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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Project Management Case # 4

Question 1: What phase of the project do you think causes it to fail?

As to making a project, there is what we called phases of the project life cycle. Initiation, planning, executing and closure. Before answering the question, let me talk first about these phases in order to understand more about the project life cycle and the phase of the project which causes it to fail. Managing and executing a project is not easy. It must follow rules to attain goal(s) of it. According to the Project Management Book Of Knowledge Book (PMBOK), 5th edition, here are these processes of the project life cycle which must be considered and follow to produce to a result of the target outcome. Initiation, planning, executing and closure, these are the phases in managing a project what I’m talking to.  Initiation, this is the first phase of the project management life cycle, as it requires commencing a new project. Starting a project must set up the project’s scope, objectives and the deliverables to be produced. Create a project team, set up the members wherein their skills should fit in or suited well for the project team. Making sure that they are good enough in the field they were assigned or where they will be assigned, where there expertise is aligned. Next phase of the project management life cycle is, planning. In order to manage the project well, the project team of the EMCA Company should plan about the project after initiating it. The team should create a set of plans (project plan) to help them guide through the execution of the project, and this project plan should be discussed within the group. Planning will help them manage their time, issues of the project, the quality of it, the risk attached to it and of course, the changes along the way. This phase will also help the project manager to manage his or her staff well. This phase is often called as the most challenging phase for a project manager, where the project manager needs to make an educated guess of the staff, resources needed to finalize the project. Passing through this process will create a blueprint for the project team that will guide them along the making of the project. Planning phase includes the risk management plan wherein the project team should identify the risks along the project and implements a plan to reduce them. They must prepare an alternatives. Identifying also involves analyzing the problem that may occur during the process of the making of the project. They must also be prepared, as long as possible, with all the issues that they may encounter. They should have the possible solutions or an alternatives for a possible issue or problem that may come along the way. Having prepared with issues and alternatives, they can apple a solution(s) to the problem rapidly in which they can avoid delays of the project’s progress so that they can deliver the deliverables to their client on time, within the schedule or time frame given for the project with the achieved goal of it. Executing, the third phase of the project management life cycle. As on its root word, execute, means the implementation of the making of the project. In this phase, the project manager should implement a set of management processes. With these processes, it can help the project manager to save time and cost for the project. This phase will help the project manager manage time and cost, quality, change and issues about the project. Project Execution Phase, will help the project team improve their chances of delivering their project’s outcome within the schedule and within the budget. The project team should also have a stable communication with their client. Having no stable and efficient communication with the project team and the company’s client, will lead to miscommunication and may produce a chance for the project to fail and end up like a mess. Because if the client wants to change something to the project, and the project team could not understand the changes well, the outcome of the project may not be like or same with the outcome of what the client wants. This project management life cycle also has its fourth or last phase, which is the closure phase. In this phase, the project manager will formally close the project and then he or she will report the overall level of success of the report. In this last phase of the life cycle of project management involves giving the deliverables to the client, passing the documentation to the business and informing all involved of the project to its closure.

Contracting for a project comes with big responsibilities. There were things that must put into considerations. Before contracting for a project, a team or company must secure that they are able to meet the objectives of a certain project. And that they can keep their words with their business partner. Because one of the reason why a business fails is that, a person or a company is not keeping their words in relation to what had been discussed inline with the main goal of the project. In order to gain more clients or keep your clients, a company must be able to do or execute all the plans in the proposal of the given project by their client. By keeping your customers or clients, a company must ensure that they are capable enough in supplying the needs of the certain project.
With the given scenario for the fourth case, EMCA Corporation is defined as, not capable in building the customized software. In the first place, the head office of the EMCA Corporation should only offer in supplying the hardware component which is limited only with desktops and network referrals and should not be offered a complete solution for the project given by the local outlet of LGU.

In this fourth case, I do think that the phase of the project which causes it to fail is the planning phase. But I also think that it is more than one phase of this project which causes it to fail, because it might also include the initiation phase which plays also an important role in the making of the project in the given scenario. Appointing the project team is part of the initiation phase, and this stage must be carefully execute. Since the EMCA Corporation is only importing individuals from different companies to be a part of their project team. They must appoint staff which suited well with the project and could have atleast an assurance that these people could do their job and will execute their assigned tasks to them. In the planning phase, the EMCA Corporation should put into consideration first on their offered complete solution for the project. Since the company has not a development team and were also busy with an in-house project at that time. They must not offer complete solution for the project if they were not capable enough or if the company will not do what they have offered.


Question 2:  As a project manager how would you proceed with the recommendation of the LGU?

In making such project, each member of the project team has their own role in making the project. Each of them has different job. Each of them has different tasks that were assigned to them which is still  aligned with their expertise. But, all in all, the biggest pressure still goes in the project manager. Before answering what is needed to be answered in this number, let me define first the role of a project manager, the responsibilities that where affiliate with this type of job. And also with the other member of the project team.

Managing a project is not an easy thing to do. It requires set of components that must be possess for a project manager to do. It needs a lot of preparation to be a project manager.  To be able to manage a certain thing, one must be able to know what he or she will going to do all about. What are the knowledge or information that he or she must learn in order to know and be prepared on any ups and downs that he or she may encounter along the way. He or she must be having the skills that will suffice the position that he or she is going to take. One who are going to manage a particular thing must be able to allocate enough time to be prepared on what he or she will going to do. It all starts in proper and effective preparation and proper planning. Let us redefine first what is a project manager all about and what are the roles that a project manager should be able to portray. Let us begin with the question, what is a project manager? Based on what I had understand in the book, Project Management Book of Knowledge, 5th edition, a project manager is someone who is responsible to lead a team which is also responsible for attaining the goal or objectives of a certain project. Being a project manager, he or she must lead her or his team, guide the progress of the project to produce deliverables and direct his or her team to what tasks of each of the member should do. A project manager means, governing a project and leading the project team to the success of the making of the project. As part of any position, there were roles or responsibilities a project manager needs to be done. The role of a project manager is not an easy thing also. Being one has lots of responsibilities attached to it. Being a project manager should be able to portray what a good leader must become and be a good model to his or her team. He or she should lead his or her team to achieve the main purpose of making the project, to complete its mission and attain its objectives and deliver the expected outcome or the deliverables to the stakeholders. He or she must identify and develop methodologies which may use in the making of the project. He or she, together with his or project team must set standards for the project and as a project manager, should also set standards for hiring the members of the project team to handle the project. To manage a project, he or she must direct his or her team to ensure that the project management plan is being followed and all its decisions must be aligned to the business plan of the project. The project manager is someone who will be the bridge or the link between the strategy for the project and the team will make this project to become a successful one and will make this project’s strategy to be possible. The project manager leads his or her project team to produce deliverables of the project and this successful outcome is the main key for an organization to survive. Being a project manager, as what I have stated above, a project manager must be having the skills that will make him or her to be capable enough of being such. Knowledge, performance and personal. These were the abilities that a project manager should possessed to be an effective project manager. Knowledge is something that what the project manager knows about what is project management and its scope. Performance is applying the knowledge about project management of the project manager to be able to accomplish what must be achieve. And personal, it refers to how the project manager acts or perform his duties. Attitudes, characteristics and leadership, these helps guiding the project team while achieving the goals and the objectives of the project. Each of the member of the project team has its own responsibilities and tasks to do, the system analyst and the web developers. These characteristics I have mentioned above about the roles and responsibilities of a project manager, also related to the manner or attitude of what a project team member should portray. They were has the big similarities, its just that the project manager has bigger responsibilities within the group.

Regarding with the behavior of the members of the project team and with the outcome of the project, as a project manager, I would definitely accept the recommendations of LGU. Since in the half of the time frame allotted for the project, it was already clear that the project will eventually be a failure. Having just the system analyst in the group would not suffice the needs of the project. Although, what the other team members have done is not justifiable, the EMCA Corporation should heartily accept the fact that their project is a failure. Because in the first place, they have the biggest part for the blame since they offer the complete solutions for the project given the fact that they are not specializing in developing a software and the fact that EMCA Corporation is already been busy with the in-house project. As a project manager, you must already been prepared with the possible outcomes of your project. That you were already aware with the results of the project while still in the process of making it. You must already know what your project will be eventually. As long as you do your task as being a project manager, you must accept the whatever the outcome will be. As long as you have done your best, accept what it needs to be accepted.



Question 3 – If you’re a project manager, will you declare it as a failure? Why?

Being a project manager of a project team of the certain project is not easy. It was a very challenging task, as it also defines the direction of the project. Being one has the responsibility in setting goals of the team, keeping his or her team members to be always updates of the progress of the project, monitoring each of them and giving them motivation to complete and do their assigned tasks well. The job of being a project manager is not easy because he or she must be able to know the whole part of what a project manager should be, all its responsibilities which affiliates the job.

With the given scenario in this fourth case, if I were a project manager, I maybe declare the project which the EMCA Corporation should be done, as a failure. Why? Since in the first place, when you read the given situation, it was clearly obvious that the project would end up a mess. If I were a project manager, I will declare the project as a failure same with the reasons that the LGU provided. Those reasons are, the project development was months delayed (almost a year and counting), the software was not user friendly, and the software presented was still incomplete.

The project development was months delayed (almost a year and counting). A super delayed project will most likely give the project a high chance to end up a mess. It is because, with months delay or even years and still counting, it already consumed so much time which could be spend to another project and might also consumed cost. In business, they always say that ‘time is money’. One of the reasons that I think that the thought for this motto is that, the shorter the time a project consumed, the lesser the money they are spending for a specific project. Another is, the shorter the time consumed in making a certain project, the company could begin or start doing another project. That is why, it is called ‘time is money’, every single day is precious.

The software was not user friendly. According to techrepublic’s website, there were 10 things which makes a software a user friendly. These were: simple to install, easy to update, intuitive, efficient, pleasant, easy to remove, doesn’t need third party software, easy troubleshoot, adhere to standards, and effective error handling. Let’s define each of these in order to explain well the reasons why a software can be called as a user-friendly software. Simple to install, this was the first phase of contact to users. This should be done in a friendly process or else they’re going to be jaded the second time they will using your software. The installation should be as simple it could be. Easy to update, after the installation, this is the second reason why a software can be called as a user-friendly software. If the software’s update process are complex, users might likely skip this procedure. Updated need to be simple as it could be just to ensure that the users will maintain or continue to gain benefits from the hard work of the creators of the software. If whenever the user’s don’t update, the software would more likely become less secure and reliable, as well as missing out new features. Intuitive, or easy to understand. To define this thing in its simplest form, it does only means that the GUI of the software should be easy to use for the users will not have an issue in using it. But, the important thing is, the software is working. Efficient, a software to be a user friendly should be as efficient it could be. The software should be an efficient as it means to completing their jobs. Pleasant, easy to navigate GUI. This matters with the GUI’s primary purpose, to make an end user’s job easier. Easy to remove, with easy to install and use, a software should also be easy to remove. Does not need a third party software. The software to be called as a user friendly is keeping it running as it is which doesn’t require third party software. Third-party sotware comes in the form of antivirus and other protection-based tools. With these tools, your device which were using your software is vulnerable to whatever the malevolent powers that it can be have. Easy to troubleshoot. As what they’ve said, no software is perfect. When something went wrong, the end user could call a support. Adheres to standards, standards creted to make interconnectivity between the software and/or hardware easy. When users are affected by a lack of compliance to standards, the users willl face an unfriendly experience trying to get their tools to communicate with tools that do follow standards. Effective error handling, when the program or the software comes across an error, it should make the error known. It’s not the software user’s obligation to report bugs since reporting bugs were optional. With these type of reasons or things which of when a software can be called as a user friendly software, it already gives us the summary or the main point or idea of naming a software as a user friendly.

The software presented was still incomplete. This reason is clearly supported that the project was a failure. Presenting an incomplete outcome is defining that the project is not complete and it does not meet the complete requirements for the project. In order for a project to declare a success or complete, it must meet its requirements, the main objectives of it, the purpose or the goal in making that project. Without putting the main goal of the project which is achieving its objectives and presenting its deliverables to the stakeholders, the success of the project is impossible. In additional, if the project is not a failure and it was a success, the biometric system must already presented within the timed schedule for it by the LGU.
Overall, with these recommendations or reasons given by the LGU, this was already defined that the project of the EMCA Corporation which is the implementation of biometric DTR (Daily Time Record) and Payroll solution which aimed to eliminate ghost employees of a LGU (Local Government Unit) ends up a failure, and if I were a project manager, the project could be already declared as a failure.


Question 4: What steps would you do to make it succeed?

With the given scenario of the fourth case, there were things that could be done in order for the project to succeed. Reasons are given that the outcome of the making of the project would turn out to mess. But these steps that which I think could be done might help the project to be a successful one.

If I were the one who has the control of the project, one of the steps that I might do for the project to succeed is to find staffs or individuals to compose the project team that is capable enough in handling such job. And that they are suited well for the job they were assigned into. One of the main reasons of a certain success project is the project team behind it. The staffs that have worked so hard in order for a project to be a successful one is the key of its success. Each of the member that composes the project team should done their best or they should do their job well so that the flow of the progress in the making of the project is smooth. The main staff which should be pay attention to is the project manager.

To be able to handle this scenario of this given case effectively, the project manager should be prepared as long as possible, most of the time to any case that will happen along the way. Being prepared to be a project manager, must know what are the responsibilities attached in being a project manager. Being prepared with the set of plans for the project. Based on the given scenario, it was clearly stated that the project manager of the project team under EMCA Corporation is not responsible enough in being the project manager. He is not around most of the time which plays role inline with the making of the project.So, this is one of the main reason why the project fails. If with the succeeding meetings or moments which the project is concerned, wherein the project manager is not around, the head office of the EMCA Corporation should already made an action for it to fix as early as possible. They should not allow that during the process of the project making, the project manager of the team assigned to the project is not around. It’s like a dance practice without a choreographer, a film shooting without a director. There is no one who are guiding the members of the development team. This only shows that the EMCA Corporation has no proper management. With no proper management simply means not having a commitment or communication with the individuals involved within the project. They don’t put this problem into consideration where they should also think in the first place that providing support on software side is not one of their specialties and they are not experts in high end sewers. Wherein they are more in the hardware side. The project team that are handling the project should be a well-prepared and well-skilled professionals that are able to handle this type of project and each of them has a one word. Unlike with the development team’s members where they just left the system analyst hanging. Initiate, Plan, Execute and closure, these were the project management phases that a project must undergo. In order to achieve success in making a project, they must first follow the basic project management processes of the project management life cycle. Biometric DTR (Daily Time Record) and payroll solution is such a big project since it was also under a company or a government company, that is why it needs proper planning and enough resources to be accomplish.

As part of the project management phases, planning will create or make the big part of the project to be a successful one. The head office of the EMCA Corporation should be a part of the planning since they are the ones that offered the complete solution for the project. Since their company, same with what is stated in the scenario above, EMCA Corporation does not have a software development team for customers. They should have a set of plans regarding with the project team and most especially in regards to the project itself. And also, given by the fact that the IT department of the EMCA Corporation is also busy with the in-house project. They should have set their priorities in making a project with an individual or a specific project. Another thing is the execution of the business plan. Planning without executing each of the plans is useless. Without executing, it will surely fail the project. There are executing phase that is happening in making the project, but it was done in not persistent manner. The project manager is not around, the staffs of the project team, the developers and the programmers except for the system analyst just left the project and were not seen again. With this type of setup, how the project could be a successful project?

Along the making of this project, there should be a project manager, who will monitor the progress of the project. Keeping tracks of what the team is doing and making follow up to each of the member of the team. Checking out all of the progress of the assigned tasks of each staff. This will help the project team to monitor the progress of the project and be able to help each member of the team to know the details about the percentage of the work done by the team. Jotting down each of the milestones achieved by the project team. This will help analyzing which tasks were left that needs to be accomplished. Another thing is, the communication within the team and as well as the stakeholders. It is one of the very important things in order to achieve success. Cooperation within the project team helps them to ease the work for the implementation of the project. Another thing is, gather information of the past project that may help to improve or to the implementation of this system. List down all the past mistakes that have been committed. By doing this, the project team will analyze and learn what should be do and what should not. This will help my project team to prepare for the implementation of the system. Identify the possible issues that may occur along the way and so that we can be able to prepare alternatives to it. By minimizing the occurrence of issues, this will save time for the project and can be able to avoid delays in implementing it.

References:
Project Management Book Of Knowledge Book (PMBOK), 5th edition
www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-thing-that-make-software-user-friendly/1813/# 
www.method123.com/project-lifecycle.php

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