Planning and control is the theme of week four. Something I’m quite familiar with already to be honest. However, it doesn’t hurt to get a theoretical understanding of what I do on an almost daily basis as part of my job.
I learnt about the transformation model this week, and how it applies at both a macro and micro level. I also learned about performance indicators, and how they can give a measure of performance in different ways.
On the subject of planning, I learnt about the management control loop:
- Set objectives
- Plan, identify markers and carry out tasks
- Monitor progress
- Act on results of monitoring
Each of these stages were examined in detail, and it was explained how the process is an iterative one, a continuous learning opportunity.
I then learnt about how to deal with complexity, including potential problem analysis and contingency planning, two amazing techniques I now use regularly at work.
The importance of getting people’s agreement during planning was described. This is something that makes sense, but isn’t necessarily considered when preparing plans. Too many people draw up their plans without consulting stakeholders, which results in opposition later, often when plans are already well under way.
The rest of the chapter looked at evaluations, and how they too are an iterative process involving the following steps:
- Asking questions
- Answering questions
- Drawing conclusions
- Making necessary changes
Various types of evaluation were explored, including strategic, impact, performance, process, and composite evaluations. A framework for designing an evaluation was then set out, together with some potential issues often encountered during evaluations.
All in all, an enjoyable chapter with some material that’s highly useful in the real world!