Category Archives: Management

Planning Programming Budgeting System (PPBS)

Guest Post by Ron Sommer

Introduction: reading my post about system thinking and program evaluation, Ron mentioned a close practice that incorporate both budget and planning. I am glad he agreed to write a guest post about the topic, and hope you will find it fascinating too.

Moreover, this is the first blog post for 2018!  and opening the year with such a great topic is a good reason to celebrate (:

***

In ancient days, meaning the 1960’s, Planning, Programming, Budgeting Systems (PPBS) was considered an innovation in budgeting. PPBS was first introduced in the Defense Department in the USA in 1961 by Robert McNamara, and in all departments in 1965 until 1975. Though it failed to be widely adopted in government, PPBS is effective is less complex organizations such as NGO’s.

PPBS is an integrated management system that places emphasis on the use of analysis for program decision making. The purpose of PPBS is to provide management with a better analytical basis for making program decisions, and for putting such decisions into operation through an integration of the planning, programming and budget functions. Program decision making is a fundamental function of management. It involves making basic choices as to the direction of an organization’s effort and allocating resources accordingly. This function consists first of defining the objectives of the organization, then deciding on the measures that will be taken in pursuit of those goals, and finally putting the selected courses of action into effect.

 

Planning Programming Budgeting System (PPBS)
Planning Programming Budgeting System (PPBS)

 

An organization can be viewed in a simplified way as carrying out its functions through five basic and sequential phases: (1) planning, (2) programming, (3) budgeting, (4) operations, and (5) evaluation.

  1. Specification of Objectives – The objectives of the programs are to be specified in consistence with the long-term goals in quantitative terms as far as possible.
  2. Systemic Analysis – The possible alternative projects to achieve the program objectives are analyzed in a systematic way with the use of cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis.
  3. Functional Classification – The budget is classified on a functional basis like functions, programs, projects and activities.
  4. Organization – Budget formulation addresses the organizational structure, managerial and administrative procedures of the programs/projects/activities.
  5. Evaluation – The mechanism for evaluation of performance on the basis of financial and physical performances to monitor, and take corrective actions, if necessary.

Each of these phases consists of a distinct but related function in the overall conduct of the organization’s affairs.

  1. Planning is an analytical activity carried out to aid in the selection of the organizations objectives and then to examine courses of action that could be taken in the pursuit of the objectives. Planning, in effect, poses the question of whether some particular course of action would contribute more to the attainment of the organization’s goal than its various alternatives.
  2. Programming is the function that converts plans into a specific action schedule for the organization. Programming consists of developing detailed resource requirements and the actions needed to implement plans.
  3. Budgeting is the activity concerned with the preparation and justification of the organization’s annual budget. The function of budgeting is to secure sufficient funds to put the program into operation.
  4. Operations consists of the actual carrying out of the organization’s programs. Preparing for operations is the object of all the other phases.
  5. Evaluation is the function that evaluates the worth of operating programs. Through program evaluation the worth of programs in attaining goals is measured and appraised. The result of evaluations is used to modify current operations, if indicated, or in planning future programs.

PPBS provides an opportunity for identifying the program alternatives which offer the biggest pay-off in achieving communal objections, or require lower costs, and these can be singled out for priority attention by planning groups.

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page

Good Managers Make Decisions

I have not been in a writing mood for a while, and every time I was thinking of getting to write in my blog, I have decided that there was not a good enough story to share. I met only good managers, only ones who work hard to achieve organizational goals… (:
However, in the last days, the very simple yet extremely important idea of how to make decisions was striking me again and again, so here we go…

Every one of us, has been in a situation in which we were expected to make a decision, which will influence the future. Most of the time we do it without hesitation; however how many of us have had to make a critical decision that will impact the life of many? isn’t it the time when we start shaking, revisit, revise, analyze the data from a different aspect, consult again, and rethink if we are going to make the right decision?! I am not sure what about you, but I certainly was part of this group…

DSC05907

..and here is the important lesson I have learned… you make a decision, and THIS IS IT. Given that you already searched, researched, discussed the topic on management meetings, and you have a good understanding of what may happen in every option, you just need to jump the last step – DECIDE. EXECUTE. Do it.

The lesson above in very strong not only in terms of good and efficient management, but also in terms of our managerial ability to get improved. Once we learn to make decision efficiently, the organization can scale and grow; and our managerial skills are higher and better.

 

 

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page

4 Questions to Answer Yourself Before You Measure Outcomes

Hello friends, I am now writing for over 6 months, and every time I publish something I feel that I somehow helped the world (: So thank you for reading my comments.

Today I’d like to focus on a very sensitive issue – outcomes measurement. Yeah! you need to measure. If you make money out of your activity – you may want to know what was the impact in order to maintain and retain clients; If you do nonprofit you may want to know what was the impact of your services, and how you can grow.

I will make my points simple and clear:

1. Feelings are not true. They are misleading. Never trust your senses or impressions. Measurement does not work this way, and this is why you want to employ it. Facts are usually different than what we tend to think… a smart women quoted me a very strong message 10 years ago:”without data you are just another person with an opinion”. This is still so true.

2. Your boss/es are not interested in statistics and data, they just want the work to be impactful. Really?! how are you going to know it? Write down your goals, translate into objectives, and have these objectives measured. Be the one who brings rational and data to the table, be the one to help the organization grow.

Nonprofits consulting - ready to think

3. You must have some sort of education with regard to measurement and evaluation. If you do not have, you are having very high possibilities to be mistaken. The most problematic trajectories are: questionnaires design and data analysis. I have seen thousands of questionnaires in my life so far, almost each one of them contained a critical mistake, which turns the whole business to be useless. So, bear in mind, neither your MBA nor MSW qualified you to write questionnaires and interpret data. Use professional advice.

4. What are you planning to do with the data? make sure there is a good reason to collect data and evaluate. Once you have the data, make the best out of it. Translate it into strategic steps and apply it. Then, recheck your performance and adjust accordingly.

Thank you for thinking and reading! On the next post I will share an example for a measurable impact questionnaire I created, for free use. Please stay tuned and subscribe (:

 

 

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page

Learn to Listen, and Listen to Learn…

Once upon a time… there was a great successful executive… who is convinced that there is no success besides his… Not that I wish to challenge it, but I was thinking we can learn a lesson from it…

I met this manager couple of months ago, and we were supposed to be dealing with an operational question, as well as with understanding of social impact of project on the long run. The conversation has started with me trying to understand the organization, the culture, the project, the needs, what they already know, what they do not know and wish to know.

…and there it went… I know EVERYTHING.  For a second I was shocked… I am not used to be in a consulting session when there is no need for consulting… So, I was trying to dig more. Isn’t it clear that everyone can learn something? even tiny? Everyone can learn something new every day… at least in my opinion…

DSC05907

It took me almost an hour to realize that I have just met the first manager who is 100% confident to know everything around his organization, including social impact (which, needless to say, was never measured), and every option for future development. When his assistant was trying to raise a question, he just hushed her brutally… saying “we already know it, no need to say we do not”…

I have decided to give him some homework instead of leaving him “all knowing”. I was asking him to start listen to what people do not tell him, or afraid to tell him, because they are afraid he will “know” so much, and they will stay there not knowing what to do next…

And the lesson I have learn, and wish to share with you to think about is – try to listen before you judge, try to be aware to what others feel or think before you claim to know everything around. I think it worth a try (:

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page

The Power Of Passion

Yesterday we had good friends for coffee and laughing… and high conversation… and when I woke up I just knew it, I knew that I am going to post about the passion of doing what you love, nothing but what you love (:

All of us, at some point of our life, or should I say many times on our life… feel stuck. Stuck in what we do, who we are, who with share our life with, our career, our children, you name it… But since my blog is focusing on management – let’s focus on “problematic” points in management, such as employees who resist to change, organizational stress, impossible deadlines, large projects that go nowhere, and so on…

Ready to think - management insights

Well, I have noticed two types of coping with those feelings:
* Fight it, and change things the way YOU prefer
* Accept it, and wait for this to disappear, or stay, or whatever

In my opinion, there is no doubt. I choose the first. I choose it because this is the way a manager is going to succeed. You cannot just accept things because you feel weak or lazy at some point, if you do that – you miss good things, if you choose it as a routine, then you lost it all. Fight to get things done the way you view it.

How?
* Face reality – describe the problem for yourself (pen and paper please)
* Focus on specific spots which cause the most of the mess
* Consult with relevant managers – always have another set of eyes, and someone who is willing to give a good advice
* Write a plan how to change route, fix cracks, etc. If you need to research it – then do it. It is much better to copy others’ successful ways of coping.
* Always have plan B and C. I usually find that three plans is a good number of alternatives.
* Do it, never give up. It will happen eventually.

Good luck (-:

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page

Three Types of Great Managers Who Inspire Me

Well, how to phrase it? Got to know several managers, and cannot cease myself from writing about them, and today I focus only on  good and successful managers, who you want to be or at least have them in your team. I think I will call them leaders (-:

* The Smart And Facilitator: this is my favorite type. I know very few managers who are very experienced, very sharp, very smart, and on the same time give credit to others, like professionals to be part of their teams, and promote the ones who are doing, not the ones who are talking.
Want to be this type?
Learn your field and master it, collect a team of outcomes people, not input people, determine your goals and objectives often, let your team express their professional opinion, and lead the organization that way. Get rid of unnecessary.
From my experience, this type is very rare and very rich…

* The Entrepreneur And That’s It: I like these people, I actually love them. Their passion, their enthusiasm, their belief, and above all – their ability to make their dream come true. They have two major advantages: they know to dream and they know to find the right team to bring it to life.
Want to be this type?
I think it is mainly a talent, they got a talent to dream and drive themselves and others to pursue it. However, I hope to encourage you – everyone of us is a little entrepreneur, why am I so sure?! show me one person on this planet who never had a successful idea, just one tiny thing they wanted to do and did.
I never considered myself as entrepreneur but my decision to start a blog got me loyal readership within couple of weeks! I still do not consider myself that type, because I am much more a person of consulting and managing existing bodies than starting-up, but it is nice to know that I can also start-up an idea (-; …

ready to think - management consulting

* The Innovative Out-Of-The-Box And Still Gentle: I have a soft spot in my heart for these people. They think differently than others, and this is why they bring huge organizational advantage with them everywhere they go. They will ever be successful. Those talented human beings are usually aware that the common man/woman will be terrified or at least completely disagree with their opinion, so they generously let everyone in their team a trial and error. The end is pretty clear – they are right, everyone else is wrong… Anyway, I am not trying to say that they know everything, they kinda took also some skills from the smart and facilitator, but their conclusions are somehow unexpected.
Want to be this type?
I think you gotta be born special, if you see a kid who acts weirdly, but somehow ingeniously , that is probably the adult I am talking about. Yet, if you cannot be(at) them – join them – just try to find this type of person to be in your team.

In short: be smart, be cooperative, build your team, and respect knowledge. 

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page

They completely respect knowledge, and you?!

Warning! the content may make some of you feel uncomfortable, and full of thoughts. I apologize in advance, and yet write about it.

Got to start with a short story… why? because this is the trigger for this very blast.
As you have already noticed, I do not write this blog for a long time, nevertheless I spent almost a decade (and counting) in management consulting in all its glory… and have a backlog of crazy stuff I want to share with you…

2014-08-30 09.04.09

Once upon a time there was a large organization. Actually there were several of them, because it is going too sound you too familiar. The senior executives in this organization are the world’s smartest people, only God is smarter than them. The one and only wisdom is in their hands, and if they say so and so, you gotta say only one word: Yes.
The smartest people sometimes hold two nice shiny letters prior to their first name, yes you guess correctly – DR. Sometimes it takes the shape “PhD” afterward their last name. In any case they absolutely completed their third degree. I do honour each one of them. I have not completed mine yet.

So the smartest people were sitting in the Board of Directors and before letting anyone say a word in regard to an impact evaluation, they refused it out of hand, case closed. Why? because they do not need to know more, they can design it – just 2-3 questions, what’s the big deal??
In a different occasion they just ignored some suggestions for improvements, why? because they are the ones to know, not anyone else.

The story is the introduction for my little lecture below… ready to think?! I start…  (-:
Smart people are smart and knowledgeable, but they certainly do not know everything. Assuming that their PhD is in Physics, they must know better than others in this field. If their PhD is in Nonprofit Management, they must be knowledgeable about the sector, but they are surely not experts in methodology, or business management, unless they have additional experience and education.
…and now I get to the main point: only methodologists are methodologists. Yes, every other academic has conducted research to some degree in some point of their academic career. However! that does not make you an expert in research methods. If you are a good manager, I believe you have great skills, but please do not assume you know to write a survey or design measurement tools. Mmm… no, you do not! You do not know how to define your question, gather data properly, you do not know how to create metrics, you doubtfully know  how to analyze data, and utterly do not know to interpret it. If you want to know how to do the above – gain a set of skills and earn some experience.
I may generalize and say that my message above is right for every field, from business management to mathematics, and the bottom line is – respect the knowledge – it may help you more than you imagine! You know a lot, but be careful and aware of your boundaries. If something does not fall under your expertise, you better ask for professional help, or at least respect the advice given by people who hold education and experience in that area.
I also suggest to look around, you may notice extremely successful organizations that use experts in many aspects, there must be a reason to do so… (-:

ready to think
By the way, I was really searching a movie for this post, because I hate thinking of myself as someone who is just teasing and criticizing, and not giving something relaxing for a change (-:
So, three birds in one stone, “The Beautiful Mind” : I love Russell Crowe, I truly like the movie, and I also find it inspiring and conveying the message. What is the message in my opinion? Short and sweet: Keep calm and respect experts (even when you think they are nuts!)

Enjoy!

 

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page

Everyone uses SMART goals, and you?!

I know – this is almost boring. Actually it is boring, why do I try to embellish reality?!
You have heard over thousands times that goals need to be S.M.A.R.T., and you are tired of it. You are tired because you need a reason to believe that it is going to help.
I used to feel frustrated when meeting with managers who do not like the idea of a work-plan, or do not find the time to do that, or whatever… But you know what?! that is why I started this blog, I wanted to write my thoughts and insights so I can express my enjoyment and belief that these processes really work and benefit organizations. Writing a work-plan may be a real fun, as long as you understand why you do it, and HOW to do it. I promise to do my best and explain the basics as well as the advanced, so if you are ready to think – we go on it, together, right now (-:

2014-09-28 11.21.45

Let’s firstly start with two vital facts:

As a consequence, you must be able to connect these two, and be able to measure, define, criticize, and change your goals and plans.
So, how do you set goals and objectives? Pretty simple actually. We need to clearly split three elementary parts of a work-plan:

  • The vision
  • The goals
  • The objectives

The vision is the wish, the large picture, the general direction, the utopia. The vision is usually articulated by senior executives, mainly board of directors members, and from my experience visions are usually good, and often very impressive. The vision typically includes one to two very meaningful sentences, where every word worth its weight in gold, or at least supposed to. I certainly agree that vision phrasing may take a while, however I am not that convinced it should take forever, and completely disagree with “no vision yet” or a “dead-end” circumstances and excuses. I am very sharp at this point because I see no logic in doing your job when you do not know where to go, and what is the purpose; or even worse – when your employees are lost. (let me put something here – no, you do not work just to earn your salary or remain employed). So, in short – message #1 is: have your vision handy.

Once we are done (if you are not – I promise to write soon on how to write a vision effectively and efficiently, so stay tuned…), and we have our vision – we need to break the vision to small pieces, the goals. Not too small, let’s say up to seven, and the most safe is something between 3-5. I know that there are managers who like the details, or feel that every word needs to get strong attention, or any other persuasive explanation – I suggest you to take it as an exercise – try to focus on 3-5 most important messages from the vision. Why? because you plainly want to do it, and hold it in front of you. Another helpful tip is to extract 3-5 single words that describe the vision the most.

In order to keep yourself in truck – bear in mind, this should take no more than 3-6 meetings with your relevant team, as long as everyone takes notes  independently, and do their homework. (however large organization may stretch it to a process, but still no more than 10 meetings with all of the relevant people are needed).
I suggest the following structure: meeting #1: overall view and open discussion regarding the most important messages from the vision; take notes, do your homework and conference back in meeting #2: the most important messages analysis – you should have a list to narrow. The final product is the 3-5 “raw” goals. This stage may take more than one meeting, but in my opinion and based on my experience – the efficient organizations will benefit the most… In meeting #3 the focus is on phrasing the goals. As I said at the beginning – this is not the SMART stage, we will have it later on. For now you need to just phrase 3-5 full, but short, sentences that express the vision and call for action. In short – message #2: write your goals shortly and clearly, in light of the vision.

2014-09-29 11.44.22

I was trying to think of example that will facilitate my explanation above in a friendly way, and that is why I chose a corny one – Coca-Cola. This document shows Coca-Cola’s 2020 vision, and I recommend you to take a glance especially at the left side – 2020 mission (Vision here), our vision (Words here) , our goals (Goals here). I am not 100% fan of their structure, but I think it gives a clear idea for managers who want to pursue planned processes.

In short:
> Vision: the big picture, usually contains a very small number of meaningful sentences.
> (Words/Raw goals: the fractions of the vision, the words that describe the vision)
> Goals: the actions needed to be taken in order to practice the theory

Part #2 of this article will be covering the connection between goals and objectives, an improved SMART model, and a wrap up of my arguments re vision-goals-objectives.

P.S. I am more than sorry for not entertaining you today with a must watch movie… I could not trace a relevant one in my mind – but will be happy to get your ideas, please share them in comments or email. In the meantime live happily.

 

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page

He was coherently focusing on his goal, and you?!

Firstly, I would like to thank you my readers! I am more than delighted to see the stats growing every day, and as you remember I am numbers fan… so imagine how happy I am (-:
Secondly, since I have promised last time that I will be talking today re sticking on your goal, be sure – I will do it here and now. Ready to think? Let’s start.

Before I start shooting my arguments, please have a peek at Liam Neeson (I recommend you to watch the whole movie if you haven’t done this yet). The story, in short, deals with “a retired CIA agent travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped while on a trip to Paris”. I would like to extract and focus on his techniques: He analysed the situation, targeted the goal, stuck to it, paid costs in order to reach it, and finally kept his promise.

Getting back to our management situation, the beginning seems easy to most of us – just think what you want to do, and you are all set; another way to do it is to write something – yes, work on it, conference relevant people, write a draft and then articulate a final work plan. However, please be aware, at this very early point things are starting to struggle, because you (and your team and/or managers) are deeply convinced that the goal is well known and absorbed, and you may all go rest on your laurels.

Please pay attention to mistake #1: you forget what you have decided, because you did not document it, or because you absently stored it in an abandoned storage site.
A worse version is to actually see it in front of you every day, but let it gather some dust on the shelf, because it mistakenly perceived easy to think freshly every day… The worst option, which you will be surprised to know that there are many people who love to choose, is to see it, remember it, but intentionally ignore it. When I ask managers why they do it, they simply say – I do not believe in plans; I know my goals; I don’t need reminders; I have significantly better ideas; I have no time for reading it, and let’s not forget the best excuse: I am focusing on the “doing”…

Well, my friends, this is mistake #2: you definitely do not remember your goals and plans. No one does. That is why you wrote it. You have a great tool, the plan or the paper with your goal written on it, use it. Read it every time you feel unconfident or search for routes. Promise you – it helps, a lot! Bear in mind, a written plan is very often better than a random idea, as great as it is. Not to mention the time consuming aspect… you go back to your written plan – you also save your expensive time!
I can assure you, there are people who will not like your strong-minded attitude of being planned, but sooner or later they will agree with your paradigm, because the results will be there load and clear.

In order to write your goal in a usable way for future examination and development – you should phrase it correctly, what do I mean by that?! Please follow my next post.

In short: keep calm and trust your written plan.

P.S. If you wish to continue reading in this topic, please consider reviewing this article on how to set goals in work plan.

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page

They smartly use numbers, and you?!

The bad old habit, yeah! think, rethink, decide, do it, over and over again.

Stop! Have you ever thought of taking this practice a step ahead?!

I have collected two great examples for us to think about today. Ready to think? let’s do it together.

2014-09-28 11.22.05

The first shot is “Moneyball” trailer. The movie is focused on “Oakland A’s general manager… challenges the system and defies conventional wisdom when his is forced to rebuild his small-market team on a limited budget. Despite opposition from the old guard, the media, fans and their own field manager… forever changes the way the game is played”.

The main lesson from this movie, in my opinion, is to think differently on something  which is already well defined and learned…

The traditional thinking is being challenged here, and by using stats and analyses, the GM turns to do the smartest things in order to win the big players game.

The second shot is from “Draft day“, “a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with dreams of playing in the NFL, general manager Sonny Weaver goes against advice making a series of risky, unexpected maneuvers to save his team”.
The movie, similarly to the one above, deals with a day of shaking the national football league foundations, when the manager, who appears to be working under extreme pressure, makes so-called “risky” decisions, based on research and planning.

I would like to take these two example, and kindly ask you my readers, to apply a different view in your day-to-day work.

Are you required to report on sales? Plan the budget for next year? Initiate a new program? Monitor and improve processes?
Please, use the numbers. Use them because they are so easy to reach. They are there, waiting for you to put in an Excel sheet or any other package you use… and finally – to use them smartly.

What do I mean by that? I have encountered many managers who knew how to produce stats, but did not know to pick out the wheat from the chaff.
Focus on your goal, and extract the number that enable you to decide smartly. How to focus on your goal? Right on my next post (-:

In short:
There are numbers, which may help you to decide smartly and differently. Use them!

P.S. Do not forget to watch the full movies, if you haven’t yet.

Share the knowledge...Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail this to someonePrint this page