Developing a Plan

Written by Mike Wahl

During my visits to North Freedom the last couple weekends I have been asked, what’s going on with the 1385, what’s the plan? My response has been we are doing just that, making a plan.

To make any project successful a good plan, strategy and expected final outcome is needed. To make a good project plan the project must be broken down into smaller parts. There’s an old joke that goes: How do you eat an elephant? Well, one bite at a time of course! The next question then is what bite do we need to take first? To determine this we needed a strategy and scope of work. With a defined strategy, we can choose where to start and set our priorities. With a defined scope we have a formal document that captures and defines the work activities, deliverables and timeline for our contractors and vendors.

So enough with the philosophy and more on to the plan and strategy.

We have broken the 1385 project down into parts of the locomotive. They include major components of the locomotive like the running gear, boiler, tender, appliances, and cab. These components will then be broken down further to better define the scope, priority and timeline. We have begun this process on the locomotive. Our first focus has been the tender.

Just for some foresight on my next post, we have broken the tender down into 3 sub-components or tasks. They include the tender tank, tender frame and tender trucks. Each one has been evaluated and a plan and strategy has been developed. I will start a new post soon on the tender with more details. I have included a few pictures as a sneak peek of what the tender looks like today.

In closing, during my studies, I had a project management professor at UW-Stout sum up “How to eat an elephant” in the following manner. I think this sums up our project goals well.

“Take small bites out of your elephant. Take the right bites. But most importantly, determine what your elephant will look like when you’ve eaten the whole thing this will help keep you focused on the results, not the work.”

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