Issues And Conclusions From The Construction Case That Also Apply To It Projects Case Study Example

Published: 2021-06-22 00:32:30
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Project Planning, Scheduling, Budgeting, and Risk Management
Technology
Issues and Conclusions from the Construction Case that also apply to IT projects
The variety of projects being implemented right now in the world is probably in the millions. Each of these projects has a unique objective and therefore has a unique way for meeting the goals of the project. Even though there are many differences there are also many similarities in projects. This essay assumes the general similarities in projects are the same whether the project is to build a high rise or to implement an Internet Technology system. During a project the responsibilities for meeting task goals needs to be established so that problems do not snowball into a blizzard by the end of the project.
Different Projects and their Similarities
CIEM (2011) lists six interacting processes necessary to finish a project “(a) activity definition, (b) activity sequencing, (c) activity resource estimating, (d) activity duration estimating, (e) schedule development, and (f) schedule control.” Not only does the daily management of these processes help keep the project moving successfully to meet the goal, but they also help the project manager maintain accountability. All of these processes except for schedule control are part of the planning phase for a project, although schedule control is more successfully accomplished when the planning has been carefully done. The first five steps can be set out in the original project design using software. A Gantt graph which is integrated with the other data easily forms the Critical Path. With this type of strategy the schedule control is integrated with the first five activities. Not only that but each of these are important steps for IT projects. If any of these steps are missing from an IT project then there is no guarantee the objective will be met on time; deliverables probably will not be finished on time.
The planning stage is a process of “defining and refining objectives and selecting the best course action” (MS, 2010). A project manager has to expect that changes will be necessary during the project. The steps and plans set down in the planning stage are going to change. Keeping the project software data input up-to-date as resources are used, and as tasks come to end helps make changes much easier. As the project continues all the processes can be monitored and adjusted more easily using integrated software. The controlling phase of a project allows for schedule changes. Three documents that are helpful for tracking change requests are the change request form, the change impact form and the change control log (MS, 2010). When a team member makes a request for a change there needs to be a paper trail of documentation. This documentation is part of the process of maintaining the risk responsibility throughout the project. Without appropriate documentation then by the end of the project there is now way to go back and figure out who did what and when they did it. Each team member needs to carefully think through each change they request because when the change request is granted that also means the team member holds the risk inherent in the change.
Accountability Maintenance
Accountability maintenance is something that a project manager needs to deal with every day. The project manager is accountable to the project sponsor so it is an expected part of the job. Accountability means taking responsibility for the project each step of the whole process. One of the best ways to stay organized is to use Workforce Breakdown Structure (WBS) coupled with the Critical Path Method (CPM). It takes time and imagination when a project is being planned but it is well worth developing these tools in order to meet the objectives of a project. As each task is set then responsibility should be assigned appropriately.
The number one responsibility of the project manager is to be able to provide the project sponsor with information about the project and finally to deliver satisfactory deliverables. Some projects may have a budget of $30,000 but some may have budgets worth $100,000s . . . or even more. The processes in a project run at the same time in an integrated way. This means that projects are very complicated. Butte (n.d.) has emphasized the importance of making sure that ownership of each risk is taken by the appropriate team member. He explains it this way
The risk owner is the person in your team that has the responsibility to optimize this risk for the project. The effects are really positive. At first people usually feel uncomfortable that they are actually responsible for certain risks, but as time passes they will act and carry out tasks to decrease threats and enhance opportunities. (Butte, n.d.)
In an important way this becomes a motivation for team members plus they will take more pride in the careful preparation of the deliverables. Ownership must also be established for project opportunities in order to avoid competition between team members for “unexpected revenues” (Butte, n.d.).
A study by Nam Binh on using schedule management for construction projects was discussed in a CEIM (2011). Schedule management has many similarities whether the project is construction or information technology. In general, meeting the objectives for both a construction project and for an Information Technology (IT) project follow the same processes and use the same tools. For example (a) schedule planning with WBS, (b) using CPM, (c) crashing a schedule, (d) work performance reports, and (e) reliable work performance measurements are all necessary for both types of projects. Creating a WBS is important to both types of projects. This step in planning is breaking down the work schedule according to the type of task and assigning time duration for the task. Microsoft (2010) recommends preparing the risk identification forms at the same time. A CPM is especially good because with good software a project manager has a visual means to quickly ascertain if the project is still on the critical path or deviating from the critical path. Any deviation means an adjustment in the original plan needs to be made. After reviewing all the inputs, mainly cost, resources and the WBS an adjustment can be made on the software. If the CPM still is off track then more study of the variables is needed in order to get the project back on the correct path. Crashing a schedule means shortening project time by increasing costs and resource use (ADEAK, 2011). The increased costs and increased resources are necessary to shorten the project time but they are increased as little as possible in order to reach the objective. Work performance reports are made according to moment in time of the project process. A project manager may be building a high rise or setting up a knowledge system like Desire2Learn. They will designate, for example, that at 10:00 a.m. Monday, Month, Year the project had met these tasks and was 25 percent finished with other tasks. Then it would be possible to use the data from that point in time to apply the work performance measurements like the schedule performance index and the cost variance.
Counterargument
Because the project manager does the project planning and is responsible for the project there is no need to assign further responsibility for other tasks. The project manager has the responsibility for (a) schedule planning, (b) schedule control, (c) the risks both positive and negative, and (d) resource allocation. Because the project manager has all the control and must answer to the project sponsor that is the person who should take on responsibility. There are negative risks that need to be resolved as quickly as possible with as little damage as possible. There are also risks that can be turned into opportunities (Jutte, n.d.). If there is a cost overrun they are responsible or on the other hand if there is a surplus then they are responsible for that and deserve a monetary bonus.
Conclusion
Project management is an active duty; it does not matter if a project is construction of a building or setting up an IT system. These projects are both processes that need to be well planned with appropriate adjustments made during the project until the objective is delivered. There are other characteristics construction and IT projects have in common. For instance, a manager must have good communication skills. It is also important to be able to envision each part of a project and the step by step implementation of tasks. They must have patience in order to run iterations sometimes daily to make sure that the project is on course to meet the objectives on time. The planning phase needs to include clearly establishing the project goal; in other words, to “define and refine objectives” (MS, 2010). The planning phase also is the time to plan the tasks from general to detailed and integrate the plan. This is the project manager’s best approximation of the “best course of action” (MS, 2010). It is only a best approximation because a process is not static; there will be changes and adjustments so each team member has a responsibility for the project and must own their responsibility whether it is a construction or an IT project.
High rise construction projects all are built to house people but other than that they each have unique differences (CIEM, 2011). This is the same situation that a project manager faces. Work would be very dull if all projects were exactly the same but recognizing the similarities and using the similarities as a foundation for planning can be very helpful.
References
ADEAK. (2010 February 2). What is crashing and fast tracking a schedule? www.adeak.com http://www.adeak.com/2010/02/what-is-crashing-and-fast-tracking-a-schedule/
CEIM Reporter (2011) Owners Project Schedule Management for High - Rise Office Building Projects: A Case Study of Scheduling. Professional Project Management Education Blog. Retrieved from http://professionalprojectmanagement.blogspot.com/2011/03/owners-project-schedule-management-for.html
Drinkwater, A. (2011) Proper methods for resource planning. ProjectConnections.com. Retrieved from http://blog.projectconnections.com/project_practitioners/2011/02/proper-methods-for-resource-planning.html
Gurmin, S. (2010). Effective project management. online presentation, ISSUU. Part 1 Retrieved from http://issuu.com/shaun-gurmin/docs/effective_project_management_presentation_01; Part 2 from http://issuu.com/shaun-gurmin/docs/effective_project_management_part_2
Jutte, B. (n.d.) Ten Golden rules of project risk management. Projectsmart.org. Retrieved from http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/10-golden-rules-of-project-risk-management.html
Microsoft. (2010). Microsoft Project 2010 Practical Exercise Manual. 51 pp. Retrieved from http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project-help/create-a-new-project-RZ101831071.aspx?CTT=5&origin=HA010355886§ion=2

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