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BUSM4611 Business Project Management

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Question:

Tasks
You are required to work on a supplied project and answer some specific questions, and submit the project appraisal report. You should discuss each question logically by using multiple references from academic journals and books. The purpose of project management is to achieve a successful project. Some of the answers are matters of opinion and you will need to study literature for ways to approach them. To support your answer, you can take help from project management books, PMBOK, peer reviewed journal articles and authenticated sources.
 
1. “The truth doesn’t always win proposals”. Was it a write approach? Discuss the ethical issues in different phases of the project.
2. How did the project team handle risks at different phases of project life cycle? Discuss.
3. Who are the key stakeholders in the project? Briefly discuss the communication management issues with the major stakeholders.
4. Was the selection of project manager right for the project? Was he qualified to be a project managerrationale your answer?
5. What happens when a situation of mistrust occurs between the customer and the contractor? Discuss the issue with respect to the project.
6. Justify the choice of Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contract for the project. What other type of contract they could have chosen, and why?
7. Complete your evaluation of project management for this project, and calculate the average rating using the following grid and justify your score.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Project management is concerned with organising, planning, leading and controlling of organisation resources for short-term objectives that are advanced to accomplish particular objectives and goals (Kerzner, and Kerzner, 2017). Accordingly, project management brings together different teams to see to that they work in unison to realise a given agenda. Project are usually accomplished within a specified timeframe, restricted budget, and it has to meet the customer’s needs and wants accordingly (Verzuh, 2015). Therefore, the core objective of the project is to provide deliverables which have to be measurable, and tangible outcomes which come at the end of the project lifecycle. Certainly, for effective project delivery, it has to be led by a project manager with technical skills (Loufrani-Fedida, and Missonier, 2015, p. 1220). Indeed, a good project manager is supposed to have exceptional knowledge and skills regarding organisational behaviour, human behaviour, interpersonal communication and relationships. With references to Parks Company, it is a firm which developed into a big electronics and structural design enterprise in the boom period of the late 1950s and dawn of 1960s when there were veracious contracts of Department of Defence (DoD).

Nevertheless, during the downturn period Parks Company had to lay off a large portion of its employees and decided to venture out in the Research and development business by trading at low-cost manufacture. Later on, in 1975, the company transformed its stratagem due to a novel evaluation that wanted to award contracts to successful R&D companies. Therefore, Parks Company ventures in the new strategy to improve its R&D engineering workforce and even lure some of its rival’s labour force by introducing a new salary program and job upgrade. Consequently, with all the necessary preparations in place, Parks Company started to fight for the first phase of the Blue Spider Project which was an R&D project that wanted to improve the structural capability of the Spartan missile. Certainly, Parks Company developed an interest in the project since this project could result in approximately $500 million program distribution in the next twenty years. As a result, the top leadership for Parks Corporation never wanted to lose such a lucrative chance which even makes it risk it reputation by falsifying the technical requirements to win the bid to win access into the business. Indeed, Parks Company decided to bid for the first phase of the Blue Spider project since Lord Industries was the key contractor for the Army’s Spartan Program. The target of the project was to enhance the structural abilities and lifespan of the short-range strategic missile which had shown fatigues failure with less time in the field. Therefore, the procedure for choosing a subcontractor was built on the low proposal in addition to practical control performance (Binder, 2016). Certainly, Park Corporation that it had the upper hand over many of the contestants since it had worked on many successful projects for Lord Industries. For that reason, the proposal submitted by Parks Company is accepted, and it is officially declared that the Blue Spider project is given to Parks. In light of this statement, this paper discusses the approaches undertaken by Parks Company to win the Blue Spider project, the ethical issues in different project stages, risk management, communication management, the role of a stakeholder in Blue Spider Program and then provide a recommendation.

 

Project Appraisal/Body

The greatest challenge experienced in the Blue Spider Program begins with the duties and responsibility clarity illustrated by both the project supervisor and the project team. From the start of the project selection criteria used in selecting the project leader is established on expectations that a virtuous fabrication engineer can as well as be a great project director. Certainly, this shows the absence of good organisation since Gary has never had the opportunity to work as a project manager and he is given the position of a project administrator (Zamyatina, and Mozgaleva, 2014, p. 114). This was placing Gary a risky position not only to his career and the project. It is unfortunate that Gary is awarded the chance to be the project manager due to his exceptional background in R&D, but the truth of the matter is that he does not have the necessary knowledge and skills to manage a project. Therefore, the technical base of the project cannot be realised since Gary does not have any expertise of a project manager.

On the same note, the functional manager of Parks Corporation is poorly organised in the sense that Henry Gable, the instructor of production select Gary as the project director minus doing any discussing with the program management administrator. In this sense, the project management guidelines have been breached. Henry Gable picks on Gary Anderson because of his gains (Pemsel, Müller, and Söderlund, 2016, p. 649). Gable set his standards for the proposal and select Gary as the project manager even though he knows very well that he does not have any knowledge and experience in project management to his advantage. Similarly, the integrity of Henry Gable is questionable because Gary Anderson technical expert states that there were problems regarding realising certain project specifications. Nevertheless, Henry Gable responds by saying “The truth does not always win proposals”. Ultimately, this is a behavioural leadership problem which is also a dysfunctional behaviour.

Also, even though Gary Anderson is a wonderful production engineer as well as a high-ranking scientist, he does not have any appropriate experience regarding project management to act in the capacity of a project manager on a crucial project like Blue Spider Project. Similarly, even though Parks Corporations had claimed to be in possession of the Matrix structure on the ground, it was not completely operational in this project. Henry Gable takes advantage of his position to intimidate Gary with underlying threats of unable to succeed. Since the beginning of the project, Gary is worried about the test matrix asked in the technical part of the proposal since it cannot deliver the required outcomes. Consequently, this could satisfy the project requirements. Unfortunately, Gary does not raise any concern to escalate the problem.              

How the project team handled risk at different phases of the project life cycle 

Parks Company is not in a position to diligently handle the risk that arises in the project from the beginning. This is shown when Gary Anderson openly tell Henry Gable that it would not be possible to meet the matrix specifications. The approach used by Parks Company when proposing a bid to Blue Spider Project does not follow the required portfolio. Thus, the project is crept starting from tendering issued by the department of defence (DoD). Also, the top leadership is not seen to take active participation to prioritise the project. There is no organised communication plan, lack of priority, the absence of schedule as well as weak coordination between Parks Corporation departments (De Carvalho, Patah, and de Souza Bido, 2015, p. 1511). Indeed, all these instances reveal the lack of preparedness regarding risk management.   

The major participants in Blue Spider project include the customer (Lords Industries), the Project Manager (Gary Anderson), leading project engineer (Paul Evans) and the development team.

 

The communication management issues with the major stakeholders 

The communication process between Gary who is the project director, member of the project team and the customer (Lord Industries) is extremely poor. Indeed, Gary finds it challenging such that instead of performing the task of a project manager he take the project upon himself by doing all the work by himself (Heagney, 2016). Gray was not conversant with the duties and responsibilities of the project manager which is revealed with the absence of constant project meetings happening with project stakeholders both at internal and external level. On a similar note, Parks Company does not have a well-organised human resource management team to follow the procedure used by Henry gable to appoint Gary as the project manager (Huemann, 2016). Indeed, this is evident because no introduction takes place to introduce Gary as the project manager for the Parks Corporation.

Moreover, after Parks Corporation has won the proposal there was a very poor operational management to support in the delivery of the project (Miterev, Turner, and Mancini, 2017, p. 529). Instead of Gary acting as a project manager to control the way the project is conducted, he put much pressure to himself by overworking in attempt to deliver the project. Thus, he does not utilise his project team effectively because he is not in the position to uphold a stable balance between his technical duties and administrative responsibilities (Wu, Rivas, and Chen, 2017, pp. 4-5).

 On the other hand, Henry Gable is seen to be secretly instructing Paul Evans to test material which was not part of the initial project requirements. As a result, this creates mistrust between the operational departments within Parks Company and also lead to misuse of valuable resources since the testing of the material had been carried out for over two months. Making matters worse, due to poor communication between different departments within the company it results in mistrust between the company and the customer Lord Industries. Also, Henry Gable displays dysfunctional conduct whereby he is seen fronting different research using the customer’s finances without involving the project office or the client. Certainly, this escalates to the point that Lords Industries threatens to create a customer office within Parks Company. Consequently, this sends a bad impression to Parks Corporation indicating the lack of trust between the project manager and the customer. As a result of the many communication clashing happening between different departments of Parks Corporation, it is an indication of the existent of poor communication supervision process.              

Was the selection of a project manager right for the project? 

In accordance with the selection process taken by Henry Gable to choose the project manager was irrational. While Gary Anderson was a successful production engineer, this could qualify him to become a project manager since he does not have any knowledge and skills regarding project management (Ramazani, and Jergeas, 2015, p. 44). Indeed, Gary was not a qualified project manager because he was trained as a project manager but as a production engineer. Certainly, this is displayed through his lack of integrity where he does not express integrity by escalating the problem of lack of the matrix structure in place to the customer. Also, he is not a good communicator since instead of taking the role of a controlling the project he piles the pressure to himself by working on every task.   

In the case of mistrust between the customer and the contractor, in most cases, the customer raises the demand for a constant update and also place strict control of the practices carried out by the contractor.  For instance, as a result of mistrust in the case Blue Spider project, which whose source was a failure on the side of Parks Company information update to the customer, mistrust develops between Lords Industries and Parks Corporation. Therefore, because of the development of mistrust, it leads to Lords constructing its customer project office within Parks Company. Additionally, it increases the rate of information update from one a month to weekly basis. Moreover, Lords Industries go a step further by asking Parks Corporation for an in-depth and advanced communication regarding transformations in the project and progression updates. Consequently, many companies often place stricter compliance rules due to mistrust and in case of constant failure of similar incidents, it can result in cancellation of the project agreement.

 

Justify the choice of Firm Fixed Price (FFP) contract for the project. What another type of contract could they have chosen and why?

A firm-fixed-price (FFP) convention offers a value which is not subject to any alterations since it is established on the service provider cost knowledge in undertaking the indenture. Therefore, this type of contract allows the contractor to shoulder all risks and place all cost responsibilities regarding loss or profits (Callaway, Hastings, and Moeller, 2018, p. 3). Certainly, this allows the contractor extensive incentive to regulate the expense of performing a given project. Also, this allows the contractor to effectively manage the project by placing minimal managerial power upon the contracting parties. Therefore, in the case of Blue Spider project firm-fixed-price is appropriate to Lords Industries because as a customer the project risk is shifted to Parks Corporation as the service provider. The other type of contract that Lords Industries could have chosen include fixed-price incentive fee contract (FPIF). This type of contract has got some flexibility built within the contract whereby the flexibility is realised by financial incentives (Miterev, Mancini, and Turner, 2017, p. 481). Thus, the seller and the buyer agree on the financial incentive criteria to be established as part of the agreement. The seller is entitled to the agreed upon incentive when they realise or exceed the established performance procedure (Kerkhove, and Vanhoucke, 2016, p. 97). On the other hand, a penalty is imposed on the seller in case the seller is not in a position to realise the established performance process. In the case of Blue Spider project, this contract type could be effective in the sense that it will have forced Parks Corporation to work to ensure that it meets the performance criteria.         

Evaluation of project management

 

Initial stage (%)

Planning stage (%)

Implementation stage (%)

Closeout stage (%)

Average (%)

Scope Management

 30

20

20

20

22.5

Time Management

20

20

20

20

20

Resource Management

50

20

20

20

27.5

Communication Management

20

10

10

10

12.5

Stakeholder management

20

40

25

25

27.5

Risk management

20

20

10

10

15

Contract and procurement management

50

50

50

50

50

Lessons learned from this project 

Based on the case of Blue Spider project I was able to learn several lessons such as:

For any successful project, it calls for a well-trained and highly experience project manager (Ekrot, Kock, and Gemünden, 2016, p. 146). The responsibility of the project manager is to control the project activities and not to pill pressure to himself the way Gary was doing.

Communication is paramount in project management. Consequently, due to poor communication, it leads to conflict happening among Parks departments which results in mistrust. Such instance negatively impacts on the reputation of the company.

Involvement of stakeholders in all stages of project management. As a result of Gable failure to involve stakeholders in selecting of the project manager, it leads to picking on an ineffective project manager who leads to Blue Spider facing numerous challenges.

 

Recommendation 

Regarding the case Blue Spider project Parks Company should source for project managers who have known skills in managing a successful project. Consequently, the hiring of engineers who do not have knowledge and skills in management to avoid compromising the effectiveness of the project and tarnishing the company’s name (Larson, and Gray, 2015).  

Parallel managerial commands interfere with the control of the project manager hence compromising the efficiency of the project because of multiple centres of power. Clashing instructions from project management results in confusion and paralysing of project operations. Therefore, to avoid such cases, it is important to have a clear administrative chain in future projects with well-established duties and responsibilities of project team members (Muller, 2017).

Project planning is important. Gary was so much involved with one task which led to the loss of time for other tasks. He should have put in place a fixed plan with some slack time for every task. Gary should also have delegated other tasks to other project teams with expertise in the filed instead of working on all task. It is important to put in place a suitable project schedule and allowance for changes to these schedules to make sure there are flexibility and adaptability to unexpected adjustments.

A successful project is built on effective communication. In most occasions, Gary was unable to keep his project team informed regarding the performance of the project and only approached them when faced with problems. The lack of communication is the main reason for the cause of conflict and mistrust between Lords Industries and Parks Company.

 

Bibliography

Binder, J., 2016. Global project management: communication, collaboration and management across borders. Routledge.

Binder, J., 2016. Global project management: communication, collaboration and management across borders. Routledge.

Callaway, M., Hastings, S. and Moeller, A., 2018, March. Applicability of fixed-price contracts for successful cost control. In 2018 IEEE Aerospace Conference (pp. 1-16). IEEE.

De Carvalho, M.M., Patah, L.A. and de Souza Bido, D., 2015. Project management and its effects on project success: Cross-country and cross-industry comparisons. International Journal of Project Management, 33(7), pp.1509-1522.

Ekrot, B., Kock, A. and Gemünden, H.G., 2016. Retaining project management competence-Antecedents and consequences. International Journal of Project Management, 34(2), pp.145-157.

Heagney, J., 2016. Fundamentals of project management. Amacom.

Huemann, M., 2016. Human resource management in the project-oriented organization: towards a viable system for project personnel. Routledge.

Kerkhove, L.P. and Vanhoucke, M., 2016. Incentive contract design for projects: The owner? s perspective. Omega, 62, pp.93-114.

Kerzner, H. and Kerzner, H.R., 2017. Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.

Larson, E.W. and Gray, C.F., 2015. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: PMBOK (®) Guide. Project Management Institute.

Loufrani-Fedida, S. and Missonier, S., 2015. The project manager cannot be a hero anymore! Understanding critical competencies in project-based organizations from a multilevel approach. International Journal of Project Management, 33(6), pp.1220-1235.

Miterev, M., Mancini, M. and Turner, R., 2017. Towards a design for the project-based organization. International Journal of Project Management, 35(3), pp.479-491.

Miterev, M., Turner, J.R. and Mancini, M., 2017. The organization design perspective on the project-based organization: a structured review. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 10(3), pp.527-549.

Muller, R., 2017. Project governance. Routledge.

Pemsel, S., Müller, R. and Söderlund, J., 2016. Knowledge governance strategies in project-based organizations. Long Range Planning, 49(6), pp.648-660.

Ramazani, J. and Jergeas, G., 2015. Project managers and the journey from good to great: The benefits of investment in project management training and education. International Journal of Project Management, 33(1), pp.41-52.

Verzuh, E., 2015. The fast forward MBA in project management. John Wiley & Sons.

Wu, W.Y., Rivas, A.A. and Chen, Y.C., 2017. The role of team reflexivity as a mediator between project management skills, task familiarity, procedural justice, and product performance. Journal of Management & Organization, pp.1-20.

Zamyatina, O.M. and Mozgaleva, P.I., 2014, April. Competence component of the project-oriented training of elite engineering specialists. In Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 2014 IEEE (pp. 114-118). IEEE.

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