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Project Plans & Proposals

ISP Ltd can provide either a proposal or project plan for your ISP that can be incorporated in your business plan. Proposals are relatively quick and easy to create since they do not vary much between clients, while project plans are much more in-depth, highly detailed documents that are entirely different between clients.

With each document type, proposal and project plan, there is a corresponding role of consultant or project manager. As a consultant we offer advice and guidance to your project manager. As a project manager we oversee the project from concept to completion.

Proposal

An ISP proposal focuses on the details of the services ISP Ltd. provides, a review of equipment and accounting software available, and a review of the software services you can offer your customers. A proposal gives you the details you need to put equipment, service, and estimated cost figures into your business plan. The work on a proposal requires minimal involvement on your part and can usually be completed in about a month. You can view a sample of a proposal outline here.

A proposal is well-suited for a small project, such as a network for a small community or a group of Cyber Cafés, or large companies who have their own project manager(s). A proposal may also be a first step in the early stages of planning, with the intent of having a project plan developed afterwards.

Project Plan

A ISP project plan incorporates your business background, business goals, market opportunity, and ISP service plans with an implementation road-map that includes a project charter, scope statement, work break-down structure (WBS), Gantt chart, production schedule, budget, cash flow projection, and return on investment to take your vision from concept to completion.

A project plan requires significant involvement from everyone – the consultant (ISP Ltd) as well as your technical and management personnel. This coordinated team effort takes several months to complete, sometimes more than a year, but when it is done.

A project plan is intended for companies that have done research to qualify their vision, have a budget approved or preliminary approval for financial backing, and are seeking a project manager to write their vision into a comprehensive and well-organised plan for presentation to top management or investors.

We approach planning a project plan in four main phases:

  1. Concept
  2. Development
  3. Implementation
  4. Completion / Close-out

Concept Phase

In the Concept Phase the project's preliminary plan is written that lays out high-level tasks and an estimated budget. This phase will typically last anywhere from one to three months for a small to medium-sized ISP.

As your Project Manager (PM) we would start this phase with writing the Project Charter and Team Contract, then holding a face-to-face "kick-off meeting" where all team members assemble to review the Charter and agree on the terms of the Team Contract. After this, the PM will write and coordinate all of the key documents of the project, such as:

  1. Project Charter
  2. Business Case (which is often used to argue to the bank or other financial backers that the business concept is sound)
  3. Sponsor(s), Stakeholders, and Team rosters and roles
  4. Risks and Contingency Plan
  5. Project Scope Management Plan, Scope Statement, and Work Breakdown Structure
  6. Design documentation
  7. Budget
  8. Schedule

These documents and others form the complete Project Management Plan that are critical to a project's success. The PM's job is to be sure these plans are complete and sound (e.g., time schedules and budgets are reasonable).

Acting as a Consultant rather than PM, we would write reports as requested by your PM, rather than being responsible for direction, coordination, and management of the project plan.

Development Phase

In the Development Phase the plans gain increasing levels of detail until everyone understands exactly what their role is and what they must do. The budget becomes more precise. Training plans are developed. An Acceptance Test Plan is written so everyone knows exactly what targets are to be achieved.

Planning is critical on large projects, and since this phase is the last before work actually begins it is also usually the longest. It may last a few months, or it could last a year or longer.

The PM naturally relies on engineering staff to provide a great deal of documentation about the tasks, equipment, progress reports, etc. that need to be incorporated in the Project Plan. The communication between the PM and Chief Engineer must be very good and regular. Often we will take both roles of PM and engineer, but otherwise the project engineer should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time writing answers to the PM's questions.

Implementation Phase

In the Implementation Phase the work of building the ISP begins. Equipment is purchased, racks are assembled, cables run, software installed, wireless towers erected, VSAT equipment installed and configured, and there is constant testing at each step of the way.

A Consultant has little or no involvement in this phase.

The PM, on the other hand, has stepped up his involvement from one of planning to production management. Some or all of his time is spent on-site to directly monitor the work being done, make sure the schedule is being kept, provide reports to management on progress, delays, problems and recommended solutions, etc.

Completion / Close-out Phase

In the Close-out Phase the Acceptance Test Plan (ATP) is put to use. During this phase we watch to be sure everything is working properly, document anything that is not, hold regular progress meetings, etc. Reports are written about problems and challenges that were faced, how they will be addressed, and what we learned from them to help in future projects. As stakeholders are satisfied that the ATP metrics have been met they sign-off on each one until the project is deemed "complete".

The PM is responsible for overseeing this phase and his job is the last one to finish on a project. He is not done until the stakeholders have all signed-off on every point of the ATP.

The Consultant, as with the prior phase, has little or no involvement in this phase except perhaps to advise on unexpected issues that may arise.

Once this phase is complete, the project as a whole is officially finished. Naturally there will be a flurry of tasks now queued to be achieved, which are part of the ISP's business growth. This growth is handled by new (and usually much smaller) projects as required.