Project management in the Correios (Brazilian Post Co.)
Aloysio Vianna da Silva, Jr., MEng, PMP
The Postal Services Program was initiated in 1998 by the federal administration and, under the coordination of the Strategic Planning and Management Advisory Board, it began to be organized in Projects with a view to meeting the need of the Company to invest the funds requested and made available by the Government in full and to render accounts monthly.
Since then, the process has been restructured every year to ensure continuous improvements, and in 2001 it was consolidated beyond the expectations of the Company and of the Government itself.
The positive results achieved so far can be attributed to the continuous and growing use of the Investment Budget made available by the Government, showing that ECT has applied the knowledge it acquired in terms of planning in such a way that it has developed the capacity to apply funds made available to it effectively and, as a result, its credibility in official circles has grown, leading the Government to release all new funds that will be requested each year by the company without any cuts.
Still in terms of results, a fast cultural change took place in the Organization and all Project Managers began to prepare monthly reports of the physical and financial results of projects under way, making it possible for ECT to develop a performance-based approach and to review its corporate strategies.
Considering that the Brazilian Post has been in operation for 200 years and that it only became the corporation known as Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos 33 years ago, it was still rather slow-moving because of its size and broad range of activities in all Brazilian municipalities, among other reasons.
Although its framework and culture underwent important changes during the last 33 years, the company still needed to speed up its processes and to operate in tune with new concepts in a competitive environment, so as to become more agile and modern in its decision-making.
The company was stimulated to develop the Project by the difficulties it was facing to manage the PPA - Pluriannual Plan reflected in the investment budget released by the Ministry of Communications and turned into Projects and Actions within ECT (see Exhibit 1.
ECT was facing difficulties to organize and link its projects internally, to establish appropriate interfaces among its different departments, and to set priorities as a result of the lack of focal points and of the overlapping of activities and efforts.
It was also facing huge difficulties to generate and consolidate information in a standardized fashion, so that it could manage its activities appropriately. This facilitated the dispersion of investments, as priorities were not being set according to Corporate Strategies.
The Postal Project and the Governmental Strategy
As a national development project aimed at meeting the basic needs of citizens at large, the plan changes the way public investments are made feasible and includes partnerships between the federal administration, states, municipalities, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and private corporations.
The Avança Brasil (Advance Brazil) project was developed according to strategic guidelines issued by the President of the Republic for the purpose of consolidating economic stability with sustained growth; promoting development and generating jobs and income opportunities; fighting social marginalization and poverty; consolidating democracy and defending human rights. The National Congress added other concerns to these guidelines, namely—reducing inter-regional inequalities and promoting the rights of minorities suffering prejudice and discrimination.
Postal Services Program—Features
The Postal Services Program aims to provide broader access to the Brazilian Post. In partnership with the private sector, it proposes the creation of community post offices in small localities (in schools, health stations, city halls, stationer's shops, among other locations) and of community mailboxes, so that mail can be more easily received in places where no regular postal distribution is available.
It also contemplates the provision of new services, such as the expansion of postal financial services (Postal Bank), which allow customers to open current and savings accounts and different kinds of payment to be made in postal outlets. Main actions of the program are shown in Exhibit 2.
The Postal Project and ECT's Corporate Strategy—The Strategic Process
2002–2005 STRATEGIC PLAN
In tune with the world economy, postal services have undergone huge changes in recent years that can be clearly felt at the dawn of the 21st century. Aware of current trends, ECT has been investing massively in modernizing its business, processes, and management model.
The Strategic Plan of the company for the 2002–2005 period defines guidelines for the efforts of the organization in that fouryear period. It is a comprehensive document covering: Context Analysis, Corporate Strategies and Business Strategies, in addition to Projections of Results, among other analyses and information of high interest to the organization (see Exhibit 2).
The Corporate Strategies summarize general paths to be followed by the company and must always be understood as a set. The strategic plan of the Brazilian Post covers the following elements: Mission, Vision, Values, Policies, Strategic Recommendations, and Strategic Objectives.
The Company exists to interconnect people and organizations in Brazil and in the world at large, making sure that their needs in terms of postal services are actually met.
General Project Statement
Development of the Methodology
Planning, Follow-Up and Control Methodology (see Exhibit 4).
Project Management Challenge—Novelty is Our Centenary Culture
The Brazilian Post has at least one outlet in all the 5,561 municipalities existing in Brazil today.
With its staff of over 90,000, of whom 42,000 are letter carriers, its 12,000 outlets, its fleet of over 9,000 vehicles, and 26 air routes covered by aircraft chartered to deliver express items, the company distributes 32 million items and letters to about 40 million homes and commercial establishments every day. In 2001, over 9.5 billion postal items were delivered.
These billions of items and letters are processed in 771 central processing plants that ensure their swift, safe and regular delivery on schedule. In addition to the 12,000 outlets, 16,839 points of sale and 25,912 collection boxes are available to the population.
More than any other institution, the Brazilian Post is strongly present in the lives of Brazilians and plays an important role in ensuring the national integration because of the nature of the services it provides both in large cities and in remote locations that cannot be accessed easily.
Project Work Breakdown Structure
See Exhibit 5.
See Exhibit 6.
Integration Management—Interface Coordination
Physical Goals: Implement the Follow-Up methodology in 130 projects by December 1999; in 38 other projects by December 2000; and in 58 additional projects by December 2001.
- 1999: R$ 176,200.00
- 2000: R$ 169,700.00
- 2001: R$ 80,000.00
Organizational Framework of the Project
See Exhibit 7.
Special Challenges and Lessons Learned
A system was developed at the Brazilian Post to ensure continuous improvements after the President issued an administrative ruling determining that a commission was to be set up to organize the budget and to evaluate and prioritize projects in tune with the Strategic Plan.
Special consultants were hired by the Projects Board to restructure the 58 projects under way in 2002.
The training provided to Project Managers in Strategic Thinking Development, Project Management and MS-Project was maintained.
Proceedings of the Project Management Institute Annual Seminars & Symposium
October 3–10, 2002 • San Antonio, Texas, USA