Project Plan Essay
Discuss and explain processes involving the project plan for the development of the information systems supporting the E-60s case study in providing all the possible information needed in order to support valid and reliable research findings that could be incorporated for the assignment completion.
This assignment will be integrating relevant points in terms of information systems requirement such as time, money and priorities as it can be pointing to E-60’s as well as its relevant resource allocation, leadership styles, problems in implementing IS development and the appropriate mentoring and coaching in lieu to the project plan organization and application along with the issues concerning time, costs, quality and content. The assignment will also tackle as to how information systems and technology can be of use in implementing resource techniques and management and the needed development of information systems respectively. Thus, it is also important to incorporate management and leadership styles in discussing different motivation theories in terms of comparing strengths of such theories and be applied to motivate project teams as this assignment will identify the overall development of information systems within the importance of mentoring and coaching processes will be included amicably for the assignment application and realization.
THE REQUIREMENTS, CONSTRAINTS AND ISSUES
The E-60s company is then required to adopt a certain change of its information systems in terms of their on-line services as the company must be in control of their technology ways for success and development of business in order to again, rise its sales and profits significantly due to the fact that, for the last three years the company has seen new competitors entering the market and offering on-line services as the company resist to change and that they must internalize what the customers have to say about the company as E-60s conducted a customer service survey. The following key points were identified from this survey:
Orders delivered late
Products do not match specifications in sales literature
No on-line order facility available
No on-line product list available
Sales literature contained inaccurate information
Unable to get information outside office hours
When E-60s was set up it was appreciated by the founder that most of the business would be conducted via the post, therefore, there was no need for expensive high street offices. For this reason a modern business unit outside the city was selected. The unit is quite large, housing twelve spacious offices, with only eight in frequent use. There are administrative, personnel and marketing departments within the current structure. A total of 25 full-time and 5 part-time staff are employed at E-60s. The company has local-networked PCs available for all the full time staff. The Finance staff use a standard accounting software package to produce reports. All the other staff has access to word-processing and spreadsheet package software. The company has a strong customer base, mostly small independent music shops. The company has a small product range preferring to serve a niche market. At present orders are taken over the telephone or by post by 4 administrators. Shop owners place their orders with E-60s to provide vinyl’s, music sheets, music montages, photographs/posters and autographs by post. E-60s sends out the items, normally within 28 days with an invoice. These are processed within the Administration department and orders are dispatched with invoice to the customers. The Finance staff then takes on the job of receiving payments from the customers and producing reports for the Finance Director.
Moreover, the company has proposed developing a new IS system to resolve many of the operational problems. In order to gauge the staff reaction to these changes a number of focus group meetings were held. The following key points were identified from these meeting:
Lack of IT skills to use the new system
Staff fearful of changes in job roles/responsibilities
IT system will lead to increase market share
Currently lack of integration between departments – competitive environment
IT system may help to reduce workload
Afraid management may use IT system to make staff redundant
Thus, E60’s in terms of its project plan should have its share of strategic planning to overcome some of their major problems that are to be resolved as solutions and have its appropriate implementation of project plan is essential to avoid constraints and issues as discussed as there needs for ample timing within the amount of time required to complete the project as it can be broken down for analytical purposes into the time required to complete the components of the project, which is then further broken down into the time required to complete each task contributing to the completion of each component.
E60s can use on-line Delivered Content (ODC) ( 1999) that includes on-line newspapers, magazines, music, education, searchable databases, consulting and eventually expertise and ideas as the emergence of the Internet as a distribution channel that may create new opportunities for product and price policy. In the past, there was a significant cost associated with changing prices and cost structure leads to substantial economies of scale the more one produces, the lower are average costs of production (1999). Aside, personalization is an important new concept for E60s to engage in electronic Markets. It aims at identifying potential customers and offering them the required products at the right time and conditions. For instance, the company can have its online database provider, sells to virtually every user at a different price, depending on the kind of industry and the size of the customer’s organization, when and how often she accesses the database (1999).
For E60s, there can also be the use of web-based electronic catalogs that may lower transaction costs by orders of magnitude as customers do not face physical barriers in order to search, order and finally get products of a certain supplier. On the other hand, due to the large number of supplier sites on the Internet, looking for appropriate merchants gets more and more inconvenient and search costs become a major barrier to on-line commerce as some electronic brokers leverage information technology to match buyers and sellers with increased effectiveness and lower transaction costs, leading to more efficient markets (1998). Aside, the idea of user modeling and personalization of information systems have recently been realized as important components of software engineering and information systems development. E60s should also have `collaborative filtering’ as this technique relies on the premise that choosing attributes to characterize an individual will provide useful information in finding other individuals with similar tastes and preferences. Collaborative filtering is designed to serve relevant material to customers by combining their own personal preferences with the preferences of like-minded others. It is often desirable to offer customers the opportunity to input information, while at the same time leading them based on others’ recommendations (1998).
An information system (IS) has been particularly receptive to such “systems thinking” (1997) possibly as a result of its need to address people and technologies as an organized complexity. It has been widely appreciated that many different kinds of sophisticated model are useful in IS projects. Organizational and enterprise models have been promoted as a response to the observation that many IS projects fail, not because of technical difficulties, but because of a misconception of the potential contribution of the IS to the greater organization. As there could be the presence of cybernetics has been highly influential in the development of systems concepts across many different disciplines and continues to attract attention today (1996). Its focus is upon patterns of control and communication in systems of all kinds and thus described as the science of organization (1989). However, a new paradigm will be a challenge to business executives because it is not a simple matter of extending conventional corporate IT systems and management approaches down to the corporate level. Reporting requirements and public safety regulations make IT systems reliability a much higher priority at the manufacturing level than in the general corporate IT environment that need for much higher reliability than conventional IT infrastructures provide demands a new mindset, many of whom have solid backgrounds in corporate and scientific IT, but not in manufacturing IT.
The mainstream business approach of consolidating IT systems at corporate data centers does not apply to manufacturing. Manufacturing data collection systems must be situated in relatively close proximity to the process, not at a remote data center manufacturing IT paradigm demands and budget constrained but resources are limited at the time and money for robustness seem out of reach as providers are emerging that join the industry knowledge, manufacturing IT experience, and high availability deployment and maintenance skills together and on-going management of the infrastructure, such services can be obtained within budgetary constraints. Services such as patch evaluation and deployment can be outsourced to relieve the burden of valuable internal compliance resources and reduce time-to-delivery and cost of IT capabilities to the production managers and most importantly, high availability can be achieved through services that can remotely monitor, detect and help prevent slow-downs while providing capabilities to maintain proper configuration control and release management of upgrades and its scenarios.
The resources required for E60s Company could focus on integrating ways for their supply chain processes and there are certain ways or techniques that can be considered in order to emerge and continue to be competitive within the market place. The marketing concept has been defined as ‘the key to achieving organizational goals’ and the marketing concept rests on ‘market focus, customer orientation, coordinated marketing and profitability’. In a profit making business the firm obviously has to try and achieve this level of customer satisfaction as a way of staying ahead of the competition and making a profit. In this manner, the management of E60s should be guided by strategic management principle to be able to attain its business goal. The management should have the ability to initiate different management technique in order to continuously create business value. One of the important things to consider is the ability to manipulate supply chain from the external environment of the business. The supply chain is traditionally characterized as a stable system in which components and goods move smoothly from supplier to assembly customers. In addition, supply chain refers to the suppliers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers that involved in manufacturing a product and getting it to consumers (1995). As effective supply chain is crucial to the success of a business.
Similarly, when a supply chain does not work properly, a business must flush the channel because it cannot pinpoint where the problem is. This causes companies to lose profits and sales. In order to solve E60s problems the management of a certain industry must imposed a strategic way of controlling the supply chain. This enters the concept of the supply chain management (2004). It can be noted that businesses that have strategic supply chain that fits can perform better together because of the potential for skills transfer in procuring materials, greater bargaining power in negotiating in common suppliers, the benefits of added collaboration with common supply chain partners, and or added leverage with shippers in securing volume discounts on incoming parts and components. Now, the company can focus from the procurement of raw materials to the distribution of the finished product, and how each effort relates to the others. There is a growing belief IS system has experienced rapid changes due to the emergence of globalization and show that globalization has become the driving force for reshaping its production procedures in accordance to patterns of marketing and capital accumulation. It can be said that the ability of the management of the company to understand the changes within and outside their operation has become the key factors why the company had become successful.
Although, the company had taken some risks in its implementation of the new strategy, the company had been able to manage all the risks in order to reach its goal. It can be concluded that the success of the company also lies on the ability of the management to match their marketing strategy being able to identify customers’ needs. The placement or location of production plants, distribution and stocking facilities is also important as it should be in close proximity to the market being served or to the source of raw materials. Transportation is a crucial factor to the entire process as it plays a big role in the speed of delivery of the products to the customers. It should be considered whether to use air transport or shipping. The cost of transport would also be considered. Lastly, a part of supply chain management is obtaining information from the point of end-use and linking them with resources throughout the chain for speed of exchange. If these elements will be considered in the adaptation of the market performance strategy of E60s, the production and supply chain and staff development will be sure to achieve success. Best practices often depend on people, suppliers, processes, or other business elements that are specific to a certain situation. There are some factors that E60s may consider to successfully develop and deploys one or more procurement best practices.
These factors include:
Active support from top management
E60s must develop best practices often have top executives who recognize the potential value that lies in their supply chains and actively support supply management efforts and authorities must have a full understanding of supply value, good relations at strategic supplier companies and they must provide the corporate investment needed to develop best practices.
Deep understanding of cost drivers
E60s can develop best practices within their cost structures and take actions to drive costs lower all the time and will continue collect and analyze data and other information on the costs of the suppliers that comprise their supply base.
Cooperative supplier relations
The company integrates strategic suppliers into programs that involve supply, such as new product development, cost reduction, and logistics operations. They also understand that suppliers must achieve profit margins sufficient for them to meet their own business plans and to invest in new technologies, facilities, equipment, and talented people.
To function at an optimum level, supply management must include not only the procurement group but other corporate functions that can add value through interacting with suppliers and became a common way to involve other departments in supply management over the past decade and developing a sound strategy for how teams will enhance value.
Appreciation of advanced communications technology
While technology by itself will do nothing to improve procurement/supply management operations, intelligent deployment of advanced technologies within the confines of a superior supply strategy can reap great value – value that not only is untapped, but often is completely invisible to even trained procurement eyes. The company doesn’t truly understand that technology’s value is wasted unless it is part of a sound supply strategy. Technology is a tool, not a strategy. When technology is not used correctly, it can cause a lot of damage to supply operations. These factors, if employed effectively and integrated with the supply chain management may help the E60s to ensure that they always meet the standards for having the right to business. In addition, part of the strategy is the adherence to the production and delivery process of the organically produced commodities. Hence, the company has also shown that their chicken products adheres to the standards and are safe and satisfying to it. As the company can be known for their excellent service, availability of different products and brands and the responsiveness to the needs of their customers, E60s competitive position can be easily noticed. In order to sustain its competitive advantage and have a more strategic supply chain, it is recommended that the company should consider the Internet to be part of its supply chain.
The Internet provides opportunities for companies to develop relationships with suppliers as well as customers (2001). (2002) found the number of competitive moves increased as Internet usage increased for small hotel owners. It becomes more important to manage relationships as competition increases through the use of e-commerce. The failure to incorporate resource allocation processes into strategic planning may result from the focus on revenue enhancement and market forces as the strategic planning methods and models used by the company must incorporate resource deployment models which conserve resources, eliminate duplication of services and equipment within departments, and allow for effective cost control ( 1993). Although not speaking of resource allocation per se, management scholars such as (1992) and (1992) advocate customer perceptions of quality and performance as a cornerstone of strategic management in service organizations. By combining information gathered through customer surveys with allocation matrices such as importance-performance maps (1985), business can make better internal and external resource allocation decisions ( 1994).
It is a management technique with enormous potential but like all management techniques it is important that the tool be clearly understood and the pitfalls of misapplying the technique be avoided. Properly implemented strategic planning for information resources can mean the differences between realizing productivity gains and or losing opportunities for improving service delivery programs within the company ( 1983). Success in managing information as a resource is critical to the effectiveness and efficiency of task management. Moreover, information management environment will be subject to substantial change to forecast all the management changes that will occur harnessing new IT and managing information resources will become cornerstones of progressive management and leadership as task managers will seek proactive and strategic approach to resource management implying IT such as developing cost effective plans for implementing new programs as necessary as possible, improving the procurement of information services technology to achieve best outcomes for the management as well as increasing the ability of the organization’s communication systems to change within new technologies ( 2006).
Thus, having the capability to assign costs for IT services and to improve information resource budget and planning for sharing and safeguarding of information of the information resources required for decision making and solving problems and in order to achieve such objectives it is important to impart knowledge and skills on the techniques available to resource management information systems including modeling and decision support as well as the understanding of the need to appreciate human environments that will affect the design and use of the implemented resource management techniques as it addresses the need for a better information system. ( 2006) Furthermore, many of the basic paradigms that control the application of the techniques are still developed and as the development continues existing techniques will evolve as managers must continue learning and exploring as IT systems evolve to enhance resource techniques in integrated ways creating opportunities for managing growth in management process as the best information are available in the fullness of time in using such management techniques with emphasis to IT advantages and technology innovation. (2006)
In addition, Information Systems Management is the application of information technology to support major functions and activities of either a private sector business or public sector institution. Today, it is accepted that managing the information resource is important within the utilization of an organization’s information resources. The majority of information systems are developed for and used by people in functional areas such as in manufacturing, human resources and marketing to develop information systems that address the needs of the organization, task mangers must possess a mix of business and technical knowledge. They must understand organizational objectives, operations and the financial implications as information system means a discrete set of information resources hat addresses how the management of information resources promotes the fulfillment of organization’s mission. Information planning that promotes the use of information throughout its life cycle to maximize the usefulness of information, minimize the burden and preserve the appropriate integrity and availability of information. (2006)
The appropriate leadership styles that E60s must be able to integrate in its business situation, involves delegation – as this is relevant for the staff and management to be in total charge of its job functions within specific areas of concern as for instance, in the finance department it is better for the management involved to acquire a monthly routine monitoring and evaluation on updates on sales and finances by probably by using a standard scorecard that will examine the status of the business environment, as for staff handling, it is important for E60s to have their performance appraisal that geared towards a faster production and distribution of orders and services provided by the company and have its staff training and development pointing to business expertise and established communication avenues that will provide better customer relations from among E60s customers and employees so that inaccurate invoices and miscommunication will be avoided and that the company will achieve a balance workforce as needed.
The company can consider using on-line services that will help them in facilitating their products and services as it can be reachable by the customers and designed ways to participate more on re-inventing its business process and have a change of management principles and have a clear authority that will serve as a driving force in making E60s recover at its lowest times and provide standard and quality service that aims to mentor and coach staff, employees and management to pursue its capabilities and potentials in leveling high marks for their business performance that will open a door for success within its information systems as it is crucial for maintaining business stability and growth in the market. Aside, the company can also strengthen its IS development ways by continuously improving its marketing strategies and be goal oriented and solutions oriented if problem arises, knowing how to limit its constraints, risks in production and resolve issues through adopting to certain organization changes if possible and focusing on a vision that will help not only the externalities but also the internalities of the overall business structure. Henceforth, E60s should enhance their commitment values by achieving a stable business cycle that rejuvenates all the possible weak points that the company has encountered over the years. The company should have the commitment to restructure its business for the purpose of increase in quality of products and services and have a manageable sales and profits in the market and be able to have a good brand name and equity as it is important for tying up with possible existing competitors.
Furthermore, communication skills affect the relationships among employee members on the management team. Although effective communication does not guarantee success of a farm business, its absence usually assures problems. More specifically, communication influences the effectiveness of the hiring and training of employees, motivation of employees, providing daily instructions, performance evaluations and the handling of discipline problems. These are the obvious roles of communication. (2005) Communication also affects the willingness of employees to provide useful suggestions. Effective communication is the original sender having the desired effect on the receiver and communication at its best minimizes misunderstanding between sender and receiver. The sender cannot transplant a message or idea. Ineffective communication means there was no effect on the receiver to the sender. ( 2005) In terms of mentoring and its respected relationship process, one of the most important skills, a task manager needs to have is to be able to mentor the team. It is said that good mentors are natural leaders and mentoring is an art that they practice in getting the job done, as they are also responsible to their team and believe that they need to encourage their team members to grow and take steps to encourage good values. (2005)
Furthermore, it is really important for every organization to exercise well their tasks and manage them in a way that the people involved in process will experience better working environment as needed. Therefore, the integral aspect that task managers must consider for E60s can be realized and reflected through the avenue of communication as it is the heart of many interpersonal problems faced by almost every business sectors. It is crucial to have positive shift and understanding of communication process and then working at improvement provide task managers a recipe for becoming useful and effective communicators in their areas of responsibility as well as knowing the common barriers to communication in terms of minimizing negative impact.
COACHING AND MENTORING
Also, it is significant to inculcate to the E60s management as a part of coaching and mentoring to plan out a useful change management applicable for resolving problems of the company, there needs to have a change theory to be utilized within the research study will basically involve the process and the related information regarding the social change theory and its aspects that may result to a certain resistance to change such as in the field of social communication and how to manage change and strategies to avoid resistance to change in terms of social perspectives within a business and or a company’s context as well as point of view. Thus, any theory that purports to explain how these systems work and how oppressive social inequalities are maintained must not be so framed as to imply that those who benefit from them are not free to change them. Otherwise they would not be morally culpable for their part in perpetuating the system. The problem involved a kind of change-responsibility and resistance level problems, to avoid this problem any explanation of how process of social change are supported in a way that implies that both those who benefit and those who are responsible for challenging and resisting such sources of change.
It might seem that social constructionist theories of male and white dominations could better handle this change dilemma but “social construction” (1990 ) as a theoretical tendency is not a coherent whole: like modernism, it offers different ways of understanding self and agency. If E60s company is changing its system, members of staff might feel that there jobs are being threatened, especially by the implementation of a new computer system and that a good change management is crucial as it’s easy to make a loss from sudden, unplanned changes but, there is a need to establish where and why change is needed, for example a change in one department might upset another if they aren’t properly informed about it. This is easily overcome by trying to keep major changes to things that will affect the whole company, like in general policies or customer care. Everyone involved in the company must be informed on how the changes have gone especially if they have been successful, for example if productivity and profits rate have gone up tell everyone. ( 1999)
A healthy organization is one that welcomes change, supports learning and development of individual abilities. (2001) Furthermore, a successful organization development program should create an organizational culture that solves its own problems and adapts readily to changes in managerial wishes and the environment. In this sense the objective of implementing change is to create a learning, dynamic organization with a higher quality of working life for individuals (1993 ). It is recommended that E60s Company must communicate with employees regarding certain changes before it becomes another problem. When change does occur, the company and managers should understand the program it has in place to help employees deal with the change. To create well-executed change, a company must build on constructive interactions. A company that communicates regularly with its employees on the subject of change will have success when a change needs to be made. Employees will welcome the change and in the end will assist in making the change successful.
The ideal key for E60e Company is to focus on a strategic context and integrate he change project with management objectives. It is critical to the success of any change project to establish support for the change from the executive level down to the supervisory levels. This support is difficult to create and sustain. Support is more easily obtained when the change is in line with the strategic goals of the organization. There are incentives to meet these strategic objectives and aligning a change project to these strategic objectives allows the change project to benefit from this external incentive. Furthermore, perception is just as important as reality in identifying resistance as resistance to change is identified, a plan must be developed to mitigate the effects of this resistance. Mostly, the tasks of this plan should be integrated into the overall project plan. The same level of importance should be assigned to resistance mitigation as to any task in the project. An effective change project management team must be representative of constituencies impacted by the project and must possess the capabilities necessary to lead the change effort. In change projects of significant size these phases overlap and it can be very confusing. It is natural for project team members to temporarily shut down, especially if the previous phase was late and a final push for completion was necessary. The goal of the change project manager is to use communication, leadership, and human resource management skills to avoid the normal downtime between project phases.
The ability to work effectively with people is the essential determinant of leadership success. Developing interpersonal skills is, however, the most challenging of the three leadership categories. Still, it is possible. Most developmental methods involve experiential learning, such as learning by doing. As much as possible, leadership development should occur on the job, not away from the job. Leaders get things done through others. Leadership is essentially a transaction between a leader and followers. It makes sense to create developmental programs that attend to the transactional context within which the leader resides. For instance, empowered groups such as self-directed work teams distribute the leadership function rather than relying on one formally designated person. Increasingly, teams are held accountable to each other via performance appraisal and customer satisfaction surveys of each other’s timeliness, quality, and so forth. The mature team recognizes it is responsible for its reputation, along with the leader. The leader alone is not responsible for creating an effective organization. The development must occur within the group because the view of the leader as the person with all the answers is challenged by the reality of having individual team members at all levels making continuous decisions.
Technology will enhance the emergence and sharing of knowledge among participants via such venues thought leader access, e-learning advances, e-mentoring/shadowing, and business simulations. While technology is useful for some aspects of leadership development, it cannot replace the importance of bringing leaders together to deepen their relationships and their learning experience. Maximizing the effectiveness of leadership development offers the best in integrating the best mentoring and coaching experiences with technology-based tools and processes such as better learning solutions applicable for E-60’s situation (2002). The problem for implementing IS development could be reflected that the company as a private sector organization must support change initiatives and other mission challenges with effective communications programs. A well-developed and executed plan will help communicate E-60s message, define specific communications objectives, set strategies and define messages. Such a plan rapidly creates a cost-effective communications program that addresses the constituencies as company must reach to mobilize support, build acceptance, and remove uncertainty. It is critical that organizations directly reach and impact all of their constituents to generate mission results; it is no longer enough to simply broadcast a message and wait for some type of response or action.
A plan will help ensure that communications reach the intended audiences and that the audiences notice and act upon the messages they receive of marketing communications planning that will harness the power of an effective communications plan to advance your own organizational objectives. There are problem in the marketing department within its communication process as it is to ensure that the company is visible, accessible and accountable to the society it serves. There needs to employ a variety of ways and means to communicate, and convey information in multiple formats to accommodate diverse needs. There is a must in creating a communications plan as most of the time, communications are required to mobilize support, build acceptance, remove uncertainty and reduce risk. There is one major underlying theme to the ideas presented here: Implementing business information systems requires flexibility and an open mind. Adding productivity and proprietary software products will result in developing and adapting new systems for its operations. Since, technology is changing so rapidly it is becoming a challenge for everyone to stay aware of its implications in people’s lives, if it were possible through technology to make these improvements become a reality, what kind of commitment would E-60s are willing to make?
Furthermore, an information system deals with the use of information technologies in businesses and organizations. Organizations will thrive only if they effectively make use of design and implement information systems to meet the organization’s tactical and strategic needs. Effectively managing the development and use of information systems, given the rapid pace of technological change, presents a difficult challenge. Information Systems specialists must possess not only a thorough understanding of the technology, but also the knowledge to use that technology to support core business functions. The objective of the Information Systems is to certify that E-60s should complete its sequences of management ways as designed in order to provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to master the use of computer technology in stabilizing the company’s business and other related aspects of the organization.