In order to deliver to time, budget and with the requisite quality organisations invest a tremendous amount in planning. Therefore it’s not surprising to see competencies focused on assessing your planning capabilities during a competency based interview.
Specific roles do of course exist such as a project manager to oversee the delivery of change but the planning and organising competency is also required in many other roles such as team leaders or individuals that need to mange a set of activities to help them deliver to met their and their organisations goals.
To deliver successful planning you need to demonstrate a number of skills, have a read of the following and think does your example included these skills ?
1. Clear goals inline with an agreed delivery strategy
Think of an example that show that clear targets have been developed and understood by the wider team. The tasks that are to be performed should align to both the organisations objectives but should also be inline within an agreed strategy for delivery.
For instance you agree to deliver a IT system, using the companies preferred suppliers where key performance indicators are agreed. The delivery is designed to meet the organisational goals of centralising systems and building infrastructure to the groups standards. Everyone in the team needs to understand the goals that are set and why they need to stick to the plan. It could for example be cheaper to put in a single instance of a particular component but straight away the DR (disaster recovery) standard could be compromised.
2. Identification of activities
Harder than you think! Particularly when you involve several different suppliers or encounter personality types that do not want to share what they’re doing or need to do. It is imperative when planning that you know what tasks need to be done to achieve the goal. It’s sensible to set out with a high level set of miles-stones which de-mark stages, you will refine the detailed tasks as you go – but you need to plan and allow for contingency in the planning. That could include reviewing the quality of task identification as you go I.e. we thought tasks x,y and z need doing but in the end a to z was needed. What went wrong ? What can we do to improve next time ?
3. Modify priorities
A plan is out of date before you start, so plan to change the plan. Priorities will change given stakeholder demands or the identification of changes to he critical path of the plan. When you change the plan did you think about resource implications ? Dependancies on other activities ? Cost ? Run time ? Delivery of future milestones ?
4. Resource allocation (including time, people and capital)
Can you demonstrate that rescues have been affectively and efficiently allocated to deliver to the plan ?
5. Understand risk and issues and contingency requirements
This is a key skill to demonstrate. Risk and issue management is vital. Issues will occur with any plan or organising activities, you will be aware of risks of the plan to the outset and no doubt your team members, suppliers and contractors likewise. How to you capture and mange tow risk and issues ? Did you hold regular team meetings to out any potential issues or risks? Have you put in place a process of recording and maintaining ? Who do you tell about the issues and risk (stakeholders and deliver agents) that you identify? Critically you need to be able to asses both risks and issues in most cases this is ago probability and impact i.e. How likely is the risk to materialise and what is the impact.
As you have unknowns you may consider it prudent to include contingency, this may include costs and resource but should also extend to time to replan stages of activities. How do you manage contingency ? Do you put approvals in place ?
6. plan monitoring and shaping
What are the strategies you have in place to ensure every component or task is being delivered to plan ? It’s no good relying on a contract to deliver 3 months work on a particular day only to find out the day before that it is 6 weeks behind.