Project Management- Essay Solved

Project Management

(1540 words)

 

Point-of-View Number One

Project life-cycle generally consists of four phases (in order); namely: concept and initiation, design and development, implementation or construction, and commission or handover (2003).  Planning and execution stage are likely synonymous to the second and third stages which situate them in the middle of the project life-cycle.  In this position, planning has the highest potential to add value as well as the level of influence throughout the whole project.  On the other hand, execution has the highest cost of change ().  Since the success of the latter is precedent to the success of the former, poor management in planning alone can cost one to several objectives of the project.  However, underestimating execution contingencies to support or enhance planning inadequacies and loopholes can cause the same.

 

Planning can also refer to several planning steps throughout the whole project not just a single or overlapping phase.  In fact, it is what the project participants used to build key objectives under project charter ().  As poor management takeovers this crucial undertaking, they may be installing over- or under-estimated value of the project.  Thus, irrational objectives could be created.  In addition, going further back into project selection, inability to carry-on key objectives that initially made the project acceptable as the project accelerates can entirely deter its value-adding potential.  For example, new technology (selected for customer-value centrism) is cheaply funded (cost-savings centrism) which resulted to sub-standard parts (defeats the former and supports the latter).

 

Theoretically, poor project management can be a cause of internal conflict and inadequate authority (1981).  The former is characterized by poor schedule and budget control because of the absence of cooperation between the project team and functional organizations.  This readily explains how the planning stage under the project life-cycle can be ineffectively made with this situation.  As a result, time and cost objectives are at risk of distortion.  As the project team would want to keep the objectives, the conflict can induce bottlenecks especially in coordination.  In effect, the project team is bound to devise tactics to solve such bottlenecks which ultimately result in limiting the scope of the project, revising the original objectives and attempting to stand on their own.

 

The latter is highlighted by non-commitment of resources, personnel and facilities to the project as the top-management failed to provide backing on the project manager.  The negative symptom of this is likely to emerge in the execution phase where the planned schedule and resource proposals are not diligently followed.  There can be delays in issuing budgets to pay for supplier invoice or using project members to do other responsibilities that can hamper project efficiency.  As a result, output targets like cash flows or early completion are reduced on their probability to be obtained.  Task floats that can be used for flexibility to delay or expedite certain activities can be exhausted due to such symptoms.

 

However, with these circumstances, project objectives are not entirely unattainable because usually there are trade-offs.  Using the integrated risk management model, project objectives can be transcribed to three most crucial project elements which is time, cost and quality (2003).  Quality is the most complex and difficult to discern making it also difficult to evaluate.  The management can simply choose their best engineers and maybe in the right position to assume a quality output.  However, their assessment can only be figured out after testing and completion of the project.  As such, this situates cost and time in the forefront of project analysis and consideration to become the foundation of objectives.

 

The banana curve clearly shows the trade-off between time and cost (2003).  When project time is reduced, the cost usually escalates while the reverse is likely true.  For a project initiated by an average manufacturer, the curve is very useful to obtain optimal returns from the project.  This trade-off can be represented by two conflicting project objectives such as “To be able to finish the project as early as possible to position resources on their regular responsibilities and early inflows from the finished project” and “To implement the project efficiently to reduce the risk of loss and maximize project returns”.  From this, priority is necessary for effective decision-making.  This goes beyond time, cost or quality aspects but on how much the company believes on the feasibility of the project to provide benefits.  But the question is “What is the ultimate objective of the project?”

 

As such, when a poor project management occurred in the planning phase, task schedules may not obtain their optimal levels (e.g. allow maximum floatation for flexibility and contingencies) but the conflict may as well teach project members to be resourceful and put the project to a greater level.  Thus, a certain project objective (maybe an implicit one) that contributes to other project management knowledge areas like information communications is achieved even though schedule optimization has been a failure.  This is the same for execution stage.  When a contingent action is proposed and there is no support from the top-management, governance mechanisms (maybe another implicit objective) are adopted.

 

It is necessary for project managers and top-management to provide an identity to the project at hand.  This will concretize the importance of the project objectives compared to organizational/ functional ones.  In this way, poor project management can be prevented in the planning and execution stages.  This will also limit the likelihood of the project to adversely affect implicit objectives that is beyond its scope.  Prioritization can be applied and trade-offs can be measured.  As this is in place, the final task is to prevent poor project management to emerge in both planning and execution stage.  The ideal situation is to filter planning problems and correct it under execution stage.  Otherwise, the project can face total failure of completion and all attached objectives will be bound also to demise.

 

Point-of-View Two

In reality, decisions are based from incomplete information and uncertainty about the outcome that gives rise to an intrinsic element of every project which is risks (2003).  As much as a project wants to avoid risks, it is unlikely to do so because the general rule is that higher (lower) risks post higher (lower) returns.  In addition, as the project not simply wants to have a partial competitive edge rather a sustainable one, complying with the four criteria on having sustainable competitive advantage necessarily accumulates greater risks (2003, ).  When the project embraces valuable, costly-to-imitate, rare and non-substitutable capabilities, it already initiated to move its risks continuum towards total risks way from no risk and limiting the assurance of the scope of risk management ( 2003).

 

For example, one of the root causes of a failed project is due to the level of innovation ().  A high level of innovation is a candidate of producing a competitive platform like Amazon’s website that acts like a human salesperson.  The project is likely to result to high design costs as “one-click” technology should be developed including purchase of necessary rights/ license that to execute the project.  On the other hand, a low level of innovation likes Amazon’s homogeneity with industry standards is hard to be considered as a project because it does not have a position to exploit the absence of innovation in the industry.  Due to this, a project feature usually entails high level of innovation.  This necessarily requires huge funding, technical expertise and rationalization from the company.  In the contrary, as risks are high, the company has to gamble.  It has to rely with the untested procedures, technology and techniques by exposing its liquidity and strategy to complete the project and derive anticipated returns.

 

In this situation, external and internal scanning including competitor intelligence is of little help because uncertainty goes beyond the risk management scope.  Risks are identifiable but are hardly quantifiable because there is yet to provide systematic trend of risk occurrence associated with the innovation.  Thus, probability and consequences/ impact of innovation risks (2003) are difficult to indicate.  This positions any risk response under a highly subjective framework.  In heuristic studies like that of  (1983), information involving formal and probability characteristics that tend to obligate a person was less regarded than the more natural, informal and easier way of cognition ().

 

As observed, a successful feasibility study regarding an innovation is not an assurance that the project will also be triumphant.  In concept phase, poor estimation will emerge in indirect costing. In the design phase, flexibility of task schedules is tightened by certain innovation dilemma like being the first-mover.  In the implementation phase, human resource aspect of the project can be neglected managerial skills would be overly-focus on anticipating difficulties from new and ambiguous technology.  In the commission phase, innovation testing can result to persistent problems that require overtime and extension of the completion date.  The overall phases of the project post threats to costs, quality and time due to the presence of large amount of uncertainties and risks.  This particular phenomenon can be associated with innovation’s integrated approach to companies (2003).

 

Aside from innovation,

 

Discuss the two points below by referring to authoritative texts and case material.

  1. On the other hand, some characteristics of many projects make them inherently difficult to manage and it is the reason why so many projects fail.

 

 

 

 

Point of view number 2