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Bendigo Education Plan: Project Management Add in library

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Question:

Describe about the Stakeholder communications management, Project Management Information System, and Project monitoring and change control of Bendigo Education Plan?
 
 

Answer:

Executive Summary

Project management has different processes and aspects. To carry out a project successfully, those are to be understood in details. For bigger projects like BEP, (BEP, 2006)collection, processing, sharing of project related information manually is not possible. It is time consuming and prone to errors. PMIS or Project Management Information Systems help in this context. Those works efficiently in managing projects coherently with the project life cycle. Project life cycle is asset of phases, the project development process goes through from the initiation to closure. It is needed to integrate different processes and aspects of project management. This integration is done and managed by project integration management process. Then there are change control and management. As it is almost impossible to carry out project management process without change control management, so this is carried out in parallel to the project execution process.

Project closure is also very important. It ‘wraps up’ the whole project into a single phase. Thus there are various checklists to be followed before delivering the final deliverables to the project owner.

BEP projects have undergone through these processes also. There are very little information about details of the BEP project life cycle, and managerial aspects. BEP project is analyzed to find out the roles of PMIS, stakeholder management, project life cycle, project integration management, project change control management and project closure in the context of BEP. (BEP, 2006)

Introduction

Bendigo is the second largest municipality area in Victoria. The city has significant socio economic importance in Victoria and in Australia. There is a huge part of the total population of Australia and of Victoria that comes from Bendigo. Thus the lives of the people from the Bendigo Community is important for the government. Education in Bendigo is facing a few challenges for quiet sometime. The city has 1 primary, four secondary and 1 senior secondary schools other than several private school. The futue of the youth from Bendigo is largely dependent of these school. The Government had taken an initiative in 2005, to upgrade the educational infrastructure of the schools and blend technology, innovation and personalized learning processes with better student-teacher relationships. They want to bridge the gap between the expectations of the community and the current infrastructure of the schools, coping up with problems related to attendance and retention of the students.

Bendigo Education Plan had 39 recommendations. There were multiple projects under this plan. These projects had interdependencies, schedule, risks etc.

In this report the Bendigo Education Plan project will be analyzed. Focus will be given on the stakeholder communication management, use of PMIS or Project Management Information System in the project, project life cycle, critical success factors of the project, project monitoring and change control etc.

 

Stakeholder communications management

Stakeholders are the people whose lives are supposed to be affected by the outcome of the project. In the Bendigo Education Plan project, the project sponsor was the Government. Other stakeholders are the students, parents and teachers, the project management teams, core teams, etc. (Eskerod & Jepsen, 2013)

For any project there should be clear and adequate communication among the stakeholders of the project. Continuous involvement of the stakeholders bring s continuous improvement in the stakeholder communication management. The first step of stakeholder communication management is to carry out a stakeholder analysis, identification of the potential stakeholders, their roles and impact on the project. And then the second step in stakeholder communication management is to ensure effective engagement of the stakeholders in the project. (Roeder, 2013)

There are several factors behind a successful stakeholder communication management. Insufficient communication and involvement are the two critical issues behind the success of stakeholder communication management. Some important things are,

  • While deciding the scope and objectives of the project, the stakeholder management issues should be focused on. Identification of the stakeholders and their relations to the project is needed to be done in this stage. Then the stakeholders should be engaged into the project. Their active participation and interest can boost up the project management process.

  • The management needs to communicate with the stakeholders about the project. This is not a one time activity, rather, they need to follow the process throughout the entire life cycle of the project.

  • The stakeholders are needed to be agreed on the deliverables of the project. Otherwise there are high chances that, in the project completion phase, the deliverables will fail to meet the expectations of the stakeholders. (Friedman & Miles, 2006)

  • Also it needs to make sure that the stakeholders has a clear understanding of the project, it project management plan etc.

Some of the issues that may rise up due to poor stakeholder management may include,

  • Late communication with the stakeholders.

  • Having very little knowledge about the expectations of the stakeholders or not even considering their views in the project.

  • Early engagement of the stakeholders in the project too early and that creates a chaotic conditions in the reality. Rather than some fruitful outcome, it makes the project management process tougher.

  • Wrong identification of stakeholders at the first place will introduce wrong stakeholders into the project.

  • Misconception of management about the stakeholders and their participation. In many cases, management finds the participation of stakeholders in not necessary at all.

So, a proper stakeholder communication management plan will have the following, (Kimmich, Janetschek, & Meyer-Ohlendorf, 2012)

  • Stakeholder analysis
  • A stakeholder communication plan
  • Implementation of the communication plan
  • Evaluation of the communication plan
 

Project Management Information System

PMIS or Project Management Information System organizes the information that are required by an organization to run some project properly. It is a collection of software, processes and methodologies that are required to collect and process data related to a project. The electronic PMIS system components helps in planning, execution and closing of project management and its goals. There are various types of PMISs that differs in the context of scopes, features, designs and the operational requirements of the organization.

Normalized methodologies like PRINCE2, PMP or Project Management Professional etc. can be used for collection and organization of project related data. Various project management knowledge like integration, scope, time, quality, human resource, risk, communication, stakeholders and procurement management, are supported by any PMIS software. A PMIS software is generally a multi user software. There are variety of such software for different platforms like on-premise solution, cloud based solution etc. (Heldman, 2011)

PMIS is usually used by project managers for collecting, processing, combining and distributing of the project related data. Other than project manager, managers from other levels can also use PMIS for communication, planning, execution and closing of project. (Forbes, 2000)

In case of project planning phase, a PMIS can help in preparing budget based on different frameworks, cost estimation, scheduling, defining baselines of project scopes etc.

In the project execution phase, all information collected by the project management team is stored into a single database. Then the database is connected to the PMIS. The baselines are compared with the accomplishment of those activities in reality, materials, financial data, record keeping process, reporting processes. (Sanghera, 2007)

While closing a project, a PMIS needs to review whether the goals of the project have been successfully accomplished or not. Then the final report on closure of the project is created.

There is a lot of scopes of use a suitable PMIS in the Bendigo Education Plan project. There are 39 recommendations, and a number of projects under this plan. Each of these projects has different sets of input and deliverables.

So, there is a huge volume of project related information to be shared with a number of stakeholders like the school managements, teachers, students, community parents, government offices etc. A well set up and managed PMIS will help to collect different types of information about the stakeholders, their requirements, project planning etc. During the project Execution Phase, it will help in to store and manage all information into a database. This will integrate the schools and the project into a single place. The integration will help to reduce redundancy, provide higher level of availability of information etc. (Heldman, 2011)

The PMIS diagram is,

PMIS diagram Source: (Raymond, 1987)

At any time instance the information of the PMIS used in the project will provide accurate, timely, integrated, precise, reliable and accountable. (Cleland, 2004)

Project life cycle

Project life cycle is the detailed process including all phases of the project, from inception to completion. Any project will have project initiation, planning, execution and evaluation as different phases of the project life cycle. The execution phase includes monitoring and controlling.

Bendigo Education Plan also has different phases in the project life cycle. The initial phase in project planning. Then it has execution, evaluation, monitoring and controlling.

The initiation phase of the project will start right from the identification of the scopes, objectives, purposes, resources, required timeframes, structure and different sets of deliverables from the different projects under BEP. (BEP, 2006) Then it will build different solution approaches and will check cost and benefits for each of those. To decide the risks associated with a project, it needs to have a feasibility study of the project. It will ensure that the approach taken for the solution of the project is feasible and the level of risks associated with the solution are under acceptable level.

 Before appointment of the project team, the terms of references of the project should be defined.

Next comes the planning phase in the project life cycle. During this phase, a detailed project plan is created. This project plan is an important document for the rest of the project, this will be used as a reference documentation for the project. It may be referred frequently during the execution and evaluation of the project. Three important factors of project management, cost, quality and control, are defined clearly in the project plan. Based on the project plan, further plans for resources, quality, financial information, risks and acceptance may be developed. (Westland, 2007)

The assessment of the deliverables produced so far, can be done at any point of the execution phase. During this phase, the project team delivers different types of deliverables and the project manager will be responsible for monitoring and controlling the delivery details and delivery of the entire project. During this phase, different management processes like time management, cost management, quality management, risk management, human resource management, risk management, communication management, procurement management, change control management etc. start falling into pieces, if the project is moving to the right direction. (PMBOK, 2013)

When the deliverables are accepted by the intended clients of users and the phase review process is completed successfully, then the project goes to project closure phase.

In the project closure document every actions related to the project are documented. After approval of the same, the resources acquired for the project are released, the project deliverables are submitted to the higher authority.

Just after the closure of the project, the evaluation or post implementation review of the project is started. It determines the overall success of the project. It is checked that whether the project has met all benefits as expected in the project initiation.

According to PMBOK, the project life cycle diagram is,

Source: PMBOK

The critical success factors of the project are,

  • Realizing the requirements of the students, community, teachers and schools.

  • During project planning, a detailed project management plan is to be created that will cover all critical aspects of the project management.

  • Considering factors including project cost, time and quality (Atkinson, 1999). These three criteria is the ‘Iron Triangle’ for measuring project success. But, actually these are nothing but two types of guesses and one phenomenon. Delivery and post-delivery phase of a project is also important to consider while deciding project success. Other than ‘doing something wrong’ there may ‘something that have not been done well’ in the project. Both of these are types of errors in the project management. So, these are needed to be considered while estimating success of the project.

  • ‘Scope creep’ a type of problem that can be there in the project management life cycle. This is unwanted. The project management life cycle phases should stick to the scope management and nothing should go beyond the scope. (PMBOK, 2013)

  • Risk management is another critical success factor in project management. Proper risk management helps to bypass a bunch of possible unwanted situation and threats to the project.

  • Efficiency, skills and experiences of the project managers and the team members play important role in project management. Leadership is also a factor here.

  • Communication management across the project stakeholders is also critical factor.

  • Monitoring and controlling of the project progress is necessary to do during the project life cycle.
 

Project integration management

Project integration management is a set of process and activities that helps in identifying, defining, combining, unifying and coordinating the activities within the process group of the project management. For successful completion of the project, unifying, consolidation, articulation and integration are needed for very much. It also needs to manage the expectations of the stakeholders, requirements of the project etc. Project integration management is involved in deciding a tradeoff among the competitive project objectives, interdependencies among the project objectives and different knowledge areas. (PMBOK, 2013)

As already said, there are different types of processes in project integration management. There are inputs to the processes. In most of the cases, assets of the organizational processes are the input to the processes of project integration management. Other than that there are other types of inputs like environmental factors. In the closing phase of the project, the inputs differ than the environmental factors.

Project integration management is needed to deliver seven key knowledge areas in the project. Those are,

  • Development of project charter during the project initiation phase. The key deliverable from this process, is the project charter.

  • Development of project management plan in the planning phase. The key deliverable from this process is the project management plan.

  • Directing and managing project work during project execution phase. There are different types of deliverables depending on what type of work is being done.
  • Monitoring and controlling project work during the project execution phase. The key deliverables from the process are the change requests.

  • Performing integrated change control during the project execution phase. The key deliverables from this phase are the status updates of the change requests from the previous process.

  • Closing the project during project closure phase. The key deliverable from this process are the final products from the project.

Project integration management helps in coordinating resources across the project activities, ensuring right selections of tradeoffs made during the project life cycle. It helps in directing the project towards successful completion.

The project integration management diagram is,

Source: (Schwalbe, 2004)

The project plan for BEP contains details of the project initiation, execution, risk management and governance. In a standard project plan, there should be details about the project integration management, scope management, time management, quality management, human resource management, risk management, communication management, and procurement management. Every details of the project like project charter, schedule, stake holder details, and risk analysis details, etc. should be a part of the project plan. According to PMBOK, a project plan is “a formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and project control. The primary uses of the project plan are to document planning assumptions and decisions, facilitate communication among stakeholders, and document approved scope, cost, and schedule baselines. A project plan may be summarized or detailed.”. (PMBOK, 2013)

Project monitoring and change control

In project management, change control is an important part. It is highly likely that during the project life cycle, there will be requests for changes in the activities of the project. The requested changes may range from smaller changes to significant changes. Thus it is needed to manage those changes so that those are aligned with the project management process and the project.

Change control is needed in project management as it ensures that each and every proposed change will be defined, evaluated and approved/ denied during the project life cycle and all these will be done before the implementation process. Change control also ensures that there will be no unwanted or unnecessary change, there will be no disruption in the services and all resources will be utilized efficiently. (Gudda, 2011)

There are five components in the monitoring and change control management system of the project. Those are,

  • Proposal of a change
  • Summary of the possible impact of the change
  • Decisions taken for the change
  • Implementation of the change
  • Closure of the change request

Usually there are two types of documentation in the change control and monitoring process. Those are the,

  • Change log, it is used for recording all requested changes and the decisions taken for those changes.
  • Change request form, it is used for documenting details of the change and its context.

In the summary of the impact of a change, a number of factors to be considered. Those are, the cost savings and benefits that are quantifiable, estimated cost for implementation of the change, impact of other projects, resources required for implementation of the change, impact of the schedule, if there is new risks from the change. (PMBOK, 2013)

A decision on a change can be either of, an acceptance, an acceptance with conditions, deferral or rejection.

 According to PMBOK, “the Monitoring and Control Process Group consists of those processes performed to observe project execution so that potential problems can be identified in a timely manner and corrective action can be taken, when necessary, to control the execution of the project.” (PMBOK, 2013)

During the life cycle of the project management, monitoring and controlling changes in the project runs in parallel to the project execution process. The reason is, if there is a change request during the execution of the project, then that will be monitored, evaluated and controlled as soon as possible.

There are a number of processes under monitoring and change control. Those are, (PMBOK, 2013)

  • Monitoring and controlling the activities of the project by collecting, measuring and disseminating information related to performance of the project.
  • Carrying out integrated change control throughout the project life cycle.
  • Ensuring acceptance of the deliverables according to scope verifications.
  • Ensuring and controlling changes to the scopes of the project. This is carried out by proper scope control.
  • Controlling the changes to the schedule of the project.
  • Controlling changes to the cost of the project.
  • Ensuing monitoring and controlling quality according to different standards.
  • Tracking and managing the performance of the project team members.
  • Managing stakeholders
  • Carrying out proper project closure.

Project closure

Project closure is the final stage of the project life cycle. During this phase the deliverables are delivered to the project owner and the post implementation review phase starts. Project closure process should ensure that the objectives of the project are met in the final deliverables, the deliverables are within the scopes of the project, and all documentation of the project are available and reviewed. All activities in the project are stopped during project closure. These are archived for auditing then. Project manager should take care of the project closure phase. The stakeholders are to be informed and ensured about the operational and maintenance details of the project deliverables. (Westland, 2007)

 

Conclusions

In this report, the analysis of the stakeholders, use of PMIS, project life cycle, project integration management, project monitoring and change control, project closure have been discussed from literature and in the context of BEP. There is very little information available on the BEP projects. So, critical analysis of the project was difficult. Details of PMIS, like what is PMIS, role of PMIS, diagram etc. are discussed in details. Then there is discussions on project integration management. Project integration management is important for any project. There is information about project integration management, its roles etc. Changes are inevitable. So, change control is necessary for any project. The role of the change control in the project has been discussed in details. Finally there is a discussion on project closure. Project closure includes a lots of ‘checklist’ activities to ensure right set of deliverables are being delivered to the project owner and those meet the objectives and scopes of the project.

Recommendations

The case study lacks information about use of PMIS, change control, integration management, project closure etc. In spite of that, different aspects of project management like stakeholder analysis, details of PMIS, project integration management, project life cycle, change control etc. have been learned from the report. PMIS plays an important role behind any project. Details of PMIS and how it is connected to the life cycle of the project that is an important lesson. Other than that details of change control, project closure etc. are also learnt from this report.

 

References

Atkinson, R. (1999). Project management: cost, time and quality, two best guesses and a phenomenon, its time to accept other success criteria. International Journal of Project Management, 337- 342.

Barber, R. B. (2005). Understanding internally generated risks in projects. International Journal of Project Management, 23, 584–590.

BEP. (2006). Bendigo Education Plan: Project Plan. BEP.

Binder, J. C. (2007). Global Project Management. Gower Publishing, Ltd.

Carroll, J. (2012). Effective Project Management in Easy Steps. In Easy Steps.

Cleland, D. 2. (2004). Project Management Information System. In D. Cleland, Project Management: Strategic Design and Implementation (p. 349). Singapore: McGraw-Hill International .

Eskerod, P., & Jepsen, A. L. (2013). Project Stakeholder Management. Gower Publishing, Ltd.

Forbes, D. E. (2000). Project Management Information Systems. Transportation Research Board.

Friedman, A. L., & Miles, S. (2006). Stakeholders : Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press.

Gudda, P. (2011). A Guide to Project Monitoring & Evaluation. AuthorHouse.

Heldman, K. (2011). PMP Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide. John Wiley & Sons.

Horine, G. (2009). Absolute Beginner's Guide to Project Management. Pearson .

Kerzner, H. R. (2013). Project Management. John Wiley & Sons.

Kimmich, C., Janetschek, H., & Meyer-Ohlendorf, L. (2012). Methods for Stakeholder Analysis. BoD.

Kloppenborg, T. (2011). Contemporary Project Management. Cengage Learning.

Meredith, J. R., & Samuel J. Mantel, J. (2011). Project Management. John Wiley & Sons.

PMBOK. (2013). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. Project Management Institute, Incorporated.

Raymond, L. (1987). Information systems design for project management: a data modeling approach. Project Manage Journal, 94-99.

Roeder, T. (2013). Managing Project Stakeholders. John Wiley & Sons.

Sanghera, D. P. (2007). PGMP Program Management Professional Exam Study Guide . John Wiley & Sons.

Schwalbe, K. (2004). Information Technology Project Management. Thomson.

Shenhar, A. J., & Dvir, D. (2013). Reinventing Project Management. Harvard Business Press.

Tudor, D. J. (2010). Agile Project and Service Management. Stationery Office.

Westland, J. (2007). The Project Management Life Cycle. Kogan Page Publishers.

Young, T. L. (2013). Successful Project Management. Kogan Page Publishers.

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