support actions that management needs to provide for if the project is to be successful.

 E.If the project plan is complicated enough to require an additional plan to make sure it starts off properly (a plan to implement the plan), submit this plan for review and approval after developing it through the use of Steps 1 - 4 above.

Step Six - Implement the Plan

If Steps 1 - 5 have been successful, the plan should work effectively to accomplish the desired end-product. It will be essential, however, to monitor its implementation on a regular basis to:

 A.assess the results of tasks as they are being completed;

 B.determine what may be causing any inadequacies in those results (e.g. inadequate or improper actions, outside influences, etc.);

 C.make any necessary adjustments in the actions, resources, etc. through the use of Steps 3, 4, and 5 above;

 D.reinforce those actions and influences that are contributing to the accomplishment of the desired end-product.