Basics of Financial Planning

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What is financial planning? For anyone who needs a quick explanation, they could simply open google and do a quick search. A few line items down, Google would pop something out like: “A step-by-step approach to meet one’s life goals”, or “A comprehensive picture of your current finances”, or my favourite, “Financial planning … it’s unlikely that your financial position will remain the same throughout your life”.  It can all seem a bit confusing, especially to those who might not have a financial background. Simply put, financial planning is comparing your business’s current financial situation to your long term financial goals. This is so vitally important, not just to businesses but to every single individual in their personal capacity as well. Failure to do even a basic financial plan could lead to cash flow problems, failure to meet tax and other compulsory monetary demands, overspending and ultimately failure to reach your business and personal goals. So let us look at what a basic financial plan would entail.

1. Understand your current financial position

This entails making a list of assets, debts, income and expenses. Once your lists are prepared, compare your debts to your assets and your expenses to your income. If your debts are greater than your assets, this means that your assets are insufficient to pay your debts. Should your expenses be greater than your income, this could signify cash flow problems. This overall picture is the foundation you will use to create your financial plan.

2. Set your goals

Once we know what our financial picture looks like, we will set our financial goals. Each person and organisation will have their own unique set of goals based on the specific financial picture. Your goals set should be realistic and should be set for both the long term and short term. Common goals would be to pay off debt, establish an emergency fund, save for retirement and plan for some downtime. Once your goals are established, you would use this in conjunction with your income and expense lists.

3. Develop a plan of action

At this point in your plan, you would know where you are financially and you know what your financial goals are. Some will be fortunate enough to be in a favourable position and could continue on their existing path without making any changes. For others, they would have realised that in order to reach their financial goals, they require a change in lifestyle or outlook. For each financial goal, you would need to think about what it would take to meet that goal. Retirement savings take decades to accumulate. Perhaps you would need to increase your savings category or deposit a lump sum into your retirement plan. For more short term goals it could just entail going through your expenses and cutting down on unnecessary costs. Budgets should be drawn up and all areas of excess spending should be curtailed. If opportunities exist for generating further income, now is the time to put that into action.

4. Review and revise your financial plan

Your financial plan should be reviewed regularly. Our financial position, the economy, the markets – these can and will change over time. In order to stay abreast of our financial situation and goals, we need to keep our financial lists updated regularly. Take time to regularly view your savings and investments to determine if they are on track for your savings goals. As your circumstances change, your financial plan should be updated. Income and expense schedules should be reviewed monthly and assets and debt schedules should be reviewed quarterly. Your personal life will change as your family grows or as you face life challenges. It is absolutely imperative that your regularly update your financial plan to keep it relevant and achievable.

Should you find your business or personal situation overwhelming or need further assistance on how to set up a financial plan, please do make an appointment to see a financial advisor or planner. These professionals will assist with wealth management and can assist with drawing up plans or investment strategies specific to your needs.


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Why Planning is Key

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What is Planning?

Planning means analysing and studying the objectives, as well as the way in which we will achieve them. A process of organising your goals which involves decision making about desired ways and means to achieve these goals. It provides direction for action and ensures that goals and objectives are clearly defined so that they act as a guide for deciding what actions should be taken and in which direction.

Why is planning important?

It helps us achieve our goals and allows for more efficient use of time and other resources.

Characteristics of Planning:
Goal-Oriented
Looking ahead
Intellectual process
Involves choice and decision making
The primary function of management
Pervasive
A continuous process

Recognizing the Advantages of Planning:
Gives a sense of direction
State / Focuses attention on objectives and results
Establish a basis for teamwork
Help anticipate problems and cope with change
Provide guidelines for decision making
Serves as a prerequisite to employing all other management functions.

Planning Made Easy

1) Idea:
Its starts with having an idea. Having an idea is important, without ideas progress is not possible, change does not happen…Therefore, the more ideas you have, the more you should expect to grow.

2) Analyse:
This involves collecting and analysing the information you will need to decide on a goal and purpose that is:
Relevant to your target community
Realistic in terms of what is possible and likely to make a difference; and
The most effective and appropriate contribution given the current situation you want to change.

3) Forecast:
This is a technique that uses collected data and inputs to make informed estimates that are predictive in determining the direction
of future trends. Forecasting can be used to determine how to allocate budgets or plan for anticipates expenses for an upcoming Civil Works for the Upgrading of the Kabale – Lake Bunyonyi and Kisoro – Mgahinga (33.5km) period of time.

4) Develop – Practical Implementation of plan  / idea:
These are the strategic measurable criteria that are used to evaluate objectives. By using the below method:
Develop objectives
Develop tasks to meet the objectives
Determine resources needed to implement tasks
Create timeline
Determine tracking and assessment method
Finalise plan
Distribute to all involved in the process

5) Implement:
This step involves detailed planning about how to / or how you will implement the strategies you have decided on. You will mostly use decisions about the most effective strategy to achieve each objective to decide:
What major activities will take place or will be needed
Who will be responsible
By When should activities be completed
What should be set and what specific resources will be needed for the activities required to achieve each strategy

6) Evaluate:
This step involves planning how you will determine your progress and what has been successfully achieved. This needs to be done at the. It also ensures that you have a clear and agreed basis for assessing what was actually achieved and your progress along the way. In this step you will use your needs  analysis and overall plan to finally decide:

  • What criteria or indicators you will use to  progress and achievements in relation to your purpose and specific objectives
  • When you will monitor progress and evaluate achievements
  • Where and from you will get the information you need
  • Who should be involved in monitoring progress and evaluating achievements; and
  • How you will collect the information you will need.

Once you have made these decisions, you will have completed the planning processing. Now all that is needed is to summarise your plan in a neat, clear and easy to use form so that it is a useful record and guide for all those who will play a part in implementing it successfully.


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About Michelle Ngubo

I have been working at L2B since March 2014 and my current position is Content Researcher - Africa Department and Classy is the best word that describes me.

L2B Blog: Exploring New Ideas in the Role of the Project Manager

Exploring New Ideas in the Role of the Project Manager

If you are involved in the construction industry you have most likely come into contact with a Project Manager (hereafter referred to as a PM) or heard of one mentioned in the process of developments and particularly larger developments.

Certainly in Leads 2 Business’ Projects Department PM’s are one of the most common professionals we deal with. The reason for this, is their role within construction projects.

So, what does a PM actually do? It would seem rather obvious right, they manage the project? But nothing is ever as simple as it seems. PM’s actually do a whole host of duties.

Some of which include: planning, organising, controlling, communicating, executing, reports, programs, advice, analysis, resource control, health and safety, budgets, administration and handover.

All of these duties are done ensure that the project runs successfully thus lowering the risks while meeting all of the objectives timeously to ensure completion which effects the profitability of the project.

So, when do new ideas come into the picture? What new ideas would PM’s have to explore in todays construction industry?

To be honest, I was at a loss when pondering this question, after all I’m not a PM and it’s not a role one easily assumes to answer. So I emailed a few PM’s to get some feedback on ideas that they might want to put out there… but still no luck, probably snowed under with work given our economic environment. I scoured the Internet and there didn’t seem to be any publications or news out there for new ideas when it comes to PM’s until I happened on some LinkedIn Posts. Phew!

This may not be a new idea but how about technology, either using existing tech and / or molding it to PM’s requirements, partnering with IT and creating PM specific tech or even sharing your tech tricks with other PM’s? For example: Ahmed H. Emam, PMP writes “Detect and Fix Dangling Activities in Time Schedule using Excel Macro.” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/detect-fix-dangling-activities-time-schedule-using-excel-pmp

Using tech could make PM’s jobs easier but some seem to think that PM’s might be replaced in the future by Tech/Bots. As Oliver Yarbrough, M.S., PMP illustrates in “Can a Robot Do Your Job? Here’s “How Project Managers Can Survive a Takeover.” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/can-robot-do-your-job-heres-how-project-managers-oliver

There are some things that tech, no matter how advanced it gets, cannot replace. Oliver suggests to focus on the following skills in order to stand out: “Leadership, Diplomacy, Negotiating, Public Speaking, Emotional Intelligence, Communication (verbal and nonverbal)” and instead of fighting tech, work with it to enhance your service delivery.

Another thought also came to mind: what is one of the key aspects that I think of when I think of a PM? It would have to be communication. So, what new idea would make communication more effective? What about a platform where all the schedules, notes, admin, planning and analysis can be seen by all the professionals involved in a specific project? Where each person can make notes or get alerts thus avoiding confusion, emails back and forth, potential loss of material, and saving time, something like Google Sheets for PM’s? Does this already exist? It’s possible… calling all PM’s out there, let us know! Perhaps I need to patent this idea.

After all, we all know that communication is key whether you are a PM or not. Another useful tool to facilitate communication and interaction between professionals and all other contacts which fall within the scope of projects is to use L2B (Leads 2 Business). If you are looking to get involved in the different aspects of construction, information is our business. We encourage communication, new ideas and growth in order to build and establish business.

If any of the above sparks your interest leave a Comment below or or Contact me on SashaA@L2B.co.za

Source:

http://profica.com/Project-Management

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/detect-fix-dangling-activities-time-schedule-using-excel-pmp?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_search_srp_content%3B6Q7NbKiCNqOpFrfh9U5jyg%3D%3D

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/can-robot-do-your-job-heres-how-project-managers-oliver?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_search_srp_content%3Brgd4BBE3JHWCHOXLUg24dg%3D%3D

 

 

About Sasha Anderson

Millennial Mom + wife living the hash-tag life. Remember: If You Fail - Fail Forward

What is Project Management?

What is Project Management?

82-Blog-What-is-Project-Management

 

What is a Project?

A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources.

And a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal. So a project team often includes people who don’t usually work together – sometimes from different organizations and across multiple geographies. The temporary nature of projects stands in contrast with business as usual (or operations), which are repetitive, permanent, or semi-permanent functional activities to produce products or services. In practice, the management of these two systems is often quite different, and as such requires the development of distinct technical skills and management strategies.

What is Project Management?

Project management, then, is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals within the given constraints. The primary constraints are scope, time, quality and budget.

TOS

Project management processes fall into five groups:

Initiating

Planning

Executing

Monitoring and Controlling

Closing

Initiating

The initiating processes determine the nature and scope of the project. If this stage is not performed well, it is unlikely that the project will be successful in meeting the business needs. The key project controls needed here are an understanding of the business environment and making sure that all necessary controls are incorporated into the project. Any deficiencies should be reported and a recommendation should be made to fix them.

The initiating stage should include a plan that encompasses the following areas:

analyzing the business needs / requirements in measurable goals

reviewing of the current operations

financial analysis of the costs and benefits including a budget

stakeholder analysis, including users, and support personnel for the project

project charter including costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedules

Planning

After the initiation stage, the project is planned to an appropriate level of detail. The main purpose is to plan time, cost and resources adequately to estimate the work needed and to effectively manage risk during project execution. As with the Initiation process group, a failure to adequately plan greatly reduces the project’s chances of successfully accomplishing its goals.

Project planning generally consists of

determining how to plan (e.g. by level of detail or Rolling wave planning);

developing the scope statement;

selecting the planning team;

identifying deliverables and creating the work breakdown structure;

identifying the activities needed to complete those deliverables and networking the activities in their logical sequence;

estimating the resource requirements for the activities;

estimating time and cost for activities;

developing the schedule;

developing the budget;

risk planning;

gaining formal approval to begin work.

Additional processes, such as planning for communications and for scope management, identifying roles and responsibilities, determining what to purchase for the project and holding a kick-off meeting are also generally advisable.

For new product development projects, conceptual design of the operation of the final product may be performed concurrent with the project planning activities, and may help to inform the planning team when identifying deliverables and planning activities.

Executing

The execution / implementation phase ensures that the project management plan’s deliverables are executed accordingly. This phase involves proper allocation, co-ordination and management of human resources and any other resources such as material and budgets. The output of this phase is the project deliverables.

Monitoring and controlling

Monitoring and controlling consists of those processes performed to observe project execution so that potential problems can be identified in a timely manner and corrective action can be taken, when necessary, to control the execution of the project. The key benefit is that project performance is observed and measured regularly to identify variances from the project management plan.

Monitoring and controlling includes:

Measuring the ongoing project activities (‘where we are‘);

Monitoring the project variables (cost, effort, scope, etc.) against the project management plan and the project performance baseline (where we should be);

Identifying corrective actions to address issues and risks properly (How can we get on track again);

Influencing the factors that could circumvent integrated change control so only approved changes are implemented.

In multi-phase projects, the monitoring and control process also provides feedback between project phases, in order to implement corrective or preventive actions to bring the project into compliance with the project management plan.

Project maintenance is an ongoing process, and it includes:

Continuing support of end-users

Correction of errors

Updates to the product over time

Monitoring and controlling cycle

In this stage, auditors should pay attention to how effectively and quickly user problems are resolved.

When changes are introduced to the project, the viability of the project has to be re-assessed. It is important not to lose sight of the initial goals and targets of the projects. When the changes accumulate, the forecasted result may not justify the original proposed investment in the project. Successful project management identifies these components, and tracks and monitors progress so as to stay within time and budget frames already outlined at the commencement of the project.

Closing

Closing includes the formal acceptance of the project and the ending thereof. Administrative activities include the archiving of the files and documenting lessons learned.

This phase consists of:

Contract closure: Complete and settle each contract (including the resolution of any open items) and close each contract applicable to the project or project phase.

Project close: Finalize all activities across all of the process groups to formally close the project or a project phase

Also included in this phase is the Post Implementation Review. This is a vital phase of the project for the project team to learn from experiences and apply to future projects. Normally a Post Implementation Review consists of looking at things that went well and analysing things that went badly on the project to come up with lessons learned.

Project managers

A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. Project managers can have the responsibility of the planning, execution, and closing of any project, typically relating to construction industry, engineering, architecture, computing, and telecommunications. Many other fields in production engineering, design engineering, and heavy industrial have project managers.

A project manager is the person accountable for accomplishing the stated project objectives. Key project management responsibilities include creating clear and attainable project objectives, building the project requirements, and managing the triple constraint for projects, which is cost, time, and scope.

A project manager is often a client representative and has to determine and implement the exact needs of the client, based on knowledge of the firm they are representing. The ability to adapt to the various internal procedures of the contracting party, and to form close links with the nominated representatives, is essential in ensuring that the key issues of cost, time, quality and above all, client satisfaction, can be realised.

Project management knowledge draws on ten areas:

Integration

Scope

Time

Cost

Quality

Procurement

Human resources

Communications

Risk management

Stakeholder management

All management is concerned with these, of course. But project management brings a unique focus shaped by the goals, resources and schedule of each project.

Sources:

http://www.pmi.org/About-Us/About-Us-What-is-Project-Management.aspx

https://www.apm.org.uk/WhatIsPM

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_management

http://www.projectmanagement.org.za/

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About Claire Donaldson

I started working at Leads 2 Business in February 2005, and have served as Head of Department of Daily Tenders from 2007 until the present. I oversee both the Daily Tenders South Africa and Africa Departments.