The program plan is more than just a set of instructions. It is an attempt to eliminate crisis by preventing anything from "falling through the cracks." The plan is documented and approved by both the customer and the contractor to determine what data, if any, are missing and the probable resulting effect. As the program matures, the program plan is revised to account for new or missing data. The most common reasons for revising a plan are:

• "Crashing" activities to meet end dates

• Trade-off decisions involving manpower, scheduling, and performance

• Adjusting and leveling manpower requests

The makeup of the program plan may vary from contractor to contractor.9 Most program plans can be subdivided into four main sections: introduction, summary and conclusions, management, and technical. The complexity of the information is usually up to the discretion of the contractor, provided that customer requirements, as may be specified in the statement of work, are satisfied.

The introductory section contains the definition of the program and the major parts involved. If the program follows another, or is an outgrowth of similar activities, this is indicated, together with a brief summary of the background and history behind the project.

The summary and conclusion section identifies the targets and objectives of the program and includes the necessary "lip service" on how successful the program will be and how all problems can be overcome. This section must also include the program master schedule showing how all projects and activities are related. The total program master schedule should include the following:

• An appropriate scheduling system (bar charts, milestone charts, network, etc.)

• A listing of activities at the project level or lower

• The possible interrelationships between activities (can be accomplished by logic networks, critical path networks, or PERT networks)

• Activity time estimates (a natural result of the item above)

The summary and conclusion chapter is usually the second section in the program plan so that upper-level customer management can have a complete overview of the program without having to search through the technical information.

The management section of the program plan contains procedures, charts, and schedules as follows:

• The assignment of key personnel to the program is indicated. This usually refers only to the program office personnel and team members, since under normal operations these will be the only individuals interfacing with customers.

9. Cleland and King define fourteen subsections for a program plan. This detail appears more applicable to the technical and management volumes of a proposal. They do, however, provide a more detailed picture than presented here. See David I. Cleland and William R. King, Systems Analysis and Project Management (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975), pp. 371-380.

• Manpower, planning, and training are discussed to assure customers that qualified people will be available from the functional units.

• A linear responsibility chart might also be included to identify to customers the authority relationships that will exist in the program.

Situations exist in which the management section may be omitted from the proposal. For a follow-up program, the customer may not require this section if management's positions are unchanged. Management sections are also not required if the management information was previously provided in the proposal or if the customer and contractor have continuous business dealings.

The technical section may include as much as 75 to 90 percent of the program plan, especially if the effort includes research and development, and may require constant updating as the program matures. The following items can be included as part of the technical section:

• A detailed breakdown of the charts and schedules used in the program master schedule, possibly including schedule/cost estimates.

• A listing of the testing to be accomplished for each activity. (It is best to include the exact testing matrices.)

• Procedures for accomplishment of the testing. This might also include a description of the key elements in the operations or manufacturing plans, as well as a listing of the facility and logistic requirements.

• Identification of materials and material specifications. (This might also include system specifications.)

• An attempt to identify the risks associated with specific technical requirements (not commonly included). This assessment tends to scare management personnel who are unfamiliar with the technical procedures, so it should be omitted if possible.

The program plan, as used here, contains a description of all phases of the program. For many programs, especially large ones, detailed planning is required for all major events and activities. Table 11-4 identifies the type of individual plans that may be required in place of a (total) program plan.

The program plan, once agreed on by the contractor and customer, is then used to provide program direction. This is shown in Figure 11-13. If the program plan is written clearly, then any functional manager or supervisor should be able to identify what is expected of him. The program plan should be distributed to each member of the program team, all functional managers and supervisors interfacing with the program, and all key functional personnel.

One final note need be mentioned concerning the legality of the program plan. The program plan may be specified contractually to satisfy certain requirements as identified in the customer's statement of work. The contractor retains the right to decide how to accomplish this, unless, of course, this is also identified in the SOW. If the SOW specifies that quality assurance testing will be accomplished on fifteen end-items from the production line, then fifteen is the minimum number that must be tested. The program plan may

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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