Planning Projects and Allocating Work

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Organizational Targets Relevant to the Team

A company’s mission identifies its goals and the way to achieve these goals; a vision reflects the desired future of an organization, showing its purpose and the direction to follow, and providing employees with aims. A well-formulated vision and mission can serve as firm grounds for creating operational plans for both departments and members of teams.

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For instance, the vision of Zayed University is to become an educational leader in UAE and achieve international recognition, whereas its mission is to prepare highly professional specialists capable of contributing to the nation-building process by offering study programs recognized on the international level thanks to the outstanding educational environment and research.

Goals are general perspectives of a business’ growth. Objectives are steps needed to achieve the goal; they are particular, specific, and measurable. A company’s strategic plan should correspond to the company’s vision.

For instance, some of the objectives of Zayed University are: to create an environment stimulating innovation and creativity; to imbue its graduates with critical thinking skills and with the ability to add to the process of their nation’s development; to provide high-quality education and improve the level of research within the university; to promote innovation; to supply services in a manner compliant with the transparency and equality policies.

A KPI team of Zayed University defined KPI for ICE Institute. The KPI include the numbers of: offered courses; international professional qualifications proposed; internships; courses for employees; language courses; and so on. The KPI and the standards for the criteria are set by the project manager, measured monthly, and then reviewed by the ICE director. Then, the process team performs an analysis, and suggests and launches correctional operations if necessary. For example, a recent improvement proposal offered to increase the number of provided courses and their quality.

To set SMART objectives, it is recommended to begin with an action, define the objectives and ensure they are measurable, realistic, and controllable.

Setting SMART Objectives for Achieving Goals

SMART is a popular set of criteria for establishing objectives; it is an acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-related. Objectives set according to SMART permit for clearly realizing what actions are needed and how to carry them out; they also allow for coordinating the efforts of managers and workers, as well as provide a tool for identifying the needed resources and measuring progress. SMART objectives should comply with the vision and mission of an organization.

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SMART objectives should satisfy the following criteria:

  1. specific: every objective ought to aim for a well-defined result. Each worker needs to be able to understand what should be achieved, and what methods and resources should be utilized;
  2. measurable: the degree of achieving the objective should be quantitatively measurable, and the executors should be able to use measurement tools;
  3. achievable: the objective ought to be capable of being achieved using the given resources; potential risk factors should be considered while setting this objective.
  4. relevant: the objective needs to be aligned with the specifics of a team, department, or any other group for which it is set. However, it should also pose a certain challenge.
  5. time-related: the process of reaching objective should be placed within a reasonable temporal frame. The environment, the objective’s scope, and its relation to the general employees’ work ought to be taken into account. The start and end date should be defined in order to help organize the workers’ tasks and fit the objective into the daily routine.

An example of setting a SMART objective is as follows. Setting a training program’s objectives should take into account the discussion between the trainer and the project manager related to the number of hours of training to be given, the needs of the customer, and the university’s vision. A system of measurements should be defined for assessing how well the objective was reached. Then, a set of actions and tasks for achieving the objective is to be formulated. Afterward, the success of the program and the effectiveness of the instructor are to be discussed; the emerged problems are to be addressed.

The line manager has to formulate main goals and objectives, agreeing them with organizational policy. A manager has to understand the objectives well, and to be able to explain them to any employee, as well as to help improve performance based on the feedback.

Using a Technique to Plan Achieving the Objectives

The members of the team should clearly understand what they are to do. The team’s leader ought to elaborate to the team the steps which are to be taken. Managers are also to align the team’s objectives with the vision and mission. Line managers should ensure that team members have the necessary skills.

The process starts with the identification of the main goals and objectives for the team. After acquainting the team with the organization’s mission and values and ensuring that the members realize their responsibility, the manager formulates performance measurement tools. The process is monitored continuously, and in case of lags, these are addressed by suggesting enhancements.

Monitoring and Controlling a Planned Activity

At the final stage of the process of problem-solving, monitoring and assessment should take place to make sure that the chosen solution is successful. Monitoring can be formal (report, survey) or informal (observation, oral comments); the gathered data ought to be compared to the plans, and the successfulness of the solution assessed.

Several methods can be utilized for control and monitoring. To monitor progress, an experienced professional should observe the actions of the people involved, estimate the efficaciousness of these actions, and supply feedback. Such aspects as the use of equipment, collaboration inside the team, and budget are commonly monitored.

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Efficacious feedback should be provided for employees on time. This allows for enhanced performance thanks to improved understanding of the required work by employees, greater certainty in their actions, their realization of their own strengths and weaknesses, and better comprehension of the effects of their tasks. It also permits for identifying variances from the planned course and for reducing employees’ stress.

Monitoring systems may include such elements as the observation of employees’ behavioral patterns, practical tests and quizzes, regular meetings and discussions, monthly records, and so on.

Identifying Resources Needed for Completing the Planned Activity

The resources are necessary for reaching the goal. The support and IT workers should cooperate and supply the necessary services, while administrative assistance ought to book the auditoriums for the classes.

The program is to be finished by the end of the current year. Several review sessions and meetings are planned. The resources required for the program are provided in Table 1.

Table 1. The resources required for the project

Name Type of Resource Quality Quantity Cost, AED/unit Total Cost, AED
Layla, Wahhab, and Dana HR Coordinators & administrator 3 50,000 150,000
Duaa HR Instructor for IT (2 languages) 1 55,000 55,000
Therese and Gianna HR Proficient English instructors for adults 2 65,000 130,000
Office machines Machine Printer, scanner, and photocopier machine 1 5,000 5,000
Computers Machine Notebooks with Internet access and MS Office 2 10,000 20,000
Computer unit Machine Computer laboratory with MS Office installed 1 10,000 10,000
Books Materials English books, levels A and B 40 500 20,000
Stationery Materials Stationery Varies 10,000
Total 400,000

Allocating Work to Team Members

A list of employees which includes information about their skills, experience, knowledge, availability, etc. should be used by the manager for work allocation. A meeting of the team can help with briefing the workers and allocating tasks.

Assessing and Supporting Team Performance and Success in Achieving Objectives

Performance assessment is crucial if the goals of the organization are to be reached. Line managers are the key personnel in performance assessment; they should ensure that the staff understand their tasks, do these tasks properly and effectively, and receive adequate feedback. Ensuring the provision of the staff with necessary resources is also critical.

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The performance should be assessed and compared to the standards. Employees ought to comprehend the criteria of assessment; the evaluation procedure needs to be clear and transparent. Performance ought to be measured by evaluating such factors as the quality of product or service, the timeliness of delivery, the employees’ behaviors and their compliance with the organizational policy, etc.

Objectiveness of assessment is required. Consequently, employees should be assessed using the specified criteria and KPI rather than subjective opinions. Also, feedback from other, neutral sources can be obtained. A high-quality example of performance assessment system is provided by Zayed University, where performance is systematically evaluated according to transparent, objective criteria, and outstanding performance is rewarded.

The manager’s role in enhancing their team’s performance is enabling, empowering, and prompting, as well as distributing tasks among team members. Simultaneously, the line manager should support both the team and individual workers.

At ICE, the project manager will organize regular meetings both with the team and its individual members to assess and supply feedback. Several instruments can be employed to provide support for team members.

Identifying Possible Causes of Variance from the Planned Activities

Several possible causes of deviations from the plan exist. These include:

  • Poor management: weak planning, insufficient management skills, unrealistic deadlines, personnel overload, etc.;
  • Conflicts with management: poor attitude towards the personnel causes lack of motivation and low quality;
  • Stress and overload: assigning too much work results in fatigue and low performance;
  • Dearth of awareness: the workers do not know of the goals, objectives, and expectations clearly, and cannot move towards these;
  • Dearth of skills and knowledge: workers lack skills that are necessary for successfully completing the tasks, and adequate training is not provided;
  • Dearth of resources: lacking HR, equipment, finances, etc. will cause lower output and/or lower quality;
  • Dearth of clarity: a lack of communication and poor comprehension of goals/objectives will harm performance;
  • No promotions: absence of opportunity for growth can lower the employee’s motivation;
  • Personal problems and health issues: a single lagging worker might slow the whole team.

Other causes might also exist. The reasons for variance should be overcome using methods appropriate for a given situation.

Noteworthy, the dearth of awareness will cause considerable deviations, for individuals will not know what to do.

Team members also should not be put under pressure, for this will lead to personal problems such as fatigue, the lack of motivation, etc. In addition, support ought to be available for team members in case of questions or problems.

Identifying Actions for Overcoming the Causes of Variance

Achieving goals and objectives requires corrective actions towards the causes of deviations from the plan. The process might be begun with an informal discussion, where the expectations for workers are to be clarified. Also, opportunities in other areas of the project should be explored. The needed improvements should be specified, as well as contributions of particular workers. In case of personal issues counseling should be supplied; training needs to be provided if necessary. Should a worker fail to develop particular skills, tasks can be reassigned; in this case, recruitment practices ought to be reviewed to prevent similar problems in the future.

Temporal limitations. Causes: Activities may require more time than was planned, which can happen due to unexpected events, miscalculations, etc. Actions: time should be reallocated more adequately; the schedule should be followed, but space for unexpected events should be provided; reserve plans should be made.

Dearth of information. Causes: the executor of a task was not supplied with necessary information on time. Actions: the information should be requested ASAP; the required information ought to be specified in advance.

Pressure to succeed. Causes: others might put one under pressure to succeed, especially if one is currently failing in their tasks. Actions: one should be committed and determined; the resources necessary for success need to be listed; high-quality training ought to be obtained. Also, communication with more experienced specialists might be helpful.

Dearth of experience. Causes: one lacks the experience and skills necessary for the job, possibly due to having never dealt with similar tasks before. Actions: obtaining sufficient training; focusing on areas related to previous expertise; possibly reviewing previous work to find similar situations.

Actions for Overcoming Causes of Variance

Using coaching skills: team members should be met with to confirm the reasons for deviations, which will allow for identifying the corrective actions. Employees should be made aware of the possible consequences. The implementation of corrective actions should be monitored.

Awarding system: employees should be motivated via awards for high-quality performance, which will also create a competitive environment.

Team management: tasks should be divided evenly between team members; no one should be overloaded; conflicts are to be avoided.

Reassigning tasks: jobs can be reassigned to other employees if current workers are overloaded, or if the current task division is otherwise inadequate.

Appropriate communication: it must be ensured that team members clearly comprehend the goals, objectives, and needed steps; workers should also clearly understand what is expected from them.

Absenteeism: the reasons for absenteeism should be identified and addressed. Possible ways of reassigning ought to be explored; expectations for attendance should be clarified. Additionally, individual performance plans can be created.

Involving Team Members into Formulating Ways for Improving Performance

Purposes of all the actions and objectives should be clear to team members; everyone needs to know the “big picture” to be able to fit into it. Team members can be involved in planning and decision making, which can allow for better feedback and enhanced motivation. The leader needs to supply an example of outstanding performance, and treat team members with respect, so that friendly atmosphere is created, and members are willing to make new offers. Also, communication should be specifically encouraged, and good relationships inside the teams ought to be promoted; conflicts need to be resolved ASAP. Finally, useful suggestions should always be recognized and appreciated, and good performance needs to be rewarded.

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