Introduction to Managing Projects
Managing Projects Methods Can Be Used As a Tools And Techniques To manage every activity of the project life cycle within the given cost and time constraints. This approach helps the project manager to effectively implement project plan to achieve the objectives. It maximizes chances of success of work and help in availing the opportunities to team members to gain knowledge during project work (Ritzman and Malhotra, 2012). The following study is based on managing projects and to understand this concept, the various case studies have been taken into consideration. The points which will be highlighted in this research will be benefits and limitations of different project management approaches during project planning and control as well as elements of scope, cost, schedule and quality (Evans, 2015).
Determining the timing of activities and total float
For determining the timing of activities, the Earliest Start Time (EST) and Earliest Finish Time (EFT) has been calculated. EST is equal to Latest Finish Time (LFT) of the predecessor. For example, the given table in the case, the EST and LST time duration is equal to its predecessor’s i.e. 4 days (Antony, 2011).
EFT can be determined by adding duration of EST.
For example, EFT of activity 3 = EST (5 days) + duration (4 days) = 9 days
Latest Start Time (LST) is determining by adding float to LST.
LST of activity 4 = LST of critical activity 3 (4 days) + total float of 4 (0 days) = 4 days
This is the process of determining the timing of activities in a project plan
Now, total float has been calculated by LFT – EST – Duration
For example, Total Float of activity 6 = LFT of 6 (6 days) – EST of F (2 days) – duration (2 days) = 2 days.
Determining the project duration and critical path
The duration of the project plan has been calculated by using critical path of network diagram. In case of given project plan, the critical path is
1-> 4-> 7-> 8-> 9-> 11-> 12-> 13-> 14-> 16-> 17
The duration of above critical path is
4+8+13+8+7+8+13+9+4+12+2 = 88 days
Calculation of earliest date
On the basis of 88 days of total project duration the project started on date 26-10-2015 and ended on 24-02-2016. When the data has stated with 7-01-2013 then it will end on 8-05-2013. The following date is calculating by counting 88 days from 07-01-2013 by excluding Saturday and Sunday i.e. 5 days working.
Effect of change in duration on whole project
Activity B is delayed by 1 day: There is no delay in project because activity B is not covered under critical path. So, 1 day delay is not affecting the entire project plan.
Activity P is delayed by 1 day: 1 days delay in activity P brings delay in its previous and last activities O and Q. The changes in duration of activity P increase the completion time of project by one day i.e. 89 days. The reason is that, it comes under critical path and the changes affect its dependent activities.
Activity O is delayed by 2 days: The delay in activity O will not affect total duration of project plan because it do not comes under the critical path of project plan.
Limitations of network diagrams
Network diagram is a kind of flow chart which defines all the activities of a project plan. It defines relationship between different task and the flow of events. There are several benefits of network diagrams but there are some limitations which are as follows.
- It is too complex for the large projects which are having N number of activities (Burke, 2013).
- More time consuming.
- In case of missing of any task in the network diagram then it will affect entire plan.
- Difficulty in allocation and monitoring of resources in the project plan.
- More difficult to calculate critical path when there are various other same duration paths in the project.
- Difficult to estimate completion time of activities in complex and lengthy projects (Fewings, 2013).
- Ineffective and hard to manage tasks in case of improper arrangements of activities of project plan.
The aim of the following report is to create a new business building for Watson Ltd which is specialized in the design and supply of signage. The project has began with acquire a new building that has area about 35,000 square meters. After buying a new building, the CEO of the company will now require to hire a project manager which will be able to handle the project by utilizing the less resources (Morris, 2004). In this context, the project manager will go through different phases of project plan. For this, he will required to develop a document which is called project charter and it will based on allocation of the resources to the project. When the plan will ready then the most complex thing will execution of the work because the new building construction is more vulnerable and risky. Beside this, the different types of quality management tools will used by the project manage with the intention of ensure the quality of the entire task (Frame, 2003.). Under this work, it will help in assessment of the ability of the project manager and its decision making capability. By putting the extra pressure on him related to meet the objectives of the plan and complete it within a given time frame, the skills and abilities will tested by CEO of Watson Ltd Company. At the stage of project completion, the monitoring and controlling work will carry out which will help ensuring the quality of the project as well as determine the project manager capability of handling circumstances (Clegg, Pitsis and et.al., 2002).
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At the last stage, if the different activities will carry out according to the plan then it will completed within a given time frame. If the project manager will effectively allocate the resources and manage the various tasks of project plan then new building of Watson Ltd will completed before projected time. For estimation of cost of entire project, the analogue estimation technique will used by project manager. The reason behind adopting the following tool is faster and cheaper as compare to other cost estimation tools. (Cockburn, 2000)
Watson Ltd Company
As per the given case study, it has found that Watson Ltd Company is a SME firm which is specialized in designing and supplying Signage. In the present time, company trade from a single main warehouse and it includes office accommodation (Gido and Clements, 2014). But now, enterprises wants to expand its business at global level and in this context, it has recently acquired an area of 35,000 square meters for opening a new building. Therefore, a report has been prepared by project manager which outlines activities that are required to be successfully managed by following initiative by ensuring to complete it within given time and budget (Grasso, 2011). The activities of managing the opening of new building project and project management process are as follows.
The following study will put the light on developing a new building for the purpose of trade in design and supply of signage for Watson Ltd. The report will explore the basic structure of the whole project such as initiation, planning, execution and closer of a project. Although, the new building is bigger as compare to present building of the firm (Cusworth and Franks, 2013). But It has important for the company to understand how to utilized the new place for increase the trade of design and supply of signage. The study will cover the major problems which may be raise during the different phase of project life cycle. Therefore, various solutions will also propose to resolve the issues in project. The numerous kinds of quality management and cost estimation techniques will also discuss to estimate the overall cost of the entire project and develop budget (Carayannis and et.al., 2005).
Project conception and initiation
It is a starting stage of project management process where the eligibility and ability of the project manager has to complete the work within the given constrains. In the case of opening of new building project, the needs and objectives of the plan has been identified so that business opportunities for Watson Company can be maximized (Heagney, 2011). Beside this, Scope Management activities also have taken place where the project activities, requirement of resources and the strategies to implement the plan have been determined. In addition to this, review process has carried out by the project manager before proceeding to the next step of project manageable process.
In the project conception and initiation stage, the different things such as future profit, resources and stakeholders. Here, the management of Watson Ltd company will take the decision related to whether to proceed with the following project or not. In this context, the CEO will require to consult with the employees and other authorities by including the profit and future benefits of new building (Mecklenburg, 2004). After approval of the project, the selection process will be place where the management team of Watson company will explore the scope, time and budget of the entire project. The selection of project manager and sponsor will also comes under the project conception and initiation phase. The stages of project initiation are as follows.
The first stage of project initiation is reviewing business case in which the problem of Watson Company has been addressed with different available solutions (Leach, 2014). Along with this, the selection of project manager and sponsorship has been done. In the next stage, the different stakeholders has been explored with the help of the analysis who will interested in investment in the new project of Watson Ltd Company. Now a project charter has created where a feasibility study has been conducted to investigate whether the proposed project will meet the objective of Watson Company or not (Meredith and Mantel, 2011). In the next stage, a scope statement has developed in the form of backup of project plan on the basis of project charter document. In next step, the sub divisions of entire project plan has been done and the final meeting has conducted for start the project. The responsibilities and delegations have distributed to team members according to their skills and core competencies under this meeting.
It is a second stage of project management process in which the project manager has prepared the project plan to carry out work in right and in an appropriate manner. The important information can be communicated within the project team with the help of project charter. In the case of opening of new building project, the objective of Watson Company is to operate signage business at international level (Poppendieck, 2011). The essential aspects of project planning phase are as follows.
Success and scope identification
The first stage of project planning phase is determining success and scope of the project and for this, Work Breakdown Structure as well as scope management process has been used by project manager. The things which are carried out during project planning are activities, dependencies and time frames (Artto, Lehtonen and Saranen, 2001).
The second step of the following phase is resources planning in which project manager has enlisted detail assessment of the necessary resources for undertaking the project plan. Cost and time estimation: On the other hand, project manager also give its contribution in developing budget which include estimated costs of labour, equipment and material (Tommelein, 2012). Along with this, the time frame for all the activities of the project plan has scheduled. The estimated budget for the proposed project is USD 1,00,000. The duration of completion of project is 4 months.
The next step of project planning is risk identification and its management. In this process, the potential problems and their impact on proposed project have been determined.
Quality plan is also a part of the project planning in which project manager has define the quality targets for proposed project so that deliverables can meet the requirements of Watson Company. For quality planning, quality control and quality assurance activities have used by the project team (Turner, 2014).
Another step of project planning is developing a communication plan in which project manager of proposed project has to prepare the communication plan by which he will provide important information to the team members, stakeholders as well as the company.
For completing the project in smooth manner, it has more important to break down the different activities of project plan. It helps in managing the quality of entire work and meet the quality standards. It has allowed project team members and project manager to manage the work at every stage of project plan (Morris, 2004). On the other hand, the cost allocation is also important where the project manager can effectively utilize the budget in meeting the objectives of the project. In this context, the cost break down structure has used. But, according to my opinion, the project manager have to use analogue cost estimation methods for developing the budget for the project. The reason behind recommended this tool is it has not required large historic data for cost estimation (Frame, 2003).
It is phase where the project manager and its team execute the formulated plan to achieve objectives of project (Anderson, 2009). During this step, a proper communication is required between manager and team members to control implementation process. Under this process, the progress of implementing procedures is needed to closely monitor and properly document the plan (Archibald, 2013). The project manager compares actual results with estimated outcomes. This process helps in assessing performance of activities of project and takes corrective actions according to needs. It assists the project manager to bring the plan back on track.
In the case of proposed project, if project team is not able to keep the plan in right mode then they should record variations by comparing with original plan and publish it with modifying the plan (Kathy and Deborah, 2007). Along with this, it is needed to inform the stakeholders and client about changes by using proper communication method. On the other hand, the project manager has reviewed cost, scheduling, time and quality of opening new building project at every stage of plan. On the other hand, it is important in project execution step to look for warning signs which may create trouble for the proposed project plan (Kloppenborg, 2011).
For example, a small variance in scheduling of plan at the starting stage may be bigger at the time of implementing project activities and their impact may be unrecoverable. Another example is if quality control methods or testing activities may be removed at the time of implementation of plan then it will be impossible for the project manager to ensure quality of the proposed project plan. If this kind of situation occurs then it is necessary to increase viability through risk management and it can take proactively actions to track the growth of implementation plan and keep the project on track (Martin and Guerin, 2006).
Control and validation
It is another phase of project manageable process where activities related to the project plan are controlled and validated. The objective of this stage is to manage project work during each and every stage of activity. In the case of opening new building project, controlling and validation processes are needed. The aim behind using these methods is to control progress of project; maintain the quality of work, resolve issues in project plan etc (Simmons, Bland and Wojciechowski, 2012).
Project completion and evaluation
Once all the requirements of the proposed project are achieved, now it is a time to handover the project to Watson Company. During this stage, the work has completed and evaluated by Watson Ltd to ensure that the expected deliverables are achieved or not in proper manner (Levy, 2009). Along with this, the project manager can also close all contracts with different suppliers and vendors, releasing all resources, reassigning roles and responsibilities and communicating closing of project with the stakeholders.
I would like to suggest a project evolution technique to project manager. Post implementation review process has helped project manager to review whole work before handing over the project to Watson Ltd. It is important for the proposed project because to define the degree of level of success as well as benefits from the work (Walker, 2007). This process helps the project manager and its team to understand what things are going wrong and what were right for the plan. The benefits gain from post implementation review are determined such whether the project was as per the identified scope or not, ensure the deliverables have achieved, compare the expenditure in the opposite of planned budget etc (Zwikael, 2009).
With the help of this, the milestones of the project plan can be achieved and communicate the success of work to stakeholders in appropriate manner. For evaluating the success rate of proposed project, the project manager has used different project evaluation techniques such as formal reports, structured interviews of client, critical path analysis, PERT technique etc. The last step of this phase is documentation of learned lesson from the work. This methodology helps the project manager and its team to increase knowledge level at the time of opening new building project and use it in new projects as an experience (Poppendieck, 2011).
From the above report, it can be concluded that project management process has five stages which help the project manager to manage entire project work in more effective manner. These phases also have various steps to carry out plan according to the set standards. Watson Ltd has required to focuses on developing the effective project charter documents. By putting the action and control activity for all each step of project plan, the project manager has meet the quality standards. There are numerous types of project management techniques, risk assessment and its management strategies, control and monitoring methods.
- Clegg, S.R., Pitsis, T.S., Rura-Polley, T. and Marosszeky, M., 2002. Governmentality matters: designing an alliance culture of inter-organizational collaboration for managing projects. Organization Studies.
- Frame, J.D., 2003. Managing projects in organizations: how to make the best use of time, techniques, and people. John Wiley & Sons.
- Gido, J. and Clements, J., 2014. Successful project management. Cengage Learning.
- Kathy, O. R. and Deborah, R. P., 2007. Integrating self‐managed work teams into project management. Journal of Facilities Management.
- Kloppenborg, T., 2011. Contemporary Project Management. 2nd ed. Cengage Learning