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Project management helps in planning, organizing, directing and controlling the resources of the company for managing the timely and efficient completion of project. The purpose of the report is to highlight the issues that were encountered in a would be successful project but got failed miserably because of wrong choice of project manager. We are going to discuss issues that were prevailing in the completion of the project. Some of the issues were related to time, cost, risk, and communication, poor choice of project manager, stakeholder and contract management. Also there were ethical issues in the starting and end phase of the project. Further, the report includes evaluation of project management for this project and average has been calculated according to the performance of the project in various dimensions.
How did the project team handle risks at different phases of project life cycle? Discuss.
Risks have inevitable nature in organizations because of which it should be make sure that risk are at minimal level and the job has to be done by the project manager. (Kerzner, 2001). Once the risks have been evaluated, there is time to mitigate plan for the purpose of counter attacking the impact of risk. In order to manage risks effectively in the organization, some steps have to be taken in order such as risk identification, quantification, response, monitoring and control. (Tutorials Point, 2017; Wrike, 2017). A project takes a path during its life cycle which is made up of different phases the project goes through. It includes initiation phase, planning, implementation and closing phase.
These phases provide path to a project forming its lifecycle. (Watt, 2017; Method123, 2017). At the initial phase, Gary ahs encountered the issue of adequate staff for the project. He found out that engineering people are reluctant in giving their key people to the Blue spider project. Gary managed to resolve the issue with the help of a little support from Henry Gable and somehow Gary managed to develop adequate team for the program. Afterwards, when Gary and Paul were continuously searching for the test matrix alternative in the planning stage, they haven’t found something very promising and in line with this Gary tried to meet Gable but he was unavailable.
In line with this, Gary, Paul together with key functional department managers developed an alternative and it looked good. Likewise the project handled risk at this stage. Next problem were unending requests and non-cooperative behavior of the Lord industries which includes lots of paperwork to do. He was suffocated with this thought and thought for some trouble situation but in the end Gary completed and distributed complete minutes to customers and team.
During the design view, Gary planned to make first verification mix but unfortunately manufacturing department was a week behind according to schedule. Gary called up a meeting saying the production department to reschedule the mix. After freaking out production manager, engineering integration and Gary decided to go for overtime of workers for the next two days. At the end of seventh month and rolling of eighth, decision making process becomes slow and Gary felt difficult in motivating his team. Moreover, the budget has expanded already. In this respect, Gary approached Elliot Grey and Grey agreed to give additional corporate funding to Gary in order to complete the project.
During the last month and at the final stage, when results were coming back from the accelerated aging tests on new materials, it has been indicated that new materials will meet the specifications but their age would be no more than five years. This gives shock to Gary and planned a conference with Paul Evans. The both tackled the problem by agreeing on the decision of not telling this to anybody, especially Gable as Gary took all the responsibility.
Who are the key stakeholders in the project? Briefly discuss the communication management issues with the major stakeholders.
In the project, the key stakeholders are- Parks Corporation (Company), Lord Industries (customer), Henry Gable (director of engineering) and his team, Gary Anderson, Paul Evans, functional department, production manager and the whole department, testing engineer, engineering team, Elliot Grey, Paul Evans, functional manager and all the employees of the Parks Corporation.
Communication management plan in project management is very important and essential in order to ensure effective communication during the course of the project. Having a communication plan in action is essential for good project management. It includes assurance of communicating effectively with all the key stakeholders. Communication can prove to be a better way to solve problems, deal with risks and also ensure timely completion of tasks. Effective and successful communication plan identify the stakeholders of the company and structures the information to be communicated along with how it will be communicated.
(Office of Project Management Process Improvement, 2007; Education, 2014; Suffolk Care Collaborative, 2015). It is evident from the case that, there were lots of communication management issues in the Blue spider program. Because there were too many responsibilities on Gary, he lacks communication in almost every stage and every activity related to the program. Not only Gary, there were others also who were responsible for poor communication throughout the program. Gary was not clear with his duties of a project manager and he miserably failed to effectively communicate with his customer (Lord Industries) and thus it results in poor communication.
There was no particular evidence for the project meeting taking place in the company including all the stakeholders. Because of this poor communication, Lord Industries questioned the integrity of Parks Corporation and asked for written communication of every activity between them. Different functional organizations of the company have no clear understanding of relationships between each other which has created communication problems between functional managers, departments, Anderson and other team members.
Because of poor communication, the team lack quick responses and decision making. At times Gable was not available when he was needed which is a clear sign of poor communication. Moreover Gary didn’t tell the problem of reduced life cycle and decide not to escalate this to Gable as he took over all the responsibilities. This have created communication gap and its consequences would have to be bored by Gary himself as he was reassigned with the position of an engineer rather than being a project manager.
Was the selection of project manager right for the project? Was he qualified to be a project manager- rationale your answer?
The selection of project manager was not right for the project as Gary is a person who is expert in engineering and didn’t possess the qualities of a project manager. Because of which the Blue spider project was a great failure and the main reason behind this is the incompetency and failure to possess managing skills by Gary Anderson. The responsibility of project management is intricate and it requires advanced knowledge and years of experience. Well Gary has knowledge and holds an MBA degree but it is not sufficient for the post of project manager as because it requires more advanced knowledge and experience.
Moreover Gary lacks experience particularly in this area. Just technically sound will not favor him as an efficient project manager. It is evident form the case that there are many instances where it can be seen that it’s not a suitable job for Gary as he committed some errors for the whole project. He lacks skills and experience along with misaligned goals. He focused too much on R&D or administrative functions by totally neglecting the other key important areas getting affected. It created financial errors, he didn’t plan for alternative plan of action which is must and lacks effective communication skills which is the most prominent in the area of project management.
What happens when a situation of mistrust occurs between the customer and the contractor? Discuss the issue with respect to the project.
When a situation of mistrust occurs between a contractor and the customer then it turns out to be a worst situation. The result of this situation can have a negative impact on the project. The customer loses faith and started becoming defensive and abrasive. When this situation arises customer becomes highly involved in all the operations, they want be updated regularly from each and every activity, they need written proves for that and the number of meeting keeps on increasing and also customers continuously ask for the reporting sessions which includes demonstrating and informing the current status of the project. Some of the events such as more interchange meetings, customer representation on sites and more documentation take place in case when mistrust occurs. It leads to postponed meetings leading to time delay and a lot of paperwork. (Kerzner & Kerzner, 2017; Scheessele, 2012) .
It is evident from the case when Lord Industries have some trust issues with Parks Corporation, then the customer was much more involved with the activities of the contractor. They asked to get involved in the project and to be onsite where the tasks are being done. This will lead to delays in project and can increase the project cost because now the customer is paying to people to do such things which is not required by the way. Also it can lead to decreased morale of employees as they feel that they are not doing a good job and need to be micromanaged. Decreased morale can further result in losing the contract or delivering diminished quality of products. (Kerzner, 2017).
Justify the choice of Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contract for the project. What other type of contract they could have chosen, and why?
FFP stands for Firm Fixed Price contract which is a type of fixed price contract. It is a contract in which buyer or purchaser pays a specific or fixed amount to the seller and this amount will not subject to flicker or vary in any circumstances as agreed in the terms of contract. Circumstances of unexpected cost rise or inflation or some other situation will not allow the seller to ask for more funds from the purchaser. Surplus cost has to be bored by the seller. It is profitable for the buyer but for seller it is profitable as well as dangerous. Because the buyer knows the fixed amount of the project and it will not change in any situation whether the project is delayed or there is increase in direct or indirect costs.
The cost will remain constant for the buyer. Well to the seller it is profitable as it allows the seller to charge higher base fee and also sets the actual cost of the project within which the project has to be completed by hook or by crook. But it’s dangerous as the unexpected costs and surplus costs have to be bored by the seller. (Project Management Knowledge, 2017; Grzesiak, 2017; Project Management Questions, 2017). Well the choice of FFP contract was fruitful and justified for Lord Industries but turns out to be dangerous for Parks Corporation because of the same above mentioned reasons.
There are three types of contract- fixed price, cost reimbursable contract and time and materials. The other type of contract they could have chosen can be Cost Reimbursable Contract where the cost is being bored by the buyer and seller is reimbursed for the cost of completed work along with fee as its profit. At times this cost is paid if seller exceeds the objective of the project. The main advantage of this type is that the buyer is responsible to bear all the cost thus the risk gets transferred on to customer automatically.
It is good for customer as the seller is free from risk and all the burden and can result in timely completion of project along with minimum cost possible. It is ideal for seller as they can make profits and also they don’t have to bear any risk. Cost Reimbursable Contract is of four types out of which the best because in this type of contract not only costs is being reimbursed but an incentive fee is also given based on the achievement of certain performance objectives stated in the contract. It is calculated on the basis of agreed predetermined formula (Usmani, 2013; Lowden & Thornton, 2015).
“The truth doesn’t always win proposals”. Was it a right approach? Discuss the ethical issues in different phases of the project.
No the approach was not right from my point of view. Firstly it was completely unethical on the part of Gable to think likeways and to induce Gary for the same is considered as the act of dominating the employee for bad reasons. Being a director of engineering, Henry Gable should not censor bad new or promote unethical ways to conduct business. Because of this, many projects will suffer and can get affected. IT is a proven fact that things may not go similar in every situation and the customer will came to know about it anyhow.
The act of withholding the information is like giving an invitation to trouble. Customer will come to know about the fraud eventually and by that time one you will alter your image along with the company’s reputation and relationship with customer will also get affected. The best alternative to this situation to inform the truth to the customer and then propose abets solution. If it is a big issue than it need to be confronted as soon as possible so that there is no more wastage of time, money and effort. It is better to give bad news rather than cover it up because one may not know the results of honesty (Chelst & Canbolat, 2011; Kerzner, 2004; Aschwanden, 2012).
Ethical issues were present in the case at the time of proposal preparation and in the ninth month where testing was going on. During the preparation of proposal, Henry Gable was unethical but somehow wins the proposal. This was completely unethical for Gary but he had to accept it as he had no choice but to leave the position as “Project Manager”. Another instance of unethical issue in the company was in the ninth month, when the results of test on new materials were shocking for Gary. At that time he decides not telling the truth to anyone especially Gable as Gary took all the responsibility related to the Blue Spider project.
Complete your evaluation of project management for this project, and calculate the average rating using the following grid and justify your score. (5 marks)
Excellent=5; Very good= 4; Good=3, Poor=2, very poor =1
Resource management (human resource)
Contract and procurement management
In the evaluation of project management, the blue spider project fails miserably as the calculated results shows highest average of 2.75 rating which is pathetically low. In scope management, the project has scored an average of 2.5 as there were no set goals and objectives about what to accomplish. There was no proper plan which can show how to accomplish blue spider project. Project has scored 2.75 in time management as it is evident in the case that manufacturing department was a week behind in design phase; also there was no systematic scheduling and activities were not prioritized because of which the project got delayed. Project has scored 3.5 in resource management .
which is low as the human resource were not aware about the changes in the plan and at some point they felt de-motivated and were forced to modify themselves because of such situational crisis. Project scored the lowest in communication management i.e. 1.5 as many things gone wrong which is the result of poor communication between the employees and lack of understanding between the functional departments. In Stakeholder management, project has scored 2.25 as the key stakeholders in the project were not aware about what is going on and what the status of the project is. In risk management, the project has scored 2.75.
At times risk was managed efficiently but afterwards in order to manage risk, Gary and other employees started taking unethical measures which is not correct from the perspective of utilitarian approach of ethics. The project has scored 2.25 in contract management as they stick to the decision that surplus cost will be bored by Park Corporations but they violated the contract by hiding the age lifecycle of the new materials being tested afterwards.
After critically analyzing the report, it has been concluded that blue spider project could have been a great success but because of the wrong choice of project manager and poor practices in the company leads to the downfall of blue spider. It has been concluded that risk management in the project was good in the initial times but gets fade with the passage of time and the employees as well as the project manager started adopting unethical means to manage risks. There was poor communication that leads to delayed project completion; confusions and.
it also hamper the development and progress of team. It is also concluded that there were unexpected changes in the plans which is the main reason behind exceeding the preset cost structure. It is also concluded that the selection of project manager should be done on the basis of knowledge and experience a person possess not on the basis of just being a wonderful engineer. There was clarity in roles and responsibilities and also ethical issues were present at the time of proposal preparation and testing stage which could have been avoided if Gable and Gary both realize the importance of their designation.
It is recommended that upper management should get themselves involve in solving the confusing which exists in completion of a project. The project team should design an alternative plan of action if case if anything goes wrong. Functional department should understand the relationship between each other which will facilitate effective communication and establish clear roles and responsibilities. Project managers should be hired after it’s proven that they posses necessary skills, knowledge and experience to be a project manager followed by an induction program. There should proper scheduling of each and every activity followed by prioritizing the important tasks so that project will always be on time. It is especially recommended that, not to opt for unethical choices rather tell the truth well in advance and then propose an alternative solution for the same.
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Chelst, K. & Canbolat, Y. B., 2011. Value-Added Decision Making for Managers. s.l.:CRC Press.
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Suffolk Care Collaborative, 2015. Communicaiton Management Plan, New York: s.n.
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Watt, A., 2017. The Project Life Cycle (Phases). [Online] Available at: https://opentextbc.ca/projectmanagement/chapter/chapter-3-the-project-life-cycle-phases-project-management/[Accessed 3 June 2017].
Wrike, 2017. Project Management Guide. [Online] Available at: https://www.wrike.com/project-management-guide/faq/what-is-risk-management-in-project-management/[Accessed 3 June 2017].
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