Before anyone is going to do something, there is nothing as sensible as planning. A plan as we know is something thought about and chalked out in advance before the real action takes place and is actually a recipe for success. But then, the word ‘plan’ does not need much of a definition. It has been used so much that it has become quite hackneyed. So, we all know what it means, but how many of us really resort to planning before we start a course of action.
I’m not referring to a mental picture that we chart out in our minds that is in one word, vague. I mean a real plan in black and white, that is, put down on a piece of paper. It is so important because once we write down something, it clears up a lot of hazy areas and opens aspects that we probably overlooked.
As the saying goes, “Trying to manage a project without project management is like trying to play a football game without a game plan”.
In my M.A. class with our professor, Dr. Cirineo, I have learned so much about the significance of planning a project and of course, evaluation with the help of my classmates who have exerted their efforts in reporting the assigned topics. I have also done my part when I have reported about the Economic Analysis and I have learned so much from this, too. These are my views as I have studied and listened to the reports:
1. PLANNING, APPRAISAL AND DESIGN
(reported by: Ms. Jelly Rose S. Victor)
The first phase of the Process of Project Management Cycle taught me that planning should begin with the end in sight. Good project plans begins with good implementation, methodologies and best practices that are consistent, controlled and deliverables that meet expectations. If advanced preparation has been made, by the end of the meeting, the implementation is defined, the activities surrounding the project plan are established, the administrative procedures are implemented and the project monitoring and control processes are developed.
In designing a project, I have learned that it should always be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bounded) so that it would become valid and easy to realize. Project appraisal is also an important part of this phase because through this, you will be able to ensure that the expectations you have of your team members match the expectations that each individual has for themselves. As part of this process, it is important to schedule regular reviews throughout the year to suit the needs of your team.
Thus, we need to appreciate the benefits we can gain from an effective appraisal process to monitor your team’s performance more than make up for the time invested. It will help increase the individual effectiveness of your team members. 2. SELECTION, APPROVAL AND ACTIVATION
(reported by: Ms. Lorelyn A. Ignacio)
In a project plan, it is good to know and understand that not all of the suggestions made in the plan would be approved and utilized. We still have to decide fully on what part of the plan should be selected, what should not be selected, what to approve and what to disapprove before we activate or execute our project. Why? Because there are things that we have to consider, knowing that not all things are suitable to implement based on the different situations and problems that may arise.
The second phase of the Project Management Cycle made me realize that the process strives to increase productivity of the team and quality of deliverable. It enables quality control by measuring performance and comparing the same against what is planned.
The simplest stage and perhaps the most complicated in practice is the execution stage which involves the integration of all inputs identified in the planning and design stage to construct the actual end product. On this
part, the project manager should monitor the work of the team members on a daily basis.
3. OPERATION, CONTROL AND HANDOVER
(reported by: Mrs. Marissa P. Agdong)
This could be thought of as the perfecting phase, where analyzing the efficiency and quality of the project cycle from a strategic perspective allows for the optimization of the operational processes. This step-by-step process highlights each feasible step in the project management cycle. By appropriately incorporating each step of the model into the planning stage, managers can effectively forecast the deliverables and avoid losing value through accurately assessing the margins that will be produced in a given strategic initiative.
The control cycle is an important part of quality control, and it not only verifies the delivery of good quality but also identifies gaps and failures that need to be addressed. Ultimately, it is a process that continuously evolves within the production process.
In this phase, which is the third, I’ve learned four important steps: PLAN, DO, CHECK and ACT.
4. EVALUATION AND REFINEMENT
(reported by: Ms. Bernarda T. Cudal)
After listening to the reporter, I have realized that in the Process of Project Management Cycle, we should not set aside this very important stage: Evaluation and Refinement. It is a major part of learning, and can provide a wealth of useful information on the outcomes of a project or action, and the dynamics of those who undertook the work. Through the identification of the highlights and lowlights of the project, evaluation draws conclusions which can inform future decision making, and assist to define future projects and policies.
Evaluation and Refinement are undertaken for a number of reasons such as to reflect on how you are developing, to see whether you need to improve the way things are being done, to be accountable to those who are funding the project, to review and adjust the methods and techniques used and how effective they are, to determine whether you have met your objectives or not and to provide information for planning future projects. 5. PROJECT IDENTIFICATION: DEFINING AND SPECIFYING THE PROJECT
(reported by: Ms. Riza T. De Guzman)
As I am writing this reaction paper, I have thought of imagining the different products we have worldwide. Every product has a name, unique and advertised. Why? because owners of those products want to be identified, and recognized. Same with making our own project, it should be born with a need to be identified by several customers who will be willing to provide funds as their needs would be satisfied in return.
The key feature of this activity is to recognize that identifying candidate projects is something that an organization should do not just once a year but on a regular basis. To define a project, we must first identify the objectives, scope and sequence, and the resources of the project.
The main purpose of specifying the project scope is to ensure a clear understanding of the business problem and the proposed solution. It is must to give a clear understanding about the project and provide a direction. Its intention is to state what is going to be in the project and what is not going to be part of the project out of scope. It must clearly define a project boundary to minimize the expectation gap between the client and the team.
6. SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS
(reported by: Ms. Diana T. Rabaca)
Before we start implementing and executing our projects or before we build it somewhere, it is very important to analyze the present situation that is
being encountered in a certain area. In this way, our project would become successful, just because it becomes an answer to the problems arose in a certain area. For example, there are so many stores that are selling food in that place, but no one sells drinks yet, and customers need it, then you are the one to serve it!
Situational Analysis is the first step in formulating a plan. It identifies and prioritizes problem situations affecting the target population or specific segments of the population, providing possible solutions and actions needed to solve a problem. It seeks to answer several questions such as : What is the problem?; Why is there a problem?; Who are affected by the problem?; and What has been done to solve the problem?. The information needed to answer these questions are both quantitative and qualitative such as the outcomes, the resources, the services and the facilities, the acess and utilization of services and facilities and the environment of course.
7. MARKET ANALYSIS
(reported by: Ms. Jeanaline A. Ajel)
I have learned that the goal of Market Analysis is to determine the attractiveness of a market, both now and in the future. It is part of the industry analysis and this in turn of the global environmental analysis. Through this analysis, the opportunities, strengths, weaknesses and threats of a company can be identified.
Market Segmentation is the basis for a differentiated market analysis. Differentiation is important because the saturation of consumption, which exists due to the increasing competition in offered products. Consumers ask for more individual products and services and are better informed about the range of products than before. As a consequence, Market Segmentation is indispensable. To identify and classify the relevant market, a market classification or segmentation has to be done. 8. TECHNICAL ANALYSIS
(reported by: Mr. Leonardo Diez, Jr.)
Our reporter in technical analysis had explained this report comprehensively
by using different concrete examples based on real life situations. Accordingly, Technical Analysis is a method of evaluating securities by analyzing statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices and volume. Technical analysts do not attempt to measure a security’s intrinsic value, but instead use charts and other tools to identify patterns that can suggest future activity. The reporter was fair enough that he decided to discuss both the positive and the negative side of Technical Analysis.
These are the strengths: If the objective is to predict the future price, then it makes sense to focus on price movements. Price movements usually precede fundamental developments. By focusing on price action, technicians are automatically focusing on the future. These are the weaknesses: Argument is the fact that technical analysis is open to interpretation. It is in the eye of the beholder. It is subjective and our personal biases can be reflected in the analysis. In conclusion, Technical Analysis in terms of security is somehow, debatable.
9. ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS
(reported by: Mr. Danny Cruz)
In project planning, it is important to identify the constraints that may affect the natural environment. We should always consider how our projects would affect other people, communities, and the environment like road construction, logging, and tree clearing and building a hydroelectric dam. Remember that Environmental Analysis is often required by law, but the process is intended to be a very useful planning tool to help make good decisions and improve projects.
So we should consider this not just because it is a must but because it is systematic, interdisciplinary, and develop practical alternatives to the proposed action. The reporter gave the following recommended practices: Open project information to public scrutiny; Involve all parties affected by the project and learn to communicate.
10. OPERATIONAL ANALYSIS
(reported by: Ms. Racquel R. Santos)
I have realized that operational analysis is an excellent method of assessing the financial performance of the business, determining whether the cost of production is compatible with performance numbers and strategic goals. It looks closely at financial and resource investments, and determines whether adjustments must be made so that the company’s strategic goals may be met in an efficient, cost effective manner. Thorough operational analysis ought to address a few principal questions in its effort to ascertain if operations are efficiently meeting strategic planning.
The first key area to be considered is whether financial and resource investment is delivering planned output to the optimum consumer base. It can also determine if there is any existing need for additional investment and recommend areas where investment could be reallocated or streamlined. Thus, in conducting an Operational Analysis, we have to observe, interview, report and conclude so that a gap analysis can be conducted and adjustments may be made.
11. ADMINISTRATIVE ANALYSIS
(reported by: Ms. Joe – Ann C. Magno)
Aside from understanding the significance of administrative analysis in project planning, I have also realized that there are differences between the word “Administration” and “Management” in its role to project planning and implementation. The difference between the two can be summarized under 2 categories: Functions and Usage. On the basis of functions, Administration is a thinking function because it is a decision – making function while Management is a doing function because it is an executing function.
On the basis of usage, however, Administration is applicable to non – business concerns such as club, schools, hospitals and the like, while Management is applicable to business concerns such as profit-making organizations. Administration represents owners of the enterprise who earn return on their capital invested & profits in the form of dividend. Management constitutes the employees of the organization who are paid remuneration (in the form of salaries & wages).
12. FINANCIAL ANALYSIS
(reported by Mr. Joseph P. Mendoza)
Is the project cost reasonable? Can it be done? How long will it take to design? How much will each one cost to make? How much will it cost to bring the product to market? These are the questions arise as I listened to the report on Financial Analysis. For investors, to engage in a new investment project, the project has to be financially viable. Invested capital must show the potential to generate an economic return to investors at least equal to that available from other similarly risky investments.
For me, I agree with that because I think, no one would engage himself into business without money and interest involved in return. A number of reasons why to conduct a financial analysis are: first, it provides quality information for decision-making, it helps attract equity investments and securing funding from lending institutions and other monetary sources and lastly, it identifies reasons whether to proceed or not to proceed with the project.
13. ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
(reported by me: Ms. Analyn M. Cruz)
Wow! This is my report! I am so glad that Dr. Cirineo gave me the opportunity to discuss this over the class for it became my favorite subject way back 2005 when I was a senior highschool. It gave me a room to reopen my notes and study the lesson which my favorite teacher used to discuss in our class with excellence, clarity and comprehension. As we all know, Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek οἰκονομία (oikonomia, “management of a household, administration”) from οἶκος (oikos, “house”) + νόμος (nomos, “custom” or “law”), hence “rules of the house(hold)” Economic Analysis is a process whereby the strengths and weaknesses of an economy are analyzed. Economic analysis is important in order to understand the exact condition of an economy.
– The purpose of the economic feasibility assessment is to determine the positive economic benefits to the organization that the proposed system will provide. Now that we have temporal project plan to answer to: What will be done?, Who will do it?, When will it be done? What are the necessary resources? We still have to answer: How much will it cost? and How will the resource capital be applied? Why? because Money is important in the enterprise world. Our projects live in this context. Enterprises have a lot of projects, and the cost is an important criteria.
ACCORDING TO THE HANDBOOK ON ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF INVESTMENT OPERATIONS (WB, 1998) – we have to consider the following: What is the objective of the project? What will happen if it implemented, and what if it is not? Is the project the best alternative? Are there any separable components and how good are they separately? Who are the gainers and losers? Is the project financially sustainable? What are the fiscal and environmental impacts?
Is the project worthwhile? What is the risk of the project not achieving its objectives? Economic analysis of sector investment programs should include a clear rationale for the expenditure, motivated by a desire to correct market failure or alleviate poverty, otherwise public spending simply crowds out private supply, resulting in few net benefits to the economy.
I have ended my report by letting the whole class reflect on the EXCELLENT TIPS given by WARREN BUFFET, a business man. And it goes like this… On Earning: “Never depend on single income. Make investment to create a second source.” On Spending: “If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.” On Savings: “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” On Taking Risk: “Never test the depth of river with both the feet.” On Investment: “Do not put all your eggs in one basket.” On Expectations: “Honesty is very expensive gift. Do not expect it from cheap people.”
14. SOCIAL ANALYSIS
(reported by: Ms. Sherilyn P. Navat)
I have understood the report through the help of illustrations shown by the presentor. When we say social, it involves to public, the community or the society. Thus, in Social Analysis, we have to consider the social characteristics of an area, including its demographic structure, general quality of life, social services and social justice.
The framework for Social Entry Points includes five entry points such as Social Diversity and Gender, Institution, Rules and Behavior, Stakeholders, Participation and Social Risk. Five entry points, one result because team will have a clear map of the socio-cultural barriers and bridges to project goals, a good sense of the institutional arrangements and resources they will need and a set of indicators which to measure their success in meeting the project’s development objective. Through this, I have realized that BETTER DATA + BETTER ANALYSIS = BETTER PROJECT.
15. POLITICAL ANALYSIS
(reported by: Mrs. Ma. Socorro L. Dayao)
At first, there was a big question mark and a lot of questions that came in my mind not knowing that there could also be a so – called Political Analysis involved in Project Planning and Evaluation. But later on, after the report has been made, I have now realized that the Political Analysis, which is the last of all the analyses discussed, plays an important role in project planning, designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluation. Political Analysis is a one way to develop strategic approach to external players. It is a process of disaggregating the key players in a community or policy environment, identifying how they influence progress toward your goals, and developing strategies to interact with them to advance your goals.
There are seven key elements involved in the political analysis framework: the Actors, Motivations/Interests, Participation, Resources, Strategies, Tactics, Influence and Action Channel. Individuals who have the same interest or motivation might not necessarily be involved or active in a particular issue or project. In addition to their level of interest or motivation, each party’s ability to participate will depend on: their likelihood of success, visibility of the issue, costs of participating, and What opportunities they have to participate. The extent and nature of each actor’s participation will also depend on the resources that favor their objectives/interests. So, we must not be negatively too much affected by them. Let’s take them as “mixed blessings”.
16. PROJECT APPRAISAL AND PROJECT SELECTION
(reported by: Ms. Rodelyn G. Pidoc)
Project Appraisal provides a comprehensive and systematic review of all
aspects of the project. After the preparation and design, it is being done for the development and successful completion of projects. To determine whether a project proposal is adopted or rejected, there should be appropriateness of project objectives, size, scope, implementation methods, modalities, time scale, and the project technical, financial, economic, institutional, environmental, social and distributional justification of the project.
Thus, good appraisal systems should ensure that: project application, appraisal and approval functions are separate, all the necessary information is gathered for appraisal, Race/tribal equality and other equality issues are given proper consideration, those involved in appraisal have appropriate technical expertise and there are realistic allowances for time involved. Appraisal is an important decision making tool. Need, targeting and objectives. Context and connections, Consultation, Option, Inputs, Value for money, Implementation, and Risk Uncertainty are the key issues discussed in appraising one’s project.
On the other hand, Project Selection is a process to assess each project idea and select the project with the highest priority. We do it when one has more ideas than the number of projects one can undertake and need to select the project that should be given priority. We do it because oftentimes, one will have a number of suggested projects but not enough resources, money or time to undertake all of the projects. So, if the organization in question has limited experience then it is recommended to concentrate on a small number of projects, ideally one project at a time, until the people in the organization have developed the skills and experience. One should do the easy projects first and, only then, work towards the most difficult and rewarding projects. One should use the easy projects to help answer questions/solve issues for the more difficult projects.
Also, one should use the best opportunities to learn. Involving the Project Manager in the Project Selection process will help build ownership in the project and support a successful project in the long run. All the project selection processes and methods emphasized and described along the presentation are absolutely essential for an efficient business planning. It is always best to have a good plan from the inception, with a list of criteria to be considered and goals to be achieved. This will guide one through the entire selection process, and will also ensure that one does makes the right
choice. 17. PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
(reported by: Mrs. Kathyrine A. Placido)
This is a very awakening topic for all of us. Yes, it is true, and I have realized – that a project, no matter how nice it is planned, if it cannot be implemented, is nothing at all because the highlight of every project and main reason why we planned is this – the implementation. Project Implementation is a process whereby “project inputs are converted to project outputs”. It may be looked at as: putting into action the activities of the project or putting into practice what was proposed in the project document (i.e. transforming the project proposal into the actual project.). In simplest term, it is the so – called Project Execution.
Time taken to implement project activities is one measure of successfulness of supervision or monitoring of project implementation. Supervisor pays particular attention to time control measures, time scheduling and its supervision, time extension and postponement, damages for non-completion and defect or warranty period. Factors affecting project implementation are: Poor scheduling of projects leading to delays in implementation; Misallocation of funds; Delay and sometimes lack of counterpart funding; Lack of accountability and transparency; Bureaucracy in decision-making and Selfishness/ nepotism/ favoritism by some project managers.
Thus, to better implement the project, a good project manager should: have working knowledge in several fields, be able to understand general managerial problems, have active interest in training and developing subordinates, and be able to delegate some tasks to subordinates. He should know the project and understand its objectives as well as the systematic process for managing projects.
18. PROJECT MONITORING AND MONITORING TOOLS
(reported by: Mr. Rodelio D. Pantaleon)
This is an unforgettable report that we have listened to in our class with Dr. Cirineo. Why?, because the reporter used a motivational activity before proceeding to the discussion of his topic. He classified us into 5 groups:
The medicines, the nurses, the doctors, the patients, hospital and ambulance for the over-all. The rule of the game is that we have to rise and shout whenever we hear him say our group’s name. So along his story-telling, we did our part actively as he kept on mentioning our group’s name.
In that case, he was able to monitor the success of the plan and in the end, was able to recognize the excellent team! As a reward, he gave a prize to the winners! In the discussion process, the project management cycle was again presented: the Plan, Do, Check and Act, together with the Triple Constraint which affects the quality of a product: the Scope, the Time and the Cost. He presented a GANTT CHART as an example of a monitoring tool. Why do we monitor? Simply because we know that things don’t always go according to plan (no matter how much we prepare). We have to detect and react appropriately to deviations and changes to plans. At the execution stage when the actual tasks of the project are in progress, it is vital to monitor information in order to keep track of what is being accomplished.
The project manager can facilitate the project by communicating with team members and clients. Through hands-on monitoring, the team leader can make sure that individual participants stay with the original plan for the project and remain focused on predetermined goals. The project manager takes careful notes to follow all aspects of the project and address any problems that come up. Time management monitoring is executed by the project manager to make sure deadlines are being met as the project moves forward. Time sheets are used to monitor the time individual team members spend on tasks within the project. The team leader can identify and resolve any time management issues that arise. Projects can become disorganized and difficult to manage without some sort of monitoring and tracking of the progress.
It is important to monitor the progress based on the goals for both timeliness and finished tasks. Budget and quality monitoring are included. If you don’t do it, you won’t know if you have succeeded. Without a well thought out Monitoring and Evaluation Plan project managers will not be able to tell whether the project has achieved its objectives. This significantly undermines the value of the project. and, as perception becomes reality, a project that cannot clearly demonstrate success will always be in danger of being seen as a failure.
19. COMPLETION AND ASSIMILATION
(reported by: Ms. Marilyn B. Britanico)
This is the phase that requires the highest level of coordination. The purpose of project completion is to assess the project, ensure completion, and derive any lessons. Project completion should be anticipated and planned as early as possible in the project lifecycle even though it is often the last major process of a project’s life. To avoid problems, project managers must plan for this stage of the integrated project cycle in a systematic way, with the goal of smooth and efficient handover of authority, assimilation.
Planning helps us to have a better idea about the course of action that we propose to take. Planning better defines the course of action that we propose to undertake. Planning gives a rough estimate of the time required for a project. Planning gives us a fairly good idea about the expenses involved in the project. Planning helps us to get prepared for emergencies that may arise during the course of the project. A well thought about plan gives us a clear idea about what is to be done every day, every week and every month. Planning helps avoid duplication of labor.
If a plan is followed, everyone will have a clear idea about his or her role. IV. IMPLICATIONS:
Whatever be the plan, I want to stress the point that a plan should always be time bound. Plans should always be time bound and there we get the relation between time management and planning. In fact, planning is as fundamental to time management as organizing and prioritizing. We should have both short term plans as well as long term strategy plans.
To ensure that the time schedule is being adhered to, the project activity time listing can be of great importance. At the same time we should also try to draft out contingency plans to deal with a crisis if it arises. As the project moves along, the plan should be flexible in the sense that it should incorporate any changes that might prove necessary once the project is put into action.
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