Describe about the Project Communication and Risk Management for Former Organization.
Based on the case study, a deal was sanctioned between ACME Fabricators and Arbor Industries for developing a landscape project for the former organization at the chosen location in a semi-rural Angle Vale. The particular agreement between the two agencies was sealed with an agreed price range of $175,000, which represents a fixed price contract without the involvement of contingency amounts. However, the project was concluded three weeks before the scheduled time of delivery with Arbor experiencing an over budget amount for completing the project at 14.3%. it is determined by assessing the case study that the specific scenario was faced by Arbor due to the involvement of several project risks like heavy machineries or damages caused by the wild animals in the newly prepared and levelled lawn as part of the project construction site. The overall situation faced by the both parties critically signifies the questions regarding the involvement of a proper risk management plan in the right place for the landscaping project (Burke 2013). In order to investigate the answer, certain concepts related to the necessary elements of project risk management should need to be evaluated and discussed adequately.
Based on the suggestions obtained from Burke (2013), risk management plan is generally referred as the document representing some important set of methods for managing the key risks by assigning responsibilities to the people handling such risks. Apart from that, the effective involvement of the risk management plan is responsible for outlining the risks associated with budget, defining the categories of different risks, and recognising the probability and effects of the overall matrix. It is worth to mention that a planning activity is conducted after the accomplishment of other planning exercises like scopes, schedule, and communication associated with the identified project (Phillips 2013). Therefore, the efficacy of the planning activity depends on the identified factors involving the project management. The inherent risks of the project are assessed by conducting suitable examination of the mentioned variables. The development of an ideal risk management plan depends on analysing all activities of a certain project plan, where the project managers including the project team need to study the necessary baselines. In this case, cost, scopes, schedule, and quality of the projects are the integral parts of the subsidiary management of the specific project, as the investigation should need to be conducted by considering these indispensable factors. The next phase suggests the project charter requiring all high-level of information including the milestones, requirements, assumptions, and constraints of the project (Schwalbe 2015). After that, the project team must need to form a document containing the information such as the roles, interest, and levels associated with the project stakeholders influencing the overall context. Here, the project team of Arbor has developed its risk management plan based on its experiences related to the similar jobs formerly performed in the city sides. The management team did not think the need of a formal project management plan by relying mostly on their faulty knowledge and skills regarding the handling of a project. A formal project management plan relies heavily on the predefined steps, where the informal planning process only articulates some faint assumptions about the specific milestones, scopes, and costs associated with the identified job (Kerzner 2013). Therefore, it can be stated that the landscaping project initiated and engaged by Arbor was carried out without the involvement of a risk management plan in the proper place.
The particular project analysed within the case study is known to be a landscaping project requiring proper budget and beautification. The expected quality of the project depends profoundly on the level of similarity with the provided drawing on or before the tender stage. Therefore, the management or the project team is extensively required providing careful attention to each step and activities performed during the critical stages of the project. The process of landscaping is practiced by the individuals over the centuries, where countless ideas and concepts are generating over the time. In case of modern landscaping, the processes are developed for bringing key changes to an area of land by decorating or planting plants, terrain, and structures (Kendrick 2015). Hence, overflowing options are there in the landscaping project, where the specific case study provides priority on the softscape type. In order to promote a safe and risk-free environment for its staffs, ACME had developed an aim of creating a sustainable landscape and ensuring natural habitat.
Based on this particular understanding, it is substantiated that the particular category of project largely deals with different kinds of risks, which require proper classifications by the project team in a mean to handle and mitigate those professionally. Therefore, the necessary involvement of a risk management plan should be involved for structuring and controlling the performance of the project (Binder 2016). Based on the feedback provided by Haimes (2015), potential amount of threats and risks associated with the project is largely influenced by the activities of human population and changes in the respective climate. Considering such fact, the risk management aspect of the company must need to emphasise on assessment, measurement, and mitigation of the identified risks. The management is expected to conduct these processes by taking a wide range of values including the entire property, air and water quality, and biodiversity.
From the analysis, it is clear that the industrial risks are highly integrated with the specific type of project, where the project management team is needed to compose with a realistic workforce by determining the impacts of weather and uncertain delivery of the project materials. Hence, the risk management team should need to act from the beginning of the process due to identifying the certain kinds of project risks that are present in the particular job (Marchewka 2014). Based on the case study, both ACME and Arbor failed to develop a successful project based on the outlined developed initially. The failure of the project is critically caused by the frequent unawareness of the managers from the certain project team regarding the big hammers that were about to hit in different stages of completion process. One of the most common incidents related to this particular nature of projects is that someone from the team or the organization actually knew about the challenges, but did not inform the project manager about its possible occurrence. Therefore, the certain risk is significantly observed in the communication associated with the multiple stages of project management (Hwang and Ng 2013). Managers must need to pay due attention for classifying the individuals risks and promote a well-desired delivery of the project outcomes.
From the analysis of the provided case study, it is clear that difficulties and inefficacies in the communication are largely responsible for downsizing the actual outcomes of the project. Kendrick (2015) has signified the importance of communication in managing and developing a project appropriately in line with the previously set targets and expectations. The inefficiencies involving in the communication ultimately lead to the inadequate responses to the identified risks occurring during the different parts of project. For not only this project, but every project requires the involvement of proper strategies for formulating and shaping up the responses according to the particular risks encounter in different environments. Risks usually carry a negative connotation with the outcomes and activities of the project; where there are positive risks found in the project as well (Verzuh 2015). The overall concern should need to be provided to the negative risks affecting the configuration of useful responses by the project team. The uncertain events are mostly accounted for such impacts impinging on the project objectives largely as acknowledged by the case study.
From the application of landscaping project, the responses according to the risk events can be categorised in two different categories, such as threats and opportunities, as opined by Cooke (2016). The key responses like avoiding, transferring, reducing, accepting, and contingency significantly influence the emergence of threats to a project. Alternatively, sharing, exploiting, enhancing, and rejecting are the certain types of response adequately provide opportunity to the similar project (Alhawari et al. 2012).
Risk responses causing Threats – As mentioned earlier, avoid, transfer, reduce, accept, or contingency are the major responses from the members of project team to cause substantial threats to the entire process. Risks are often avoided for bypassing them through changing the project in some way. The similar type of response is observed within the particular case study related to ACME and Arbor. Some or entire portion of the Risk is also transferred to a third party, for example insurance agencies. Apart from that, the risks reduction action is the frequently used response to the risks where the approach is based on reducing either the likelihood of the risk occurrence or the potential impact it will have on the entire project (Turner 2016). In some cases, the risk may be accepted conceivably due to the lower impact of its likelihood. In such cases, the project team requires to identify a potential contingency plan in the right time. The example of risk acceptance is majorly observed in the provided case study, where Arbor attempted to make the savings from somewhere else within the project. Lastly, the contingency plan is put forwarded by the project team for responding the specific risk if it is realised.
Risk Responses causing Opportunities – The earlier mentioned factors significantly provide multiple opportunities to the overall project to develop sizeable opportunities from different perspectives. Initially, the risks are shared within the project team, partners, or suppliers for maximising the understanding of appropriate requirement resource or technology for reducing the same while expanding the opportunities (McNeil, Frey, and Embrechts 2015). Often the change in technology or market creates extended risks for the whole project. Exploiting these risks can sufficiently help the team to make adjustments and extract benefits from the certain changes. As mentioned earlier, every risk can be categorised in both favourable and unfavourable types. Enhancement is a response developed by the team member for cutting down the associated risks and increasing the probability of opportunities could have on the project. Lastly, risks are rejected and certain benefits from the identified opportunities are discarded at the same time. The specific type of response requires the application of a contingency plan in the right place for ensure the opportunities to occur (Karlsen, Folke-Olsen, and Torvatn, 2013). The specific type of risk response is noted during the handling of project by Arbor within the case study where the heavy damages to the lawn caused by the heavy machineries are rejected by the project team.
Figure 1: Risk Response to the Certain Type of Project
(Source: As created by the author)
It is clear from the application of the case study that the either the managers from the project team or the financial manager from ACME did not provide proper response to the different hazardous events associated with the landscaping project. Neither some of the appropriate responses reflected from the previous discussion are regarded by the project team nor the managers of Arbor or spokesperson from ACME. As a result, developing an affluent risk management plan by the manager of the project team had encountered a significant amount of stress during the development of entire landscape well according to the plan. Therefore, the managers of the entire project team responsible for accomplishing the job could have included some useful steps for guiding the overall outcomes with accordance to the possible expectations.
According to Kerzner (2013), as a project manager or member of a project team, risks are needed to be managed sufficiently on a day-to-day basis. In order to achieve such objective, employing a systematic risk management framework is highly necessary by the project team with the inclusion of five core risk management processes in a well-organized manner (Gido and Clements 2014). With the application of such process, possible benefits can be transferred to the project for facilitating their comfortable functioning and ultimately providing positive experience to every party involved with the project. Here, determining the positive or negative aspects of an identified risk is an imperative concern for the project manager for developing a smarter, profitable, and streamlined project by sorting out the risks and capitalising on the specific risks providing positive opportunities. All of these estimated factors contribute to the five risk management steps for driving the delivery of a simple and effective risks management procedure.
Step 1: Risk Identification – Based on the case study, the managers from the project team could have uncover, identify, and explain the risks caused by different diverse activities having their impacts on the project goals or outcomes (Haimes 2015). A wide range of techniques is available from the project management context to find the project risks. The management team could have applied a formal project management process to prepare a ‘Project Risk Register’ supporting the specified process.
Step 2: Risk Analysis – The likelihood and consequence of each risk should have needed to be determined by the project team once after their identification. In this step, the managers and members of the project team developed by Arbor were required developing certain understanding regarding the nature and potentiality of the risks concerning the goals and objectives of overall project. The information gathered from the step is also needed to be incorporated within the project risk register (Pritchard and PMP 2014).
Step 3: Risk Evaluation and Ranking – Based on the magnitude of the identified risks, the manager of the Arbor project team could have evaluate or rank the risks organised by their combination of likelihood and consequence. The proposed process certainly helps the management to understand whether the risk is tolerable or it is momentous enough to warrant the existing treatment. From the analysis of the case study, it is observed that the project team of Arbor has put forwarded a limited effort in evaluating or ranking the risks occurring in different course of time to alter their existing approaches and treatment to the project.
Step 4: Risk Treatment – Risk treatment is also referred to as ‘Risk Response Planning’, which is the most significant step of project management for assessing the top ranked risks and setting out a plan for treating or modifying those and achieve the acceptable levels (Heldman 2013). In case of Arbor, the inappropriate or inadequate risk responses were developed by the project team causing the materialization of noteworthy challenges experienced by the both parties. Neither the risk mitigation strategies and preventive plans nor the contingency plans were in suitable place causing specific level of struggles in the activities and treatment.
Step 5: Risk Monitoring and Review – The implication of the project risk register comes significantly within this particular step. The utilisation of the risk register helps to track, monitor, and review the identified and assessed risks (Glendon, Clarke, and McKenna 2016). The absence of a formal risk register throughout the project had substantially caused different dilemmas to overall process.
Figure 2: Recommended Risk Management Planning Process
(Source: As created by the Author)
Communication is the integral factor in the process of developing a project and aligning the process in line with the expected outcomes. Hence, the project manager is responsible for creating a superior communication plan by providing guidelines to the different aspects of a project. There are different elements combined to support the formation of an efficient communication plan. These components mostly cover the method and frequency, which vary according to the specific needs of the project (Teller, Kock, and Gemünden 2014). Hence, the managers must need to understand the inherited risks associated with the project with the aim of developing a precise knowledge of the communication plan. The specific process importantly guides the managers realise specific goals associated with the project outcomes and delivery. Based on the application of the case study, proper communication was not present in the entire project between the service provider and receiver. The particular factor had helped to surface challenging outcomes during the closure of the project. Hence, some of the useful evidence strengthening the importance of communication should need to be outlined specifically in the following paragraphs.
Expectations – The imperative involvement of a project communication plan helps to set the standards on how and when the communication will take place (Archibald and Archibald 2016). Edwards and Bowen (2013) have indicated that setting the exact tone of communication concerning the project is one of the vital responsibilities included in the roles played by the project managers. Furthermore, accurate execution of the process helps the manager to control the project while ensuring the necessary information is fairly distributed amongst the various stakeholders. Therefore, setting the standards of communication can effectively helps to determine the project progress among the all involving parties to think about the necessary changes that could influence on meeting the project standards.
Consistency – Consistency is an important factor for handing each dilemma associated with the project. Binder (2016) believes that a solid communication plan applied within the project sufficiently helps to enrich consistency among each participant of the project team after following the steps mentioned in the plan. It makes sure the similar information of the changes and requirements related to the project is delivered to all the stakeholders (Lundgren and McMakin 2013). Hence, communication within the project management process restricts the spread of misleading information among the all stakeholders to prevent delays in the undertaken job.
Productivity – Productivity highly contributes to the successful delivery of a project, which is highly enhanced by the involvement of regular communication. According to Karlsen et al. (2013), members of a project team will deliver successful performance regarding the identified job based on the level of comfort, which is significantly driven in the positive direction by keeping them in the loop on different occurrences. In case of developing a project team, the members should need to be equipped with all the compulsory information about their roles; otherwise, they will frequently abandon their works for seeking the missing information (Bryde, Broquetas, and Volm 2013). Hence, a successfully integrated approach can be developed with the critical involvement of communication facilitating the comprehensive and collaborative performance regarding the project.
Outcomes – As opined by Hilson and Simon (2012), project manager should need to play the responsibility of leading the project team to achieve the desired outcomes as expected by the key stakeholders associated with the job. The requirements of the project are extensively impeded by the deficiency of proper communication in the right place to develop advanced connection with the major stakeholders (Hillson and Simon 2012). Developing a superior connection with the stakeholders influenced by the advanced communication will appropriately help the project manager to realise the actual needs and requirements of the project. Subsequently, it helps to provide positive influence on the development of final product meeting all the expectations.
Figure 3: Importance of Communication in Project Management
(Source: As created by the Author)
Teller and Kock (2013) explained that there are different modes of communication, on which the manager of project should need to be familiar, as the individual is responsible for managing the project successfully toward its outcome. The communication involving a project has multiple facets, which a manager should need to have the capability to handle them effectively. The mode of communication depends on the particular perspective influenced by its overall nature (Crawford 2014). Here, the project manager should need to develop awareness based on the primary modes of communication, which are distributed in four different perceptions:
- Project Perspective
- Organizational Perspective
- Formality Perspective
- Channel Perspective
From the viewpoint of the provided case study, communication can be segregated from the perspective of formality stating the process to be formal or informal. Considering the primary communication between the finance manager of ACME and the project manager from Arbor, it can be treated as the informal mode of communication. This particular type of communication involves informal discussions and meetings among the concerning parties. It is importantly observed that formal communication provides a considerable amount of influence on the day-to-day functioning of the organization, where another set of communication network provides dramatic impact on the regular activities performed within the organization (Coombs 2014). This particular type of communication network is called informal communication. It is worth to mention that the individual type of communication does not exist in the hierarchical structure of project management or a firm. Though a great deal of functions and activities happen as a result of informal communication network, proper importance is not provided to the specific mode of communication due to its failure to establish a formal network among the major parties (Fang and Marle 2012). The analysis regarding the manner of informal communication used to develop the project, it can be proposed that ‘Grapevine Communication Network is used for delivering the final outcome.
Figure 4: Communication Mode used in the Specific Project
(Source: As created by the Author)
As identified from the case study, the regular submission of project progress report to ACME could have improved the outcomes of overall job at its closure. Based on the earlier discussion, advanced communication would have helped to improve the scenario driving the project manager of Arbor to submit the progress report in multiple intervals to the finance department of ACME until the completion of overall project. The successful delivery of the projects requires addressing specific needs, based on which the project managers should need develop their awareness. The increasing awareness for the project managers depends on the establishment of some important methods, such control, collation of information, and communication (Wachinger et al. 2013).
However, the manager and team members of a project need to provide high level of importance to determine the level of control and reporting required. Controlling the progress of the project relies profoundly on the information highlighted in the progress report, and the regular submission of such report would support the managers figuring out ways to facilitate the success of project outcomes. In this particular process, the managers need to consider two important factors. Firstly, they need to balance the information regarding time, cost, efforts, and collection of data for achieving the optimum benefits. Secondly, the proper communication can be established suggesting clearly the importance of information and its vital ability to provide success (Blais 2015).
As revealed from the previous analysis, communication is always held to be the number one driving factor behind the success of a project. Based on the collected information, it is believed to be the foremost priority regarding the roles played by the project managers. Therefore, the project manager must need to be master communicator for landscaping the hope of success, especially during the high chances of the project is expected to meet its potential failure. However, some significant barriers should need to be identified and overcome by the organizational managers for driving the establishment of successful communication and developing a vivid flow of information (Hopkin 2014).
Barriers to Project Communication in an Organization
Uncertainty of Message – Incorrect reflection of the actual scenario or failure to provide viable understanding to the responsible stakeholders about the project progress critically causes various uncertainties in the message.
Faulty Presentation – Due to the ineffective choice of communicational medium with the key stakeholders of the project often provides faulty presentation related to the vital aspects of the project.
Unstated Assumption – Unstated assumptions refers to the different assumptions assumed by the both party based on the specific message or information.
Incompatible Viewpoints – Due to the involvement of dissimilar perspectives between the both parties, the channel of communication is largely affected to meet failure (Crawford 2014).
Overcoming the Barriers of Communication
Mitigation of Differences in Perception – Engaging the right individuals in the project team and appointing a skilful manager in the management post of the entire project through the proper induction program would help them to develop policies for eliminating the difference among the perception of both parties.
Use of Simple Channels or Mediums for Communication – Instead of focusing on the utilisation of complicated approaches and techniques, managers of the project team should need to apply simple and easy to understand channels or mediums for generating a clear understanding to the primary stakeholders.
Avoiding Information Overload – In order to avoid the overloading of information, manager of project should need to prioritise their works with maintaining proper sequencing (Bryde, Broquetas, and Volm 2013). With the help of the process, the problems associated in different phases of the project can be assessed and determined by the managers to develop a precise progress report to the responsible party.
Based on the analysis of the case study related to the project management agreement between ACME Fabricators and Arbor Industries, the 4.5-hectare site as the new premises of the office at Angle Vale requires a huge sum of investment as determined by the senior executives of ACME. In order to avoid the large manufacturing cost for the business, the senior administration of ACME had decided to form a tender document and initiating the production of the proposed site until a project management firm is agreed to accept the tender for the certain quantity. The fundamental reason driving the management or executive of ACME to take such decision is based on significantly avoiding the risks associated with manufacturing and constructing an office premise for the company (Gido and Clements 2014). The senior executive group of ACME had pictured some land contouring to allocate a sum of $232,000 notionally for the identified project. Subsequently, the company passed the tender to Arbor with an agreed bid price of $175,000 for completing the project within the allocated time schedule. Therefore, it can be arguably noted that the specific approach was adopted by ACME comprehensively with the aim of providing assistance in the area of project risk management. Additionally, based on the case study, the fact is also reflected that application of learning curves are used by the management of ACME ensure accomplishment of entire project within the deadline (Alhawari et al. 2012). Referencing to the suggestion provided by Burke (2013), the principal involvement of learning curve demonstrate the completion of a particular project will require less time if the associated tasks are performed in a repeated manner. Due to such understanding, the entire responsibility of completing the project is handed over to Arbor for attaining the aims of project management.
Alhawari, S., Karadsheh, L., Talet, A.N. and Mansour, E., 2012. Knowledge-based risk management framework for information technology project.International Journal of Information Management, 32(1), pp.50-65.
Archibald, R.D. and Archibald, S., 2016. Leading and Managing Innovation: What Every Executive Team Must Know about Project, Program, and Portfolio Management (Vol. 22). CRC Press.
Binder, J., 2016. Global project management: communication, collaboration and management across borders. CRC Press.
Blais, K., 2015. Professional nursing practice: Concepts and perspectives. Pearson.
Bryde, D., Broquetas, M. and Volm, J.M., 2013. The project benefits of building information modelling (BIM). International Journal of Project Management, 31(7), pp.971-980.
Burke, R., 2013. Project management: planning and control techniques. New Jersey, USA.
Coombs, W.T., 2014. Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, managing, and responding. Sage Publications.
Crawford, J.K., 2014. Project management maturity model. CRC Press.
Edwards, P. and Bowen, P., 2013. Risk management in project organisations. Routledge.
Fang, C. and Marle, F., 2012. A simulation-based risk network model for decision support in project risk management. Decision Support Systems,52(3), pp.635-644.
Gido, J. and Clements, J.P., 2014. Successful project management. Nelson Education.
Glendon, A.I., Clarke, S. and McKenna, E., 2016. Human safety and risk management. Crc Press.
Haimes, Y.Y., 2015. Risk modeling, assessment, and management. John Wiley & Sons.
Heldman, K., 2013. PMP: project management professional exam study guide. John Wiley & Sons.
Hillson, D. and Simon, P., 2012. Practical project risk management: The ATOM methodology. Management Concepts Inc..
Hopkin, P., 2014. Fundamentals of risk management: understanding, evaluating and implementing effective risk management. Kogan Page Publishers.
Hwang, B.G. and Ng, W.J., 2013. Project management knowledge and skills for green construction: Overcoming challenges. International Journal of Project Management, 31(2), pp.272-284.
Karlsen, J.T., Folke-Olsen, O. and Torvatn, T., 2013. Project Risk Management: Use and Benefit of Various Tools. International Journal of Risk and Contingency Management (IJRCM), 2(4), pp.79-101.
Kendrick, T., 2015. Identifying and managing project risk: essential tools for failure-proofing your project. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.
Kerzner, H.R., 2013. Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.
Lundgren, R.E. and McMakin, A.H., 2013. Risk communication: A handbook for communicating environmental, safety, and health risks. John Wiley & Sons.
Marchewka, J.T., 2014. Information technology project management. John Wiley & Sons.
McNeil, A.J., Frey, R. and Embrechts, P., 2015. Quantitative risk management: Concepts, techniques and tools. Princeton university press.
Phillips, J., 2013. PMP, Project Management Professional (Certification Study Guides). McGraw-Hill Osborne Media.
Pritchard, C.L. and PMP, P.R., 2014. Risk management: concepts and guidance. CRC Press.
Schwalbe, K., 2015. Information technology project management. Cengage Learning.
Teller, J., Kock, A. and Gemünden, H.G., 2014. Risk management in project portfolios is more than managing project risks: A contingency perspective on risk management. Project Management Journal, 45(4), pp.67-80.
Turner, R., 2016. Gower handbook of project management. Routledge.
Verzuh, E., 2015. The fast forward MBA in project management. John Wiley & Sons.
Wachinger, G., Renn, O., Begg, C. and Kuhlicke, C., 2013. The risk perception paradox—implications for governance and communication of natural hazards. Risk analysis, 33(6), pp.1049-1065.