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FBLT040 Project Management

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Question:

Background

Camstruction are a company specialising in the construction of residential housing in the East of England. With revenues exceeding GBP £30 million in the Financial Year 2016/17 they have grown from a small company started by David Dunster in the 1980s to a major player in the region. The company are proud of their claim that 5% of houses built in the last 15 years in Cambridgeshire have been Camstruction homes and this compares favourably with the large national house builders such as Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey. However, David, who is still chairman of the company is concerned with the amount of quality issues the company is having as they have grown in size.
 
Having consulted his Managing Director Dylan James, it is clear that in the last 4 months 85 homes have been completed, of which 15 had quality issues flagged up by building control (A local government department) which were serious enough to prevent the houses being sold. A further 32 had issues reported by the residents after moving in, some requiring up to £40,000 of remedial work. The average selling price for a Camstruction house is £300,000. David has said this rate of problems has been increasing year on year and is affecting the ability for the company to grow, additionally, preventing a takeover bid from a large multinational 2 years ago due to their costs regarding fixing issues.
 
Dylan insists that the amount of rework they are doing is in-line with the industry average and showed a report from YouGov for Shelter that indicated that 51% of new home buyers reported issues with their homes.
 
Dylan referred to pressure from increasing supplier costs and the need to produce a certain amount of social housing in their developments for a fixed budget from government which isn’t keeping track with increasing costs. In addition, many overseas workers have been leaving the UK due to Brexit fears. However, David has insisted quality must be improved. You have been recruited by Mr Dylan James as Project Transformation Officer (PTO) with 4 months to research the quality issues at Camstruction and produce a white paper to be presented at the board’s quarterly meeting. You will be running your research as a project in its own right, utilising the help of consultants and have been given two secretaries to assist. Your research will involve travel for you and the consultants and associated costs.
 
Your report should cover a robust plan for quality improvement, on site and in the head office. This will involve new business processes, software and whatever else is deemed necessary to improve quality throughout the business. Dylan has left a copy of Project Management by Harvey Maylor on your desk on your first day, so assume your recommendations will need to be fully referenced.
 
Timescale
You have four months to deliver the report and plan the introduction of a new quality system for projects.
 
Budget
Your budget for this project is £300,000. This will cover all costs for new software, hardware, travel to meetings and consultants costs. The only costs this budget would not cover would be the salaries of any project managers seconded full or part-time to support you (if you choose to use them). They would draw their salaries exactly as usual from their unit which does not impact on your budget.
 
Staffing
Personnel allocated for your study are: two secretaries with a salary at £3000 p.c.m. (per calendar month) each, and two consultants at £750 per day each.
 
The implementation of the new Project Structure
The following is an outline plan for the project, which will be expected to be written up in a Gantt Chart:
Identification of best practices of Project Management Quality Delivery: you need to meet with all project managers of Camstruction to identify best practices and project weaknesses.
 
This should take no more than 20 working days. This should include information about current projects, measures to control processes, and current planning and evaluation techniques.
 
This should be followed by Detailed Analysis of Project Management practices (10 days) and Outline of improvement initiatives (10 days) – these activities can run at the same time in parallel. Then, as soon as the next activity; Detailed Description of the new Project Standards (10 days) is complete you could start Training Plan Design (5 days).
 
Proposal of Project changes should be discussed internally for 10 days and can be done in parallel with the two tasks above.
 
Depending on your requirements, you should create up to 10 more activities and/or milestones supporting the research, creation and training of a new project quality approach.
 
Presentation of final report is a final milestone. Please check for public holidays during the project duration. When asked about who works on what tasks the following information was handed over to you from the consultant’s quotation (the letters in brackets stand for: S1 and S2 = Secretaries, C1 and C2 = Consultants). Please note that these are only suggestions.
 
As Project Transformation Officer you can adapt this as necessary:
Identification of best practices of Project Management Communication (no more than 20 days) (PTO, C1, C2, S1) Detailed Analysis of Project Management quality practices (10 days) (PTO, C1, C2)
 
Outline of improvement initiatives (10 days) (PTO, C1, C2) Detailed Description of the new Project Standards (10 days) (PTO, C1, C2, S1, S2) Training Plan Design (5 days) (PTO, C1, C2) Proposal of Project changes (10 days) (PTO, C1, C2, S1, S2) ... [add more activities as required] Discussion of report with MD (PTO, C1, C2) Writing-up of final report (PTO, C1, C2, S1, S2) Presentation of final report (1 day)
 
In your role of the Chief Project Planning Manager you are required to develop a report (including academic references), structured along the following lines:
 
1. Critically evaluate the relationships between Time, Cost and Quality within Project Management. ?
2. What steps can be taken to improve the quality of the product provision at Camstruction?
3. What are the key strengths of a Quality Management Approach?
4. What are the key measures and tactics to implement a new approach that reduces the quality problems?
5. How will customers benefit from the new approach?
6. How will Camstruction become more competitive? There needs to be a critical, and reflective approach to the report, but as it is for the Company Chair, it needs focussed and direct advice with a clear plan for the business going forward.
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