Assumptions made for the case study
Project management is an integrated approach, and there are various attributes that are usually taken in to consideration and in the current project management schedule for the project of PMCOMP, the following assumptions have been considered for the cases scenario.
The first assumption that has been considered for the study is that all the resources that are taken up for the work is well trained and it is evident that the resources are basically effective in terms of handling the project scenario effectively.
The second assumption that has been considered for the study is that the work breakdown structure tasks that are prepared by the respective departments are sure that the maximum time that is required for the process or task is absolute and there shall not be any extended time that is required for the task. Unless this assumption is made, it may not be feasible to develop the project schedule.
Based on the inputs from the project tasks, and the provided work break down structure along with the possible number of resources who could be resourceful for the project, when the project schedule has been developed, the following are the key tasks which are identified in the critical path network.
|P1-Circuit Design Improvements|
|User Interface Additions|
|Device to PC Protocol Additions|
|PC Software Additions|
|PCB Outline Modifications|
|P1 Mechanical CAD Design|
Resource over Allocation issues
Keeping in purview the factors of limitations like the resources, it is very essential that the project schedule has to be managed in accordance to the existing resources and on the basis of the inputs from the project schedule and the over allocation issues, the resource over allocation issues are handled by using the task leveling application tool from the project software. The issue has been addressed, by adjusting the critical paths where the over allocation is to be reduced by decreasing the load and re-allocating the tasks based on the available date for the resources.
The impact of resource constraints on the project is very high as the project schedule would have been much quicker, if there are few more resources that are available for the project. Except the Software division, and the mechanical division, rest of the departments has only one resource available for the project.
The tasks that have changed in the course of resource reallocation, critically that could impact the project schedule are PC Software Additions, R2-Release tests, and PCB outline modifications. However there are various other tasks that have been impacted by the resource over allocation issue.
Memo to the Director
Sub: Development of Project Schedule
The Project of developing the product has been planned in accordance to the requirements and as per the inputs from the project schedule developed from the project is 19th Aug 2015, and the estimated duration of the project schedule is 34 weeks from the expected start of the project.
The intrinsic factors that are the major reasons for the duration being 34 weeks from the time frame is that the project outcome should have the desired quality standards which are very essential and also the project has to be completed with the limited number of resources. Despite the fact that there are not so many tasks which are part of the project, due to the resource constraints which is envisaged in the project, it is very essential that the duration of the project gets extended, to ensure that the quality parameters for the project are intact.
The following are the inputs on the labor costs related to the project after the stage of S1 milestone. The costs detailed below are based on the inputs from respective departments and the stages, which includes the costs of the resources.
|Labor Cost||Total Cost|
|Production Ramp up to 10 in Stock||$193000|
|Total for the Project||$740720|
Looking forward for your comments and opinions on the outlook of the project schedule and assuring you our best services in ensuring that we complete the project schedule in time and with high level of product quality standards adhered too
Need for Accurate Cost Estimates
Accurate Cost estimates are very essential for the project schedule. It is very essential that the project team gets right composition of the cost estimates, unless the project cost estimates are planned effectively, it could impact the entire project success and might lead to more complications in terms of managing the cost overruns and the effective resource management. It is essential that the right kind of project management cost estimation methods have to be chosen and the cost estimations are done in an effective manner. Two of the cost estimations methods that could be effective in evaluating the cost estimations for the project are bottom-up estimating and the three-point estimates.
In the case of Bottom-UP Estimations, all the key activities, tasks and related packages are estimated to the maximum possible level and the summarizing of the estimates with the combination of the individual estimates is essential. The accuracy of the bottom-up estimating could be optimized when the factors are defined in detail.
Whereas, in the three-point estimate, the cost estimations are done on the basis of the best-case estimation, most likely estimation and the worst case estimation. This will indicate us a clear picture of what could be the maximum cost for a project under the favorable conditions, and in the ideal conditions and the worst conditions. This will give us a wide scope of cost range that could help in facilitating the project costs more accurately.
For instance in the case of product development, when the project team has to understand the cost for the project of developing certain volume of products, it is very essential that the project sponsor has an idea on the project cost estimates. Both these cost estimation models could be very resourceful in identifying the accurate cost estimates.
By usage of the bottom up cost estimates, it is very essential that the team can work on the costs in a detailed manner and could be summarized to get an accurate cost from the tasks, or the work costs that are involved in the process of development. In the other way, when the companies have to understand the range for the likely estimated costs, the method of three point estimates could be very favorable approach where the focus of company is about evaluating the range of the likelihood costs for the development of the projects.
Contingencies are integral part of any project or product management. There could be much kind of uncertainties that could creep up during the project schedule. Unless the project team is prepared for handling the contingencies, it could be very critical challenge for the organization towards handling the cost overruns, and the impacts of the resulting outcome. Hence, it is an effective practice for the project teams to have some kind of contingency reserves for the project, where the purpose of having such a reserve is to ensure that the project schedule do not derail due to any kind of contingency issues that could creep up. There are various methods, where the contingency reserve can be estimated.
In usual circumstances, contingency reserves are related term to the issue of funds for the project; however, there could be certain scenarios where the contingency reserve has to be maintained in terms of materials, resources etc. too depending on the project. In common phenomena, one of the regular methods of allotting contingency reserves are by allotting certain percentage of the estimated project cost as the contingency cost. Whereas in terms of structured approach, the Expected Value Method, where the approach is about estimating the contingency requirement value for variety of contingencies and the company usually allocates the reserves according to the probability of such a contingency taking place rather than setting aside money for all contingencies.
The expected value method is always a preferred method of approach for allotting contingency reserve, as this would be based on many insights and the estimations of the project schedule. For instance, in a project development, the uncertainties could be from 5 different factors, and the probability of such contingency occurrence could be very high only from two factors say resource overtime costs and the supply chain issues, then the estimated costs for such gaps are taken in to consideration and the contingency reserves are maintained for those probable uncertainties, and this will provide us better probability.
Hence this approach provides much leverage when compared to other kinds of practice, where a particular percentage of estimated cost is considered and allocated as contingency reserves. This reserve might be or might not be sufficient for all the contingencies that could creep up. Hence it can be stated that always having a structured approach for evaluating the project is more suitable practice.
Pros and Cons of Organization Structure
The organization structure and the culture have significant impact on the project development and the project schedule. Keeping in view the need for the organization to have the projects accomplished in the deadlines, there are various factors that are to be taken in to consideration by the company. One such factor that influences the implications, effects and the efficacy of the project schedule is the organizational structure. There are various kinds of project management structures, among which the matrix organization structure and the lean structure are very effective in terms of handling complex projects.
There are various factors that are also dependent on the organization culture too, but the significant impact is very high in term of the organization structure. One of the critical reasons, for the project in the given case scenario is that if there is matrix organization structure, the feasibility of the review mechanisms in the project could be much viable in terms of success for the organization, whereas in terms of the lean structure, the accountability is very high, but there could be some kind of issues pertaining to accountability review and the project management that is critical for success of the project schedules. As in the case of matrix structure there are various levels of cross check for the parameters and metrics, it is very essential that the company focus on getting right kind of parameters.
Table Review – ‘pros and cons’ of each structure type
There are various factors that are impacting the organizational dynamics pertaining to project management. In the given case scenario, there are various aspects that are being imperative to the organizational dynamics, and when the project managers authority is considered as one of the critical factor for the project success, the authority rests with the project manager in the functional structure, whereas in terms of the strong matrix structure, though the onus lies on the project manager, the authority to the resource could be limited and the decision making system for the project manager might not be so free and tact.
The resource availability in the functional structure could be much more imperative compared to the issues pertaining to the matrix structure. In the matrix structure, there are various aspects that are critical and the resource availability in the matrix structure could be much complex when compared to the other type of structures.
In the strong matrix structure, the level of control that is exercised in the project budget could be very high, and could have more secured screening of the project expenditure, however, in the other way round, when the companies have the lean structure like the functional structure, then there could be certain issues that could prevail in the manner of accurate decision making process.
The project managers role in the functional structure could be very significant and be complex task as many of the factors that are imperative for the project is based on the inputs from the project manager and many functions have to be considered by the manger for approval, whereas, in the case of strong matrix or the balance matrix, the complexity of the decision making may not rely or the weight of accountability may not be so high on the project managers as there is scope for distribution of work.
Balanced Matrix of Organizational Structure
In the case context, the need for organization to have a balanced structure for the progress of the project is very important. It is evident from the factors that one type of structure may not match for all the project requirements, however, when the companies have the balanced matrix approach, categorically in terms of product development scenario, it could help the company in having more structured approach for the project success. There are various attributes that has to be taken in to consideration by the organization, one such factor is the complexity of the projects and the need for having right kind of structure that could facilitate the organization in having right kind of project success.
Keeping in view, the need for organizations to have some kind of balance in the resource management, the culture and the work environments have significant impact on the project success, and there are plethora of issue that are to be considered by the organization like employee engagement, competency and the dedication of the resources towards working on specific kind of projects, and it is imperative from the case scenario, that keeping insight various project tasks that are associated, it is essential that having a balanced matrix structure could be a feasible solution for the organization.
Organizational culture has a predominant role in the success of any project. If the organizational culture is so positive that it encourages the team, motivates them to take the accountability and the organization has the culture of recognizing the importance for the people who contribute to the project, then it shall certainly support the project in an effective manner. It is very essential that the companies have effective polices and principles that could support the organization in promoting effective culture.
Keeping in purview the need for successful project implementation, I shall ensure to take steps that could develop a positive impact on the employees from the organizational culture perspective. If the organization has some kind of positive environment where the performance is given significant importance and the career growth is provided along with equal opportunities for performance, and level playing work environment without any kind of bias, eventually it provides positive environment to the employees of the company to work effectively.
Also it is very essential to maintain the integrity and value to cultural diversity as in the current global scenario, there are various companies where the resources are from diverse work cultures and unless the company have unbiased approach to the team, and respect the talent than the cultural background or domicile, the team may not have positive environment for work and the resulting outcome too might not be so effective.
In order to ensure that the team contributes to the project implementation with high integrity, it is very essential to have sound organizational culture, and I would implement the work culture, where the process is transparent and the performance of the team and the individuals are duly recognized and rewarded effectively and the growth of the individual in the team is purely based on merit rather than the cultural influence or any other kind of influences. This approach from the organization creates an positive work environment and the team shall be motivated to work on the projects with much focused approach.
Choosing right kind of Projects
Success of an organization depends on various factors and one of the integral factors that impacts the organizational success is about choosing right kind of projects. There could be so many project proposals with the organization, which could fetch mileage for the organization. But it is very important for the organization to choose the projects based on so many factors and principles. It is very essential that all the projects have to be duly evaluated, considered effectively for the process mapping, conduct the SWOT analysis of the projects in order to understand what kind of project could be more effective and how the project implementation could make significant difference to the organization and the stakeholders of the organization.
It is very essential to evaluate the pros and cons of the project from varied dimensions including the risk audit of the project implementation. This will provide a complete outlook on which kind of projects are to be chosen by the company. Based on the inputs from the research studies, it is reflective that unless, the decisions on right kind of projects are not taken at appropriate time, it could lead to more challenges for the organization.
It is evident from the previous case scenarios that if we work on right kind of project evaluation system, it could facilitate the organization in terms of choosing right kind of projects. Projects of all dimensions could be very beneficial for the organization, but there should be structured approach for the process of selecting the project.
In the process which I recommend, the need analysis and the business case analysis has significant priority. The process starts with understanding the gap in the market, or identifying the potential projects and evaluates the success probability for a project. It is very essential that the projects have well defined scope and objective and due diligence of project has to be carried out before venturing in to project.
There should be a balanced approach in the projects that are chosen for implementation. Based on the inputs, one has to evaluate which kinds of projects are aligned to the existing business strategies of the organization and based on inputs effectively work on them. For instance, when the company has to choose the projects between the internal value proposition or the brand equity and market share in the business scenario, the need for taking a balanced approach in the project selection is very essential.
In view of such inputs the organizations have to choose right projects that could fetch mileage to the organization from varied quarters.
Impacts on the Project Schedule
Additional Resources Required
Any kind of uncertainties and changes in the project schedule could impact the project factors to a great extent. The impact on the project could be impactful depending on the kind of factors that creeps up in the project issues. In the given context scenario, it is very evident that the project schedule is impacted based on the prototype builds.
The impact of the additional resources required for the prototype builds, are significant as the project could be finished much as per the deadline keeping in purview the impact of the delays that are taking place in the component delivery. In such scenario the existing resources are idle for great extent, and over a period of time, when the schedule has to be carried out, it is important for having additional resources to accomplish the project in time.
Change in the delivery Schedule of the Servo Component
Despite the fact that project schedule has been planned in terms with the effective resource management, unless the projects are driven in an effective manner from the team and the stakeholders in a timely manner, evidently there are certain kind of impacts on the project accomplishment time frames. When the critical component for the product development is getting delayed up to 7 weeks, it certainly has significant impact on the project schedule. Despite the fact, that at every stage of the project, there are certain time frames that has been planned as buffer time, still this kind of delay could certainly impact the project progress.
The change in time for the P1 mechanical part analysis
The change in time for the P1 mechanical part analysis can be significant to the development of the system. The P1 mechanical part analysis if gets delayed, there are many tasks which are dependent on this task as predecessor, which would certainly have some kind of impact. Keeping in purview the effects of the delay, it could be significant impact on the project schedule which will eventually impact the project costs and the duration of the successful completion of the project.
Impacts on the Project Budget
Additional Resources Required
Any kind of changes in the project schedule is evidently impacting the project costs, and categorically when the additional resources are required for the project it has significant impact on the budget. As, for majority of the projects, one of the key cost centers is the resource management. When the additional resources are aimed at the project it shall have certain impact, but as per the assumptions made in the project, if the existing resources are competent and overtime can be allotted to the existing resources then the impact could be reduced to little extent.
Change in the delivery Schedule of the Servo Component
The change in the delivery schedule of the servo component has some kind of impact on the project budget. Though there is no kind of cost increase in the material costs, still the idle time of the resources if have to be paid during the idle working time in the scenario of delayed material supplies could impact the project to significant levels.
The change in time for the P1 mechanical part analysis
This impact of change in P1 mechanical part analysis also has some kind of impact on the project budgets, as the cost overruns are imperative due to the extended schedule. The budget overruns could be certainly high keeping in view the amount of delays that are envisaged in the project.
Alternatives to reduce the impact of the budget overrun
It is imperative from the project scenario, that due to the uncertainties in terms of delay in the component supplies which impacts the analysis part of the component. However, to ensure that the project has not much of deviation in the estimated costs and there is tandem in terms of project schedule and the costs, to the earlier estimations, there are certain factors that could be considered to prevent the scenario.
Keeping in purview the fact that the project delay could be majorly due to the issue of component supplies, the project management could look for alternative procurement sources. The same material can be procured from different vendors, as this could reduce the time of waiting for the costs could be reduced to a great extent and the project team might not have to wait for 7 weeks to receive the components. And by doing this procurement from multiple vendors, the waiting period could be reduced and this can support in the form of being as per the project schedule, as there is some kind of buffer time allotted at each task level. In consideration of the fact that the tasks duration can’t be reduced, or the additional resources management might not be feasible due to project costs, this could be one potential solution the project team could look at as a feasible solution for getting the project schedule on track from any kind of deviations.
There could be many other project alternatives that could be an effective solution, but this factor has been considered as potential solution keeping in view the impact of the project schedules, delays and the tasks that has been dependent on each other. In this project schedule, majority of the factors related to the project schedule are based on the component deliveries as the crux factor. Hence the model of material procurement has been identified as one of the potential solutions for carrying the project schedule without much impact.