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project planning and management analysis of two different projects .We compare and contrast the different approaches that should be adopted by a project manager who is managing the two types of projects that have different requirements as outlined in their charters. The two projects are Highway Expansion Project (HEP) and Next Generation Cell Phone Product (NGP).
A project can be defined as an attempt to achieve a given objective or aim within a given time. A project cannot be successful without thorough planning. Making a project schedule is the first thing that one should make before undertaking any project. Usually, project planning is disregarded in favor of moving on with work. Nevertheless, many people always fail to comprehend the significance of a project schedule in saving both time and money besides numerous other problems. This paper tries to look at an easy, practical approach to project planning. Once it is completed, one should be having a good project planning method that can be used use for the future projects.
The first step is the setting of project goals
A project can only be is successful if the wants of the stakeholders have been satisfied. A stakeholder refers to any person who is openly or indirectly affected by the project. Because it is the first step, it is important to state the stakeholders in the project. It is always difficult to notice the stakeholders of a project, majorly those who are impacted indirectly. The examples of stakeholders are: the project sponsors, the users of the project outputs, the customers who will receive the deliverables and also the project's team and manager.
After understanding who the stakeholders are, the following step is to find out their needs and wants. The best way of doing this is by carrying out stakeholder interviews. Time should be taken during the interviews to portray the right needs and wants that will create true benefits. Stakeholders will always converse about wants that are always irrelevant and are not delivering benefits. All these should be noted down and stated as a low priority.
The step that follows after conducting all the interviews and having a complete record of needs is to arrange them in order of their priority. From the list that has been prioritized, it is good to generate goals that are easy to measure. The way of conducting this is by reviewing them against the SMART principle. It will be simple to detect when a goal shall have been achieved.
After establishing an unambiguous set of goals, recording them in the project plan should be done. It is very useful to incorporate the needs and also the expectations of the stakeholders.
This step is the hardest part of the process of planning.
Step 2: Deliverables of the project
By the use of the goals that have been stated in step 1, one should make a list of the items that the project requires in order to deliver and also to accomplish those aims and goals. It is good to specify the time when and the method through which the items will be delivered. The deliverables are then added to the project schedule with the expected delivery date. Very precise delivery dates shall be come up with during the phase of planning which is the next step.
Step 3: Project Schedule
This phase involves creating a record of the duties that should be conducted for all the deliverables that have been stated in the second step. For every task that has been identified the following must be put into consideration. First is the amount of effort that is needed to accomplish the task or duty. The person conducting study is the second factor.
Having got the quantity of effort for every duty, the effort needed for every deliverable can be calculated. An exact delivery date can also be worked out. The deliverables needs to be updated with precise delivery dates.
At this phase in the process of planning, one can choose to apply a software package like Microsoft Project to make the project plan. Similarly, one can make use of the numerous free templates that are available. Enter all the deliverables, the duties, the time to accomplish them and the people who will ensure that all the tasks are completed. The usual difficulty that is revealed at this phase is when a project is having a forced delivery closing date from the sponsor. The forced date could not be realistic when it is based on the estimates. If this is discovered, the sponsor must be contacted as soon as possible. The options that are available in such a situation are first of all renegotiation of the deadline. Secondly, employment of extra resources which implies increased cost and thirdly, reduction of the span of the project.
Step 4: Supporting Plans
This phase is concerned with plans that should be created as a fraction of the process of planning. These can directly be incorporated in the plan.
Human Resource Plan
The individuals and organizations playing a big role in the project should be identified by name. For each of them, there should be a description of the roles and responsibilities which they have on the project.
The number and type of people who are needed to conduct the project should be described. For every resource, there should be detailed start dates, estimates of time to be taken and the method by which they will be obtained. A single sheet that contains this information should be created.
A document that shows those who need to be informed always about the project and the method by which they will get the information should be created. The most widely used mechanism is a weekly or sometimes monthly progress report. This report describes the performance of the project, the milestones that have been accomplished and the work that is scheduled for the following period.
Risk Management Plan
It is a significant phase of project management. Despite the fact that it is always overlooked, it is significant to point out as many risks to the project as possible. It is also good to be prepared for any eventuality. The following risks are always exposed to projects. First and foremost, the estimates of time and cost are always too optimistic. Secondly, the consumer review and response cycle are also too sluggish. Thirdly, there is the occurrence of unanticipated budget cuts. Ambiguous roles and also responsibilities is also a risk that is exposed to the project. Besides, the input of stakeholders is also not hunted. Sometimes their requirements are misunderstood. Some stakeholders alter requirements after the commencement of the project. Other stakeholders sometimes add fresh requirements after the commencement of the project. Ineffective communication sometimes brings about misunderstandings, problems of quality and sometimes makes the work to be done again. Finally, lack of commitment of the workers is also a risk that needs to be looked into for the success of the project.
Risks can be traced by the use of an easy risk log. Each risk that has been identified should be added to the risk log. There should be well written down measures that will be applied in the event of a risk and what will be done to stop the risk from occurring. The risk log should be reviewed regularly, adding all the new risks that occur as the project is being undertaken. It should be known that when the risks are disregarded they will not go away.
When all these steps shall have been followed, a good project plan will be got.
Comparing and contrasting of the approaches to be adopted for the Highway Expansion Project (HEP) and Next Generation Cell Phone Product (NGP) projects reveals the following;
The first point to note is that both projects the structure of the projects are similar in that the same steps are taken in order to ensure that the projects are a success. Both projects involve the setting of specific goals as the initial step of their planning. This is because for every project to be successful there is a need of shareholders to come together and set project goals. Both projects need this step irrespective of their nature and goals. Nuseibeh and Easterbrook (2000) define stakeholders as the persons or organizations that are destined to gain or even lose from the success or failure of a given project. Both projects therefore do have stakeholders who are integral to the success or failure of the venture. The process of stakeholder identification is never easy. It also marks the very initial step in project management and planning (PMP). The stakeholders include the following;
I. Project sponsor
II. The clients who receive the variables
III. The project users
IV. Projects team
V. Project manager
Stakeholder selection for both the Highway Expansion Project (HEP) and Next Generation Cell Phone Product (NGP) must be carried out by means of the SMART principle (Roche,2000). The process of setting the goals is the same…[continue]
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