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  • Information technology project management

    Earned value is a cost based way of measuring performance by comparing the amount of work that was planned to the actual performed work to determine if the costs and schedule are proceeding as budgeted as defined by (Elysie, 2005).   Earned value has three elements which includes the planned value, actual cost and schedule of performance. Actual value refers to the total costs that are incurred and recorded in finishing work performed during a given period for a planned activity or project breakdown structure component. It is also referred to as the actual cost of work performed. By use of the actual value, a project manager is able to see the variations that are in the budget and the project actual cost and this can help in budgeting for new projects as noted by Anti clue (2011).

    QUESTION TWO: Describe and present real-world examples of the three (3) types of cost estimates and where you would find them in the context of the PMBOK process groups.

    There are several types of cost estimates for a project. Project articles (2010) observes that analogous estimating is one type of cost estimating whereby the cost of a project is estimated from the actual cost of a previous project similar to the one being undertaken. This type is mostly used to estimate the total cost of a project when there is limited information about the project. It is mostly used in the early planning phases of a project. It is less costly but less reliable than other types.  It is also known as the top-down estimating. Another type of cost estimate is the bottom-up approach where by the costs of individual project items are analyzed and then summed to give the total project cost. Its accuracy is dependent on the number of individual items being used. The smaller their number, the greater the accuracy of the cost estimates.  The other type of cost estimate is the computerized tools where project management software and spreadsheets are used to estimate the cost of a project. In this type the project parameters are feed into the computer which analyzes them to give the total project cost. Computerized tools are continuously being used in the project management.

    Question one: Describe how you can build quality into your project in each of the PMBOK process groups.

    There are five management process groups which organize and define the project from the start to the end as noted by Tenstep Inc. (2011) in the article. This process groups include the initiation stage, planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation stage and eventual closing of the project.

    At the initiating stage, the project gets authority from the management. This stage comes up with a project charter and a preliminary project scope statement. If this stage is well conceived it will lead to a smooth transition to the next stage of planning. At this stage, the project team works with the customers to identify the projects requirements and the expected outputs.

    Planning is the next stage which helps to refine the objectives of the project and to plan the necessary strategies to achieve this. At this stage the project team comes up with a road map to achieve the desired project outputs. This stage is followed by execution stage which puts together the resources and people to give the deliverables of the project. At this stage, it is important that the right inputs and people with the right skills are used to ensure quality in the project.

    Tenstep Inc. (2011), points that the next process group is monitoring and controlling. Project controlling is important throughout the project to ensure that the work is in line with the budget and time frame. Project monitoring is done to ensure that any problems that may arise during the implementation of the project are rectified early and this ensures quality.

    Closing is the last process group as noted by Tenstep Inc (2011). The inputs of this process group are the administrative and contract closeout procedures. At this stage, formal acceptance of the product by the customer is done. However, the customer may point out something that he needs to be done well to improve the project quality where the project team would have to re-evaluate and correct it.

    Question two: Describe the team-building activities you would use as a project manager throughout the PMBOK process groups. Is there any one that you would recommend over the others? Why?

    Team building refers to the process of getting diverse group of individuals to work together as a team. There are various activities that the human resource manager can use to build a cohesive team. Tenstep Inc. (2011) proposes that, first the human resource manager should develop a human resource plan. At this stage, the number of staff required for the team is set out and the human resource outlines the different skills that are required for the project implementation. The human resource also develops a scheme for remunerations for the team.  Secondly, the human resource manager acquires the required personnel taking in consideration the required number and skills. This now forms the project team and the human resource manager will now have the task of managing the team. In managing the team human resource manager ensures that all the staff members are performing their respective duties faithfully. The human resource manager should also plan for team building and negotiate for team members.

    Human resource can organize meetings to kick off each process stage. During the meeting the project team discusses in depth the project schedule and budget for that stage and team members can seek clarification on any issue. The human resource manager must also incorporate communication links for the team.

    I would recommend that open communication channels are the best for the project implementation as this would ensure that the team works together. Open communication gives project team members the confidence to consult at any given stage of project implementation with their seniors. This will avoid risky mistakes because of failure to ask.

    Describe the activities you could use if the project starts to run late, over budget, and invokes some scope creep.

    If the project started to run late, over budget and invoke some scope creep I would recommend first that we hold a meeting with all the members of the team to assess where things are going wrong. At the meeting the project team would have a chance to raise issues on the reasons why they think the project is not within the budget and schedule. The meeting could also be an avenue to propose ways that can be used to bring back the project on track. The meeting could be within the organization or at some other location best suited for team building.  The team would first hold some team building activities to ease the tension and then we would have a meeting to assess our shortcoming. I would also recommend that if the factors derailing the project implementation are not within the team’s control a negotiation could be carried out with the customer to seek for more time and resources. However this would be supported by a document detailing the re-evaluated project needs.

    Q1: Communication among various constituents in terms of time and place is key to project management consideration. Describe the types of communication tools that you could use to effectively manage your project communication in a large multinational project. Which of these tools have you used successfully or seen implemented successfully? Share the experience thoroughly.

    In managing an international project I would recommend the use of video conferencing where the project manager holds meeting with the project staff without having to always travel to the project site. Video conferencing is an important tool as the project team would be able to meet without adding to project cost through the regular travels. I would also recommend the use of emails and fax to exchange project notes and documents. The use of emails with electronic signatures would help to authentic the documents at no extra cost. I also propose the use of telephone call to share information among the team members. Telephone calls can be used to consult or pass information that does not require documentation.  I would also recommend that the project team holds periodic meetings together to review their progress as observed in the Tenstep Inc. (2011).

    Question: Working with cross-functional teams and offshore teams is common in large IT project deployments. Similarly, your stakeholders may be from different parts of the business. Describe how you would communicate and connect with individuals that come from different parts of the organization or from outside partners.

    In a project where cross-functional teams are working together it is important to ensure effective communication. I would therefore advocate that the project manager organizes periodic meetings to review the progress of the project. For the team that offshore I would recommend the use of video conferencing where the team does not have to be at the same venue to hold a meeting. Exchanging of ideas through the use of emails and fax could also help the team. I would also recommend that there is mutual trust and respect for all the team members working in the project. This will enhance cooperation between the members of the team.

    Question: Describe some of the tools and techniques that you can use as a project manager to mitigate risk in your projects. Support your response

    To guard against the risks that may occur during the project implementation Tenstep Inc. (2011) proposes some techniques that could be adopted by the project managers. Among them is the formulation of plan for risk management. The risk management plan sets out to anticipate the risks inherent to the project and the strategies that could be used to deal with such risk should they arise. This is done early in the project planning stage. The project manager must then perform a qualitative risk analysis to determine the actual impacts in case of an accident. The qualitative risk analysis is an analysis of the impacts the project stands to face should any risk arise. This could for example be an analysis of what impacts could the project face if the some key personnel decide to quit. The project manager then develops a risk response plan where the strategies to be used to deal with any risks that may arise during project implementation are outlined. One of the strategies for example, to deal with personnel loss would be ensuring that the personnel sign contracts which bind them to remain in the organization until the expiry of the project period.
    Question:  Define risk at the outset of your large hypothetical multinational and multi-constituent project. Discuss how you can use your risk breakdown structure to identify good and bad project risk

    There can be either good or bad risks for any project. The good risks of a project, for example could be that the resource initially thought to be lacking are easily acquired. Another good risk is when a project conceived to solve one problem solves two at a go, for instance at project to reduce oil spillage also results to the efficiency in the process at filling station. The bad risks are the undesired outcomes of a project such as the failure to get cooperation from the staff in an organization where an ICT project is being implemented because of fear to lose jobs.

    Question: Using your Web research for an IT-specific RFP or RFQ, review your document and defend whether it adheres to the basic outline or template included in Figure 12-4 of the text.

    My document adheres to the basic outline of the template included in Figure 12-4 of the text. The documents flow from the start of the conception of an idea to its implementation.  The project outlines the various project requirements that when implemented together helps to ensure the successful implementation of an IT project. The document for example outlines how to maintain a cohesive team to ensure that the project is implemented well. The document also outlines the way to measure the adherence of the project to the budget and time schedule through use of earned value

     

     

    Recommend at least one (1) improvement your research document can make.

    The document should cover all the aspects of the project implementation to ensure that there is inclusiveness. This is because the research document does not touch on issues of procuring the project resources. If the right resources are not procured the project may fail in terms of quality and adherence to the budget.

    My other recommendation is that the research document should include the methods that could be used to test the project before it is handed over to the customer. This is because it would disappoint for the customer to pay for a project which has not been tested just to realize that there it is having some defect somewhere.
    Question: Select one (1) type of a cost-reimbursable contract. Describe how it works and cite an example of its application in a real-world project.

    A cost reimbursable contract is defined by project management knowledge (2010) as one where the buyer reimburses the seller the money used for actual costs of a project. The seller only adds his profits to the actual cost. An example of cost reimbursable project may include an ICT project to automate the sale of goods in the supermarket and once the team has accomplished the project they could sell it under the cost reimbursable project. In this kind of project the seller of the project carries out all the project design and implementation and tests the project to ensure that it is working well. The seller then evaluates all his costs and a profit margin to come up with a selling price.

     

     

    References

    Anticlue Articles (2011), Earned Value Components retrieved from

    http://www.anticlue.net/archives/000450.htm27th Oct, 2011

    David White (2005) The 5 project management process groups retrieved from

    http://www.articledashboard.com on 27th Oct, 2011

    Elysie (2005) Earned Value Components retrieved from

    http://www.anticlue.net/archives/000450.htm  accessed on27th Oct, 2011

    Project management knowledge; the ultimate resource for project managers (2010)

    http://project-management-knowledge.com/definitions/c/cost-reimbursable-contract/ accessed on27th Oct, 2011

    Project articles (2010) project cost management retrieved from

    http:/www.projectsmart.co.uk/articles accessed on27th Oct, 2011

    Tenstep Inc. (2011) A6.1 Compare the Ten step process retrieved from

    http://www.tenstep.com/open/miscpages/90.11ContactTenStep.html on27th Oct, 2011

     

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