Elyna Deschamps has just left herjob as a website designer for a large systems design company and is about to start up her own website design: PROJECT MANAGEMENT Essay, KUL, Malaysia

University Kingston University London (KUL)
Subject Project Management

SECTION A: SHORT-ESSAY

There are THREE (3) questions in this Section. Y o u must Answer ALL questions.

1. Elyna Deschamps has just left herjob as a website designer for a large systems design company and is about to start up her own website design business . She will be renting an office which needs to be prepared, and also needs to procure all the necessary equipment before the business can commence operating. She intends to open her business in 12 weeks’ time.

In her Previous role, she often encountered critical path analysis when she was
involved in large design projects, and she considers that this technique may also be useful to help her to plan the setting up of the new business.

Elyna has devised a list of activities shown below that must be completed before the new business can commence. When drawing up this list she was aware that there was a degree of uncertainty in the timescales for some of the activities.

She is concerned that if these uncertainties are not considered at this stage, then she may not hit the deadline of opening her new business in 1 2 weeks’ time. (Note: there is no slack shown)

(a) Determine the critical path and the planned duration of the project.

(b) Identify any non-critical tasks and the float (free slack) on each.

(c) Discuss the use o f contingency planning in helping Elyna plan for the uncertainties in setting up the business.

2. Probase Resources Sdn. Bhd. has been awarded the contract to construct an access road, including a tunnel link for passengers, to a new terminal at KLIA2 airport. The Board of Probase has appointed Sheila Smith Jones as the project manager and she is currently in the early stages of setting up the project. This will be a large and complex p roject that will involve a number of different specialist subcontractors and equipment suppliers.

It is critical that the new road and tunnel are completed in time for the opening of the new airport terminal. The project requirements have been established and the project manager is now at the stage of planning for the work to take place. This will include an assessment of the risk and uncertainty that could hinder the progress of the project and its delivery on time.

The complex nature of the project means that the use of project management software will be an important tool in assisting Sheila Smith Jones, the project manager, and her team at the various stages of the project lifecycle to ensure the project objectives are delivered on time.

(a) Identify FOUR (4) types of risks which could occur and the steps that can be taken by the project manager to manage these risks. (8 marks)

(b) From a risk perspective, how does Sheila decide on which sub-contractors will get the job from Probase? Is a low price/high risk bid acceptable? Justify your answer.

(c) Discuss at length how a project management software could help the project manager and the project team during the lifecycle of the airport access road project.

3. Frontier Regional Airlines has commissioned a project to refurbish its head office. The project will require refurbishment of two floors and completion of the project has been agreed within a very tight timescale.

This new facility will incorporate a restaurant, offices for 240 staff and video conferencing facilities. F r o n t ie r R e g io n a l A ir li n e s wants to ensure that the work is carried out with the minimum disruption to its employees.

The project is now u n d e r w a y , and the project committee has identified and highlighted that the refurbishment is not in line with the brand identity of high quality and innovation. To fit Frontier’s brand, the interior design needs to incorporate innovative and high- q u a l i t y concepts. Executive Management has agreed additional funds and an increased timescale for the project so that the refurbishment can meet its objectives.

The project committee understands that the impact of these changes needs to be considered. There will be a number of factors that will need to be addressed to improve the chance of delivering a successful project. The committee is also aware of the need to produce a revised plan for the project in order to incorporate the additional resources.

The committee is also aware that the risk of project failure is much greater without detailed project planning and wants to incorporate Work Breakdown Structure, Project Milestones and Control Gates into the revised planning process in order to deliver greater control of the project and to enhance the chance of successful delivery of the project objectives.

(a) Discuss FIVE (5) Critical Success Factors that will determine the successful completion of Frontier Regional Airlines refurbishment project. (7 marks)

(b) Explain how the following project management techniques would help Frontier Regional Airlines successfully deliver the refurbishment project:
(i) Work Breakdown Structure
(ii) Tracking – Gantt Chart
(iii) Milestones

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SECTION B: SCENARIO ANALYSIS (40 MARKS)

There are THREE (3) questions in this Section. Answer ANY TWO (2) questions.

Question One

SG Tech is a small software design company set up in Singapore two years ago. In SG Tech’s short period of trading, it has built up a strong local reputation working with small businesses to develop software applications.

Two months ago, SG Tech accepted a large software development project from a local manufacturing company, although to date the company had no previous experience of managing a project ofthis scale.

In addition, SG Tech already had a full order book from existing clients.

Mark was appointed as project manager; he is technically competent but is not happy about being responsible for team management and co-ordination. The project team has been given a broad outline of the timescales for the project activities, but it believes they are unrealistic.

When members of the team expressed their concerns to Mark, he stated that ‘as project manager he had ultimate control over the project, and they should just get on with the job’. Mark added that ‘he was focused on the task, and this was his most important role as project manager.’

Mark’s approach has led to the project team becoming demotivated and less productive. SG Tech has a limited number of software engineers available for its projects, so Mark has planned to assign them to the project as and when they are required.

Once phase one of the project was underway, Mark allocated three software engineers to work full time on the project. One of the engineers became ill and one of the other engineers has been sent for by his line manager to carry
out work on another project. This has reduced the number of software engineer-hours available, and the project is already behind schedule. Mark is aware that without the additional engineers the project will not be delivered within the required timescales.

Mark knows the importance of a project sponsor for authorizing changes on the project. He is also aware that he needs to keep the project sponsor informed of any issues that might delay the progress of the project, but the project has started without the identification of a project sponsor. Although
Mark understands the problems that are caused when the project is not updated for changes, he has decided that he will not adjust the plan for the delay until a sponsor is allocated to the project.

The client has now contacted the Finance Director of SG Tech and wants to arrange a meeting because it is not satisfied with the amount of contact it has with Mark as project manager. It is concerned that, as the customer for the project, its expectations are not being met.

You are required to write a minimum of 1200 words and answer part (a) & (b).

(a) Explain the various challenges Mark is facing in the project due to his lack of people and project management skills, and how he could overcome them.

(b) Discuss the importance of undertaking a post-project and post-implementation review and provide examples of what would be involved in such a review for this software development project.

Question Two

JPO is a retailer of fashion goods operating in a highly competitive Thai marketp l a c e . The Board of the company has given the go-ahead to redesign the company’s website to make it more convenient for customers to use.

The project is currently at week twelve ( 1 2 ) and there are problems with the functionality of the site and the fact that it is not easy to navigate. The Project Manager, Jack, has expressed concern about the rising costs of the project and the time needed to improve the functionality.

He estimates that the change to the functionality will delay the project by three weeks. Jack understands that improved customer satisfaction (by making the website easy to use) is important. There will also be diminishing returns since the increased levels of customer satisfaction obtained by the change in functionality will be offset by the increased time and cost spent.

The Board has had feedback from the project team members who have complained that there has been a lack of visibility of the project manager. Team members have said that they were unaware of any deadlines as they had not been shown any plan or schedule of work and this had made it difficult to prioritize tasks and understand how they can contribute to the project.
The Board of JPO has called an emergency meeting with the Project Manager in order to come up with some immediate solutions which address the project slippage. It has been recommended that Jack also needs guidance on how to improve his management of project teams before he leads any future projects.
You are required to write a minimum of 1200 words and answer part (a) & (b).

(a) Analyze the strategies available to JPO to address the issue of time, cost and quality in the website project.

(b) In your own words explain to Jack the factors he should consider to ensure the project teams he manages in the future are effective.

Question Three

Absolute Quest Viet Pte Ltd. (AQ) has had to close down its new entertainment attraction after only six months due to its inability to attract its forecast number of visitors. The company is keen to understand more about why this particular attraction failed in order to learn from its mistakes and improve on future projects. The chairman of AQ has cited a number of problems that were experienced throughout the lifecycle of the new Entertainment Attraction Project. An extract from his report is given below:

  • There was a lack of a detailed plan as to the exact content required by the attraction.
  • The contract was given to a contractor recommended by the Finance Director and consequently no research was undertaken on its suitability.
  • Throughout the project there had been an unsuitable management structure and a lack of understanding of the elements of work required to complete the project.
  • The targets for the visitor numbers were highly ambitious.
  • There had been a major failure to establish sufficiently robust financial management. The cost of the building and its content was 10% over the original budget. AQ believes that this is due to a combination of poor cost estimates originally and poor financial control throughout the project.
  • Throughout the project there appeared to be an enormous amount of conflict between the various project stakeholders which made it difficult to manage the timeframe. The project manager spent so much time managing this conflict that project meetings were regularly cancelled.

No one in AQ appears to be committed to undertaking post-completion reviews. The chairman understands that there are a number of project management frameworks that would help in identifying the different issues of project management that need to be considered to effectively manage a project and deliver the desired outcomes.

You are required to write a minimum of 1200 words and answer part (a) & (b).

(a) Describe, with reference to the stages in the project lifecycle, the steps that could have been taken to avoid the problems being experienced in the new Entertainment Attraction Project, as highlighted in the scenario.

(b) Identify and explain the practices associated with continuous project improvement could be used to help AQ learn from the mistakes of the Entertainment Attraction Project.

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