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Report your assessment of the current project status

Describe about the Project Scope and Time Management for Project Status Report.

As the senior consultant with project management consulting company PM Right Track or PMRT, the CEO of Good programs approached me to take a lead on the new project of the company. There are very few individuals who have the necessary skills and knowledge about how to report on the status of a new project. There are a number of rules and regulations that would be followed by me in order to report the assessment of the present status of project in an effective manner. It would not only keep the management as well as the project team informed about the ongoing status but would also make them work in coordination for making the project successful (Atkinson et al, 2006). As because the project is very much important for XY department in order to fix a number of issues and problems for implementing the hardware systems and also make replacement of the outdated computer systems for ensuring proper management of clients. In order to accomplish the project properly, the amount of budget that was needed was R 23 million, though there was disagreement and non-approval by the Government, as because there was lack of sufficient funds for completion of the project. The available budget was R 15 million, which was later taken by the company XY Department so as to make as much progress as it could be done with such amount of money (Atkinson, 2011). As the senor consultant of the consultancy group, I gathered necessary and relevant data and information regarding the project and also got informed about the current condition of the project and how it could be guided towards the right direction. XY Department of the Federal Government faced several computers related risks and issues that hindered the privacy of the department. It mainly resulted due to the outdated computer system that further created difficulties in managing the clients, that is why it was needed to be replaced. In order to manage this project properly, R 23 million was needed, which was not available (Burke, 2013). As a very substantial amount of money was available, so the Government approved an amount of R 15 million. With the available amount of money, the project had been planned and commenced with the help of partnership working with Good Computers which also assisted XY department by providing them with benefits during the develop and implementation of the new software and computer systems (Crawford, 2005).

Compare your assessment with sound project management practices

The three major components which had been included while assessing the project status were overall condition of the project which could be shown in red, yellow or green. The project name has been also stated. Any sort of problems would be identified by me along with the changes in scope of the project. The status was also presented to show how the managers were not communicating with each other properly as a result of which certain effects were remained unanticipated overhead for the XY department as well. From the assessment, it was also found that the milestones were not achieved, thus it could stated that the project did not make any progress regarding the project of client management system for XY department (De Reyck et al, 2005). Another component which was determined during the assessment of the current status of project was the issues and problem faced during the implementation of the system. The issues were not addressed properly, which lead to difficulties in making proper decisions regarding the scenario. The new CEO was not informed about the scope and was also told about necessity of some additional amount of money which was extra to the budget. All these issues hindered proper implementation of the system, so it would be needed to look into the status of this project properly and then advance with necessary solutions to all these problems (Forsberg et al, 2005). I, as the senior consultant of this management consultancy company prepared this report so as to show what kinds of issues were faced during the implementation of the project, so as to plan for necessary measures that could resolve these kinds of situations and ensure that the project implementation would be successful in the future (Heagney, 2012).

By comparing the assessment of project status with the various practices and methods of project management, it had been found that the project implementation could only be successful with the allocation of proper time and budget along with a manager and CEO who had the relevant skills and knowledge to cope up with the changing conditions. At the first stage, it would be important to initiate and plan for the project of client management system implementation and then make proper scheduling and budgeting so as to determine how much cost would be necessary for making the project implementation successful and noteworthy. The risks in project must be managed and also identification of the changes ins cope of the project would be essential (Ika, 2009). One of the most effective project management practices could be the breaking down the project into smaller components and activities and then set a particular date within which the activities must be completed. All these management practices would be needed to be considered by the newly appointed CEO of XY department. The manager must also be able to deal with the other company named Good Programs so as to work in partnership and ensure that n3cessary software systems were supplied to the department for assisting in the implementation of the client management system. This would help in gaining enough scopes and opportunities that the company would be free of cost, thereby resulting in implementing the project in a successful manner too (Kappelman et al, 2006). Later on, when a new CEO was appointed for XY department, it was found that there were several faults which the 16.5 version of the client management system. I was approached so as to study this case properly and make an assessment about the present status of the project. As it could be seen that the project did not commence at present due to lack of proper amount of funds and also because the new CEO of the department was not informed about the actual scope of the project  along with the changes made and the budget which increased to some additional R 185000 (Kerzner, 2013).

The documents consisting of the definition and purpose of the project must be utilized so as to plan for necessary activities. The documentation would consist of the overview of project along with the goals and objectives that must be achieved. The scope of the project would also be defined like what changes would be done to the outdated computer systems and what were the departments that were needed to be converted. The assumption of risks would also be done during this effective project management practice. The costs would be estimated as well based on the time that had been scheduled. The planning horizon creation could be another project management practice that would easily define the work plan by providing step by step information about how to construct the project in an appropriate manner (Leach, 2014). One of the most essential consideration that would be needed to be done would be to ensure that the sponsors had approved with the changes in scope of the project. The procedures of management of the client management system project would also include identify the changes in scope, managing the risks and furthermore maintaining the quality of the project  by creating a level of understating between the various stakeholders in business like the suppliers, investors or shareholders, clients, etc of XY department. This is how the work plan could be managed properly and the budget and schedule would be assumed properly as well. Updating the work plan is essential that can further determine whether the project is feasible or not and whether it can be completed within the available budget and time period or not (Meredith & Mantel, 2011). After management of work and time schedule, the scope management would be essential for controlling the project properly and thereby reduce the chances of failures during project implementation due to improper estimation of skills of team members involved in the project of XY department. The project had been hold on for a long time due to non-approval of extended amount of money and also due to lack of proper resources and less communication with the managers, which was a major risk (Pollack, 2007). The last and most important project management procedure which I, as a senior project management consultant, have recommended is the assessment of potential risks all throughout the project and then resolves those as soon as possible with a feeling of urgency so that it would not be able to deteriorate the project implementation further. This would not only continue the project with a new horizon and with a new purpose with new CEO and manager, but would also improve the effectiveness of the implementation of client management system for XY department (Schwalbe, 2015).

Acceptance by the sponsor or CEO of XY department

The project of client management system could not be closed unless the approvals of customers were taken. Here the meetings could be held with the CEO so as to make discussion about the project closure based on the criteria of acceptance for the project by the clients. All the deliverables and documents must be signed properly before making an agreement for the closing of the project. As because the project was put on hold due to certain issues and problems for XY department, so it was needed to close down and start in a fresh way (Shenhar & Dvir, 2007).

Conducting assessment of Project would be essential

The responses and feedbacks of the stakeholders were needed to be considered along with the opinions of project team members so that it could be close down and start for new projects in the future. It would be necessary to identify what were the positives and what were the negatives faced during the implementation of this project (Slack & Lewis, 2005). This would help in determining the project life cycle as well so as to carry out the project valuation and assessment.

Collecting the necessary data related to the project history

At the beginning of the project, various guidelines were needed to be followed by the project team members for handling the project efficiently, so as to ensure progress. So, the history of the project must be kept secured so as to use those afterwards in the future (Williams, 2005).

Finally singing off from the project

The information which had been gained from this hold on project of client management system might be of no use in the future for the CEO and manager of XY department, as well as for the clients and tech support, though they would provide ongoing support for solution with the clients.

Managing relationship with customer post closure or deployment

Though the project would be closed, still it would be necessary to manage contact with the clients and make then informed about any updates or project that would be implemented in the future by XY department (Wysocki, 2011).

Few recommendations have been provided so as to improve the implementation of project through project management practices by XY Department.

The detailed work plan could be developed with the help of assigning the resources properly and make an estimation of the work properly.

This would help to identify the high levels of uncertainty, thus resulting in resolving the chances of risks and issues easily.

The determination of critical path determination would also be another project management procedure that could enhance the efficiency of the implementation process (Atkinson et al, 2006).

Allocating the resources properly along with maintenance of budget so that the project implementation would remain within the budget had also been recommended.

The budget must be corporate and the policies must be upgraded as well

Preparation of annual audit had also been recommended as major effective project management practice in the future (Azhar, 2011).

The estimation of cost would be recommended as well along with the scheduling of task or work for the team members involved in the project of XY department.

The financial and non-financial information must be gathered so as to utilize the financial resources properly and prevent wastage of those as well.

The organisation must develop a proper organisational structure during their plan with skillful staffs and managers who could carry out their roles and responsibilities with dedication and commitment (Burke, 2013).

A-B-D-E-G Duration 7+3+5+2+5=22

A-B-D-F-G Duration 7+3+5+4+5= 24

A-C-D-E-G Duration 7+4+5+2+5= 23

A-C-D-F-G Duration 7+4+5+4+5= 25

So the critical path of the project is A-C-D-F-G and the duration is 25 days

If each activity A, D, F and G are done in crash time then the project could be executed in 4 days less as this would mean that all the project paths would be shortened

The cost escalation would be 1000+1500+3000+3000 = 8500

The Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is considered to be an effective technique of planning, executing and managing projects in both single and multi project environments. It has been found that in the majority of complex projects, the duration of successful project implementation often can exceed their planned schedule by almost 50% to 100% and this is mainly attributed to unforeseen circumstances or uncertainty associated with the project. For compensating for this age-old dilemma, project managers and personnel who are in charge of handling projects have learned to compensate by adding additional time within their planning and scheduling estimates (Tukel et al. 2006). Yet in spite of this, there are still instances when projects are overrunning their schedules. The Critical Chain Method (CCM) or Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) was first propounded by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt and it was first introduced into the market in the year 1997 as a part of his Theory of Constraints book “Critical Chain” which revolutionised and changed the manner in which scheduling and production management takes place. By utilising the Critical Chain Project Management, projects can be undertaken and completed in an effective and timely manner by ensuring greater accuracy in the project scheduling process (Chun-chao, 2008). However, there are certain issues which are associated with the CCPM methods and these have been mentioned below:

1) Task Duration and Safety Margins – The CCPM methods utilises the main assumption that all the project managers are going to overestimate the task duration by a certain safety factor which might not be accurate in nature. This method estimates that the duration of actual execution of each and every task will invariably increase in the course of time and thereby supplement the timescale allotted. Thus, in simple words the actual time duration becomes a self fulfilling prophecy in the CCPM methods (Takahashi et al. 2009).

2) Use of Buffers in Planning and Control – The utilisation of buffers are playing a major role in the success of the CCPM theory. Usually, the amount of buffering in a project essentially reflects the amount of protection and safety which would be required against the elements of uncertainty associated with the sum of duration of tasks which comprise the critical path of the project.  The sizes of the feeding buffers need to be appropriate enough to provide the necessary protection to the feeding chains or else the project duration will be unnecessarily delayed. In order to ensure that such a situation does not arise, it is really essential to ensure that the size of the buffers must be less than the summation of the safety margins which are extracted from the individual tasks on the corresponding chain (Long & Ohsato, 2008).

3) Resource Utilisation – CCPM does not encourage the process of assigning multiple tasks to a single resource.  The business establishments can reduce the amount of multitasking in their business without switching to CCPM but the idea of eliminating the process of multitasking is usually not considered to be a good business practice.

4) Multi-Project Management – The CCPM method deals with a multi project environment by staggering the projects around the constraining resource (often referred to as “drum” in TOC terminology). There could be several constraining resources in a given project at any given point of time and each of them would lead to a different schedule and this would invariably complicate the process of task scheduling and cause delay in the project (Leach, 2014).

All the issues which have been mentioned above clearly undermines the overall effectiveness and advantages of utilising the CCPM methods in case of project scheduling and this makes us question the overall utility of applying the CCPM methods in a project. All these issues would invariably hamper and compromise the timely implementation and completion of a project and thus we are really sceptical regarding utilising the CCMP methods as it would not produce any desirable benefit in the project (Tukel et al. 2006).

The critical path and the critical chain are vastly different from each other and they have their own significance within a project. The management principles tend to emphasise on limiting or constraining factor of a system that determines the total duration of a project and the main objective of project management and scheduling is to minimize the entire project duration. Both the critical path and the critical chain are methods of project scheduling. The critical chain focuses on the resource whereas the critical path focuses on the order of the different tasks (Kerzner, 2013).

Critical Chain Modelling is essentially utilised in order to address the inherent uncertainty which is related with change and human behaviours, and this helps in ensuring the efficiency of a project by facilitating the execution of multiple tasks by dividing the total work into natural work streams. On the other hand, the Critical Path concentrates on tasks by evaluating their resource and time efficiencies, thereby enabling the project managers to delay the implementation of those tasks which are causing schedule risk (Tukel et al. 2006).

The critical chain method helps in modifying the project schedule which helps the project managers to account for limited resources by adding time buffers (non-work schedule activities) which helps them to keep a tract on their planned activity durations during each and every stage of the project. Critical chain technique is incorporated once the critical path has been determined. This is usually achieved by evaluating the availability of the resources and thus the resulting schedule produced already has a resource-constrained critical path. The critical chain then emphasises on effectively utilising the remaining buffer durations against the remaining durations of the task chains (Long & Ohsato, 2008).

The critical path method helps us to calculate both the early start and finish dates and the late start and finish dates for all the scheduled activities of a project. This involves performing a forward pass analysis and a backward pass analysis through the projected schedule network paths. The forward pass helps us to calculate the early start (ES) and early finish (EF) dates (ES + duration (DU) = EF); whereas the backward pass helps us in determining the late start (LS) and late finish (LF): (LF – DU = LS). The critical path is usually the longest path through the entire project schedule which has either zero or negative total float. The critical path contains all the activities which are critical to the success of the project and without which the project would come to a standstill (Chun-chao, 2008).

Each and every project has their own needs and necessities which requires their own set of practices, processes, tools and techniques in order to ensure that the project is completed within the specific time frame. This will help in satisfying the interests of all the stakeholders who are associated with that particular project. The combination of these factors along with the product and service which are going to be delivered by the project is known as the scope of the project. The project scope planning essentially involves getting the key parties of the project to arrive at a mutual consensus regarding the scope of the project. Project scope planning is a very important aspect which plays a vital role in ensuring the successful implementation of the project (Burke, 2013).  The task of project scope planning essentially involves including all the high level features or functionalities which the business team have committed to successfully deliver to their clients. The project scope is usually defined by the different stakeholders which includes the project sponsor, steering committee, executive sponsor, the end users or customers who are going to benefit from the project and all the other persons who are going to be directly or indirectly impacted by the project. The success of the project essentially depends on how the project managers are able to satisfy the interests of the project stakeholders and the project scope planning helps the project managers to achieve this objective (Atkinson et al. 2006).

A project scope statement is considered to be a vital tool which helps us to underline the deliverables of a project and this enables us in identifying the different constraints and assumptions which are considered to be important parameters for ensuring the successful implementation of the project. A properly designed project scope essentially demonstrates the boundaries of the project. The project scope statement is essentially designed by the Project initiation process group whose main goal is to identify the high level objectives from the project. The objectives of a project must be developed in such a manner so that it is clearly understood and comprehensible by each and everyone involved (Heagney, 2012).

By utilising a project scope statement, an organisation is able to obtain a lot of benefits which play a vital role in ensuring the timely and successful implementation of the projects which have been undertaken by them. It enables the project managers to identify the different risks that are associated with a project and this makes the managers better equipped to tackle those risks in an effective manner which helps in ensuring the smooth continuity and implementation of the project. Having a project scope statement helps the project managers to undertake an accurate cost analysis and capital budgeting regarding the different activities which are involved with the project and this helps in ensuring a better and effective allocation of resources which is imperative for the successful completion of the project (Khan, 2006). This helps the project managers to monitor the costs associated with a project and this helps to eliminate the chances of any cost escalation in a project. A project scope statement plays a vital role in helping the managers to identify and understand the main purpose behind implementing a project and this helps to foster better coordination and understanding by improving the teamwork among the different individuals who are working on a project. A project scope statement helps the project managers to evaluate the progress made by them towards the successful implementation of the project and they will be able to evaluate the project requirements in a better and effective manner (Kerzner, 2013).

A project scope statement generally includes the following aspects:

1) Project Description – This describes the nature of the project and what will be accomplished out of the project.

2) Project Purpose – This describes the main purpose of the project by elaborately describing the strategic goals and objectives of the project.

3) Project Objectives – This helps in providing a clear and comprehensive set of project objectives which can be measured from time to time as the project reaches its completion (Burke, 2013).

4) Project Requirements - This helps in identifying the high level resources requirements of a project in terms of the product and service which is going to be delivered by the project,

5) Project Assumptions – These are the conditions which must be taken into consideration before starting/beginning work on the project.

6) Project Constraints – These include certain unforeseen conditions or situations on which the project managers do not have any control and which might threaten the timely and successful implementation of the project. This includes the different risk factors and constraints which might be encountered by the project in due course of time.

7) Project Boundaries – The project boundary is essentially the product or system boundary which is going to be implemented once the project is completed. It makes a lot of business sense to divide the scope of work into multiple phases which would help in the smooth implementation of the project (Atkinson et al. 2006).

8) Project Risks – This include a detailed description regarding the known risks which could be encountered by the project.

9) Project Deliverables – This includes the identification of the products and services which will be delivered by the project to the end users.

10) Project Milestones – This includes a detailed description regarding the important achievements and milestones which have been accomplished  by the project managers in the project.

11) Project High Level Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) – This includes a detailed description regarding how the work is to be carrie4d forwards and how the project is going to be implemented in the near future (Heagney, 2012).

References

Atkinson, R., Crawford, L., & Ward, S. (2006). Fundamental uncertainties in projects and the scope of project management. International journal of project management, 24(8), 687-698.

Azhar, S. (2011). Building information modeling (BIM): Trends, benefits, risks, and challenges for the AEC industry. Leadership and Management in Engineering, 11(3), 241-252.

Burke, R. (2013). Project management: planning and control techniques.New Jersey, USA.

Chun-chao, C. H. U. (2008). Buffer sizing and critical chain project management [J]. Computer Integrated Manufacturing Systems, 5, 1029-1035.

Crawford, L. (2005). Senior management perceptions of project management competence. International journal of project management, 23(1), 7-16.

De Reyck, B., Grushka-Cockayne, Y., Lockett, M., Calderini, S. R., Moura, M., & Sloper, A. (2005). The impact of project portfolio management on information technology projects. International Journal of Project Management, 23(7), 524-537.

Forsberg, K., Mooz, H., & Cotterman, H. (2005). Visualizing project management: models and frameworks for mastering complex systems. John Wiley & Sons.

Heagney, J. (2012). Fundamentals of project management. AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.

Ika, L. A. (2009). Project success as a topic in project management journals.Project Management Journal, 40(4), 6-19.

Kappelman, L. A., McKeeman, R., & Zhang, L. (2006). Early warning signs of IT project failure: The dominant dozen. Information systems management,23(4), 31-36.

Kerzner, H. R. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. John Wiley & Sons.

Khan, A. (2006). Project scope management. Cost engineering, 48(6), 12-16.

Leach, L. P. (2014). Critical chain project management. Artech House.

Long, L. D., & Ohsato, A. (2008). Fuzzy critical chain method for project scheduling under resource constraints and uncertainty. International Journal of Project Management, 26(6), 688-698.

Meredith, J. R., & Mantel Jr, S. J. (2011). Project management: a managerial approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Pinto, J. K. (2007). Project management: achieving competitive advantage. Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Pollack, J. (2007). The changing paradigms of project management.International journal of project management, 25(3), 266-274.

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

Shenhar, A. J., & Dvir, D. (2007). Reinventing project management: the diamond approach to successful growth and innovation. Harvard Business Review Press.

Slack, N., & Lewis, M. (Eds.). (2005). Operations management (Vol. 10). Psychology Press.

Takahashi, H., Goto, H., & Kasahara, M. (2009, March). Application of a critical chain project management based framework on max-plus linear systems. In Complex, Intelligent and Software Intensive Systems, 2009. CISIS'09. International Conference on (pp. 898-903). IEEE.

Tukel, O. I., Rom, W. O., & Eksioglu, S. D. (2006). An investigation of buffer sizing techniques in critical chain scheduling. European Journal of Operational Research, 172(2), 401-416.

Williams, T. (2005). Assessing and moving on from the dominant project management discourse in the light of project overruns. IEEE Transactions on engineering management, 52(4), 497-508.

Wysocki, R. K. (2011). Effective project management: traditional, agile, extreme. John Wiley & Sons.

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