# Modern Project Management: Essay

The duration of each activity was taken from the given data. Task A is the first task and has no dependencies. So this task will start on day 0. For each subsequent task, the earliest start time was taken as the earliest completion time of the previous task. If a task depended on more than one previous task, the completion time of the last job was taken as the earliest start time. The latest completion times were computed by calculating backwards from the last task, and setting the completion time of each task as equal to the starting time of the following task.

In case, there

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were multiple tasks branching out from a single task, the task with the earliest starting time was considered for this purpose. Project duration and Critical Path The project duration is given by the completion time of the last task. The critical path is the sequence of tasks that have zero floats. Earliest completion date of the project if the project starts on January 11, 2010 It is assumed that each week has five working days, and that there

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are no other holidays during this period. The total duration of the project is 60 days.

Since there

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are five working days in a week, this will translate into 60/5 = 12 weeks. The project starts on January 11, 2010, which is a Monday. The project will complete 60 days on the Friday of the twelfth week, which is falls on March 2, 2010. This is earliest completion date of the project, if it starts on January 11, 2009. Effect of specified event on project duration a. A 1 day delay during activity P. Activity P is on the critical path with zero float. Hence a one day delay during this activity will delay the project by one day.

b. Activity N is competed 1 day before schedule Activity N is also on the critical path. Hence saving a day in this activity will save a day in the total project duration. c. Two day delay in Activity I This will have no impact on the overall project completion time, as the activity has a float of 6 days, which is more than the delay of 2 days. Purpose of network diagrams The purpose of network diagrams is to establish the relationship between various activities in a project and show the order in which the tasks will be performed.

A network diagram also shows the likely bottlenecks and critical areas that could prevent the project from being completed on time, and the extent flexibility available in respect of each of the remaining tasks. Thus the purpose of a network diagram in a project is to present a bird’s eye view of the tasks involved, their inter-relationships, the time taken for each task, the total project duration, and the activities that will need to be concentrated upon for the project to be completed on time.

A good network diagram could, in addition, show the resources likely to be required, and the responsibilities of individuals connected with the project for the performance of various tasks. (Heldman, 2005, 118; Philips, 2006, 223)) (Word Count: 606) Task -2 Report on opening a new depot Introduction Touprom, an SME company that supplies equipment such as power tools, dump trucks, cement mixers, vibrating plates, and compressors to DIY experts, small building contractors, and large construction companies, is planning to open a new depot, where its off-hire plant can be stored to facilitate easy reach to nearby sites.

This paper discusses the activities that will be required to carry out this project, and the relevant project management processes, skills, and competencies. Activities Required In order to ensure that the project of opening the new depot is completed on time, and within cost parameters, the person in charge of the project will have to undertake a number of activities as follows: • Prepare a list of tasks that the opening of the new depot will involve • Establish the dependencies between the tasks • Prepare a list of the resources required for the purpose of opening the new depot

• Estimate the time required for carrying out each of the tasks • Prepare an overall network diagram showing the tasks, their dependencies and the time required. • Identify the resources with the tasks for which they are required, work out when the resources will be required, and make arrangements to make them available to the project in accordance with these requirements. • Identify the persons responsible for carrying out various tasks, and assign the tasks to them • Estimate the costs involved for completing each task, and the overall cost of the project.

• Prepare a project document detailing all the above, in addition to a description of the monitoring and progress reporting mechanism • Assign tasks to the concerned individuals, and ensure that the progress of the project is in accordance with the plans at every stage up to final completion. Tasks Some of the major tasks that the opening of the new depot is likely to involve are • Locate the premises in which the new depot will be housed. • Negotiate with the owner and finalize the terms and formalities. • Take possession of the premises.

• Identify the equipment/plant that will be shifted to the new location. • Make arrangements to shift the identified plant. • Since the company is already making the plant available at various sites, it should have its own transportation facilities for this purpose. The project manager will need to coordinate with the transportation department to have the items physically shifted to the new location. • Identify the personnel who will be in charge at the new location, and either recruit them (if they are external) or make arrangements to have them transferred.

Project Management Lifecycle In order to make available the knowledge regarding project management to every practising project manager, and to ensure uniformity and the adoption of best practices, a central coordinating body, known as the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), has been evolved. This body represents the total body of knowledge in the project management fraternity. According to the PMBOK, the project management lifecycle involves the following five stages:

• Initiating: This is the formal launching of the project and consists of a single short step that enables the project purpose to be clearly set out, and the necessary authorizations to be provided. . • Planning: This involves various core and non-core activities, and includes scope definition, activity definition, activity sequencing, time estimation, development of schedules, estimation of costs and budgeting, and resources planning. • Executing: Executing will involve, in addition to the actual execution of the project plans, the development and deployment of teams, verification of the scope, and quality assurance.

• Monitoring and controlling: The monitoring and controlling stage helps in ensuring that the project implementation is proceeding according to plans, and in initiating the required corrective actions wherever they are not. • Closing: This is the stage when all tasks have been completed and certified, and the project is formally closed. There may be a number of formalities that the project manager has to complete at this stage. (DE JAEGER, 2009) Concerns Quality assurance and the management of risks are two of the major concerns in any project.

These two concerns are discussed further in the following sections. Other concerns include adherence to time schedules, cost control to ensure that budget estimates are not exceeded, and the deployment and management of human resources. (Project Management Institute, 2008) Risk management A detailed risk management strategy should be prepared right in the beginning of the project, highlighting the major risks, the probability of occurrence of each of these risks, the severity level of these risks, and their likely impact on the project. Severity of risks is related to the impact on the project if they occur.

(Royer, 2000, 8) The risk management plan should also include the details of the action that should be initiated, and the responsibilities for initiating such action, in case the risk materializes. Some of the risks associated with this major project are: • Delays in identifying or finalizing the premises. • Delays in transportation of the plant. • Damage while transporting • Transporting the wrong equipment or plant in terms of type, quantity, or specifications. • Failure to adhere to legal requirements • Non availability of human resources due to factors such as illness • Natural calamities and Acts of God

• Man made calamities. Quality Assurance Most projects involve serious issues relating to quality control and assurance. For example, in a construction project, it is not enough if the construction is completed on time and within cost parameters, but the actual construction should be of good quality. In an event management project, it is not enough if the event is conducted on time and within the cost estimates, but the event should go off well. Thus, in every project there

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are several issues that concern the quality assurance of the output of the project. (Project Management Institute, 2008)

In the case of setting up a new depot, the following are some of the possible concerns in quality assurance. • The premises selected should be suitable for use as a depot. This may depend on a few considerations such as the location of the selected premises, the access to the depot, the safety and security considerations, and the labour situation in the locality. • The equipment should be received in good condition. • The plant should be arranged within the new depot in such a manner as to facilitate easy access and retrieval, as well as safe storage without damage, when not in use.

Schedule One of the key deliverables in project management is the project schedule, which is due very early in the project lifecycle. The schedule can easily become complicated and difficult to implement, if care is not taken. The ideal project schedule should be clear and easy to follow. Use of computer software can help in achieving these objectives. (Bent & Humphreys, 1996, 79) The start and end dates of the project are important milestones. Changes to these dates are known as revisions, and may be made only with the approval of the project sponsor.

(Heldman, Baca & Jansen, 2007, 439) In most projects delays would be very costly for a number of reasons such as loss of business, high overhead costs, and disruption to operations. Although the schedule for this project is not as critical as in the case of many other projects, because a delay in opening the new depot will merely postpone the availability of the new facility by a few days, the psychological implications could be considerable. More importantly, the facilities being shifted may not be available during the process of shifting.

Hence the transition process may affect the business, and may need to be strictly controlled to avoid loss of business and goodwill. The following are some of the possible impact of non-adherence to schedules. • Psychological: Slackness in implementing the project may send wrong signals about the general level of seriousness within the organization, and may reflect on the company’s performance in other areas also. • Transition: When the plant is being transported, and until the time it is stored in the new location, they may not be available for use.

If the actual time taken to complete this process is not carefully controlled, this may result in loss of business and goodwill among customers. • Operating costs: Once the new premises are acquired, the organization starts incurring costs on it. Any delay in implementing the project may result in unnecessary overheads. The adherence to schedules may be ensured by having a good monitoring and reporting programme, and ensuring that these are followed strictly. In case of any delays, the project manager should consider steps such as crashing to make up for the delay, and bring the project back on track.

Project Management Skills Some of the most important and critical inputs to a project come from the project manager. In the ultimate analysis, it is the project manager who can influence the extent of the project’s success. Thus, the project manager’s skills are among the most important determinants of the success of the project. Project managers today need excellent general management skills, coupled with theoretical knowledge and technical competencies that keep evolving constantly. (Howes, 2001, p.

xiii) Soft skills such as motivational skills, leadership skill, and conflict resolution skills are essential for project success. (Heerkens, 2006, 10)In particular, project managers need a few essential skills that can help in the successful implementation of the project. • An excellent overview of the project, its objectives, constraints, risks and expectations about the outcome of the project. The project manager should have an in-depth understanding about the interrelationships among people, technology and budgets. • The project manager should be a good planner.

Planning is an essential part of project management, without which the project has very little chance of being implemented effectively, and within the cost and time parameters. • A project is implemented by a set of people, who need to work in a coordinated manner, and as a team, in order to ensure success. The project manager should be a good team leader, who can build and motivate a team to achieve the objectives. • The project manager should also be capable of monitoring the project continually, and be able to spot deviations from plan as soon as they occur.

He or she should also be capable of making quick decisions, and taking corrective actions and making adjustments to ensure that the project is brought back on track, when such deviations occur. (Howes, 2001, p. 1) In order to be able to do the above effectively the knowledge and skills required by the project manager include the following. • Project management knowledge: The project manager should possess in-depth knowledge of various tools and techniques that are available in the market.

Project management has become extremely complex, and it is difficult to manage modern projects without these tools and techniques. • Communication skills: A project manager needs to deal with a number of internal and external agencies, and communicate the requirements clearly to all of them. The project manager also needs to understand the information provided by all these agencies to make the most optimum decisions and to react to emerging situations. Hence, excellent communication skills are essential for the project manager.

• Leadership skills: Even the simplest of projects will involve a number of people whose active participation alone can ensure successful and timely implementation. The project manager has to be an excellent leader, who can direct, guide, coordinate, and motivate people. (Lewis, 2007, pp. 25-30) In addition to possessing these skills, the project manager should also be a highly motivated person, capable of inspiring the team, with a capacity for hard work and tenacity. In the case of the project for establishing a new depot, it is obvious that the project manager should possess all the above qualities.

He should be knowledgeable in project management techniques. Communication is of paramount importance in this project as in others, and will ensure that the new depot is properly chosen, and that its establishment is effected smoothly. Selecting and motivating the team to perform will be important aspects in this project also. (Word Count: 2024) Works Cited 1. DE JAEGER, Jean-Michel (2009). PMBOK (PMI). 12Manage: The Executive Fast Track. [online] Available from: http://www. 12manage. com/methods_pmi_pmbok. html [Accessed December 10, 2009]

2. Bent, J. A. , and Humphreys, K. K. (Eds. ) (1996). Effective Project Management through Applied Cost and Schedule Control. New York: CRC press. 3. Heldman, K. (2005). Project Management Jump Start. New York: Wiley Publishing (USA). 4. Heldman, K. , Baca, C. M. , and Lansen, P. M. (2007). PMP Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide. Indianapolis, IA: Wiley Publishing, Inc. 5. Heerkens, G. (2006). The Business-Savvy Project Manager: Indispensable Knowledge and Skills for Success. New York: McGraw-Hill. 6. Howes, N. R. (2001).

Modern Project Management: Successfully Integrating Project Management Knowledge Areas and Processes. New York: AMACOM. 7. Lewis, J. P. (Ed. ). (2007). Fundamentals of Project Management (3rd ed. ). New York: AMACOM 8. Philips, J. (2006). PMP: Professional Project Management Study Guide. San Francisco, CA: McGraw-Hill 9. Project Management Institute (2008). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: Fourth Edition. Project Management Institute. 10. Royer, P. S. (2000). ‘Risk Management: The Undiscovered Dimension of Project Management’. Project Management Journal, March 2000, 31(1), 6-13.

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