Project Management IT Project Management Questions Outsourcing Term Paper

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Project Management

IT Project Management Questions

Outsourcing -- Big Savings, Big Risks

Social Software for Project Management

Social Software can provide a number of opportunities for managing projects. What are some challenges or issues that should be considered before a project team implements a blog or a wiki?

Jonathon Edwards, an analyst with the Yankee Group, states that "Some people clutch to their corporate email boxes as if they were cigarettes. They're hopelessly addicted. We're all so accustomed to it. You can't change the way people work overnight." Blogs and wikis have a number of advantages over email. As a project manager, how could you reduce your project's team's resistance to rely less on email and embrace the use of social software?

Global Technology Solutions

Question One -- What role does quality play in the IT project Methodology?

How does verification/validation and change control support quality in an IT project?

Why should the project team focus on both internal and external customers? 7

ERP and Change Management at Nestle 8

What, from a project management perspective, could Nestle have done better in implementing SAP? 8

The primary lesson that Dunn says she gained from this project is "No major software implementation is really about the software. It's about change management." Do you agree with her statement? Discuss why you agree or disagree. 9

Outsourcing -- Big Savings, Big Risks

Outsourcing various programming functions has become a popular trend in the business world primarily due to the costs savings that they believe that they will be able to capture. However, there is some debate about the actual cost savings that may be earned through this strategy. While a programmer in the Philippines may be paid an equivalent or as little as six to twelve thousand U.S. dollars per year for their work, the average costs of an outsourced project are projected by some estimates to be less than fifteen percent on average. Although the staff and human resources expenses may be significantly reduced through outsourcing different project functions, by using this format there are many additional costs that are necessary given the distance and technical or cultural barriers that must be overcome.

There are many technological issues that may become part of any outsourcing of IT business functions. One of the most salient issues is compatibility of software and platforms. One an outsourcing development project, the project manager may have limited control over the quality of the development efforts. Quality may be negatively impacted by conflicting self-interests, communication barriers, vague project requirements, poor planning, skill shortages, poor management, and many other potential challenges. If anyone of these factors leads to a result of poor quality then this can drive up the costs of the outsourcing deal considerably. Although there are many steps an experienced project manager can take to mitigate many of these threats, there is still a limited locus of control in this situation.

Other non-technological risks are also present in outsourcing arrangements; however many of these risks are often interrelated. For example, communication barriers may be present that restrict the effective transfer of project and requirement information. There is also a wide array of different extents and challenges found in communications with different outsourcing locations. For example, in countries that speak an entirely different language a translator would be necessary in many situations that would create significant challenges. However, even in countries such as the Philippines where much of the population speaks English, there may still be a more mild communication barrier that exists due to local preference inherent in more regional dialogues as well as the time zone differences that can also hinder direct communication.

There are many different strategies to mitigate some of the risks that are associated with both technical and non-technical outsourcing of project functions. One example of a strategy that may be used is evident in the case. The case mentions that before an outsourced project team was officially initiated, some of the outsourced members of the project were brought in to the project headquarters for a couple months to work out many of the details in person. face-to-face contact is still an invaluable tool that significantly aids communication effectiveness. Trying to relay information about the project to the Philippines without any face-to-face contact is far more complicated. Thus having a couple months to interact with the foreign team members provides a level of understanding that would not be possible under different communication arrangements.

Social Software for Project Management

Question One -- Social Software can provide a number of opportunities for managing projects. What are some challenges or issues that should be considered before a project team implements a blog or a wiki?

Many of the advantages of using social software are fairly clear when compared to other common communication forms such as email. The two major forms of social software are Web logs (blog) or Wiki, which is short for the Hawaiian term meaning quick. One advantage over email for both forms of social software is that it can allow a new project member to quickly get up to speed with the group as they can track a range of content that has occurred over time. For example, a new member or one that wishes to refresh their memories can quickly view some of the team's most important messages that were issued as they were relevant and this can be viewed in one place and in chronological order. This can provide something of a timeline perspective to a group's progress on various stages of the project.

Despite all of the benefits that these new forms of communication offer, there are also a range of challenges associated with them. One of the primary challenges involves user acceptance. Not everyone on a project team is accustomed to using social software and it is likely that many users will be hesitant to adopt the software fully. Other challenges might include controlling the content in a Wiki. For example, project team members might have different ideas on what they think is the most relevant information to include on the project. This could be a source of conflict that must be resolved however the collaborative environment can also be an asset to if the team is willing to use it effectively.

Question Two -- Jonathon Edwards, an analyst with the Yankee Group, states that "Some people clutch to their corporate email boxes as if they were cigarettes. They're hopelessly addicted. We're all so accustomed to it. You can't change the way people work overnight." Blogs and wikis have a number of advantages over email. As a project manager, how could you reduce your project's team's resistance to rely less on email and embrace the use of social software?

Email is the most common and widely used for of communication in the corporate environment; it has basically become the standard. However, for all of its features, there are also a range of limitations that are found within this form of communication. One limitation is that sometimes important content can be easily missed; especially if included in messages that are lengthy or cover multiple ranges of issues. For example, one email might include updates on a range of topics and user might have trouble attributing the importance of each one. This can potentially cause users to miss out on important developments within the project. Other limitations include not being able to put information or content into context of the project. Without having access to body language, voice intonation, and facial expressions it is often difficult to read between the lines in an email. This can also cause the intended message to be diluted through the medium.

Given the listed ranges of problems associated with email, as well as many others, some of the new social software mediums can serve as a beneficial alternative to the traditional email route. However, user resistance might be a common problem that will have to be overcome in order to foster the project team's acceptance of the platform. Yet there are things that can be done to attempt to accelerate acceptance and foster user involvement. One idea might be to list important content on a Wiki or a blog and make it mandatory for users to go to these sites to view them. Just getting them to log on and become familiar with the system might be enough to overcome much resistance. Another idea might be to run a small contest for users who post the best content on a site. This could serve as an incentive to participate in some social software communication solutions.

Global Technology Solutions

Question One -- What role does quality play in the IT project Methodology?

Quality is an important component in the IT project Methodology. Obviously one of the goals of any project is to satisfy the requirements of the project as well as the end users of a software package for example. Therefore, it behooves a project manager to build quality into the methodology at every stage of…[continue]

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