Predetermine Events and Activities - HOW

Now How Then
What is the present state of
   •   your ministry?
   •   your target group?
How do you go from now to then?

In other words, what activities / programs will help reach your goals?
What would you like to see existing at a specific time in the future?

In other words, what are your goals / objectives?

How ... deals with how the objectives should be accomplished

In the "How" column, you will list your events and activities that will take you from where you are "Now" (Column #1) to where you want to be "Then" (Column #3).

Planning is dynamic. You may discover as you try to connect the two columns that you do not have the appropriate/sufficient resources to reach your one of your objective. This may result in the following:
  1. Pushing back that objective to be accomplished by a later date

  2. Keeping the original target date but scaling back on the scope of that objective (so as to be more realistic)

  3. Setting an intermediate objective to acquire the needed resources by a certain date; this will be entered in the "Then" column.

Under the above scenario, the "How" column would include activities on how these needed resources should be acquired.

Organising the Activities (and People)

Once upon a time, there were four persons.
Their names were Everybody, Somebody, Nobody and Anybody.
A job had to be done, and Everybody assumed that Somebody would do it.
Not being a very difficult job, Anybody could have done it but Nobody did it.

This is no joke; this happens too often because of a failure to organise.

Here are steps to organising the activities in the "How" column.
  1. Identify natural groupings of activities ... activites that naturally relate to one another

  2. Match each grouping with the appropriate personnel.

    In assigning the groupings of activities to people, take into consideration the skills required to carry out the activites, the strengths, weaknesses and previous experience of the available personnel.

  3. Structure the relationships between the personnel ... as whether they are in a line or staff relationship

    • line relationship where one person is subordinate to another

    • staff relationship of a purely advisory nature i.e., power to recommend but no authority to force their preferences on others

Scheduling the Activities

Here we determine when the different activities of the plan should be accomplished.
  • Select a schedule worksheet appropriate to the length of your plan

  • Visualise the sequence of activities

  • Place the key events on your calendar

  • Working backwards from these events, enter the required preceding activities of these events

    For each activity, enter deadlines and time allotments to determine deadlines for preceding activities. Beware of the tendency to under-estimate the time needed to complete activities.

The following is an illustration of working backwards from a key event.

Key event: Training Institute on March 19 with March 1 as the closing date for early bird registration
  1. Let's assume that the main mode of publicity is a printed brochure and that 14 days is the alloted time for target audience to make a decision to attend. This means that the brochure should be in the hands of your target audience by February 15 (working backwards 14 days from March 1).
  1. Mail is delivered by the next working day. This means that the brochure should be in the mailbox by February 14.
  1. For the brochure to be in the mailbox requires printing all mailing addresses onto envelopes, inserting the brochures into the envelopes and affixing postage stamps onto the envelopes. Time alloted for this activity is two days. This means that the brochure should be printed by February 12.
  1. The printer needs one week to print the brochure. This means that the design of the brochure should be completed by February 5.
  1. The designer also needs a week to design the brochure. This means that all relevant, complete, and edited content including benefits of the event must be submitted to the designer by January 29 (working backwards 7 days from February 5).

    Pertinent information related to the brochure (or training institute) would include description of the training institute, training workshops, names and profiles of trainers and venue of training.
One thing I strive not to do is to be the bottleneck. If I were the brochure designer then it is critical that I complete the final, printable artwork of the brochure and hand it over to the printer by February 5. If I did not, the printer cannot print what he does not have!

A frequent cause of problems is the failure to complete the key activities which most other activities are dependent upon. In the above illustration, one of the key activities is the completion of the design of the brochure. Without which there cannot be any printing, without the printing there cannot be any publicity, without publicity there would be no registration, without registration there would be no training institute. I exaggerated the scenario for emphasis.

Note that while one activity may be dependent on the completion of a preceding activity, some activities are independent. For example, updating of the mailing list, printing the addresses onto envelopes as well as the affixing of stamps are independent of the completion of the brochure. The only dependent activity in (3) is the inserting of brochures into envelopes. This means all the other activities could be completed earlier.

Introduction | Then: Establish Objectives | Now: Assess Present Situation | How: Determine Program | Main Page

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Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © 2005 by Alan S.L. Wong