Spectrum Academy Charter School
Project Plan Continued
University of Phoenix
January 9, 2003
Facilitator: Denny Bates
Spectrum Academy Charter School – Project Plan (con’t)
This paper will explore the organizational structure, reporting structure, and communications plan for the development of a charter school. Our choice of using a functional organizational structure is primarily due to the communication and interdependence departments require. The paper will further investigate the major work components of the WBS and the attribute needs for each area. A project communications plan will also be presented that will empower the effectiveness of the team.
The functional areas of the project are three-fold. The Education area is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school, including administration, curricula development and implementation, and staff training and development. The Commercial area is responsible for the strategic plan to meet Arizona State requirements, developing business partnerships, and product development of saleable results. The Community area is responsible for outreach programs, after school programs, and adult education opportunities. These areas all form the core of the project. It is apparent that they overlap to meet the requirements of a functional relationship. We will be introducing the term “jobarchy” as the name for this type of structure. Its three-fold relationship creates a unique and synergistic service toward meeting the needs of the job. The job is the boss and everyone wins in the end.
Jobarchy serves as both a structural foundation and a communications methodology. Ideally, the core team consists of 3 to 5 people depending on the necessary skill sets. The structural foundation may not be identical in organizations yet the ultimate purpose is to serve the mission, or job of the company, project, etc. It allows the freedom to make critical assessments and reflections of what is needed for the project’s success in terms of labor, materials, and resources. Once this analysis is made, the jobarchical structure communicates functional tasks as a breakdown of work schedule unfolds. It becomes the ultimate team effort and the players trade off in the role of facilitator within their areas of expertise, or as required by the work itself. The basic organizational chart and areas of focus are below:
“Communication plans should be divided into two categories: project communications and constituent communications. Project communications include the interaction that is required in order to deliver the engagement with quality. Included in this category are the project plan itself, the memos and status reports that the team distributes to one another, the team meetings, and the minutes that are issued from them. In the realm of constituent communications are the executive briefings, auditorium presentations, newsletters, "lunch and learn" sessions, posters, brochures, focus groups, and feedback mechanisms like e-mail and voicemail suggestion boxes.” (Freedman, 2000)
Due to the nature of the project it is imperative that facilitators in each major area of focus are continually updated and aware of the progress. Best practices in pro-active management include up-to-the-minute reporting in order to anticipate and resolve problems before they have a chance to impede progress of the project. Along with the items mentioned above we will be including e-room, net-meetings, and video-conferencing via the Internet. Technology use will be an asset of the curriculum and functioning of the school. Demonstrating its use in the development of the project is a key feature of the process and stakeholder training. An IT partner will be utilized by the Project Manager to ensure appropriate systems are in place.
“We would not presume that all communication plans reflect these findings. We're sure there are exceptions. However, based upon all the other findings within How We Communicate, we believe it is fair to say that; overall...Corporate America is not focused on designing behavioral- and performance-based communication plans. And if we can't create communication plans that reflect our drive for performance and behavioral change, how can we expect to simplify work and decision-making?” (Jensen, 2000)
Investigating the communication requirements of the major phases of the WBS determines the key elements of the communication plan. The WBS for the project includes the following major areas within the three-fold project: strategic planning, curricula, training, State fulfillment, business partnerships, distribution channels, community outreach, after school programs, and adult education. The Education, Commerce, and Community group facilitator determines the lines and types of communication necessary to properly serve their group, while maintaining the integrity of open communication philosophy. This will be explored in depth later in the process.
“The people factor can also introduce errors in estimating times and cost. A close match of people skills to the task will influence productivity and learning time. People dedicated full time or part time to the project influence estimates—full timers tend to be more productive. Physical closeness of team members and organizational infrastructure will influence communication and thus project estimates (i.e., they may influence how long it takes to make decisions). Sometimes factors such as staff turnover can influence estimates.” (Gray & Larson, 2001)
There are several areas within the scope of the project plan that are primarily people-driven. That is, the integral structure of the project involves the relationships created and nurtured to fulfill the administrative and organizational needs. The skill sets that are required within the project team foster the development of these relationships, both personal and professional. Currently, full-time commitments are unavailable so availability will affect the critical path. Nevertheless, the strategic plan can be adjusted to create a realistic timeframe for the project completion.
Attributes of the Team Members
It is reasonable to consider project team attributes to include exceptional interpersonal, analytical, problem-solving, and time management skills. No matter the product, it is the people who make everything happen. Each team member also has an understanding of functional systems and current best practices in their respective fields. The project team members also exhibit personal character exemplary of what has been called ‘cultural creatives’ of recent. These ‘cultural creatives’ are an evolved species from the 60’s peace, love, and harmony crowd, only they have developed professional acumen and are exploring fresh new ways of developing our society. “The Cultural Creatives care deeply about ecology and saving the planet, about relationships, peace, social justice, and about self actualization, spirituality and self-expression.” (Anderson and Ray, 2003)
The Education Group facilitator shares the vision and has an in-depth understanding of educational systems, including effective school administration, exemplary exceptional student services, outstanding curricula and faculty development, rapport-building student promotion and retention, and innovative information technology systems. The Commerce Group facilitator also shares the vision has an equally in-depth understanding of State and Federal laws and regulations, creating collaborative alliances, supply chain integration, sales and marketing, and information technology. The Community Group facilitator shares the vision as well and has a mastery of marketing school programs, adult education programs, grant research and writing, after-school program development, and information technology. The Project Manager holds the vision and has an understanding and mastery of strategic planning, educational and organizational development, business administration, and information systems integration.
This paper explored the organizational structure, reporting structure, communications plan, and attributes of the project team for the development of a charter school. Each of these areas will be further defined as the project team is assembled. For now, the group efforts for this class will have to suffice in the preparation of the strategic project plan. Areas of focus have been determined and responsibilities assigned for the purpose of this project. Timeline adjustments, critical path assessments, team development needs, and a more detailed WBS are forthcoming.
Anderson, Sherry Ruth Ph.D., Ray, Paul H. Ph.D., and (January 7, 2003) Cultural Creatives, [WWW document] URL: http://www.culturalcreatives.org/book.html
Freedman, Rick, (Sept. 25, 2000), Communication plans are key to project success, [WWW document]. URL: http://builder.com.com/article.jhtml;jsessionid=FVCLB5POYDHADTQQACQCFEY?id=r00720000925fre01.htm&_requestid=323319
Gray, Clifford F.; Larson, Erik W., Project Management – The Managerial Process, Copyright © 2001 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Jensen Group, Changing How We Work: The Search for a Simpler Way, Copyright © 2000, Northern Illinois University [WWW document]. URL: http://www.simplerwork.com/c/c6.htm