Tips on Project Management

Since the introduction of computers by XY department, an ever-growing necessity for these kinds of business equipments has been growing. The process of introduction, installation and even the maintenance schedules that were laid then were not pre-organized and consequently the processes have been haphazard. The management did not deliberate on the future developments in the computer world, compatibility with software applications and the requirements of the user. Additional obscuring matters were unavailability on absolute and all-inclusive inventory system. Owing to these state of affairs, the department has commenced a project for the replacement of its old computers. These computers shall be replacing the prevailing computers that were introduced in the year two thousand and six (2006) (ETSU, 2010).

In order to replace the entire computer system, the department required £ 2, 300, 000 which forced the management to seek for financial support from the government. However due to shortage of funds, the government only funded the department for a sum of £ 1, 500, 000. This paper is structured in such a way that the first section seeks to provide an understanding of present distribution of computers at XY Department. The second section provides an assessment of current project status. The third section gives comparison of my assessment with sound management practices. The fourth section provides recommendations of steps that will bring the project to a close. The fifth section discusses the attributes and/or skills necessary for selecting a Project Manager. Last, the project seeks to provide advice to the CEO.


A projects is defined as the work which isn’t usually performed (what we typically perform is operations and not a project). Basically, a project must meet 4 criterions

  • Temporary

Each project has to be commenced and therefore strategies should be laid from start to conclusion. The project panel shall dedicate itself towards the success of that project.

  • Unique 

This implies that the result of a project is 1 of a kind. Nonetheless, projects can well be identical and as a result, planning shall deem what others have realized that is identical and the manner those projects can have constituents which are identical/ dissimilar. A Strength/ Weakness/ Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) analysis shall estimate as to whether these resemblances and disparities are either Strengths or Weaknesses.

  • Creation

Owing to the fact that a project team or a project manager are fashioning something which didn’t subsist, the team or the project manager is likely going to go via stages of growth. Furthermore, several individuals and even other institutions will be present who shall have a stake in the upshot/outcome of the project. The act of communicating the project's standing and advancement throughout the stages shall be imperative.

  • A Product or Service

A product or service is the aim of the project. A project team or manager gauges the project’s importance through the manner in which it realized the purpose of yielding the product or even the service.

Computer processors are escalating in speed each year. For several years, their speeds have increased twofold in speed each 1 and 1 ½ years. This quick expansion in computer processor speed has permitted increasingly vigorous computer software to reach the commercial bazaar. Approximately each 3 years, when processor speed is equal to 4 times high than it was when the initial computer machine was procured, the initial computer machine shall not be quick sufficiently to run the software to be exact  afterward being sold. Then, if novel software is required, the computer must be reinstated. This necessity for replacement is particularly critical when the machines are on a network and necessity to communicate as one. In this situation all the machines require to run software which is analogous sufficiently in age and functionality so that information might be simply shared. Computers within an organization such as XY department must be reinstated on a “needs” basis. This replacement program requires to be assessed periodically so as to spot those computers which are to be actually reinstated.

The entire cost of the replacement program reduces with an upsurge in the number of obsolete machines which might be made use of. Either procurement or leasing is a serviceable technique to obtain computers. Procumbent has the merit of permitting entire costs to reduce drastically as computers are made use of for a longer period of time. Furthermore, owing to the fact that procured computers don’t have to be replaced on a closing date, a lower level of enrollment’s needed. XY Department employees might perform the replacement on a time-available starting point all through the year. Leasing, in contrast, has capital expenses which are basically the same as procuring, on condition that the computers are taken back to the lessor when the charter expires. Leasing has a high enrollment cost. This is due to the existence of a tight window in which the computers ought to be taken back to the lessor and reinstated by novel. Leasing might not be simply established in order that the possibilities exist for general costs to reduce via the usage of obsolete computers.

Assessment of the Current Project Status

          The office of information technology which is a division of XY department is charged with the responsibility of helping other divisions in tackling the current computer breakdown within the department. XY Department started tackling the issue of obsolescence in its computer systems by first and foremost spotting and marking for reinstatement those computers that were obsolete. Second, it spotted and marked those computer systems which were not capable of delivering enough performance for anticipated workloads. In order to help in this process, the Department engaged a consulting firm. The work of this firm wasNoun 1. consulting firm - a firm of experts providing professional advice to an organization for a fee consulting company business firm, firm, house - the members of a business organization that owns or operates one or more establishments; "he worked for a ..... to make ready an inventory and evaluation of every centrally controlled software and hardware. This evaluation had suggestions to the organization. Furthermore, it spotted areas which might be fixed inside and those which needed outside backing. This consulting treaty was planned in a way that is permits all entities of the department to utilize the consulting firm to assess their software and hardware requirements. XY Department is at the moment on track in replacing the computers after the government injected some £ 1, 500,000 for the project. It was less than the required amount by £ 800, 000. The mainframe computers that are to be replaced are in differing phases of either picking or realization. The XY staff had amassed a catalogue of all desktop software which is made use of across the Department with an explanation of the release extent with which the equivalent seller has dedicated to be software and hardware compliant. The office of information technology had already finished the overhaul of every centrally managed solution which was not earmarked for replacement. Furthermore, it is helping in the computer replacement projects which are currently in progress. The department administrator selected a steering committee. This committee comprised of executives and it was mandated to scrutinize and on a regular basis report the evolution of all the newly installed computer systems. Within the finance division of the department, the up to date efforts consist of the following. The accounting and purchasing sub-divisions are testing a novel release of the department key financial system. Second, the accounting and human capital sub-divisions of the department are realizing a novel payroll, human capital and position control system. The department’s records sub-division is fixing a novel image-permitted records management system. Computers in the risk management sub-division have also been earmarked for the replacement. The office of information technology is backing the realization of up to date computer systems. steer·ing committee
A committee that sets agendas and schedules of business, as for a legislative body or other assemblage.These novel systems and system upgrades offer powerful novel functionality and development prospective and meet the current demands. They basically bring forth first and foremost graphical user interface monitors. Secondly, they bring client/server systems. Thirdly, the novel systems and system upgrades bring forth relational databases. Last, they bring document imaging abilities to the department's users and to its clients. But these benefits also carry significant organizational costs. The novel technologies necessitate funds for first, training. Second, the novel technologies necessitate funds for support and paraphernalia upgrades in the finance division and across the organization. The space to establish training facilities are at a first-class rate. Tens of workers should be trained on how to make use of customer/server applications as opposed to the well-known mainframe "green monitors" to which they’re familiar. Support needed for customer/server schemes varies to a great extent from that of extremely centralized schemes. Furthermore, the relational databases necessitate technical support resources not beforehand needed for user organizations. Hardware shall be reinstated at the desktop. Second, the hardware shall be replaced at the central data center. Last, the hardware will be replaced inside the network in order to provide accommodation to the novel schemes. The department’s computers must be replaced with the innovations in the information communication technologies in order to maintain tempo with amendments in nationwide monetary schemes. They must also be replaced in order to maintain tempo with standard desktop software, and operating systemsOperating systems can be categorized by technology, ownership, licensing, working state, usage, and by many other characteristics. In practice, many of these groupings may overlap.

In spite of the fact that the department has committed millions of pounds to these projects in the latest budget, thanks to the government’s partial funding, the funding cannot realize total overhaul of the computer system. Whilst these synchronized scheme projects shall emphasize the department's human capital, physical and monetary resources, throughout the current year and next year, the advantages and effectiveness the novel technologies shall start to be recognized and permit XY department and its finance division to cater for the requirements of our society in the next few years.

Comparison of My Assessment with Sound Project Management Practices

While tackling project management practices, the most excellent place to commence is with a number of descriptions of terminologies of project management. The first terminology is task which is defined as a single thing of work which has both a commencement and an end. The second term is duration which is defined as the quantity of time needed to perform a task. The third terminology is resources. Resources are defined as individuals or stuffs (machines, tools, conference room) which essentially execute the job of every task inside fixed time and price. The fourth terminology is phases/categories. They are defined as factions of connected tasks; a sequence of proceedings for 1 phase which ought to be finished prior to the subsequent phase. Every phase is a full cycle, at a minimum. There are three main project phases. The first phase is planning. The second phase is execution. The third phase is closure. However, several other phases may exist. Every phase has an appraisal process at its terminal. Furthermore, it yields a deliverable or product. The fifth terminology is milestone. It is defined as an imperative event; and it might be earmarked as the commencement or the end (and a times both) of a happening or sequence of events; typically a key phase of conclusion, frequently linked with a deliverable.

So, then, what is a project?

The apparent kinds of projects usually strike for example the executing or upgrading computer systems by XY department. However, project management most excellent practices and systems might and must be applied to whichever activity meets the project description. Examples of activities include first, the annual marketing plan. The second activity is every organizational budget. The third activity is developing or upgrading human resources manuals and guiding principles. The fourth activity is designing and installing a novel customer relations management system. The fifth activity is preparation of yearly audit

o   Don't Cut Short on the Planning Phase

Various euphemisms such as first, Fast-Tracking; second, Rapid Application and third; Rapid Deployment started appearing on the project management scene a few years ago. A person cannot actually dispute with the purpose of projects. Those instances in which the objective was realized have our reverence and admiration. Nonetheless, they’re not many and distant between. This is due to the fact that 1 or extra of the project management most excellent practices weren’t taken into consideration.

  • Fast tracking is usually accomplished by gutting the planning process.

If the project team or manager cuts down time, the team or the manager is in progress more rapidly. However, the following are some of the components of a good planning phase.

The first component is the scope. As far as this component is concerned, the scope must be defined. Second, the target audience, client and also recipient must be identified. Last, the reason as to why the project is required must be elaborated. The second component is the stakeholders. These are persons and institutions that require the project or are impacted by it. In this case, XY department requires a project of installing and upgrading its computer system. The third component is the standards. As much as standards are concerned, the question to be posed is “what superiority level is needed: ideal, feasible, simply get the project running? The second question to be posed is “whose standards: interior strategy, exterior for instance regulators? Inscribed or implied? The fourth component is constraints. As far as constraints are concerned, the parameters to be taken into consideration include the major people or resources unavailable. The other parameter is the deadlines.

The fifth component is the organizational structure. As much as this component is concerned, the main parameters include first, authority. The project manager frequently obtains as much power as s/he obtains. The second parameter is autonomy. The faction members require endorsement from their respective institutions. The third parameter is stakeholders. The question to be posed as far as this parameter is concerned is “are there others who believe they ought to be stakeholders but have not been incorporated? The ultimate parameter is goals. The question to be posed is “does the entire organization concurs with the goals? The sixth component is risks. The questions to be posed includes first, has Strength/ Weakness/Opportunities/Threats been conducted? The second question is “what procedures have been recognized that can rise above risks? The ultimate component is goals. Goals should be inscribed, apparent and detailed. Second, the goals must be signed off by every stakeholder prior to the starting of implementation. This will prevent subsequent disarray.

  • Can any of these steps be left out?

A step might be left out as long as it isn’t executed via glossing over them. For instance, long as it is not accomplished by gloss over them. For example, a Strength/ Weakness/Opportunities/Threats analysis is frequently performed by a small segment of the project team. The outcome is that only a number of the threats are spotted. The idea is to maintain each stage to a standpoint which is correct for the general project. The degree of risks to deem might be dissimilar for a tryout launch kind of project than for 1 that demands practical excellence. The process of ensuring that every person is conscious of project management best practices guarantees the most excellent outcomes.

o   Project Management Best Practices - Hints and Tips

The 3 main hints and tips of project management best practices in include first, one might have a good project. Second, one might have a rapid project. Third, one might have an inexpensive project. However, one is not anticipated to obtain all the 3. As a result, I would advice the Project team of XY department to select 2 which are most imperative to this project (replacement of computer system). Furthermore, the Project team should describe project accurately. Better still, he should perform a Postmortem at every key landmark and subsequent to conclusion.

o   Planning

If a proper plan has not been designed, chances are that the project shall be impractical to control. Second, those persons who should implement the plan must be engrossed in the preparation of the project. Third, the Project team should make use of a Project Notebook in order to completely document a project - appropriate and precise documentation is a significant facet of project management best practices. Fourth, the project plan must be signed off by every stakeholder present in the assembly. The Project team should utilize a Change Order form. This form should be signed by affected stakeholders in order to record vital amendments to the project. Fifth, the Project team should be cautious of scope creep. Sixth, the mission statement must be expanded prior to the setting up of goals and objectives. Seventh, gratifying the client(s) of a project ought to be a key concern. Eight, the objectives must be inscribed out and positioned in the project notebook. Last, the objectives must have almanac targets rather than being detailed as "inside y months"

o   Estimating Time and Cost

The following six points should be borne in mind as far as time cost estimation are concerned. First, Padding is legal in order to lessen threats; however, it must be conducted beyond the board. Second, an approximation is not a fact. Third, lessen time available for an individual to labor on a project to permit for assemblies, breaks and other disruptions. Fourth, chart-of-accounts should be utilized in order to trail labor costs. Fifth, time should be recorded on a daily basis in order to guarantee exactness.  Last, Gantt chart is mainly helpful in spotting those persons who are in-charge for which responsibilities.

o   Scheduling

The following 4 points should be borne in mind while scheduling

First, scheduling deems both interval of responsibilities and series in which tasks should be accomplished. Second, tasks should be broken down to extent required to expand an approximation adequately precise for anticipated usage. The project team should not plan details they can actually control. Third, bar chart is equivalent to Gantt chart. Under normal circumstances, bar charts don’t demonstrate interconnection of work and as a result don’t allow straightforward analysis of effect on a project if 1 activity fails. Last, software might demonstrate the manner in which breaks and holidays shall prolong working times so as to evaluate their effect.

  • Organization

The following 4 points should be borne in mind while organizing

First, the organizational structure must be taken into consideration while the project is being planned and staffed. Second, hierarchical structure has stern demerits as much as the running of multi-discipline project is concerned. Third, matrix is approximately identical with project management owing to its merit in dealing with various disciplines. Last, Achievement in matrix necessitates excellent interpersonal skills on the part of every manager (Family Business Experts 2010).

Recommendation of  steps that will bring the project to a close

With the increment in the cost of prices, a department such as XY shall be compelled to look for novel and superior techniques of carrying out project work so as to offset costs.  The augmented cost of project resources should be factored within the project’s product in order to pass along to the customer. Senior management of XY department ought to find means of absorbing the additional cost of resources. There should be novel techniques of performing which saves on the price of resources consumed so as to compensate for the increases in cost.

The department should plan a project contract which centers the project team on apparent project goals and purposes. The procedures must permit time for 4 fundamental steps. First, should permit twelve percent (12%) for project planning. Second, should permit thirteen percent (13%) for process design. Third, should permit twenty five percent (25%) for process procedure realization, training, process auditing and a management evaluation at the conclusion of the project (see appendix I) (Bizmanualz 2009).  

Recommendation of improvements to the XY Department's future project management practices

The process of executing project management programs establishes reforms within the work setting. It implies shifting employees from previous techniques, structures, and process into novel ones. It engrosses studying novel skills and responsibilities. Even for a steady organization such as the XY department, it’s tricky to control the changeover by utilizing normal structures and the manner to conduct training.  The process of supervising the transformation from the preliminary triumphant pilot to complete implementation is intricate task. Furthermore, it is a challenging duty which necessitates persistent interest from the management. Future successful project management necessitates that the department embark on a considerable cultural amendment. This is due to the fact that project management systems have deep impact on first, reporting structures. Second, they have effect on performance systems. Last, project management systems have an effect on communication systems and resources. The staff of XY department must be ready for the changes which shall be vital and to comprehend the advantages of the envisaged changes.

XY department should realize a tactic and culture proposal in order to guarantee success in future projects. In order to accomplish this, the department should establish project management offices. The department should discern the fact that quality management is part and parcel of successful project management. More effort should be channeled towards setting up processes for prioritizing projects in line with the department’s strategic plan. Project quality systems shall advance and consequently set up quality standards for procedures and documents that are utilized in projects. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ten thousand and six (10006) guidelines for quality management in projects makes better project management. This guideline offers direction on the management of project procedures in a quality management system so as to attain project goals. Performance management systems will incorporate the management of projects as part of a total job performance measurement (Business Improvements Architects, n.d.).

The takes of both of senior managers and project managers should be described to visibly demonstrate every individual’s duty in planning. By accomplishing this, project managers shall have enhanced planning skills which permit directing a panel to build up a plan which incorporates first, an apparent mission or purpose statement which defines the anticipated accomplishment. Second, the plan should incorporate a complete catalogue of particulars and postulations which are connected to realizing the mission. Third, the plan should include apparent objectives which back either the mission or purpose statement. Fourth, the plan must include a fine delineated agenda which clearly defines the activities, the projected realization time, and assigned resources. Fifth, it should contain the information compilation, formatting, and propagation steps. Sixth, it should contain an explanation of the cyclic evaluation practices. Seventh, it should contain a project close-out process which incorporates deliverance of the product. Last, other areas of projects for instance risk and procurement might be needed.

Senior managers ought to evaluate and endorse the project plan against a number of intent criteria. This process might involve an appraisal and commentary on the project plan by functional managers who have a stake in the project. Important is the manner in which the project’s to be screened and the importance of the product, which passes on to the precedence/priority allocated to the project.

Senior management of XY department should stipulate that there shall be cyclic assessments performed at definite period of development in the project. Additionally, if guidance wasn’t originally offered, senior management might assign highlights in the agendas which are owned by the senior manager.

A catalog of probable tasks incorporates the following. First, projects that contribute to the department’s mission are the ones that should be picked. Second, those projects that fit within the strategic portfolio of project work are the one that should be chosen. Third, the senior management of the department should choose and allocate simply skilled project managers to lead projects. Fourth, the management should endorse or decline project plans that either meet or fall short of meeting the department’s policy. Fifth, the senior management should assess and comment upon project evolution. Last, it should end unproductive projects as soon as possible (Asapm. Org., 2008).

Attributes and/or skills necessary for selecting a Project Manager

Project Managers (PM) are an extremely unique breed of individuals. They are in much demand. They shall be more and more in demand as the necessity for effectual technologists persists to increase. Good technology PM’s are trained. They are not born. They build up skills via experience and coaching. They turn out to be better Project Managers the moment they effectively deliver a project. They study novel methods. They apply these methods on their projects. They study lessons (from time to time the hard way). This makes them to be better managers in the future.

The following are the five main attributes and/or skills sets that I would recommend in selecting a Project Manager.

First, XY management should search for a leader, not simply a manager. Individuals’ skills are imperative. Second, bargaining skills and also suppleness shall be imperative attributes. There is no single project which goes precisely in accordance with the plan. Thus the project manager should be in apposition to bargain and/or negotiate the alterations. Third, tribulations “go hand in hand with territory” and should be determined, evading inconsistency and technological tribulations simply allows a project manager to fester and build. Fourth, communication skills are vital. The project manager shall frequently have to link a void in between technological and non-technological stakeholders. And reliability is at all times at stake. Last, the project manager must be "everybody's ally...and nobody's ally" so as to lead the project to the preferred ending (Family Business Experts, 2010).

The following should be the roles of the project manager: first, the manager should define and assess the department’s case and needs. He achieves this by regular evaluations and controls. This guarantees that the client’s needs are met. Second, the project manager should instigate and plan the project. S/he achieves this by setting up the format, direction and even baselines which will permit for whichever discrepancy measurements. Third, the manager should partner with the end users. S/he should work in unison with project sponsors so as to attain the set objectives of the projects and to reach targets.  Fourth, the project manager should manage the technology and project staff. This will lead to the attainment of goals and also to the completion of the project within the stipulated time. Fifth, the project manager must be able to manage vagueness, quick change, and a less defined setting. Last, the manager must drive the project. S/he will achieve this by acting as a role model and inspiring the concerned parties until the objectives of the projects are met (Pearsoned, 2000).

Advice to the CEO

Among the main vital project management best practices rotates about the reality that the majority of projects engross on financial and non- financial parameters.

Non-financial Information

Non-financial consists of stuffs such as first, describing tasks and their series and interval. Second, it consists of scheduling and resource planning for people and tools. Last, it consists of organizational planning and risk recognition.

Financial Information

Projects do have financial parameters. In general, they’ve limited cost restraint so approximations and budgets and price control are required. To the level that the PM (project manager) has to mingle with other divisions of the department and even beyond organizations for resources, they turn out to be stakeholders in the project. However the PM’s comparatively autonomous in running and reporting on their usage. They fall beneath his/her control for the duration of the project.

Nevertheless, with financial parameters, it’s a sureness that the PM shall have to intermingle in some way with either the financial or accounting function. In due course all financial information gets its way within the general ledger and the financial statements of the organization. Thus the project best practices spot and deal with this particular sureness/certainty.

Time sheets for individuals can be recorded in a specific time and billing or project accounting module. They may also be recorded in a payroll subsidiary ledger. The amount of money spent in purchasing equipments and expenditure should be recorded within the time and billing module. XY department must have a system of internal control in order to make sure that the information flows smoothly and also precisely. The CEO should deem the financial function as a stakeholder. S/he should get updated on the manner in which the prevailing scheme operates. This update should incorporate reports which might be made obtainable ton the CEO. It should also incorporate timing for the routing cycles which the financial function utilizes in order to process information. Generally, the novel schemes process transactions extra often and near to real-time. Older schemes have fewer recurrent for instance weekly or even biweekly.

Newer schemes have superior reporting obtainable. Contrastingly, older systems have less suppleness or even prevalent information. Furthermore, newer systems might frequently attain or make specific information rather straightforwardly via report writers. Older systems on the other hand do not have that suppleness. With all this information at fingerer tips, the CEO can now deal with making a decision on how to control time, expenses and budgets.

Other stuffs being identical, if the prevailing monetary system in XY department might offer the information, it shall be much easier to depend on that instead of sustaining another entire system. On the other hand, if the prevailing system isn’t proficient, subsequently the CEO has to search for options. Either way, formulating this verdict prematurely leaves extra time to make ready whatsoever approach that is chosen. The CEO should keep in mind that whether s/he selects or forced to go beyond the financial system for proportion or all of the computer system replacement of project management information, s/he shall still have to have adequate controls and resolution. This will guarantee the honesty of the data s/he will be making use of. Expenses in the project must be identical as those in the general ledger (Family Business Experts, 2010).

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