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Project Scope

Question:

Discuss about the Implementation Risks in Investment Projects.

A project is a temporary endeavor with a definite beginning and end, organized into various activities with the aim of delivering a specified product or achieving a change never experienced before. Project development entails initiation, planning, executing, closing and costing of the intended project. This project involves upgrading the technology used in the parcel post company, such as the use of RFID tags and readers to replace barcodes. This is to enhance the visibility of packages during transit and ensure that they reach their destination without loss or damage (Batkovsky et al., 2016).

The project scope is the part of project planning that entails defining and documenting the project’s specific goals and objectives, tasks, expenses, deliverables, and the deadline. The main objective of this project is to increase the discernibility of the parcels while in transit for both the client and the parcel post company. This will decrease the chances of losing customer packages, as well as increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the services provided. This will be achieved by the use of Radio-frequency Identification (RFID), which will identify and track tags attached to the containers. In my opinion, active tags should be used since they can operate hundreds of meters away from the RFID reader and use a local power supply such as a battery. Also, there is a need for the development of sensors to be fitted onto the trucks to recognize which containers are loaded. Outsourcing of services is a requirement for the development of software, which will detect which parcel is in which container and in which truck the latter is loaded.

These new developments will bring the need for customer training on how to use the software to track their own packages. Before outsourcing the software development services, it is important to find out about the credibility of the outsourcer and ensure that the contract is in written form and signed. The company should involve its lawyer in all these activities to make the agreement binding and the action lawful. The integrity of the Chinese supplier should also be thoroughly assessed before any further actions can be taken. Moreover, the truck drivers should be informed about the RFID tags and strictly warned against tampering with them.

It is crucial for me as the asset manager to work very closely with the business analysts, the project manager, and the outsourcer in order to do an excellent job in the instigation, planning, implementation, and closing of the project. The project manager brings together a team and oversees the overall planning and execution by developing schedules, estimating cost and time, analyzing and managing risks, as well as making other essential decisions concerning the project. My responsibilities include managing, maintaining, upgrading, receiving, and dispatching assets from the post, while the business analysts ensure that the final product or solution meets the business’ needs. He or she is involved in the project’s initiation to determine the company’s requirements, breaks down those requirements by analyzing the budget and costs involved and presenting these to the stakeholders for approval, document the proposed changes, ensure that all errors made during implementation are documented for future references, and monitor the new system for any hitches. For the project team to work together, it is incredibly important for all the parties to have good communication skills to ensure that everyone clearly understands the business’ requirements and agrees upon how the project’s goals will be met (Gurd, & Helliar, 2017).

  • Electrical failures would lead to huge losses; Therefore, the company should curb this by ensuring the availability of a well-functioning generator throughout the system
  • The occurrence of chaos is a possibility if some clients are impatient to receive their products, and thus, may cause a disturbance to the truck drivers during transportation.

Use of RFID Tags and Sensors in the Project

The first option to be undertaken for this project should be the fitting of RFID tags. This is because through their roles of identification and tracking of the containers, it is possible to distinguish in which truck they are located. Since the trucks have already been fitted with GPS tracking devices, the current location of both the container and the van can, therefore, be located. Also, simply purchasing the FRID tags and fixing them to the containers, in my belief, is cheaper than the development of the intended software.

The company should then proceed to outsource the development of software to determine the parcels in each container. As my assumption, these two advancements would make work easier, avoid wastage of time while sorting out the packages, and reduce confusion and mix-up. The final step for the organization to take should be fitting sensors to the trucks to classify which containers each of them contains and the number of containers. The developer should also ensure that the system operates proficiently and without any glitches.

It is the project deliverable that classifies the team’s work into different manageable segments. This can be done by using the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), which is one of the most popular methodologies in project management. In this project, the major deliverables to be achieved are the attachment of RFID tags to the containers, developing sensors and fitting them to the trucks, and the development of software to identify which parcels are contained in each container and which containers are loaded to which truck.

An analysis of the Chinese supplier’s work should be done to find out if their products are original and effective. The fact that the project is not time-critical offers a sufficient period to carry out a short-time research on this vendor. If the seller is trustworthy, then the next step would be to negotiate the quoted price to keep it within the company’s budget. Suppose this is also successful, then the purchase would be made and the RFID tags attached to the containers by professionals who would make sure that the RFID system is operating competently.


This would be carried out by an outsourcer, and the sensors would be responsible for detecting the presence or absence of the containers in the courier vans at the depot. The sensors’ monitors would immediately send a message to my work station whenever there is a change in load or when it has been damaged. Professionals should be hired by the company’s management to fix the sensors into the courier vans to ensure the operative transfer of information from the sensors in the future.

Outsourcing Services

Being the first time for the company to outsource any services to an external supplier, regulatory measures should be taken into consideration. The organization should also seek information on the reliability of the outsourcer and the fitness of their skills. After identifying the appropriate company or independent contractor to outsource these services to, the project manager should explain to them the exact requirements of the company regarding the software.

The outsourcer would be the right individual to integrate the newly developed software into the organization’s operations as he or she would have the details about their specific creation that other professionals may find hard to recognize. The business analysts should then carry out a thorough analysis of the software to find out if it meets and will continue to meet the specific business requirements in the future. Their decision would then lead to the implementation of the software into the day-to-day activities of the company.

The total cost of the whole process would be equated to the estimated costs (budget) laid out previously by the project manager. The most critical aspect of this project is to ensure that the implemented system is working excellently. This could lead to incurring costs above the set budget; however, the company would consequently cover these costs due to increased client base from increased efficiency and waning of the number of parcels lost in transit. It is also a benefit to the organization that the owners of the 40 trucks will take care of the purchase and the maintenance of devices fitted to them.

Technical risk

External

Organizational

Project

·       Inappropriate presentation  

·       Real-time performance

·       RFID disruption

·       RFID reader collision

·       RFID failure                           

·       Accidents     

·       economic conditions

·       legislation

·       power blackouts

·       political change                                                    

·     Theft 

·     deceit 

·     data loss 

·     financial risk

·     Reputational risk                                        

·         Cost management

·         Complications

·         Lack of executive support

·         change in scope

·         resigning

  • Inappropriate presentation: being the very first time the company is outsourcing IT services, it is very likely to hire a vendor with no concrete expertise leading to failure of the project
  • Real-time performance: the software may not function as is expected and may produce untimely results
  • Disruption of active RFID tags is easy via continuous interrogation wearing the battery down
  • RFID reader collision: the fact that the tags will be fitted into all 10 thousand containers means that the probability of readers ramming is very high
  • RFID failure: both the RFID reader and the database that stores information are prone to system letdowns.

These risks are unlikely to occur unless the company outsources the IT services to an untrustworthy vendor. Their consequences would, however, cause a lot of losses and lead to the failure of the project. Technical risks are therefore intolerable in this situation as they have negative effects both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Accidents: the courier vans may be involved in accidents during transit causing damage or loss of the packages

Power blackouts: in that few minutes or seconds before the generator or other power supply is turned on, some data could have been lost or parcels stolen

Economic conditions: if the country’s economic situation changes during any stage of the project development, it would lead to an unintended variation in the company’s plans

Political change: this would negatively or positively affect the operations of the organization, yet it does not have control over this factor

Responsibilities of the Project Development Team

Government legislation: if the government changed its terms of regulating parcel post companies, then this project establishment would definitely be affected

These are risks that are beyond the control of the corporation and are rare due to the fact that factors such as the economic and political conditions of a country do not change very often. The organization can only accept such changes and adapt them into their operation.

Theft: outsourcing of IT services to an untrustworthy outsourcer could lead to loss of some parcels in the future by externally altering the data in the system

Data loss: a dishonest vendor can destroy or delete the data contained in the company’s system causing losses

Deceit: it is possible for the FRID supplier from China to supply fake FRID tags

Reputational risk: the organization could lose its good reputation if the outsourced software failed, leading to loss of customers’ packages

Financial risk: outsourcing services to an unknown vendor and accepting supplies from a foreign seller exposes the company’s finances to possible loss due to the uncertainty of the outcomes of those actions


The occurrence of organizational risks is unlikely in this case because the company had planned for this development earlier on. There occurrence would, however, affect the company qualitatively, for example lack of enough resources would lead to development of a less competent software. They are tolerable as long as the organization puts measures in place to come up with more resources for use.

  • Cost management: this is a challenge as the project manager and the business analysts strive to meet the objectives of the project within the limited budget. This could lead to a huge loss in cash
  • Executive support: lack of sufficient support by the company’s senior management would put a lot of pressure on me and the project manager, and this could possibly lead to the project’s failure
  • Change in scope: in IT projects, this is a common occurrence no matter how detailed the project’s scope. The stakeholders may come up with new suggestions in mid-project which need consideration (Osei-Kyei et al., 2017).
  • Unforeseen complications may arise and cause the team to go behind the schedule
  • Resigning of a key project team member: this causes a rearrangement of the entire team and unavailability of a suitable person could lead to project failure

Project risks are also rare in this venture because the management of the company is determined to support it and the key players are excited about it therefore are unlikely to withdraw. The magnitude of this risk would be large and possibly lead to miscarriage of the project but they are tolerable and can be avoided by motivating the project team.

Transfer: one reason for outsourcing services to the third party is due to the dissemination of the risk. Failure in the functioning of the developed software would not only be handled by the organization, but by the outsourcer as well. Failure of the system is a huge risk since it can lead to loss of all data or leakage to the public. All possible measures should be undertaken to avoid RFID failure, such as ensuring the tags are attached superbly and the readers are kept in a safe place. However, it may not be possible to avoid system failure, which can occur as a result of unforeseen situations in which case it can be accepted (retention) and the loss dealt with appropriately.

External risks refer to the possibility of loss from situations in which an organization has no control over. There is no way for the organization to avoid these risks as their effects are wide ranged, that is, they affect all companies in the region.

Retention: the only way to cope with external risks is, therefore, acceptance by the company as quickly as possible so as to solve the problems appropriately and immediately when the situation changes.

Avoidance: these risks can be mostly avoided by being absolutely sure that the required services are outsourced from a known and trustworthy vendor (Olson, & Wu, 2017).

Reduction: the effects of these risks, for instance, financial risks can be decreased by making smart money decisions and budgeting for the upgrading appropriately

Conclusion

It is obvious that improved technology in the parcel post company would increase the rate at which work is done, and thus, the customer base as well. Development of software to discern the parcels in each container and the vessels in each truck is not an easy task, as observed. The company engages in outsourcing of these IT services, which could be very risky as company lacks any previous experience in outsourcing. Ensuring the credibility of the outsourcer and the RFID supplier is critical for success of this project development. In my opinion as the asset manager, this project is worth implementing as long as there is good risk management schemes put in place to mitigate or avoid risks that arise during the process.

References

Cole, S., Giné, X., & Vickery, J. (2017). How does risk management influence production decisions? Evidence from a field experiment. The Review of Financial Studies, 30(6), 1935-1970.

Gurd, B., & Helliar, C. (2017). Looking for leaders: ‘Balancing’ innovation, risk and management control systems. The British Accounting Review, 49 (1), 91-102.

Osei-Kyei, R., Osei-Kyei, R., Chan, A. P., & Chan, A. P. (2017). Perceptions of stakeholders on the critical success factors for operational management of public-private partnership projects. Facilities, 35 (1/2), 21-38.

Olson, D. L., & Wu, D. D. (2017). Enterprise Risk Management in Projects. In Enterprise Risk Management Models(pp. 161-173). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Batkovsky, A. M., Batkovsky, M. A., & Klochkov, V. V. (2016). Implementation Risks in Investment Projects on Boosting High-Tech Business Production Capacity: Analysis and Management. Journal of Applied Economic Sciences. Romania: European Research Centre of Managerial Studies in Business Administration, 11 (6), 44.

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