Project Management

ProjectManagement

Projectmanagement is a very important aspect when it comes to success of acompany’s projects in the market. Project management comprises ofnine crucial knowledge areas that include scope, cost, humanresource, integration, time, risk, communication and procurement.These areas outline the main attributes of a project before and afterits availed in the market. Another significant aspect about projectmanagement is that it entails five major processes groups thatoutline the key steps in any project. Project initiation comes firstat the top, just like in the case of B&ampW systems, a new projectought to be initiated by a single individual or a committee before itpasses the approval stage. After initiation, management must ensurethat adequate plans are installed to handle the kind of project.Planning is a very critical section in ensuring that a projectsucceeds (Eigbe, Sauser &amp Felder, 2014). For instance, a companythat has not laid out the foundation on forms of distribution,capital and human resource to handle a given project is doomed tofail.

B&ampWhas taken the initiative of ensuring that it installs adequate plansto handle the Forecasto project in the market. Planning process isfollowed by execution of the project, monitoring of progress of theproject and control of the project. The last three stages majorlyrely on the kind of planning adopted by an organization. This isbecause they are spelled out in the plans. B&ampW systems cloudcomputing product is deemed to succeed if only management ensuresthat the project manager is up to the task taking into considerationall the details that involve cost of operation, time to completion ofproject and the kind of resources needed in handling the project.Project management is a very interactive and integrative processthis is because all decisions undertaken at any specific time affectother disciplines that are directly related to it (Eric Kirkland,2014). Managing all the processes requires a project manager toundertake certain trade-offs in regard to scope, time period and costincurred.

Background

B&ampWsystems core business goal is to come up with up to date andcompetitive systems that would enhance problem solving abilities inthe market. Management of B&ampW systems company believe that thecompany can skew its operations and increase its business scope byproviding resources and information related to project management toits employees the board of directors (Eric Kirkland, 2014). This isthe best approach management will undertake in ensuring emancipationof its employees, board of directors and stakeholders inunderstanding the outlining factors to success of its projects in themarket. The new project (Forecasto) is deemed to give the company acompetitive edge in the market if well handled. This means thatPhillips who has been endorsed the task of assessing the project’scost and time to completion has to take the mantle in ensuringeffective and efficient analysis of the key aspects.

BusinessObjectives

B&ampWsystems strategic goals encompass growth and continued servicedelivery in the market. This new project is a new formulation thatwill add up to other existing systems the company has establishedover time. Growth and development in the market is measured as perthe total number of consumers a given organization is able to attractat any given period (Lock, 2004). For instance, a company thatregisters three customers each passing day is considered a fastgrowing company as compared to that which registers the same numberof customers in a year. Thus, to handle its competitors in themarket, B&ampW system has to come up with new systems that willenable more registration of customers in the market. It is throughthis approach that the company is able to control and effectivelycompete in its business niche. Another key objective is to improveproductivity by ensuring cost reduction management is able to dothis by provision of standard tools, project management knowledge,techniques and adhering to all necessary aspects that Philipsestablishes in his assessment of the project (Forecasto).

Keypoints

Criticalpath analysis

Introductionof new products in the market has assumed an important role inensuring growth and development of an organization in a particularmarket. It is because of this reason that B&ampW systems endeavorsto come up with new products and services each passing day. Thiscrucial parameter has become an important responsibility of themarketing department. The marketing department is able to coordinateits activities and those of various other departments in anorganization through an integration of product planning process bydoing this the department is able to release the new product onschedule with minimum associated costs (`Index of 2013 ProjectManagement Journal Papers and Authors`, 2014). Coordination andagreement of all departments involved in the evaluation, screeningand development process of a new product lead to a successful andeffectively launch of a given product.

Implementationand launching of an integrated product to be introduced to the marketrequires an established logical and implementable plan. This requiresdrafting of a detailed schedule of what is expected in terms ofperformance, this schedule must be prepared effectively to insurecontrol during the implementation stage. This role is mainly assumedby Critical Path Analysis (CPA) which essentially fulfills the needof marketing management in a proper manner such that it may appear tobe customized for the planning process. This technique offers anability for one to determine and monitor progress of a given projectat a given instant and provide an applicable method of controlling anentire project. CPA lays out a very simple concept. Projects are laidout in accordance they are to be completed, time required inundertaking a given job is evaluated, the time is summed along thepaths to find the longest path this gives the whole duration of theproject. The longest path makes up the critical path, however oncertain occasion there may be more than one critical path. Activitieson the critical path are termed as critical activities, unlike jobson noncritical paths critical activities are bound on the project’sprogress (Kokkaew &amp Chiara, 2010).

Delayof a critical activity is bound to delay the whole project, thismeans that its expedition speeds up the whole project. On the preceptof all these factors it’s important to illustrate that criticalpath analysis correlates information to:

  • Illustrate relationships that exists between different jobs

  • Schedule occurrence of any job in a given project

  • compute deadline meeting probabilities

  • Compare availability of resources and compute their utilization

  • Determine optimum cost levels and project duration

  • Illustrate feasibility of implementing a given project in lieu to costs and resource requirements

  • Postulate alternative approaches and strategies

  • Allocate jobs and illustration of given task forces

  • Check project progress within a given duration of time

  • Analyze instances of bottlenecks occurrence

  • Perform a system analysis approach that offers simulation in testing operations

  • Redesign a given project while utilizing new data.

Aproject encompasses a network of activities or tasks that areinterconnected by events or nodes. An activity is depicted as a linkthat occurs between two successive with a given duration and costsassociated to it. A node can be postulated as a given point thatillustrates commencement of a given project and its end, normallythis is represented by an encircled number, an activity on the otherend is depicted by an arrow with a given descriptive label. Acollection of activities and nodes that are logically interconnectedis connoted to be a network or an arrow diagram both of whichendeavor to estimate the time period required to complete a givenproject (Mehta, 2007).

Toset up a network, it is very important for a user to determine hisobjective and the terminal node which is the point at which theproject is expected to end. The second determination a user ought tomake is the listing of all the jobs in a given network. It is fromthis list that ordering of all activities is determined and the kindof relationship that exists between them which must be drawn by aproject manager or specialist. Another step is the numbering of thenodes, an activity is depicted by the kind of description it isaccorded or its uniqueness in terms of nodes associated to it(Merkuryeva, Bolshakov &amp Kornevs, 2011).

Forecastoproduct introduction is depicted below in figure 1. The mainobjective of the project is to bring or introduce a new product inthe market as at a target date. The relevant activities adopted byB&ampW systems are clearly illustrated in the figure. The diagram isa representation of the logical flow of the whole progress for theentire project. The direct dependencies and independencies can beseen easily among the underlying activities. The nodes in the figureare numbered from 1 through 9.

Itis important to note the following aspects as illustrated in figure1. A network can only have one origin and one terminal, in this caseits node 1 and node 9. Ordering of activities takes a coherentformat this means that each activity must have a unique pair ofsucceeding and preceding nodes. A preceding node must be given ahigher number as compared to a succeeding event, however on someoccasions this may not apply. A succeeding event will only occur ifonly all jobs that lead to that particular node are completed.Direction of flow is also a very crucial aspect, the sequence of workin a network is unidirectional, this means that it occurs from theorigin to the terminal (Patel, 2008).

Concurrentactivities in this diagram are design and market assessment, testing(B) and documenting (G) and revising (F) and documentation (G).Concurrent activities are those activities that start from the samenode of end at the same node. Node 2 is dependent on node 1, nodes 3and 5 dependent on node 2, node 4 dependent on node 3, node 6 andnode 7 dependent on node 4, node 8 dependent on node 7 and node 9dependent on node 9. However, node 1 is independent on all the nodes.Dummy activities in the diagram are (3, 6) and (3, 5).

Networkdiagram

Criticalpath is depicted by A-C-D-E-F-J-K

Totalduration of the critical path is formulated as follows

3+6.3+8.3+8.83+5+5.5+3=39.93 weeks

Thisenables us to calculate the probability to complete the whole projectin a period of 35 weeks this is calculated as depicted below

Probability= (X – X)/ σ (standard deviation)

Standarddeviation = (35 – 39.93) / (2.676)

Thisgives the probability which is 0.4671

Usingthe tables a final figure is arrived at as follows

0.5– 0.4671 = 0.03

Fromthe network depicted above it is paramount to depict that thecritical path is expected to take a period of 39.93 weeks which is alonger period than the stipulated time frame for the completion ofthe project. Project planning can be effectively achieved throughCritical Path Analysis this brings integration in the planningprocess by cutting across organizational operation lines hencefulfilling a need in new product planning process under the conceptof project management.

Schedulingphase

Thisphase consists of assignment of durations for given activities,computation of the project duration, float computation, earliest andlatest times calculations and the determination of the critical pathwhich has already been carried out. The most important CPA use if theestimation of the time duration, it is very hard to assign exact timedurations for any activity, however, it is important for someone totake an initiative to know based on prior experiments and judgments.The estimation is normally carried out by a project manager or anyother personnel endorsed in carrying out the tasks at hand (Ponnappa,2014). All time periods a long a project line are added until thelongest path is depicted which qualifies to become the critical path.

Additionalcosts

Thecontrol phase relies on the data obtained from the initial stages ofthe project, this information is vital to management in coming upwith strategies to control the project. Planning, scheduling and thecontrol functions of management are never separable or independent,this is because they heavily rely on one another in order to achievea more coherent and reliable project within the stipulated timeframe. The three project phases establish a cycle in which correctiveactions are to be undertaken to enhance the project progress. Thegenerated data output can be used to monitor the whole project on adaily basis this means that any discrepancies that may arise withinthe period will be easily detected and ironed out. Additionallyresources from float activities can be distributed to criticalactivities, this will aid cost reduction since no wastages will creepinto the project at any level (Randolph, 2014).

Managementcan be able to evaluate project progress through CPA and allocateresources and update the network if necessary. This can be donethrough replacement of estimates with actual times of the activitiescompleted. However, this requires re-computation of the schedule,this offers a framework through which a comparison of the originalschedule versus the new schedule is done, key areas where correctionsare supposed to be made are pointed out during this period. It is inthis regard that extension of basic CPA can be done either throughCriticalpath method, program evaluation and review technique and the resourcesummary and leveling.

Extensionof critical path analysis

Thisapproach can be used in the case of Forescato project this isbecause this methodology is majorly applicable to deterministicprojects where cost and time can be easily projected from pastexperience and historical consideration. Philips who is tasked withthe duty of accomplishing the necessary estimates and evaluationlinked to Forescato project ought to adopt the methodology (Relich &ampMuszyński, 2014). The method outlines the time cost function foreach activity in a network from activity A-K when it comes to B&ampWsystems. The figures below depict a realistic time cost relationshipfor an activity.

The activity completion period may be at N with a minimum cost incurrence of Cn which is actually the normal cost in a given time Tn which is also the normal time of the project. Sometimes it is very important and logical to apply more resources to an activity in order to speed its completion, however, this leads to two outcomes on most occasion. Reduction of time means more cost is incurred, this is mainly because of overtime and resources are normally at a higher cost margin per any additional unit. At crash point C above, the job cannot be further enhanced or expedited. This is because trying to lower the time below To would lead to an increase on cost only without alteration (decrease) of time. To carry out the task beyond Tn is undesirable and leads to a waste of resources, this is because it may be hampered by poor communication and faulty instructions which only work to increase the cost along with the duration (Rodney Turner, 2004).

A project that encompasses all these activities that occur at normal time would lead to a normal schedule. The project cost is formulated by the summation of all activity costs since there are those costs that permit a decrease in the duration with a corresponding increase in any additional schedules that may also be generated. This is formulated by expediting critical activities with least costs increment per unit time decrease (Shina, 2014). B&ampW systems additional cost after crashing all the activities will be formulated as follows.

Crash to 35 weeks

Crash activity F by 4 weeks=39.13593 weeks

Crash cost=3000

Critical path changes to A-C-D-E-H-J-K =39.1 weeks

Crash activity D by 4.1 weeks=35 weeks

Crash cost=8695.6

Critical path changes to A-C-D-E-F-J-K =35 weeks

Thus the critical path is: A-C-D-E-F-J-K and the additional cost incurred is

3000 + 8695.6=11695.6

Program evaluation and review technique (PERT)

PERT is normally used in research and development of projects where time estimates is rarely predicted with high level of estimates. In this methodology probabilistic concept is highly employed, the technique also emphasizes on node occurrence times. In order to compute probabilities the specified time must be provided in all the events that may occur in a project. Specified time can be depicted as the amount of time management expects to occur from the beginning of the project and the occurrence of a milestone (Van Den Broecke *, Van Landeghem &amp Aghezzaf, 2005). It is from these data that the all computations can be done. B&ampW’s Forecasto project expected time can be calculated as follows.

Determine expected time.

Formula: expected time=(a+4m+b) / 6

Where a=optimistic time

m=most likely time

b=pessimistic time

Activity

mean

Preceding activity

A

3

B

7

A

C

6.3

A

D

8.3

C

E

8.83

D

F

5

B,E

G

6.17

D

H

4.17

C,E

I

2

B

J

5.5

F,G,H,I

K

3

J

Behavior of the crash cost curve

As can be depicted from the graph above the crash cost curve is non-linear, it assumes this behavior because of three main reasons: 1) as one continues to crash towards a determined time limit the cost varies, for instance the initial crash cost was at $ 3000, the second crash cost was determined to be $8695. If the second crash cost was to become $9000, the curve would have turned to become a linear curve. However, the variations in crash cost leads to the curve to become non-linear. 2) One of more crashing costs lead to non-linear trend of the cost curve, this is mainly explained by the large number of resources employed during crashing which offsets the real costs. 3) Lastly crashing is not limited to time and costs only, there are other factors that come into play and affect the costs associated to crashing. Some of these factors may be termed as overhead costs in project management (Ward &amp Chapman, 2003).

Resource summary leveling and behavior of crash cost curve

Preparation of any complex arrow diagram is superseded by a given logical order that is expected to be adopted by a project analysts or personnel. It is very probable that the order of events becomes un-implementable. Those activities that are scheduled to be carried out simultaneously may be hampered due to the natural effects of resource limitations. Such kind of problem however, can be prevented before the implementation stage is attained. Project time is divided into a number of intervals and the tasks lying within the framework of each time period determined (Ward &amp Chapman, 2003). The resources that are needed for those tasks that occur within each interval are summed. A comparison is then undertaken where the aggregates are compared with the desired quantities of resources available for the project.

There are two main methods of completion of a project that encompasses deficits. One best alternative is that, more manpower, equipment and materials should be obtained to compensate for a deficit is it is recognized in time. However, it is important to note that additional resources may not be available within a reasonable cost scale. The second approach is the allocation of resources to cover for excess demand periods that may occur. This approach can be accomplished in two formats the transfer of resources from noncritical activities to critical activities, this is normally termed as resource trade off (Wateridge, 2001). If the shortage continues the activities are deferred to other periods. B&ampW ought to recognize the significance of resource planning, since most of the time activities require same resources which may become very hard to allocate if not well planned. It is these factors that affect the behavior of crash cost curves this is because resources are mainly rotated within. This means that it is almost impossible to assume a linear curve after crashing.

Conclusion

CPA is a very crucial tool that may be used to provide anticipatory action to management this tool can be used to predict trouble or areas that are likely to lead to problems within a project. CPA is essentially a tool that enhances getting rid of bottlenecks in an organization’s project. This means that if B&ampW systems incorporate the process of project management, it stands in a good position to complete its project within the shortest duration possible and at monitored rate of activities (Wright, 2002). This will also mean that the company will be able to trim down its project costs considerably.

Project management is a very important field in the society. Just like other forms of management, a project manager oversees the completion of projects or tasks in an organization. It is the duty of a project manager to ensure that all the teams required in carrying out certain tasks work in coherence and within the stipulated time or allocated resources. According to The Body of Knowledge, a project is a temporary aspect undertaken with the main aim of correlating a new or unique product or service within the stipulated framework (Cervone, 2013). However, project completion requires the skills of a project manager. Managers assume the role of planning, controlling, directing, organizing, and staffing, which are very important roles in ensuring that a project is successfully completed in the most effective and efficient manner (Yang &amp Kao, 2012).

Leadership encompasses a wide spectrum of activities and responsibilities. Generally, leaders should have special skills that help them in the decision making process and in assuming huge roles in groups. Not all people within a group can be leaders or managers. Managers encompass special traits that place them on the top of the group. Managers need to get their teams working in the best possible ways they ought to ensure that all bottlenecks at all levels do not occur and the teams under their watch functions effectively.

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