Reporting time and finance planning


This unit of work addresses aspects of the following syllabus outcomes

A Student:
H5.1 selects and uses communication and information processing skills.
H5.2 selects and applies appropriate documentation techniques to project management.

Source: Industrial Technology Stage 6 Syllabus. © Board of Studies NSW.

The Board’s examination criteria for the Major Project in Industrial Technology indicate that a time plan and a finance plan are to be a part of the Design and Management section. (syllabus, page 47). Links between planning and production are a part of the Production section.

The Board of Studies will use this criteria to assess your Major Project so it is important that you include a well documented time plan and finance plan in your project documentation.

The Time plan

Planning your HSC Major Project is no different to the goal setting and planning carried out in industry. Time planning is necessary to ensure the progress of a project progresses smoothly and is completed by a due date. The timeline for your Industrial Technology Major Project is guided by the assessment and reporting schedule established by NSW Board of Studies for the Higher school Certificate. Your time plan should start at the beginning of your HSC year, generally this is early in Term 4 in Year 11 and it should be used constantly as you work on your major project to help you stay on track.

Thorough planning means you need to know what processes, activities and operations need to be carried out to complete the project. This will vary according to the Focus Area you are studying, but will include such things as:

– research
– design sketching
– documentation
– evaluation
– construction/production
– etc.

Each activity or process will need an estimation of time taken to successfully complete the project.

Time plans need to be flexible. Initially, the time available to you to complete your major project might be judged to be your class time plus some of your weekend time. However, the actual time available to you will decrease depending on holidays, exam periods, sports carnivals, absences and some of your home commitments. These variations need to be taken into account when constructing your proposed time plan. A good way to develop a time plan is with a tool called a Gantt Chart. (A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart that show a projects schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of a project.)

As you work through your project you will be able to indicate how long each activity actually took to complete. The actual time plan can be documented against your proposed time plan. As you near the end of your project you should evaluate your time plan by explaining the reasons for the differences between the actual and proposed plans.

Some questions you could ask yourself when doing an evaluation of your time plan include:

– Have you completed all set goals on time?
– If not, why not?
– What do you need to do to stay on time and complete your project as planned?
Time plans can be represented in various ways such as graphs, charts, pie diagrams, tables etc.

You should try and select the type of presentation that shows your proposed and actual time plans clearly. As previously mentioned, many industries use Gantt charts to prepare their time plans and relevant software such as Excell is available to help you present your plans in this form.

The Finance Plan

The successful completion of your Major Project will mean you have to spend some money. But how much? This will depend on the Focus Area you are studying, your budget and your access to other ‘funds’.

A Finance Plan will help you to manage your expenditure by listing everything you need to spend money on and knowing approximately how much each item will cost.

You should set a budget. Your budget is how much you can afford to spend to produce your Project. To keep costs down you could consider using recycling materials, for example, recycled timber. You should acknowledge the source of your funds. For example, your budget may be made up from income from a part time job or a loan/gift from parents. Some materials or resources you may have already had or may have been given to you so no money was spent on these – ensure this is documented in your plan by a $0 in the amount spent section.

How do you know the cost of items needed? You should not just guess how much something will cost. You are expected to research the costs – phone or visit companies and ask for quotes. This will give you a good indication of what you can expect to spend.

Remember to include the cost of folders, printer ink, phone calls, internet access and dial up charges, transport fares, graphic art supplies, paper, mounting board, software, rendering materials, delivery charges and so on.

You should present your finance plan in an easy to read and follow format, for example, a table, as you will need to refer to it constantly to ensure you stay within your budget.

You will need to show estimated costs (from your quotes) and actual expenditure. Try to explain any differences. An evaluation of your finance plan at the completion of your project should analyse how you did or did not stay within your budget.

For example, you may have had to order more timber because you ran out, causing you to go over your budget. This may be because you did not do your calculations and cutting list accurately. This may have also cost you another delivery charge and cost you time! Therefore, your Finance Plan cannot be devised without considering all aspects of your planning from research and design to time planning and construction.