The PDP explores the strategy and scope of the project and the ways and means of the learning as well as production outcomes. After discussing strategy, management of stakeholders as well as the preparation of competency assessment matrix, the communication plan, and project milestones are mentioned. The assessment matrix not only covers all the aspects discussed in the paper, without mentioning them individually but also indicates the activities to achieve professional development and production outcomes according to the goals of the firm as well.
Project Background and Context
Purpose of the Project
The background of the project of the professional development plan (PDP) for students arises from the necessity of ‘competence development and career advancement in the traditional as well as other professions’ (Pinnington AH (2011, 444). In this regard, Pinnington AH. (2011, 444) states that professional service firms (PSF)s have established institutional processes for the governance of employee resource flows, and to meet their standards, the students could resort to PDP so that they will be capable of applying the skills they have learned while they are in the study. The professional development plan is necessary to acquire professionalism while doing work. The PDP also enhances individual self-regulation and thus the person can increase the professional capabilities that are necessary while executing a project. The PDP in this paper includes a competency assessment matrix, in which an individual could assess his/her skills and deficiencies and can plan accordingly to acquire the necessary ones (Pinnington AH: 2011, 444).
The objective of the project is to acquire the necessary skills and capabilities necessary for an individual to be a leader or a team member while the person is working in an organization.
Project Benefits and Success Criteria
The benefits of the project are to enhance the skills necessary for the application of knowledge in practical situations.
Project Strategy and Scope
The project strategy is to clearly state the desired change in the individual who is making a PDP. According to Wolf RM (1990, 36) explains that the term ‘ “desire” indicates the particular behavior the learner is expected to develop’ (Richard M. Wolf; 1990, 36). The desired change is about the ‘set of educational experiences’ (Richard M. Wolf: 1990, 36). The educational experiences include change as well as behavior that is necessary for a person in specific work conditions. The change and behavior should consider the internal states of the individuals and awareness, involvement as well as expertise, and practice will be observed in the assessment, which is a part of PDP (Richard M. Wolf: 1990, 36).
Selection criteria depend on the change management the individual seeks. It is ‘bringing together the different functions, departments and levels into a single and often ongoing initiative’ (Conger JA (2001, 47). Hence, the assessment, as well as the selection criteria, is about multi-level dimensions that are complicated but are requirements for a work environment, because there will be numerous variations in the common training designs. The first stage in the professional development plan is change management and the important aspect in that is assessment or agenda-setting. This could be done by assessment matrix. The second phase in selection criteria is about education and application and the assessment matrix should consider them. This is because the educational change program includes the application of knowledge and its components. The third phase enters at the stage of reinforcement so that one can maintain the momentum of the change management during the study. The program content is pivotal to the success of PDP and structured experiences during the implementation of the professional development plan involve the rationale in the activities of the individual. Though the plan is about individual professional development, coordination skill is necessary to enhance leadership capabilities. So, even individual professional development needs the extent of the person’s capability to coordinate and communicate views to others and make others accept them without any pressure (Conger JA: 2001, 50).
Assumptions and Constraints
The coordination and communication of an individual are possible in a professional development plan when project management is part of it. In this regard, Larson EW (2008, 3) explains that project management is more than just a set of tools. In the wake of upgrading information systems, project management helps not only in doing business but also in innovation as well as solving social problems. The skill of solving problems is a vital part of the job of an individual and though, a team will be involved in doing the job, the individual’s capacity matters to deal with the team. If a leader has enough professional qualities and skills the team can benefit from his/her caliber. In this regard, assumptions are necessary for individual professional development and the first one in that list is about the utilization of human as well as non-human resources. The PDP helps to develop the skills that enable a person to reach ‘predetermined objectives’ (Larson EW, 2008, 7) by using them. The skills are planning, scheduling, motivation, and control. During the planning, it is necessary for leaders as well as managers to ‘marshal resources to complete a fixed-life project on time’ (Larson EW: 2008, 7). This depends on budget and within specifications. During an individual professional development plan also, the person has to plan and assess the activities according to the resources he has. In addition to that ‘creation of deliverables and involvement as well as work breakdown structures should facilitate planning and monitoring the programs of the project’ (Larson EW: 2008, 14).
Alongside assumptions, constraints also are a necessity for individual professional development as everything is not possible within a certain period and financial constraints. Hence, the time and financial resources available are the main constraints in this context.
Project Control Committee
Regarding individual professional development plans, the most suitable post to select is ‘operations manager’. They are the individuals ‘who have a management role in a core business area, such as research and development, design, manufacturing, provisioning, testing, or maintenance. It depends on the type of project that decides the number of committee members, which forms the operations, management group. The selection of the group could be termed as individual capability as the group will be responsible for the activities regarding operations of the firm. In the assessment matrix, the idea, awareness, involvement as well as the extent of the practice of this group as well as the individual that manages this would be included (PMI (Sponsor): 2008, 57).
Project Organization Structure
The structuring of the project decides the cohesiveness of the team. Hence, the individual capability regarding the development of cohesiveness is to arrange or develop a structure for the project organized by the leader or the manager (Frame JD: 2003, 80). The structure can be analyzed by SWOT analysis.
Stakeholder Analysis (SWOT)
The SWOT analysis involves Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats with the aspects involved in the professional development plan. These aspects indicate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of individual, who structures the PDP.
Regarding operations management and structure of the organization, one important strength is the optimal usage of information technology to deal with the team.
The usage of information technology is a strength as well as a weakness, in the absence of cohesiveness in the team. This could be achieved by the coordinating skill of the individual who is at the helm of the affairs. The usage of IT may turn into a weakness in the absence of centralized operations, whenever necessary.
The opportunity is to use information technology to enhance professional skills as well as cohesiveness in the subordinates.
The threats emanate from the inability of an individual in expressing enough skills and develop much-needed organizational behavior in the team (Bielski L: 2006).
After doing a SWOT analysis of a professional development plan, it is necessary for the individual involved to have an idea about the management of stakeholders. This is because the stakeholders range from promoters to potential customers as well as the employees and managers in the company and the team. Hence, introducing stakeholders’ management in the assessment matrix is a necessity (Kuratko DF., Goldsby MG & Hornsby JS: 2004).
Competency Assessment Matrix
|Competency AreaScores||Aware||Informed||Involved||Competent||Best practice|
|Integration: The individual should learn Integrating operational activities in an organization, according to scope, cost and time.||The minimum level of understanding about scope, cost, and time given.||The individual at the helm of the team or affairs will have enough plans regarding the usage time and financial resources according to scope of the project.||The individual should monitor the implementation of plans and it is necessary to recognize the achievements of the team.||The involvement of the individual could be termed as competent if the activities maximise the project value.||The best practice of the individual could be expressed better when project value is adjusted to business and environment needs of the organization..|
|Human Resources: the human resources available to the individual are professors and training team for a student and an operational group for a manager.||The student should learn according to the schedule of his/her school and the manager should be prepared to start the project according to the available resources.||The student should be able to estimate his/her professional development at the end of the course and the manager should have an idea regarding HR usage.||The usage of HR includes the monitoring.||The monitoring results in control.||The HR usage will be according to PDP made by the student and according to changes necessary for business and project environment in the case of manager.|
|Communication: The communication in individual PDP is control and management of networks. These networks are within the school and affiliates for a student and between organization and clients and stakeholders as well as suppliers in the context of an organization.||The individual has to prepare a communication plan at the initiation of the project and student has to communicate with professors and affiliates of the school.||After the preparation of communication plan, the ways and means of implementation should be identified.||The ways and means of implementation of communication plan should be the responsibility of student as well as the manager.||The monitoring of implementation communication plan is an individual skill.||Though there occur changes in the environment of study or business, the individual should have flexible plans in PDP to implement communication plan.|
|Time: The PDP should be implemented in the duration of the course for the student and according to production plan in the context of the manager.||To do so, project time plan is necessary alongside a plan regarding operational activities.||The PDP and PTP should be prepared according to the time available to study and production for student and manager respectively||Both PDP and PTP should be monitored by student and manager. In the case of student it could be termed as self monitoring.||As per the needs, the crucial elements in the plans should be changed accordingly..||The PDP as well as PTP should be according to the goals achieved.|
Determining, justifying and managing the end of products of the project and work required to produce them.
|Objectives of project/scope of work known.||Objectives of project/scope of work defined.||Objectives monitored, changes agreed with client. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) used.||Objectives changed as project requires. WBS used to control work packages.||Objectives are adjusted to reflect changing business needs. WBS changes to respond to objectives.|
|Cost: Estimation of investment for manager and cost for student to deliver the project is necessary.||The cost as well as the investment should be estimated at the time of initiation of the project.||The plan to spend the cost as well as the investment should be part of PDP.||The student as well as manager should monitor the cost and investment expenditure throughout the implementation of PDP||The spending activities should reflect the outcomes of PDP.||Care should be taken so that the spending is according to benchmarks of the industry.|
|Quality: the optimal performance is necessary.||A plan is necessary to achieve Quality objectives.||Quality plan should be designed for all outputs||Monitoring of quality plan without disturbing operations is a skill.||Quality control is part of Quality Plan.||Quality Plan alongside quality control should be implemented.|
After dealing with scientific realities in production and information technology, an art known as communication is necessary for an individual to make the best use of them. A good communication plan considers the perceptions of all the team members and the leader or manager should convince them to act according to the activities planned. This depends on interactions between the team members as well as between the leader and the team. The regular interactions not only enable the leader to know about the ways and means adopted by the team, but also to correct them.
The project milestones should be identified by the students as well as the manager or the leader. In the case of study, the milestones will be in the form of theoretical and practical understanding of the student and confirmation of it by the professor or the university. In the practical context, the output that has been made in a particular time frame and according to the accepted budget will decide the project milestones. Hence, it is necessary to use information technology to record milestones and make them part of a communication plan, so that one can take corrective actions in the context of non-achievement.
Bielski L. (2006). The SWOT for Retail IT Reveals the Interconnections of Technology; If You Want to Know-And Serve-Your Customers Better, Think in Terms of “STP” from the Infrastructure to the Application Layer. In ABA Banking Journal. 98(11). Web.
Conger JA. (2001). Chapter Five Change Management. In What Smart Trainers Know: The Secrets of Success from the World’s Foremost Experts, ed. Lorraine L. Ukens. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer. Pp. 47.
Frame JD. (2003). Managing Projects in Organizations: How to Make the Best Use of Time, Techniques, and People, 3rd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Pp.80.
Kuratko DF., Goldsby MG & Hornsby JS. (2004). The Ethical Perspectives of Entrepreneurs: an Examination of Stakeholder Salience. In Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship. 9(4). Web.
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Wolf RM. (1990). Evaluation in Education: Foundations of Competency Assessment and Program Review, 3rd ed. New York: Praeger Publishers. Pp.36.