Master of Business Administration - MBA Semester 2
MB0049 – Project Management
(Book ID: B1138)
ASSIGNMENT- Set 2
Q1. What are the various phases of project management life cycle? Explain
A.1 The various phases in project management life cycle are –
· Analysis and evaluation
· Inspecting, testing and delivery
· Post completion analysis
Figure shows the phases in a sequence.
1.8.1 Analysis and Evaluation Phase
It starts with receiving a request to analyse the problem from the customer. The project manager conducts the analysis of the problem and submits a detailed report to the top management. The report should consist of what the problem is, ways of solving the problem, the objectives to be achieved, and the success rate of achieving the goal.
1.8.2 Marketing Phase
A project proposal is prepared by a group of people including the project manager. This proposal has to contain the strategies adopted to market the product to the customers.
1.8.3 Design Phase
Based on the inputs received in the form of project feasibility study, preliminary project evaluation, project proposal and customer interviews, following outputs are produced:
· System design specification
· Program functional specification
· Program design specification
· Project plan
1.8.4 Inspecting, Testing and Delivery Phase
During this phase, the project team works under the guidance of the project manager. The project manager has to ensure that the team working under him implements the project designs accurately. The project has to be tracked or monitored through its cost, manpower and schedule. The tasks involved in these phases are:
· Managing the customer
· Marketing the future work
· Performing quality control work
1.8.5 Post Completion Analysis Phase
After delivery or completion of the project, the staff performance has to be evaluated. The tasks involved in this phase are:
· Documenting the lessons learnt from the project
· Analysing project feedback
· Preparing project execution report
· Analysing the problems encountered during the project
Q2. Write brief note on project planning and scoping.
A.2 The purpose of project planning and scoping is to first identify the areas of the project work and the forces affecting the project and then to define the boundaries of the project. In addition, the scoping has to be explicitly stated on the line of the project objectives. It also has to implicitly provide directions to the project. The planning and scoping should be such that the project manager is able to assess every stage of the project and also enabling the assessment of the quality of the deliverable of the project at every stage.
Fist, let us list the steps involved in project scoping. These steps include:
i) Identifying the various parametric forces relevant to the project and its stages
ii) Enabling the team members to work on tools to keep track of the stages and thereby proceed in the planned manner
iii) Avoiding areas of problems which may affect the progress of the project
iv) Eliminating the factors responsible for inducing the problems
v) Analysing the financial implications and cost factor at various stages of the project
vi) Understanding and developing the various designs required at various stages of the project
vii) Identifying the key areas to be included in the scope through various meetings, discussion, and interviews with the clients
viii) Providing a base and track to enable alignment of project with the organisation and its business objectives
ix) Finding out the dimensions applicable to the project and also the ones not applicable to the project
x) Listing out all the limitations, boundary values and constraints in the project
xi) Understanding the assumptions made in defining the scope
After completing the project scoping, you can start your project plan. Project planning involves three processes as shown in the figure
a) The identification process – The main steps in the identification process of any project are:
i) Identifying initial requirements
ii) Validating them against the project objective
iii) Identifying the criteria such as quality objectives and quantitative requirements for assessing the success of both the final product and the process used to create it
iv) Identifying the framework of the solution
v) Preparing a template of the frame work of solution to illustrate the project feasibility
vi) Preparing relevant charts to demonstrate the techniques of executing the project and its different stages
vii) Preparing a proper project schema of achieving the defined business requirements for the project
viii) Identifying training requirement
ix) Making a list of the training program necessary for the personnel working on the project
x) Identifying the training needs of the individuals working in various functions responsible in the project
xi) Preparing a training plan and a training calendar
xii) Assessing the capabilities and skills of all those identified as part of the project organisation
b) The review Process – The main steps in the review process of any project are:
i) Establishing a training plan to acquaint the project team members with the methodologies, technologies and business areas under study
ii) Updating the project schedule to accommodate scheduled training activities
iii) Identifying the needs for review and reviewing the project scope
iv) Reviewing a project with respect to its stages and progress by preparing a plan for the review, fixing an agenda to review the project progress and keeping the reports ready for discussion about stage performance
v) Reviewing the project scope, the objective statement, the non conformances in the project stages and identifying the need to use the project plan
vi) Preparing a proper project plan indicating all the requirements from start to finish of the project and also at every stage of the project
vii) Preparing a checklist of items to be monitored and controlled during the course of execution of the project
c) The analysis process – The main steps in the analysis process of any project are:
i) Comparing the actual details with that in the plan with reference to project stages.
ii) Measuring various components of the project and its stages frequently to control the project from deviating and also monitor the performance.
iii) Deciding how the task, the effort and the defects are to be tracked, what tools to be used, what reporting structure and frequency will be followed at various stages.
iv) Identifying the preventive and corrective steps to be taken in case of any variance
v) Performing root cause analysis for all problems encountered.
If all the above steps are performed, scoping and planning become effective and the ideal outcome are achieved.
Q3. What is Return on Investment (ROI)? Explain its importance
A.3 Return on Investment (ROI) is the calculated benefit that an organisation is projected to receive in return for investing money, time and resources in a project. Within the context of the review process, the investment would be in an information system development or enhancement project.
ROI information is used to assess the status of the business viability of the project at key checkpoints throughout the project’s life-cycle. ROI may include the benefits associated with improved mission performance, reduced cost, increased quality, speed, or flexibility, and increased customer and employee satisfaction.
ROI should reflect such risk factors as the project’s technical complexity, the agency’s management capacity, the likelihood of cost overruns, and the consequences of under or non-performance. Where appropriate, ROI should reflect actual returns observed through pilot projects and prototypes.
ROI should be quantified in terms of money and should include a calculation of the break-even point (BEP), which is the time (point in time) when the investment begins to generate a positive return. ROI should be re-calculated at every major checkpoint of a project to see if the BEP is still on schedule, based on project spending and accomplishments to date.
If the project is behind schedule or over budget, the BEP may move out in time; if the project is ahead of schedule or under budget the BEP may occur earlier. In either case, the information is important for decision-making based on the value of the investment throughout the project life-cycle.
Any project that has developed a business case is expected to refresh the ROI at each key project decision point (that is, stage exit) or at least yearly.
Q4. Discuss the role of effective data management in the success of project management.
A.4 Data management consists of conducting activities which facilitate acquiring data, processing it and distributing it. Acquisition of data is the primary function.
To be useful, data should have three important characteristics – timeliness, sufficiency and relevancy (as shown in figure). Management of acquisition lies in ensuring that these are satisfied before they are stored for processing and decisions taken on the analysis.
There should be data about customers, suppliers, market conditions, new technology, opportunities, human resources, economic activities, government regulations, political upheavals, all of which affect the way you function. Most of the data go on changing because the aforesaid sources have uncertainty inherent in them. So updating data is a very important aspect of their management.Storing what is relevant in a form that is available to concerned persons is also important. When a project is underway dataflow from all members of the team will be flowing with the progress of activities. The data may be about some shortfalls for which the member is seeking instructions. A project manager will have to analyse them, discover further data from other sources and see how he can use them and take decisions. Many times he will have to inform and seek sanction from top management.
The management will have to study the impact on the overall organisational goals and strategies and convey their decisions to the manager for implementation. For example, Bill of Materials is a very important document in Project Management. It contains details about all materials that go into the project at various stages and has to be continuously updated as all members of the project depend upon it for providing materials for their apportioned areas of execution. Since information is shared by all members, there is an opportunity for utilising some of them when others do not need them. To ascertain availability at some future point of time, information about orders placed, backlogs, lead times are important for all the members. A proper MIS will take care of all these aspects. ERP packages too help in integrating data from all sources and present them to individual members in the way they require. When all these are done efficiently the project will have no hold ups an assure success.
Q5. What is Project risk management? Explain its significance.
A.5 Project risk management is all about the systematic process of identifying, analysing, prioritising and responding to risk by applying risk management principles and controlling the probability and/or impact of unfortunate events at the project level. It attempts to maximise the probability and consequences of positive events and to minimise the probability and consequences of adverse events. The goal is to prevent or reduce risk in a cost-effective manner without compromising quality or harming the mission or timeline.
The benefits of proper risk management in projects are huge. Organisations can generate a lot of profit if they deal with uncertain project events in a proactive manner. The result will be that they minimise the impact of project threats and seize the opportunities that exists.
Proper risk management enables you to deliver the project on time, on budget and with the quality results one’s project sponsor/client demands. In addition to this, other project team members can be also happy and motivated enough to perform better and better. All this would essentially boil down to increase in the productivity of team members and in the efficiency and effectiveness of the resources. In this unit you will learn more about project risk management.
Q6. Write brief note on project management application software.
A.6 The Microsoft Project family of products offers tools to work on a project from management point of view. Microsoft Project is designed for people who manage projects independently and don’t require the capability to manage resources from a central repository. Microsoft has a team project management solution that enables project managers and their teams to collaborate on projects.
After creating a fairly complete final project plan it is a good idea to create a baseline version to compare the original project plan with actual events and achievements.
The following is the typical process followed for project management through this software as shown in figure
1 Reviewing the Baseline
The Baseline created can be used to compare the original project plan with actual events and achievements. This will display the days required for each task and project phase. For actual operating instructions please refer the Microsoft Project User Handbook.
2 Tracking Progress
After creating a baseline, if the project has begun, it is necessary to enter actual dates for the tasks that are being completed and the resource utilisation used to complete them.
Again review different views and the cost and summary tables before proceeding to the next section. Return to the Entry view of the Gantt chart before proceeding.
3 Balancing Workloads
At times people and equipment may be assigned more work than they can complete in normal working hours. This is called over allocation. Project can test for this condition and reschedule (or level) their workload to accommodate completing tasks during a normal day.
4 Monitoring Variances
After a baseline has been established and the project has begun, it is desirable to determine if tasks are being accomplished on time and /or if cost over runs are occurring. We also need to keep monitoring the performance to detect early deviations.
5 Creating Reports
Project has many different built-in reports and has the capability building custom reports and exporting data to other MS Office applications for integration into other reporting venues. These are often intelligent reports.