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PHASING AND PLANNING - PROJECT MANAGEMENT CHAPTER 5

Phasing and planning

You do not move that often. Moreover, it must be done quickly because the new residents are already standing on the sidewalk, so to speak. So you will have to divide the work and plan smartly. To do that, you can use two techniques that are the same: setting up a "product breakdown structure" (PBS) and a "Work Breakdown Structure" (WBS).

Product breakdown structure

With a PBS, you cut the result of the project into an almost number of rounded parts. For example, you can divide a move into: the old house is clean and the new house is clean and all the packed boxes are in the living room. Then you divide those parts into parts again, for example per space. Then you try to imagine what you need for that: you create a shopping list, as it were. Boxes, masking tape, labels, markers, cleaning materials, material such as a vacuum cleaner, sweeper and can, mops, yellow cloths, etc.

Work breakdown structure

With a PBS you analyze the project result in countless pieces. With a WBS you dissect the process: you start again with the result and divide it into an overseas number of rounded units. That can be the same as your PBS. So in our example: everything is packed and is in the new house, the old house is clean and the new house is clean. What has to happen before that? You set out in a row what you need to do in order to make it happen. The boxes must be packed. There must be a list with what must be placed in the new house. That list must be copied in five copies because we are five of us. The pens must be checked, labels must be available. The WBS is an ideal starting point for a division of tasks.

Both the WBS and the PBS are tools to get a summary of what you need and what needs to be done. The trick is mainly to make a handy subdivision. Cut the final project result not in two pieces but not in fourteen. In the first case there are too many parts on the second level, in the second case you quickly lose the overview. Never do this job alone. Involve the entire project team. Avoid in-depth discussions: at this stage it is only about what needs to be done. Not how.

Phasing

The result of such PBS and WBS is a huge list of "things to do". The courage quickly sinks into your shoes. In order to prevent this, you will now cluster everything on that list and schedule it.

A convenient layout (staging) is the following:
1- Initiation phase:
- Gathering the information to determine problem, goal and results
- Creating a project plan
- Calling a project team
This phase is concluded with the determination of the project plan by the client

"The merger is a fact. Formally everything is round. It is time for an introductory party, says the new management. Klaas is asked as a project leader. In conversation with the management and the new Works Council Klaas explores the starting situation. Is the word "party" useful? Is everyone happy? The assignment is slightly adjusted: it is time for festive acquaintance! Klaas is looking for a project group together; Together with the team, he devises a powerful theme and draws up a project plan. The management is enthusiastic. The managing director has only one qualification: it must be less focused on the acquaintance and the BBB content (beer, bitterballen and BZN) may be slightly higher."

2- Definition phase:
- Drawing up a program of requirements
- Setting up a work structure: who does what when?
- Determining mutual dependencies
This phase is concluded with a set and detailed planning

"What do we want to achieve exactly with the acquaintance? How festive should the meeting be? What can it cost? Do we invite artists or do we provide entertainment ourselves? Is food included and may the family also come? When should it take place exactly? And how do we actually take care of that introduction? The project group draws up a plan: what should happen when? Who is responsible for what?"

3-Design phase:
- Developing a design to achieve the agreed result
- Testing that design (insofar as necessary and feasible)
This phase is concluded with an established design or scenario (for example for a party or a film)

"Different groups are going to work. Based on the theme, they make detailed plans for matters such as food, song and dance, drinks, alcohol policy, transport to home, room, lighting and decoration. If necessary, they test some ideas for feasibility. The phase ends with a scenario. The project group describes exactly what the client is going to see and experience and how the acquaintance takes shape."

4- Preparation phase:
- Giving instructions
- Purchasing all supplies
- Practice
This phase is concluded with a script.

"Temporary workers are instructed one night prior to the party. The orders go out the door. Klaas, together with one of the project group members, prepares a complete script for the day itself."

5- Execution:
Do what has been agreed.

"Two thousand people meet and undertake everything together. None of these companies had ever experienced such a thing. Fantastic!"

6- Aftercare
Check: has everything been realized, are there any loose ends?

"Together with the management and the project group, Klaas follows the project plan the following week. It was good."

Schedule

You have listed all the jobs. You know exactly what has to happen. You have all arranged that. With smart planning you can ensure that everyone knows what happens when and what is about to happen . That helps you as a project manager to keep an eye on whether you are still on schedule.

But the planning is specially useful for simultaneously executing things simultaneously. That saves time. Finally, such a planning accurately indicates the interdependencies between activities. Jannie can't start entering the data if Marjo has not finished the database yet. But Jannie can already collect the information.

If you have a good overview of all the activities, drawing up a smart plan is not that difficult. Which you prefer to do with the entire project team. Put all the jobs on the well-known Post-it yellow notes. Write the phases on a flip chart. Now stick all those jobs together in one of the phases together with the team. By looking at it with the whole group, you can be sure that everyone knows the planning in general terms and agrees. Moreover, you will see that if you see everything on the flipchart, you discover together that there are jobs missing or not cleverly formulated. You can then together look at how it can be even better.

There is only one disadvantage to this approach: only a certain degree of refinement is possible. Actually, it is therefore even more convenient to make the planning on the PC. For example with MS Project. The big disadvantage is that you can hardly watch a screen with a group and that only one person can sit on the keyboard. The best approach is therefore to first prepare a rough schedule together with the group and later refine the planning with different employees separately in MS Project.

The most commonly used technique is the so - called Gant chart . This is a bar chart in which each project's sub-area contains all the jobs including the interim results. Between the jobs you can indicate mutual connections. You can only garnish the cake when the bottom is ready. But you can already make a sketch, beat the whipped cream and make the chocolate sauce.


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