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Overview of Planning and Control Tutorial

1 Overview of Planning and Control

Hello and welcome to lesson 10 of the Managing Successful Programmes Certification course offered by Simplilearn. In the previous lesson, we discussed blueprint design and delivery. In this lesson, we will focus on the next governance theme, that is, planning and control. Planning and control is the key to success of any transformation programme and should be seen as distinctly separate concepts and activities. Let us begin with the objectives of this lesson in the next screen.

2 Objectives

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to: ? Describe planning and control ? Discuss the programme plan ? Explain the project dossier ? Identify the ways to delineate projects under workstreams Let us move on to the next screen to discuss the MSP® framework.

3 MSPFramework

MSP® Framework represent the MSP® principles, governance themes and transformational flows. Planning and control is a governance theme that involves the preparation of different governance frameworks and information baselines. The major information baselines covered under this theme are programme plan, resource management, information strategies and corresponding plans. In the next screen, let us introduce the concept of planning and control.

4 Planning and Control Introduction

Following are the important activities involved in programme plan- preparation and programme control: Preparing a programme plan involves processing large amount of information. This information comes from external sources like lessons learnt from previous programmes. The stakeholders including management groups need to go through an extensive consultation regarding this information to identify the right path for a programme. The final programme plan is a result of multiple iterations. In the beginning, the first iterations give ambiguous plans but with progressive refining and input from other information baselines, the programme plan improves. Finally, the programme plan is prepared. Programme control provides supporting activities and processes that run throughout the lifecycle of a programme to refine and improve delivery of the programme. It helps reduce the impact of ambiguity and bring certainty whenever possible. It justifies the continuance of programme by ensuring that benefits outweigh expenses. Also, the management and control of the programme should learn from the experience in previous tranches. In the next screen, we will discuss programme plan.

5 Programme Plan

Programme plan is the key control document for a programme which forms a complete picture of how the programme is going to work. Programme plan has to ensure that there is clear understanding of the programme objectives mentioned in the vision statement. The blueprint should have the ability to achieve the objectives and the same is confirmed in the programme plan. Benefits should be linked to projects and tranches, and similarly, the projects should contribute towards the benefits. Programme plan gets inputs from various documents. The inputs from resources, on their capacity and skills, form a part of the programme plan. The stakeholder needs regarding appropriate information also form a part of the programme plan. The risks and issues as well as identifying the roles of responsible persons should form a part of the programme plan. The timetable in the programme plan identifies the dependencies and interfaces between projects and benefits. The programme plan lists the milestones to ensure that the progress is monitored. It is important to ensure that transition is smooth by considering the cultural aspects and acceptance of teams involved in change. A number of governance strategies include associated plans and it is perfectly acceptable to integrate these plans into the programme plan for simplicity, wherever appropriate. Developing and maintaining the programme plan requires on-going coordination of all project plans. The focus of programme planning is on the interdependencies between projects and any dependencies on external factors outside the control of the programme. In next screen, we will focus on resources.

6 Resources

Any input required by a project or programme is known as resource. Resource covers people, assets, materials, funding and services. Resources, especially people, should have finite availability. Shared resources, which include resources that will be used by two or more projects, should be planned and managed by the programme. Minimising resource sharing between projects will help prevent the occurrence of bottlenecks. But resource sharing also helps promote knowledge sharing, organisational learning, efficient and fluent working. Managing human resources is complex as they can have limits on skills, numbers and emotional constraints. Planning at all levels should not disregard limits of competence, else it will result in unrealistic plans. Team building should be employed for teams, where there is no interpersonal relationships. This helps the teams to work efficiently. In the next screen, let us discuss resource management strategy and plan.

7 Resource Management Strategy and Plan

A major part of resource management planning is to identify all resources that are needed by the programme in terms of budget, skills, staff, assets and services and how they will be acquired, used, shared and managed effectively. The plan should include the required specialist skills and identify where and when they will be needed. Some examples of such skills are requirements for procurement and contract management in line with corporate policies. Develop resource management strategy along with programme plan to ensure that they are in sync and the resources required match the planned activities and timescales. Resource management plan reflects the timelines for resource requirements and designations of responsible persons. While preparing resource management strategy, represent shared resources as dependencies and plan their use to optimise them. Typical examples of shared resources are staff, infrastructure, information and external service providers. In the next screen, let us discuss risk management.

8 Risk Management

Implementing the programme plan will inevitably have risks associated with it. Individual projects may face critical risks which may jeopardise the whole programme. All assumptions must be managed as risks. Identifications of risks along with suitable responses should be a part of the programme’s risk management activities. Plan contingencies and risk management activities based on programme plan and risk management strategy. This will ensure that the programme is in good shape to respond to risks in case they actually occur. In the next screen, let us focus on projects dossier.

9 Projects Dossier

Projects dossier contains a summary description of all projects that combine their outputs to deliver the programme, that is, the required intermediate and final “to-be” states as described in the blueprint. Following are some important features of projects dossier: Inputs for projects dossier come from blueprint. Blueprint mentions the requirements and specifications that are required to be delivered by a project to achieve the outputs. Projects dossier also includes a list of existing projects that will be absorbed in the programme, in case the programme is emergent in nature. Projects dossier includes detailed information on each project including its objectives. It also details the resources, outputs and constraints like time or resource. Projects dossier also identifies dependencies on other projects. It also includes the anticipated budget based on the business case and the project’s contribution to the programme. The objective of projects dossier is to place clear and direct accountability on projects, while avoiding interdependencies. This can be achieved by ensuring that the delineation of project boundaries maximises the internal consistency of projects and minimises the number of interfaces and dependencies between projects. In case of huge or complex changes, the project should be broken down to smaller projects. Similarly, if there are too many small packages of work, they should be combined into one project. It is important to ensure that the project teams are good, and also to maintain the existing team-working arrangements. The teams should be efficiently managed if they are spread across different regions. In the next screen, let us look into deadlines, constraints and priorities.

10 Deadlines Constraints and Priorities

A programme may have immovable deadlines on which there is little or no control. These time-related drivers will constrain the overall timescales within which the programme must operate. It is important not to lose sight of reality when such constraints exist. The programme is obliged to concentrate on the delivery of high-priority capabilities which maximise benefits. Now let us focus on priorities. Priorities are key factors that influence scheduling. Scheduling a project delivery demonstrates the realisation of benefits aligned with strategic objectives that set the context of the programme. The effect of delaying or bringing forward a particular project, on the staff and the rest of the programme can be significant. Prioritisation should focus on critical activities like: Specific projects such as procurements, whose outputs are required by other projects; Resource requirements for scarce skills which are to be shared across projects; and Early benefits realisation such as reduced operational costs that will help engender continued commitment and enthusiasm for the programme. In next screen, let us discuss workstreams.

11 Workstreams

Workstreams are used to describe the logical grouping of projects and activities to enable effective management. This is particularly relevant where there are many projects within a programme to enhance management control. Following are the ways in which a project can be delineated. Projects can be delineated in different ways, including discipline, location and output. By discipline, it is meant that the programmes are typically multi-disciplinary, whereas projects are often seen as a single discipline, for example IT and construction. By location, it is meant that the projects that run across multiple sites are difficult to manage, largely because of communication overheads between members of project teams. To solve this, projects may be scoped by grouping activities that can be achieved on a single site. By output, it is meant that each project may be defined such that it is responsible for a single set of outputs like an IT system or a building. Let us continue to discuss workstreams in the following screen.

12 Workstreams (contd.)

Following are some more facts about workstreams: One of the key factors for defining a workstream is to concentrate on dependencies as much as possible within the workstream. Workstreams are not time-bound. They exist as long as delineation criteria are valid. Within MSP®, workstreams may run through a number of tranches. However, workstreams must be scheduled in a way that is optimal to enable programme control. If a programme is stopped or re-directed, then the workstream will need to be changed accordingly. Management of workstreams may require a layer of management between project managers and programme managers. Anyone who has the overall responsibility for a group of projects that have been assembled into a workstream can be called Workstream Manager.

13 Summary

Let us summarise what we have learnt in this lesson: Planning and control is a governance theme that involves the preparation of different governance frameworks and information baselines. Programme plan is the key control document for a programme which forms a complete picture of how the programme is going to work. Projects dossier contains a summary description of all the projects that combine their outputs to deliver the programme. Under workstreams, projects can be delineated on the basis of discipline, location and output. Next, we will focus on the activities of planning and control.

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  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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