Development Cooperation Handbook/Designing and Managing Programmes/Programme Expected Outcomes and Impact
In this section, the describe the product and/or service that lies at the heart of the organization. The goal is to provide a thorough understanding of what the organization will be providing beneficiaries, how the needs of beneficiaries are met, and how the product will be developed in the future to continue to meet the future needs.
Description of Products or Service
At the simplest level, the Product and Services section of the program plan must provide a description of the product or service. The author must begin with a specific description of what the product or service is and for what purpose it was designed. It is not enough for an manager to say they have invented a better mousetrap; they must describe the mousetrap in detail explaining how it works and how it is better than the original mousetrap. In addition, this sub header should also talk about any special features or capabilities that the product has and any resulting benefits from these capabilities whether they are economic, social, environmental, etc. If a program will have more than one product or service line involved, each one should be discussed and the differences between each line highlighted. Finally, the manager must be clear about the stage of development the product or service is in. In writing this sub header, the following are some key questions that should be considered:
- What is the purpose of the product/service? Do they solve a specific problem? Are they luxury items or necessities?
- At what stage of development is the product in? (idea, working prototype, small production runs, full production)
At the end of this portion of the plan, the audience should understand the core product or service underlying the program concept.
Often the facilities are a crucial element of the product or service. The following are key questions that should be answered in this sub header:
- Where will the facilities be located? Will they be renter or leased? Are they currently available, under contract, etc.?
- How large will the total locale be? What percentage of the overall area will be used to produce revenue?
- Is there room at the facility to grow? Are there plans for additional locations and, if so, where will they be?
- What are the facilities of the competition like? Will the proposed facilities be better? How?
At the end of this section, the audience should understand the role the facilities will play in providing the product or service that the managers envision.
Future Development Plans
Once the product or service has been thoroughly explained, the manager must then detail their vision of how the product or service will grow or evolve. The following are some key questions that should be answered in this section:
- What is the expected lifecycle of the current product line? Is it susceptible to obsolescence?
- Are there development plans for any new product or services? If so, what is the timeframe for rolling out those products? Will they compete directly with the existing product line?
- What changing needs of beneficiaries will be addressed by the new products?
With every product or service on the market, there are inherent liability risks. Organizations must be extremely vigilant in minimizing the chances that their product will incur liabilities. No matter how well designed a product or service is, product liability cannot be eliminated. Therefore, managers must come up with a plan for how to manage liability risk. This can include specific insurance plans that will be purchased, or the application of a certain percentage of sales of a fund to cover liabilities. Some questions that should be answered in this sub section include:
- What are the liabilities that this product or service may pose? What are the minimum insurance requirements?
- What kind of engineering studies, testing, and evaluation has the product undergone?
- How reliable is the product or service? What is the likelihood that a consumer will be disappointed?
- Can the product injure consumers? If so, how is this risk minimized?
- How would the organization handle a product recall or major product problem?
It is not easy to craft a concise section on Programme deliverables and excpected outcomes and impacts. Managers naturally have a passion for the offering they will be providing consumers. As a result, this section of the program plan, while one of the most important, can become wordy, difficult to read, or poorly developed. The following are a list of common mistakes that should be avoided when crafting this section of the plan:
- The outputs description is too technical, too broad, or too ambiguous. Readers are left more confused then they were at the start.
- The section does not identify new, unique, or better capabilities, features, or benefits. In other words, the manager gives the product no reason to exist.
- The author does no show how the product will be protected from competing products or from liability with consumers. This is a question that must be answered before anyone will consider funding the enterprise.
- The section identifies too much uncertainty regarding regulators, leading the reader to doubt that the product can even make it to the marketplace.
- Future development plans are weak, leading the audience to wonder how the organization plans to handle improvements, product updated, emerging markets, or other opportunities.
- The manager fails to adequately recognize the reliability, maintenance, and updating factors that face the production of the product. These issues can greatly affect the product’s health in the marketplace, the ability to control costs, etc.
- Often managers fail to offer a third party evaluation of their product. Thus, all their comments about the product’s benefits are internally generated. This leads the audience to question whether the product really is as strong as the organization claims it to be.
In other sections of this handbook
The projectized organization
The learning organization
The employee empowering organization
The Organization’s mission
The Organization’s vision