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Introduction - SIM335 Managing Projects Assignment Sample
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Business projects are ultimately developed for providing benefits to the organisation. Every projects involves investment of money, time, and efforts. In addition, it also deals with a lot of risks. In this report, a discussion various aspects of a business project is done. The report is having two section and each of them has its significance. The first section talks about the core principles of a projects and their importance. The importance of scope of a project and how to decide it, is talked in brief. A Gantt chart is also provided in here. Furthermore, a discussion on risk management strategy is also provided. In addition to this, the quality methods that can be used for successful completion of the project. On the other hand, the second section is more of a report that discusses a case study of Wroxham and its efforts to implement the ERP system.
1. What are the core principles/characteristics of any project and why are they important?
A project is defined as a temporary undertaking that has a beginning and an end, and it is carried out to create a distinct product or service, or result. Different projects can have distinct principles depending upon their types (Burke, 2013). The major characteristics are given below:
- Defined Objectives: The whole project revolves around the pre-defined objectives. Each objective provides a direction to people to carry out operations.
- Defined endpoint: Since the project has a beginning and an end point, it can be characterised as temporary task.
- Cross-functionality: The project is often comprised of different tasks that requires an external help from other department.
- Uniqueness: Every project should be unique as the distinct results are needed otherwise the purpose of starting a project is meaningless.
- Uncertainty: The uniqueness brings the elements of uncertainties. The investigators may or may not get the desired results.
2. What would you have included in the scope statement for a project?
The project scope comprises the expectations of the researchers from the project i.e., the specific project tasks, deliverables, goals, costs, and timelines. It contains the boundaries of a given project that mostly explains the procedures of carrying out a task and its evaluation, roles and responsibilities for each member of the team (Burke, 2013). To define the scope of the project, one must first determine the following aspects of a project:-
- Goals and objectives
- Phases of the project
- Tasks to be performed
- Available Resources
Understanding the scope is important because it is the foundation for the effective management of each task of the project (Nicholas and Steyn, 2017).
3. Using the information below, plot out a full project Gantt chart and identify the critical path? How many days does it take to complete the project?
The critical path is the one that consumes the highest amount of time (Yang, and Kao, 2012). In the following case, the critical path is a-c-f as along this path the time consumed in completing the project is 18 days.
4. What would you need to consider when developing a project budget?
Creating a project budget is very time-consuming but it is the most crucial aspect of every project. Many a time project fails due to inappropriate development of a project budget. The project budget extends from the cost of purchasing instruments to the cost of labour. The labour cost should be at the top of the priority list. The labour could be both internal and external individuals. While estimating the cost, one must consider factors, such as task duration, negotiated contract rates, and average salary rates. The following steps can be taken while developing a budget:-
- Defining the labour cost
- Estimating the material cost
- Assessing any travel cost
- Estimating the office rent
- Defining the cost of equipment
- Inculcating the administrative cost
- Defining the cost of software
5. How would you develop a Risk Strategy for a project, what method would you use?
Management of risks in projects can be done by risk assessment and risk mitigation strategy. In risk assessment, the potential risks are identified and their risks are evaluated. In risk mitigation plans, the strategies regarding minimising the impacts of potential risk events are discussed. For developing a risk management strategy, one needs to be creative and disciplined. The process requires a rigorous brainstorming session in order to identify the things that could actually go wrong in near future. The innovative ideas are identified and accepted. For this purpose, the risk breakdown structure method can be used. This method organises risks in a table and classifies them into a different category. This method would give a clear picture of the concentration of risks.
6. What would quality methods (project evaluation, monitoring, and control) you introduce to ensure a project is completed successfully?
Monitoring, evaluating, and controlling a project are three different aspects and require different tools to carry out the desired task. Quality control aims at checking the result to make sure that they are meeting the required standards. Project control comprises project schedule-tracking, evaluation of the project progress, and cost monitoring. For this purpose, various tools, such as PERT, WBS, etc., can be utilised (Trietsch and Baker, 2012). The project control methods include the critical path methods in order to determine the tasks that are crucial for the completion of the entire project. Talking about the quality control methods, they comprise thorough documentation, review, and testing. This can also be done by following the quality manuals.
This report will highlight the features of an ERP system. The report is developed from the project management perspective. It outlines the key activities that can help in the management of newly implemented a
Wroxham is a boat building and designing company. The company has a small loyal customer base. It has a stable place in the market. This is due to the reliable and consistent products. The stability in the market and consistent products assist in achieving the efficiency in meeting customer demands.
A recent change in globalised international trade and the removal of trade barriers have increased the competition from international traders. The company is planning to install ERP in order to link up with the overseas organisation.
Enterprise Resource Planning is a kind of a technology or an information system widely used in the business world that uses common database and software in order to access the real-time information. It also compares and shares information across departments, agencies, and organisation. This system can be employed to manage the human resource and finance-related transactions. A successful ERP system gives a wide range of tools to the decision-makers to make a sound decision for the Wroxham. This can build a common language for documenting the overall expenditure by using commodity codes, charts, etc. It would eliminate the duplicate and redundant data as the data is stored once in the system and carried forward. Using the ERP system, the organisation can better keep a track of its assets, thereby helping the company in budget planning (Hwang and Ng, 2013).
Apart from discarding the deficiencies in the organisational system of Wroxham, the ERP system is based on the technology enablers. The distinguishing factor of this system is that it integrates all system modules. Due to this, the system can avoid the duplication of data elements while using them for multiple purposes. Without any duplicate data, the organisation can access the updated information. Once the change in the data is made, it can be made available for all the department. The ERP systems make use of some real-time processing, thereby making results of transactions available immediately to all the functions. On the other hand, the traditional administrative systems carry out most of their operations using batch jobs. This reduces the efficiency of carrying out function. Talking about the functionality, the ERP system gives a large functionality to manage organisational finances, human resources, and procurement. The system would also increase the scalability of the organisation in order to cater to the ever-changing demands of the business. The scalability can be achieved by enhancing the memory, installing an extra storage disk, and installing additional processors.
Benefits of ERP
Every organisation has its own set of operations, services, and products. But, they face quite similar issues as they grow. Implementing ERP can be very useful in managing those challenges.
- It provides the organisation’s decision-maker an individual, real-time, and reliable data which can be compared and shared across agencies.
- Provide an ease in access to the organisational human resources and financial information (Lovas, 2015).
- Discards the redundant and irrelevant data arrived while accessing the financial accounts that create a challenge for the analyser.
- It can assist in tracking and standardising the operations of an organisation, especially the financial operations.
- ERP system can be used in tracking the
Managerial Skills Required
Implementing a new system is not a cakewalk. ERP has several impacts and managing them requires an in-depth knowledge of initiating, executing, planning, controlling, and closing of a business project. The suitable project manager will make use of best project management tools in order to organise different aspects of a business. There are many skills that are quintessential for a project manager.
- Leadership: It is the most sought-after skill and every manager must have leadership in their skill set. But, the main problem is how to apply them and in what circumstances. A project manager is obligated not only for keeping a track of every operation related to the project but are also responsible for the accomplishment of the organisational goals. Leadership skills vary with the personality of the project manager.
- Communication: To support the leadership skills, communication skills are essential as well. A manager cannot be an influential leader if he/she is not able to convey the ideas and goals to the employees. A business has various stakeholders, such as investors, employees, directors, vendors, suppliers, and contractors. Dealing with all of them requires effective communication skills. For that purpose a wide range of communication tools and medium are available.
- Scheduling: Project has many aspects and dealing with them simultaneously cannot be a good option. Therefore, one needs to have good scheduling skills. The only way to achieve the objectives of the project within the defined timeframe is to set a schedule and arrange activities in accordance with the priority and usefulness of each task. This can help in the effective management of the resources and keep a track of each task in an organised manner. There are many tools available for scheduling, such as the Gantt chart, MSP, etc.
- Risk Management: The project has to deal with many risks. The project manager’s job is to identify and eliminate those risks before they create any major issue in the project. Therefore, before initiating any project work, the manager should control risk and assess it.
- Cost Management: The project management is liable to create the project budget. While doing so, the project manager has to take care of the certain aspects, such as the budget should be realistic, and be able to meet the finance-related needs. In addition, keeping a control over the cost is also important. The manager has to make certain financial constraints along with a tight budget (Lovas, 2015).
- Negotiating: Business has many stakeholders that may have their conflicting interest. This can create a chaotic and problematic situation within the organisation. Therefore, the project manager should know how to haggle with the suppliers and distributors in order to get the best price. The strong negotiation skills can resolve the disputes before they start hindering the project's progress.
- Critical Thinking: Critical thinking skills are usually related to analysing and evaluating any challenge or a problem that has the potential to hinder the project's growth. These skills help the business managers to take the unbiased decisions and judgments. It involves a rigorous brainstorming in order to guide the brain to make decisions that are best for the organisation.
- Task Management: This skill should be present in the DNA of every project manager. Even if a project scheduling fails, the task management skills of a manager would help in keeping the organisational activities on track. A mismanaged activity can hinder the progress of the whole project and can have some serious consequences. This can be done by making a to-do list every day. This can help in improving the collaboration and coordination with the team members, assists in setting up the priority and can provide certain instant updates once the tasks get completed.
- Quality Management: This skill is one of the important skills for the project manager. This skill should be given more attention by the managers. Quality management is all about taking a regular check and controlling each task and operations of a project. This would help in delivering a product or service of the desired quality.
Life Cycle of the Project
The project life cycle is a four-stage process that every project manager follows them in order to complete the project. The stages in the process include the initiation stage, planning stage, execution stage, and closure stage (Buckingham and Coffman, 2014). The reason for having four stage in this model is that after conducting various research studies, the investigator concluded that these stages are the best in order to conduct a project efficiently. The project life cycle can assist the team members in achieving the success. A new model has been proposed which is called the “Professional Services Life Cycle”. This model came into existence because the conventional project life cycle model does not apply everywhere. The professional services require a more rigid process.
The Project Management Institute proposed a project life cycle which is crucial for project managers that can help in delivering the projects to the organisation’s clients timely and successfully.
The project has four phases:-
Stage 1: The Initiation stage or phase of conceptualisation
Stage 2: The planning stage
Stage 3: The execution stage
Stage 4: The termination stage or closure phase.
Stage#1: The Initiation stage
This is also called the starting phase or phase of conceptualisation. Here the project idea is generated. This involves the rigorous brainstorming sessions. One needs to be strategic enough to know how to make a strategy out of that idea. Here the manager asks a lot of questions to oneself. These questions are: What is the issue? Can a particular project solve that issue? What could be the objectives of the proposed project? The conceptualisation stage involves the following task: development of SOW (Statement of Work), presenting a case scenario, development of a contract.
Stage#2: The Planning Stage
The planning phase is the second stage of the project life cycle. Once the senior management gives the approval to the project idea, the development plans for the project are prepared (Stark, 2015). During this stage, a lot of questions are asked by the manager in order to have a sound and feasible plan. These include: What could be the project vision, objectives, and scope? What are the measurable parameters to check for the success? How to prioritise the tasks and how to schedule them?
Stage#3: The Execution Stage
The execution stage is the third phase of the project lifecycle. Here, the actual tasks related to the projects are performed. To do that effectively, the project demands material, resource, and tools that are further processed to meet the project objectives. The only thing that matters in this stage is the performance. Therefore, it is regularly analysed and measured. The execution phase involves the following aspects: strategic planning and implementing those strategies. The following questions are asked during this stage: How to optimise the resource planning? Is the project on a right track?
Stage#4: The Closure Stage
The fourth and the last stage is the closure stage and is also called the termination phase. This marks the end of the project. The documentation of the project is done and the same is reported to the senior management by the project manager. All the pending accounts are cleared in this stage (Kalverkamp, et.al, 2017). This stage involves the following aspects:
- The resources of the organisation are distributed on some new projects
- Resources are returned back to the parent organisation
- The project is handed over to the intended users.
In this report, the features of an ERP system were highlighted. The report was developed from the project management perspective. It outlined the key activities that can help in the management of newly implemented ERP system in the Wroxham.
This report contained a thorough discussion on managing a business project. For that purpose, a discussion of various aspects of a business project was done. The report contained two section and each of them had its significance. The first section talked about the core principles of projects and their importance. The importance of scope of a project and how to decide it was talked in brief. A Gantt chart was also provided in here. Furthermore, a discussion on risk management strategy was also provided. In addition to this, the quality methods that could be used for successful completion of the project was explained. On the other hand, the second section was more of a report that discussed a case study of Wroxham and its efforts to implement the ERP system.
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