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Project Management

Introduction

Project Management is a specialized area of management, which is applied to projects especially in cases whereby there are limitations of resources as well as constraints of time and money.  Unlike other areas of management, Project Management is concerned with specific objectives, which must be accomplished within a given period of time. Unlike conventional management, Project Management lays emphasis on the utilization of resources to meet goals in a given scope (Nicholas, 2004).

Time management as it applies to Project Management is very imp...

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...ortant.  In almost all cases, projects are supposed to last a given period of time, usually five years. The business village project is scheduled to last from the third quarter of 2006 to the third quarter of 2008.  It is interesting that some managers who lack project management knowledge have tended to view Project Management as an unnecessary wastage of resources.

Far from this, Project Management is inevitable.  Project Management should be viewed as change agent, it should also be viewed as a right step towards addressing pressing needs in that, business village project initiation came after an analysis of needs which must be fulfilled and therefore the project was initiated to solve some pressing problems.

For p business village project to be successful there should be a good control of time, quality, costs, resources, risks as well as the application of proper Project Management knowledge.  Project management is indeed a unique career path in that it lays emphasis on results’ achievement hence the reason why business village project must integrate good project management practices so as to achieve project success. Unlike conventional management, Project Management puts in place the necessary tools to deal with constraints of time, money, people, materials, energy, communication, space, provisions and quality.

In this way, Project Management adds value to the organization.  The fact that projects arise out of needs identification means that by applying Project Management an organization is able to resolve some pressing issues especially issues to do with production, human resources, improvement of business processes as well as issues relating to market and industry.  The fact that projects have a definite end and a start means that an organization has to commit the relevant resources with a clear picture of the intended outcome, something which makes planning easy.

Another importance of project management as applied to projects such as business village project is the fact that, project managers use different tools to guarantee the success of a project.  For example, at business village, managers use Gantt Charts which to guide successful business completion.  Other tools, which make Project Management a unique area of management and have been of particular importance to business village project, is the  Programme Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is often applied inorder to clearly stipulate durations/resources and therefore overcome slug in time (Mantle, Meredith, Shafer & Sutton, 2003).

The other tool used in the business village project is Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) which enables projects to be completed within the given duration and using the available resources.  Considering the fact that projects are temporary but the changes resulting are permanent, this therefore means that projects are an essential part of any given organization.

Project managers are always guided by the umbrella body, which oversees Project Management by offering a guide to Project Management as well as development of Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) (Meredith, & Mantel, 2005).  If project managers adhere to the guidelines offered by the Project Management institute, the risk of misconception are minimized since Project managers can easily adhere to professional guidelines and standards.  In addition, adherence to the guidelines and standards set by project management institutes ensures that project managers are capable of dealing with the constraints, which often lead to project failure.  This therefore means that project managers can achieve high success rates, hence win the support of their critics.

Effective communication of project goals goes a long way in determining how successful a given project turns out to be. Effective communication facilitates an understanding amongst all stakeholders and therefore enables a project manager to execute his or her duties efficiently (Gardiner, 2005). In any given organization, projects are change agents and if not communicated well, resistance may result in which case it becomes impossible to achieve the objectives and goals of the project.

Therefore, stakeholder management in a project is determinant in whether a project succeeds or not something, which requires for communication management in order to overcome communication barriers, which may hinder smooth communication amongst different stakeholders (Lock, 2003). Particularly, holding of brainstorming meetings as a means of communication is the communication strategy of choice for business village project which involves different stakeholders who have different needs and expectations from the project. (Mantle, Meredith, Shafer, and Sutton. 2003.

In Business village project, there are different stakeholders who will be affected by the project being implemented in the organization. Stakeholders in the business village project include; the CEO who is a stakeholder on the basis of the fact that the CEO is a project sponsor.

The project manager must understand that without the permission of the CEO, the project may not achieve its goals because it is the responsibility of the CIO to give the necessary funding for the project.

As a project sponsor, the CEO stands to be affected by the project in several ways; first of all, the CEO as a project sponsor will be affected by the constraint of funds given that, the CIO has to authorize and dedicate funding to the project. This means that, other priorities will have to wait for funds as more funds get directed to the project. Another way in which the CEO will be affected by the project is that, as a sponsor of the project, the CEO has to set aside time for project evaluation and monitoring as well as appraisal since more than any other stakeholder, the success of the project will affect the CEO and in case of failure, the CEO is likely to bear all the blame for the failure.

Consumers are stakeholders in the business village project. Indeed, the new product, which is the goal of the project, is aimed at revolutionalizing the way consumers perceive the products of business village project. If the project is successful, consumers will be affected in a positive way, as they will get a better value for their money. In that way, they will benefit from project success. Conversely, project failure will still affect consumers in that; the end product of the project may hurt the consumers in terms of causing inconveniences or providing a less value for their money.

Shareholders of business village project are also stakeholders in this project. They too will be affected by this project in a number of ways; first of all, project success means more dividends for business village project shareholders. This is because project is targeted at bringing about positive change in the product line of business village project and with positive business improvement, comes more profits something that positively impacts on shareholders. The staffs, which include all employees of business village project are affected by this project in that, it will change the way they conduct business.

Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activity in order to meet the needs and expectations of a project (Kerzner, 2001). There is a need for project managers to ensure a balance of project scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communication, risks and procurement activities as well as the integration of all the areas to come up with a unified project team. A project manger assists an organization to identify answers to the following questions. For instance if Business village answers the following questions, the results of the analysis will see the organization resolve some of its challenges within a limited duration of time.

  • What are the causes of failure in the functioning of the organization and what can be done?
  • Does the organization have a clearly cut out strategic plan?
  • Is the project adequately funded to execute their functions as required?
  • Are the suggested changes going to improve organizational performance?
  • What needs to be changed, improved and retained in the management of the departments?
  • Does the PM adhere to the principles of project management?
  •  Is the management team and the general staff well motivated?
  • Is procurement of goods within market costs and well linked to benefits, how realistic are the decisions and solutions offered.
  • Is the staff, empowered in the decision-making process?

The Business village project draws professionals from various fields such as engineers, educators, accountants as well as surveyors. For the Business village project, the project employs professionals from various professional backgrounds and therefore there was the need for project integration management. Business village project put in place integration management well and the staff involved in the project evidently functioned as a team something which is responsible for the many successes noted in the project.

Procurement management for Business village project was is effective in spite of the challenges arising from the slug-time observed. For this project, material planning, human resource planning, and funds disbursement planning, has been well managed and no incidents of mismanagement or misappropriation have been reported.

Delays in implementation of various phases have had an impact especially whereby the materials or resources required for a particular phase are to be imported. In some cases, delay in ordering was experienced, meaning that, the project would have to wait for arrival of the resources at which time work had to be halted. This again was a source of loss since the staff continued to be paid whether working or not. The company managed these incidences well and from the look of things, the project is managed to overcome all its challenges.

A risk is anything that may have a negative impact on a project so as to compromise the ability of the project to achieve its objectives. In all projects, there are constraints of time, finances and quality (Maylor, 1999). To overcome risks such as the ones mentioned above, Business village put in place measures to overcome foreseeable risks associated with not completing the project on time. The risk of over-running the set budget was real for Business village. This is due to the fact that, the constraints it is facing are likely to delay several phases. Of concern, for the project is the fact that, there has been evidence of sabotage activities from some stakeholders, especially those who were opposed to the project.

A project is in most cases a change agent and as it is the nature of human beings, there are those who are always opposed to changes and therefore are likely to be opposed to project activities. Some instances where by the project faced threats from the government are worthy mentioning here. For instance stringent auditing laws by the government were a source of challenge for Multiplex; this was compounded by overshooting the budget which did not reflect on the tender documents.

Business village project involves many stakeholders, therefore, communication and proper communication is the only way out of managing all stakeholders and keeping them interested and focused on the project. Communication management is very necessary in a project in that, where communication is managed properly, project execution is enhanced. On the other hand where communication is managed poorly, sources of conflict are created and therefore this becomes a problem and a source of weakness for the project (Mantle, Meredith, Shafer & Sutton, 2003).

As noted earlier, projects mostly bring onboard many professionals with totally different job orientations and skill training. Therefore, how a manger manages people in the project can have a bearing on the project success or failure. For the case of Business village the above is a key issue. The other key consideration is that, people in projects mostly work in contracts and therefore unique human resource skills are always needed to tap the most out of the staff as well as maintaining high morale for the entire period of the project.

A project’s success also calls for proper breakdowns for project work (Kerzner, 2001). Therefore, a project must address the issues surrounding resource planning, achievement of project milestones, plans for evaluation, and monitoring as well as what indicators there are in the project to guide quality management process. By answering the above, the project managers can guide the project team and specifically the project manager in ensuring quality management in the project.

Cost management is concerned with generation of the project budget. While auditing the budget, the key concern to auditors should be on the project investment cost, the project recurrent cost, funds accounting, cash flow in case of income generating projects, and project investment costs (Gardiner, 2005). All the above should serve to assist the project manager in correcting any weaknesses which can cause the project to run out of cash before meeting its objectives or in case of a commercial project, failure to achieve the break even point.

For the Business village project, cost management was well managed, this is evidenced by the fact that, generation of the project budget was done in an open manner and the public was allowed to scrutinize the tender awarding. This indicates that, there was a high level of accountability.

Time management is concerned with activity planning, project time tracking and sequencing as well as activity scheduling (Field, & Keller, 1998). How well activities are coordinated points out to project outcome and can serve to sound the alarm in case the project is headed for a delay. At Business village, time management was well handled. the time delays, the slug in time experienced all point out to the poor time management.

In conclusion, project failure results from failure to align the goals of individuals in the project team to that of the organization. Lack of a shared vision results into individuals in the project pulling in different directions. As a result, team spirit misses in the team and conflicts become the norm when this is the situation then project failure results. In the case of Business village it is evident that the project was not successful because the project failed to embrace communication, alignment of project goals to business goals as well as failure by the top management at Business village to appreciate the special role of the project manager.

References

Field, M and Keller, L, (1998), Project Management, OUP. 53-91.

Gardiner, P. (2005). Project Management: A Strategic Planning Approach. Palgrave McMillan.

Basingstoke. UK.

Kerzner, H., (2001), Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling

and Controlling, 6e, Wiley: Chichester.66-69.

Lock, D. (2003). Project Management. Ed. Gower.

Meredith, J. and Mantel, S.J., (2005) Project Management –A Managerial Approach.

Mantle, Meredith, Shafer & Sutton, (2003), Project Management in Practice, Wiley:

Chichester.

Maylor, H, (1999). Project Management, 2e, Pitman.75-84.

Nicholas, J. (2004). Managing Business and Engineering Projects, Prentice-Hall

International. 34-87.

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