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Issues with Paper-Based Document Storage System

Discuss about the Project Design and Vehicle Database.

A vehicle database is a type of database that is used to store vehicle details and information of availability at a certain point of time. Generally, this type of system is useful for haulage companies that deal with large number of transportation vehicles every day (Yunus et al. 2017). The haulage company in focus of this project uses paper document system for storing records of vehicle details and client application forms for reservation of vehicles. Naturally, this type of system is vague and has a lot of issues regarding storage and security. The paper documents take up significant amount of physical storage space and can be destroyed easily.

The focus of this project is to identify these issues accurately and provide a suitable recommendation for an alternate system that can be able to solve the problems together all at once. The suggested solution for the problem is an online based storage system that will provided significant number of benefits to the company. The system will provide infinite virtual storage space for storing details of vehicles and applications from clients. Furthermore, with this system, the clients will be able to reserve vehicles online and pay for the same through online payments.

This project is based on the development of an online vehicle database for a haulage company. In the current system of the company, the vehicle details are generally recorded in paper documents and after allocation of one or more vehicles for a particular contract, they are checked off as unavailable in the paper documents itself. Due to the use of paper documents, the availability record papers need to be changed every month (Nidzwetzki and Güting 2016). As a result, there are often major errors while handling the data in the new month. Moreover, these paper documents are often lost or damaged resulting in even more errors in the system. For instance, let two trucks of the company have already been allocated for a contract but for some reason (paper damage / no update on the record), the trucks have not been marked unavailable. For the next contract, the same two trucks have been allocated but it will found that these trucks are not available (Reddy et al. 2014). This will result in customer dissatisfaction as well as loss of valuable time of the clients and company itself.

The proposed solution for this issue is an online vehicle database in which, all the details of the vehicles will be stored online. There will be options to check off a vehicle with one click once it is booked by a client. This will completely replace the paper document system and will be much more efficient and less time consuming.

Proposed Solution

During the analysis and suggestion of the solution for the problem, several models and theories have been considered. In order to identify these models, first, the issues to be addressed are listed as follows.

Wearable Records – The paper documents in which the vehicle details and availabilities are recorded can wear out quickly or can be destroyed easily if not properly stored and handled (Arasu et al. 2016). Hence, it is required to develop a storage system in which the records can be stored on a long term / permanent basis without the chances of wearing out.

Security – Paper documents are also very much unsecured as anyone who has access to the office can steal pieces of paper documents containing records and details of the vehicles. Hence, a secure storage system is required so that the records are kept safe and cannot be stolen.

Storage Space – Paper documents have very limited storage space. Generally, one vehicle record is kept in one paper and application forms for contracts are also prepared in different pieces of paper. Within few months, the paper documents stack up quickly and occupy a lot of physical space. Hence, a system is necessary in which unlimited virtual storage space is available without any limits for storage.

In order to incorporate all these requirements into one common system and also reducing processing time by increasing operations efficiency, the best possible solution is to develop an online cloud based database system (Achpal, Kumar and Mahesh 2016). A database system is a huge collection of data that stores various types of data and information based on certain categories and specific commands that are added during entry of the data into the database. The benefit of implementing cloud based database is that it will provide unlimited virtual storage space without even needing physical storage space like hard drives. Furthermore, such a system can easily be secured using multi-step verification system so that the online documents can be stored with sufficient security preventing any intruders to steal documents (Hababeh, Khalil and Khreishah 2015). Databases also work on simple logics and commands and it will not be very hard to enter vehicle details into the system. The system user will need to enter details of all the vehicles into the database and there will be feature to book vehicles online. Once a vehicle is booked by a customer online, the database will automatically mark that particular vehicle as unavailable and hence, the unavailable vehicle will not be available for next bookings until it becomes available again.

Project Phases

There are a number of project phases that are dependent on the type, duration and complexity of the project. Some of the project phases utilized in this project are as follows.

Project Planning – This phase marks the starting point of the project and in this phase, the stakeholders discuss about the problems and possible solutions. It is important to identify all the problems of the system in this phase and agree on a particular solution (Schwalbe 2015). It is also important to identify the benefits and shortfalls of the proposed system.

Project Initiation – In this phase, the project is initiated and preparatory works are started. These works include development of project charter, project scope, budget, schedule and others. Moreover, in this phase, the stakeholders are allocated with duties that they need to perform in the project.

Project Execution – This is the main phase of the project in which the entire project work is executed as per the prepared plan (Kerzner 2018). In addition to delivering the works, it is important to effectively manage the time and budget so that both of these can be effectively utilized in course of the entire project.

Project Closing – In this phase, the project documentation is prepared and then reviewed by the project manager. Once satisfactory results are gained, the stakeholders sign off and the project manager closes the project officially.

It is to be hereby noted that these phases of the project must be executed in the right order by linking the work packages with each other in order to complete the project effectively and successfully. For this particular project on focus, the project schedule is shown in the following table including the stakeholders assigned and the estimated costs for each of the work packages.

Task Name

Duration

Start

Finish

Resource Names

Cost

Development of Vehicle Database for Haulage Company

135 days

Mon 5/14/18

Fri 11/16/18

 

$298,400.00

   Project Planning

7 days

Mon 5/14/18

Tue 5/22/18

 

$17,600.00

      Survey and Analysis of Problems in Current System

2 days

Mon 5/14/18

Tue 5/15/18

IT Manager, Project Manager

$6,000.00

      Proposal of Solution

1 day

Wed 5/16/18

Wed 5/16/18

IT Manager

$1,400.00

      Testing for the Feasibility of the Solution

2 days

Thu 5/17/18

Fri 5/18/18

Finance Manager, IT Manager

$5,600.00

      Risk Assessment

1 day

Mon 5/21/18

Mon 5/21/18

Project Manager, IT Manager

$3,000.00

      Approval of Project

1 day

Tue 5/22/18

Tue 5/22/18

Project Manager

$1,600.00

   Project Initiation

15 days

Wed 5/23/18

Tue 6/12/18

 

$23,600.00

      Assign Respective Roles to the Right Stakeholders

2 days

Wed 5/23/18

Thu 5/24/18

Project Manager

$3,200.00

      Hire Consultant and Database Developer

2 days

Fri 5/25/18

Mon 5/28/18

Project Manager

$3,200.00

      Develop Project Charter

1 day

Tue 5/29/18

Tue 5/29/18

Project Manager

$1,600.00

      Identify Project Scope

2 days

Wed 5/30/18

Thu 5/31/18

Project Manager

$3,200.00

      Estimate a Feasible Budget

1 day

Fri 6/1/18

Fri 6/1/18

Finance Manager

$1,400.00

      Determine Assumptions and Constraints

1 day

Mon 6/4/18

Mon 6/4/18

IT Manager

$1,400.00

      Develop Project Schedule

2 days

Tue 6/5/18

Wed 6/6/18

Project Manager

$3,200.00

      Divide Work Packages among Team Members

2 days

Thu 6/7/18

Fri 6/8/18

Project Manager

$3,200.00

      Green Light for Proceeding with Project

2 days

Mon 6/11/18

Tue 6/12/18

Project Manager

$3,200.00

   Project Execution

103 days

Wed 6/13/18

Fri 11/2/18

 

$232,720.00

      Assign Roles to Team Members

2 days

Wed 6/13/18

Thu 6/14/18

Project Manager

$3,200.00

      Provide Room for Project Work

1 day

Fri 6/15/18

Fri 6/15/18

Project Manager

$1,600.00

      Secure Budget from Sponsor

2 days

Mon 6/18/18

Tue 6/19/18

Finance Manager

$2,800.00

      Start Development of Database

2 days

Wed 6/20/18

Thu 6/21/18

IT Manager, Database Developer

$5,120.00

      Prepare List of Features to be Added

1 day

Fri 6/22/18

Fri 6/22/18

IT Manager

$1,400.00

      Install New Hardware

15 days

Mon 6/25/18

Fri 7/13/18

Database Developer, Hardware[1], Vendor Costs[1]

$82,400.00

      Install Support Software

4 days

Mon 7/16/18

Thu 7/19/18

Database Developer, Software[1]

$29,640.00

      Develop Initial Database

10 days

Fri 7/20/18

Thu 8/2/18

Database Developer

$11,600.00

      Develop Company Website

2 days

Fri 8/3/18

Mon 8/6/18

Database Developer

$2,320.00

      Run the Functions of the Prototype

5 days

Tue 8/7/18

Mon 8/13/18

Database Developer

$5,800.00

      Test the Prototype

4 days

Tue 8/14/18

Fri 8/17/18

Database Developer

$4,640.00

      Solving Errors of Prototype

5 days

Mon 8/20/18

Fri 8/24/18

Database Developer

$5,800.00

      Develop Full Version of the Database

25 days

Mon 8/27/18

Fri 9/28/18

Database Developer

$29,000.00

      Final Testing

15 days

Mon 10/1/18

Fri 10/19/18

Database Developer, System Tester

$29,400.00

      Training of Company Staffs

10 days

Mon 10/22/18

Fri 11/2/18

Training Costs[1], System Tester

$18,000.00

   Project Closing

10 days

Mon 11/5/18

Fri 11/16/18

 

$24,480.00

      Project Review

2 days

Mon 11/5/18

Tue 11/6/18

IT Manager, Project Manager

$6,000.00

      Documentation of Project

3 days

Wed 11/7/18

Fri 11/9/18

IT Manager, Database Developer

$7,680.00

      Final Appraisal

3 days

Mon 11/12/18

Wed 11/14/18

Project Manager

$4,800.00

      Stakeholder Sign Off

1 day

Thu 11/15/18

Thu 11/15/18

Finance Manager, IT Manager, Project Manager

$4,400.00

      Official Closing

1 day

Fri 11/16/18

Fri 11/16/18

Project Manager

$1,600.00

 

Since there were a lot of work based problems and challenges faced during working on this project, I developed many skills that assisted me to overcome these problems. Some of these skills are described as follows.

Team Work – The first main skill I developed during the project is team work skills. While facing complex problems and challenges, I realized that trying to solve the problems individually will not only be time consuming but also will most probably be futile. Hence, I learnt the value of working as a team and I asked my teammates to assist me to solve the problems. In return, I also assisted them in solving their problems and building a great team coordination as a result.

Project Schedule

Application of Technical Knowledge – In order to solve the problems, I understood that it was necessary to apply sufficient technical knowledge and expertise. I gathered sufficient technical knowledge regarding cloud computing and databases during my learning course and in this project, I needed to apply this knowledge to overcome the challenge. I relied on my conceptual knowledge on databases and cloud computing and it helped me solve the problems and proceed further in the project.

Ability to Identify Problems – One main attribute / skill of an individual needed for overcoming problems is to be able to identify the problem itself. It is very often seen that individuals fail to identify the exact problem and apply any remedial measures that do not affect the actual problem in any way. Hence, I prioritized the identification of the particular problem and then I proceed to solve the same.

In-Depth Knowledge of the Solution – Another common issue noticed during the projects is that the individuals know the solution to a problem but does not know to apply the same effectively in order to address the problem. I was well aware of this and hence, before the project, I evaluated possible challenges and problems and studied their possible solutions accordingly. This helped me to apply solutions to the problems effectively without losing much time or resources.

During the course of the development of the project plan, there were some actions that needed to be taken whereas there were some actions that had to be avoided for the benefit of the project. These are listed as follows.

Actions Taken – In order to enhance the project as well as my work, there were some actions that had to be taken. The first action I took was to ensure all the team members were allocated with equal amounts of task. This helped in fair allocation as well as allowed everyone to use their specific skill sets and knowledge to complete the project. Another action I took was to use various modeling and scheduling software for developing the project plan and a project framework that would be followed throughout the course of the project. Finally, I took active initiatives to get help from supervisors for additional requirements or extremely challenging issues that could not be solved by me.

Actions Not Taken – There were also certain actions that could have been taken in the project but chose against taking the actions. The first action that I did not take was to use too much help from literature and other sources. I ensured most of the work was my own and I only took help of literature when I faced uncertainties and some statistics based challenges. Another action I avoided was working on vague scope and objectives. I did not start the project unless the scope was clear and the objectives were very well defined.

I took a lot of learning from the project as I gathered a huge amount of practical knowledge and skills while working on the project. Some of the notable learning from the project included the following.

Project Management Skills – In addition to my technical skills and knowledge, I gathered significant project management skills while working on the project. I learned about various aspects of project management including scope definition, budget estimation, scheduling, risk management plan and others. I also learnt the interconnection between the project management aspects and use of technical knowledge and skills in order to develop project plan and enhance the overall quality of the project.

Value of Team Work – I learnt the value of team work from the project. During working in the project, I understood how efficient team work can help an individual to solve all the problems and issues effectively without losing time and resources of the project. Furthermore, regular team work increases team coordination that hugely benefits the overall quality of the project.

Time Management Skills – While working in a project, it is extremely necessary to efficiently utilize time. This is mainly because a project is generally bounded by a fixed time period within which the project must be completed. As a result, I learnt to divide the allocated time to perform different activities such that all the project works and work packages could completed within the allotted time effectively.

Use of Software – During my work in this project, I learnt the use of various software like project management software, modeling software and others. All these software are very efficient tools in creating an accurate project management plan and hence, I used these tools to enhance my work in the project.

Conclusion

Finally, it can be concluded that the best solution for the company is an online cloud based database system that has a wide range of benefits discussed already. For the implementation of the same, the company will just need to upgrade or install new hardware and then deploy specific software to install the vehicle database system and other supporting applications. In addition, an additional company website will be created and utilized in order to facilitate online booking system and online payments from the customers’ end.

References

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Arasu, A., Babcock, B., Babu, S., Cieslewicz, J., Datar, M., Ito, K., Motwani, R., Srivastava, U. and Widom, J., 2016. Stream: The stanford data stream management system. In Data Stream Management (pp. 317-336). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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

Boud, D., Cohen, R. and Sampson, J. eds., 2014. Peer learning in higher education: Learning from and with each other. Routledge.

Carrasco, R.A., Blasco, M.F., García-Madariaga, J. and Herrera-Viedma, E., 2017. Integrating a Tourism Service Quality Evaluation Linguistic Multi-criteria Decision Making Model into a Relational Database Management System. In Advances in Fuzzy Logic and Technology 2017 (pp. 408-418). Springer, Cham.

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Fleming, Q.W. and Koppelman, J.M., 2016, December. Earned value project management. Project Management Institute.

Hababeh, I., Khalil, I. and Khreishah, A., 2015. Designing high performance web-based computing services to promote telemedicine database management system. IEEE transactions on services computing, 8(1), pp.47-64.

Harrison, F. and Lock, D., 2017. Advanced project management: a structured approach. Routledge.

Heagney, J., 2016. Fundamentals of project management. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.

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

Kerzner, H., 2018. Project management best practices: Achieving global excellence. John Wiley & Sons.

Lee, H., Chapiro, J., Schernthaner, R., Duran, R., Wang, Z., Gorodetski, B., Geschwind, J.F. and Lin, M., 2015. How I do it: a practical database management system to assist clinical research teams with data collection, organization, and reporting. Academic radiology, 22(4), pp.527-533.

Nidzwetzki, J.K. and Güting, R.H., 2016. DISTRIBUTED SECONDO: An extensible highly available and scalable database management system. FernUniversität, Fakultät für Mathematik und Informatik.

Prout, A., Kepner, J., Michaleas, P., Arcand, W., Bestor, D., Bergeron, B., Byun, C., Edwards, L., Gadepally, V., Hubbell, M. and Mullen, J., 2015, September. Enabling on-demand database computing with MIT SuperCloud database management system. In High Performance Extreme Computing Conference (HPEC), 2015 IEEE (pp. 1-6). IEEE.

Reddy, T.B., Thomas, A.D., Stamatis, D., Bertsch, J., Isbandi, M., Jansson, J., Mallajosyula, J., Pagani, I., Lobos, E.A. and Kyrpides, N.C., 2014. The Genomes OnLine Database (GOLD) v. 5: a metadata management system based on a four level (meta) genome project classification. Nucleic acids research, 43(D1), pp.D1099-D1106.

Schwalbe, K., 2015. Information technology project management. Cengage Learning.

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

Walker, A., 2015. Project management in construction. John Wiley & Sons.

Yunus, M.A.M., Krishnan, S.K.G., Nawi, N.M. and Surin, E.S.M., 2017. Study on Database Management System Security Issues. JOIV: International Journal on Informatics Visualization, 1(4-2), pp.192-194.

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