Development Cooperation Handbook/Designing and Managing Programmes/Programme Management plan

The management plan is typically 2-3 pages and includes the following key topics:

  • Management Team
  • Ownership
  • Staffing
  • Management Control Systems

By the end of this section, the audience should feel that the management and leadership of the organization are capable, committed, and adequately compensated. In addition, they should understand how ownership in the organization is divided. Finally, they should understand the hiring and staffing policies in place to ensure that top talent is consistently available.

Governance is the act, process, or power of governing (an organization, a company, a community, a state, etc..)
Governance is defined by three fundamental characteristics:
the hierarchical order that assign different levels in the work organization;
the complex of all rights and duties which specifically belong to each organizational level;
the way by which communication occur between the hierarchical levels.
See Professional figures 
The elements that characterize the governance are its culture and its norms. (See Organizational Culture ; Professional reputation and standards)
Programs need to define a clear framework and supervision for the organizational activities (projects) because project activities have an impact on the social context where they are implemented as well as on the organisation image and on its work culture.
Project managers co-ordinate individual projects are overseen by the Program Manager, who accounts to the donors community and to the Board of Directors of the organisation.

Internal communication within the programme teams is to meet their four major communication needs:
Responsibility of each team member for different parts of the project
Coordination information that enables team members to work together efficiently
Status information tracking the progress, identifying problems and enabling team members to take corrective action
Authorization information - decisions made by beneficiaries, sponsors, and upper management - that relates to the project and its project/programme purpose environment, and enables the team members to keep all project decisions synchronized.
Internal communications happen primarily through team meetings, memos, voice mail, and e-mail. Project managers need to be able to write, speak, and listen well, lead meetings and resolve conflicts effectively.  See also Project communication management)

A good program will also identify and attribute specific responsibility in the programme management team in generating project and animate the process of producing the programme results chain (from project deliverable to outcomes, up to programmes impacts) so that the steps of the process are specifically attributed to the managerial structure, where specific professional positions are considered primarily accountable for expected results;
considering internal audit and budget tracking as programme implementation actions, so reporting about them clearly and evaluate their efficiency and transparency.

Management Team


At the core of the management plan is a description of the management team that will be leading the enterprise. managers want to show that the leadership of their organization is intelligent, motivated, and has the ability to transform the project/program plan into a successful reality. First, the author must determine which key management members should be highlights. The plan should feature those individuals that will play a large role in the project/program, as well as those team members who will lend the project/program credibility. The following are key individuals meriting attention:

  • Founding managers – The most crucial individuals in a management plan are those that are responsible for thinking of the project/program concept and developing the idea into a working project/program.
  • Active Investors – Often it might be necessary to include individuals or organizations that have made a substantial investment of capital or will provide expertise and direction. Silent investors need not be mentioned since they have little to no impact on operations.
  • Key Employees – Often there are key employees that do not have an equity stake in the project/program, but bring essential talents to the project/program. These could include a marketing director, product designer, or sales person.
  • Directors – A organization’s board of directors, if assembled, are often key decision-makers who help determine the path of the organization. As a result, they should be mentioned in the management plan.
  • Advisory Board – Advisory boards are useful to organizations who need assistance in particular areas such as marketing, operations, or product development. Most lenders or investors like to see that an manager is willing to ask for advice and has set up a body to provide it.
  • Key Advisors – Outside of the advisory board, there are usually some key advisors that have a relationship with the manager. They might be lawyers, accountants, consultants, or prominent figures in the sector of activity.

Management Team Issues


When discussing the management team, managers often encounter several issues concerning what information and background to present. The following are key issues that should be considered when detailing the management team:

  1. Past Failures – Many members of a new project/program’s management team may have been involved in other new project/programs that have failed in the marketplace. Often, managers are concerned about including these failures as background information, feeling that it will taint their project/program. However, investors and investors often view failure as excellent experience because those individuals are more likely to spot challenges, make conservative decisions, and be more wary of poor concepts.
  2. Core Concept – While the management team is critical to success, even the most talented managers cannot make a poor product concept into a successful product. Consumers are not dumb. They only buy products and services that fit their various needs. While poor leadership can be replaced relatively easily, a poorly thought out concept can never yield a successful organization.
  3. Prospective Members – Many managers want to include prospective members of the management team in their plans. Perhaps they have agreements with certain individuals that they will join the team when the project/program reaches a certain size. Or perhaps they are working on the project/program while holding another position elsewhere. Typically, these individuals do not want their identities made known to the public. However, their skills or expertise might be critical to the organization’s credibility. Many managers avoid this problem by including the individual’s background and accomplishments, without providing their name. By having this anonymous management team member, the plan retains its credibility without injuring the individual.

Organizational Chart


managers want to give their audience a strong understanding of the structure of their organization. This is often difficult to accomplish without some sort of visual aid. Organizational charts are the most common ways for managers to show their blueprint for the organization’s organizational development. Before an organizational structure can be determined, the founders must consider the following issues:

  • The organization’s immediate issues versus the long term needs and goals. Will the organization’s structure need to change as the organization evolves?
  • Who are the individuals or groups responsible for addressing each of these needs, both immediate and long term?
  • What are the interrelationships between these players? How will tasks be assigned to them?

These issues, when discussed, will reveal the organization’s organizational structure. While the planning will typically result in a detailed organizational plan, the organizational chart typically contains minimal amount of detail. For the most part, project/programs are organized either by product or by function. Either employees will work on a specific product, or they will work for, say, the marketing department on a variety of products. Some organizations employ a hybrid form of these two, where employees cross over from functions to work on specific products or projects.

In making an organizational chart, managers should pay attention to the following:

  • There should be consistency between the development of an organization chart and the remainder of the plan. The chart should embody what is being espoused in the rest of the plan.
  • managers are often unable to delegate and organize a organization as it grows. They want to keep all of the decision making power. By crafting a plan for growth, managers can counter balance this tendency.
  • When there is more than one founder, it must be clear between them how duties and responsibilities will be split.



When reading a project/program plan, investors want to know how much of the organization is already claimed by the founders and other key individuals. The management plan is where the manager can outline the ownership of the organization – both where it is now, and where it will be. The ownership plan includes the following:

  • Breakdown – The primary element of the ownership section of the management plan is a breakdown of the ownership interests of all parties. Despite the sensitivity of the subject, managers must specify who owns what portion of the organization. In addition, it should be clear what form ownership is it. Stock, partnership percentages, debt, debentures, etc, are all examples of various forms of ownership which should be highlighted.
  • Reserve – Beside the ownership that has already been parceled out to investors and management, the plan should also detail the amount of ownership that is being held in reserve. This is the amount of ownership available to potential investors. The plan should state how this reserve, once issued, will alter the overall ownership structure of the organization.
  • Agreements – Typically, managers have agreements with all the various owners of the organization for various purposes. This could be a buy out arrangement between partners, plan for the dissolution of the organization, plans for owners/managers leaving the organization and other potential developments. managers should highlight their current warrants, privileges, rights, and other options that could affect the ownership structure.

In addition to these elements, if an manager is seeking financing from investors through the plan, they should allude to the financial statements included in the financial section of the plan.

Staffing and Salary Strategy


Another important element of the ownership plan is a discussion of the organization’s policy towards staffing and salary. This is a crucial item because, in a effective economy, it is often difficult to attract and retain key employees. In addition, many investors are wary that managers have the experience in hiring necessary to recognize talent when they see it. As a result, this section of the project/program plan should communicate the fundamental issues the guide the organization’s organization and staffing. This information can provide an insight into the organization’s personality, which can have a substantial impact on the organization’s success over time. When crafting the staffing strategy, the following issues should be considered:

  • Timing – Young project/programs are typically strapped for cash. The organization is building awareness and trial, sales and revenues are low, and most profits, if any, are put right back into the organization for growth. Therefore, organizations typically try to remain as lean as possible. Therefore, managers must decide at what point to begin adding staff to the project/program, providing a schedule with specific milestones and revenue levels that must be met.
  • Selection – It is always problematic for a organization when they select and train the wrong employee. However, for young organizations with few staff, hiring a poor candidate can have devastating effects. managers must be careful craft a set of hiring standards and procedures that will minimize the chances of bringing the wrong people on board.
  • Compensation – Crucial to motivating and retaining staff is the issue of compensation. This is also the portion of the staffing strategy that affects the organization’s bottom line. Therefore, it deserves being mentioned how the organization plans on compensating employees. While specific salary amounts are not needed, managers should discuss the overall salary structure, how it compares to the competition, benefits packages, and bonus and incentive plans.

Management Control Systems


Beyond the staffing strategy, those reading a project/program plan want to understand how the authors plan on running their organization, what kind of an organization they envision. In this section, managers have the opportunity to explain their management philosophy and style. It is their chance to create a vision of what type of organization will be crafted, and how that organization will be a strong organization where people work together for the good of the organization.

managers must consider how they are going to get the most out of their team. It is not always easy to motivate employees. This is especially true in a young organization, where the days are long and there are fewer bodies to share the workload. Beyond adequate compensation, employees want to feel appreciated, part of a team, and that their voice and opinions are welcome. Therefore, managers should be clear about how they plan on creating and maintaining a positive atmosphere. Perhaps they will create group goals and progress measures instead of individual ones. Or perhaps there will be retreats where employees can discuss organization strategy and direction. managers must consider how they will keep their young organization lean, flexible, and motivated.

Communication is a key element for successful young organizations. It is crucial that information travel quickly in young organizations so that decisions can be made in a brief turnaround. A key advantage that start-ups have over their established competition is their ability to react quickly and pursue new opportunities or change strategy with minimal bureaucracy. managers must be clear about how they plan on maintaining this sense of agility. They should find ways to encourage creativity among staff, and find ways to keep the staff from getting bogged down in the routine decisions and not considering the overall picture.

Professional Support


Young project/programs need a wide range of services and support from various sources. Therefore, managers must show that they have lined up the resources needed to make the organization a success. They should list the key support team members, which could include any of the following professionals:

Insurance Brokers: Every project/program needs insurance to operate, secure financing, and protect assets. Insurance brokers can provide information what insurance is necessary, rates, etc.

Advertising Executives: New project/programs must design a logo, develop promotional materials, and advertise to their target market. Therefore, contacts in the advertising sector of activity are crucial for finding an agency that is appropriate for handling these tasks.

Industrial Designers: Once a product has been developed, industrial designers are often needed to determine the graphics, styling, and look of the product and packaging. In addition, designers look at human factors such as ease of use, comfort, safety, etc.

Consultants: Young organizations often hire consultants to help solve a particularly difficult problem, help plan for growth, etc. Consultants are helpful because they are objective and often have experience with multiple organizations and industries. Therefore, contacts in the consulting sector of activity can be very helpful.

Architects: Every project/program will need to have an office. organizations that have manufacturing facilities will also need to house their operations. Architects help to design office, manufacturing or retail space for maximum efficiency.

Common Mistakes


The following are some common mistakes that managers make when crafting their management plan:

  • Relatives – Often managers place friends or relatives in important positions when they are not qualified to hold them.
  • Crossover – managers often want their audience to feel that a successful manager from another sector of activity will be successful in their organization’s sector of activity.
  • Agreements – The audience wants to see that the product has been protected by having all key employees sign disclosure and non-compete agreements. Not including these requirements is deadly.
  • Offering Too Much – Often managers are so eager to attract one investor of management member that they give him or her too much power or ownership of the project/program.
  • Board of Directors – Investors want to see that the Board of Directors is prestigious and active.
  • Stepping Aside – It is critical that the manager understands when they should step aside after the organization has grown beyond their ability to manage it.
  • Crisis/Succession Plan – It is critical that the manager offers a plan for what management will do in the event of a crisis or the succession of power.
  • Reserve – If the organization has not provided some sort of ownership reserve, then they will be unable to attract additional financing. They will have nothing to offer.
  • Ownership Type – Often, young organizations select the wrong for of ownership type to offer employees and investors with regards to taxes, dividend distributions, etc.
  • Advice – An manager must appear willing to ask for advice, and have the advisory board and professional contacts established to do so.

See also


 How to design and manage successful cooperation programmes?

In other sections of this handbook
  Organizational Types
  Organizational Structure
  Organizational Culture
  The projectized organization
  The learning organization
  The employee empowering organization
  The Organization’s mission
  The Organization’s vision