Monthly Archives: November 2014

Project Management (CASE 1)

  1. What issues should have been considered by the project manager before accepting the project?

After reading the PMBOK or the Project Management Body of Knowledge, the author defined project as a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. The temporary nature of projects indicates a definite beginning and end. The end is reached when the project’s objectives have been achieved or when the project is terminated because its objectives will not or cannot be met, or when the need for the project no longer exists. Project tasks can be new to a project team, which necessitates more dedicated planning than other routine work. When doing a project, a project management is needed and is defined by the book as an application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements. Project management is accomplished through the appropriate application and integration of the 42 logically grouped project management processes compromising the 5 process groups. These 5 processes are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling and closing. And managing a project typically includes identifying requirements, addressing the various needs, concerns, expectations What issues should have been considered by the project manager before accepting the projectcompeting project constraints including but not limited to scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources and risks. As the president of the company, the project manager should have considered possible issues that may come their way upon doing the project that has been offered by the XYZ Company. As a team, they should have anticipated the risks if they would accept the offer. The name and image of the company would be at stake if they would accept the project. And knowing that they only have knowledge project manager which is the company’s president, he should consider the availability of his time and the different areas in which his team are knowledgeable. As the project manager, he is the one assigned by the performing organization to achieve the project objectives. And an effective project manager should possess characteristics such as knowledge to which the project manager knows project management, performance refers to what the project manager is able to do or accomplish while applying their project management, and lastly personal which refers on how the project manager behaves when performing the project or related activities. Personal effectiveness encompasses attitudes, core personality characteristics and leadership— the ability to guide the project team while achieving the project objectives and balancing the project constraints. The main issue in which he should consider is on how he will be able to manage his time as a project manager to the offered project of the XYZ Company and as a company president of the ABC Company. It is not an easy task to manage both because he is the one on which his team would depend, without him they will not be able to achieve their project objectives because they need the guide of their project manager and as well as the entire company, they also need the guide and approval of their company president before making such decisions. Other issues may result if the project manager fails to perform his task on the project and to his company. There will be instances that another project will come up and be offered to their company and his help would be a great need for it. He should consider that he will be busier if he would accept another project. He should make sure that there will be another in-charge to handle and guide the second project so that they could still finish it even without his supervision. A person that is also knowledgeable enough in project management for him to handle the first project and not just assign it to someone who is not capable of doing it so that the project will not be a failure. Another issue is that, he is the only one who the client had talked to and he is the only one who knew exactly what the client wants. If he will assign the project to another project manager, he should arrange a meeting so that he will be able to introduce the new project manager to the client so that they may be able to discuss the things needed and on how he will manage the project. It is because, the new project manager will have another method or another approach for the project on how they will achieve its objectives it is proper way for them to discuss such matters. An effective and knowledgeable project manager should have anticipated those issues so that they may have a quick remedy if it would happen. The team will be prepared for such changes and be able to work on the project without hassles so that they would finish the project on time. Because a finish project especially if it is on time would add reputation not only to the company but also to the team who worked hard for it. It will be another achievement for the company also. Issues regarding the project offered should be anticipated by the project manager before accepting any offer because we will never know what will happen when the project had been accepted and unexpected issues will come. It would be better if issues should be considered by the project manager so that the team will be prepared to face those when it will happen or come their way. A project manager must have leadership that will help the team to achieve their goals and objectives because the project will also depend on his effective supervision and sufficient knowledge on his craft. The finished product of the project will reflect on how the team worked hard just to finish it and on how they applied solutions to issues and problems that they have encountered along their way. Effective leader and team effort for the assigned task are needed in order to come up with a result that would satisfy the client’s needs and expectations for the offered project and to the skills of the professionals that are working on the said company.

  1. 2. What issues should have been considered by the project manager before accepting the project?

In every project there will always be unexpected issues that will arise and as project manager, he should be able to plan for effective alternatives to help solve problems just in case such matters will happen. Alternative plans are needed so that problems will not affect the project and could be resolved quickly. In business there is always a business plan and the management or the team should evaluate the available courses of action through SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) and rank the alternatives and after ranking, they should select the best business plans. It should then formulate the other policies and plans which are the sub plans to the main plan. The leader should involve and consult the other members of the team while formulating the derivative plans. It is the work of the project manager to take initiative to implement the project plan. After the project plan is put into action, the leader or the project manager has to measure the progress of the plan and compare it with the standards, observe the deviations and if there is any, correct it. The project manager should have asked suggestions from his team members of other plans just in case problems will arise so that his team could have suggested something that could help in their planning so that even if he is not around they can still manage to continue their project. He should also assign a substitute for him as the project manager to supervise what his team is doing so that he can still monitor the progress of their project. Someone who is reliable and knows how to manage a project and not just someone he will pick just because there is no enough time to look for another project manager. Because a leader should guide his team members all throughout the project and not leave them just because he is busy. He should have prepared a time table or a gannt chart so that they will have a schedule of their tasks to have a smooth flow of their activities and everything will not mess up because having a time management would help a lot in finishing their project because everything will fall into place if they will just follow what they have planned. It will just be a big waste of time if they will just depend on their project manager on what they will have to do, it will be easier if they have task schedules so that they can still work even without their leader. Another alternative is that they should maximize their manpower; their company is composed of 60 professionals. It would be better if their team would have a group of 3-6 so that work will be easier and be done in no time. If a project would not have any alternative or back up plans it will all turn out to be a failure if problems or issues would not be solved immediately. it is just like our computers, we all have files or important documents, programs, softwares installed on our computers and if the system would have certain problems and the last thing that we could do is to reformat and if we don’t have any back up files, everything will be erased and all the important files needed on that computer will be lost and will never to be retrieved again. It is also like having some serious illness and we could not afford to medicate ourselves with the medicines prescribed by the doctor, some would even try alternative medicines because it is cheaper and they are hoping that these alternative medicines would help solve their problems on their illness. Some would say it is effective but some would say it is not, we can never tell if we will not try it. All I am saying is that, alternative plans for the project may be or may be not a big help for the problems in the project but nothing will be lost if we the company would just try and have also prepared some alternatives for it ahead of time so that the project will not be messing up every single day just because they have not resolved the issue before it would end up to be a failure. Being a project manager is not an easy task or an easy role in a given project because you will be the one to plan everything for the success of the project and it requires great effort and critical thinking just to meet the client’s needs and satisfy them with the results. In planning, alternative solutions for the project if certain issues would arise is also a hard task for the project manager but consulting some opinions from his team or other colleagues in the company could lessen his work because if they will share their ideas or brainstorm for it they will come up with the best alternative solution for a particular problem. Possible problems should be also anticipated by the team so that it will not be harder for them to think of solutions because they could not think of any if they do not know the problems that are needed for solutions. If the project fails, it is not only the project manager’s fault but the whole team because it is a team work and they should help hand in hand to finish the task given to them. And so as if the project would be a success, it is not only the recognition of the project manager but so as his team. Every project is a team work; a goal will not be a total success if one member will not cooperate. It is everyone’s effort should be recognized by the client because without their full cooperation and hard work, the whole project will fail and the blame will be put on the whole team. Full cooperation is really needed for the success of one project and in the end; it will be a pride of the team because it is a team effort.

  1. Do you think the system analyst and web developer should also be blamed for the failure of the project? Why?

Life is all about teamwork. As the saying goes by, “No man is an island.” A team is composed of a leader and its team members. All of them have specific roles in their team and their roles are needed for the achievement of their goals. In the situation, the team for the offered project by the XYZ Company is composed of the project manager, system analyst and web developer. Each of them has specific roles in the project. The project manager is the leader in which his role is to guide his members on what to do for the accomplishment of the project. Even if the project manager is the leader of the team, it is not only him to blame but also his members. As the saying goes by, “One for all. All for One.” The system analyst and the web developer should be blamed also because they are called a team and they should be involved and work hand in hand for the accomplishment of their project. At the first place, the system analyst should have think first before accepting the work that the project manager supposedly be doing. He needs enough knowledge before acting as a project manager because the work is not an easy thing to do. He also needs to review the entire project based on the client’s specification. We shall say that he accepted the task given by the project manager without hesitation just to finish the said work; he must double his effort because he is the system analyst and the project manager as well. He needs to work harder for it but nothing progressive happened but just messing the whole project. The web developer is to be blamed also because it is under his responsibility when it regards to the site needed for the project. He must do some solutions for it so that they will have fewer problems upon working on it. The failure of the project is to be blamed to all of them because they must work as a team and it is defined as a group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job or a project. All of its team members should operate a high degree of interdependence, shares authority and responsibility for self-management, are accountable for the collective performance, and must work towards a common goal and shared rewards. A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members. It simply means that a team should work together because work can be done faster if responsibilities are properly exercised in their team. A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to an agreed purpose, goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. Working together as a team, can help develop direction, momentum and commitment by shaping a meaningful purpose. This purpose will break down into short-term goals and milestones, but these should relate to the overall purpose, otherwise team morale and momentum can diminish. One of the major issues in longer-term team performance is keeping the team on track and maintaining urgency and morale. Focusing on their objectives, as opposed to issues like personal chemistry, togetherness, good communications and good feelings, can help achieve shape of a team more quickly and effectively. The team’s approach is where the team decides who will do what, how the team work together, the constraints, schedules, deadlines, milestones, reporting structures, language, etc, helping to foster a common approach. Each team thus develops its own method of energizing and supporting one another. This takes time and is an evolutionary process. For all the functional and team role issues, real team bonding generally takes place through activity, and this, in the early stages, is often through ‘who does what’ issues. This phase can also help establish the small wins which help keep morale high and show others that the team is achieving. A team is mutually accountable if they show honesty, integrity, commitment to one another, trust and relationship. Most of us enter a team situation cautiously, ingrained with our own individuality and, if we are honest, determined to look our best and unlikely to really trust the others. However, if a team is to function well it must behave like a team, which means leaning on each other and holding each team member accountable for their actions to the team as a whole. To succeed at the task in hand everyone involved needs to combine their efforts. If everyone does their job well, then it increases what the team can accomplish. This teamwork has to be recognized by everyone and know that great things can happen if individuals master the fundamentals and work together as one unit. Everyone has their own unique role, but each person’s individual role must be recognized and appreciated. Teamwork is something that must be a high priority and given constant attention. Every team member needs to understand how important it is for them to work smoothly together if they want to be successful. Each member must be dedicated to the whole team and be willing to act unselfishly. When challenges arise (as they always do), the team needs to have the resources, accountability and commitment to deal with them in a constructive and positive manner. A sense of teamwork will play an integral part in this. Forming a faction, your team mates will make up for your weaknesses and you will do the same for them. Each member has his own strengths and when all of these are used together as one, you form an unbeatable being. You have to be aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. A team must have a clear expectation of each other. A team should be about giving, loving and winning. A project would not be a failure if the team will have the so-called teamwork. Just remember T.E.A.M. – Together Everyone Achieves More!

  1. What does the project team lack causing the project to fail? What additional recommendations would you give to this team concerning project management?

The project ends to be a failure because the team assigned for it lacks the so-called teamwork. It is really needed to accomplish the goals set by the team when planning for the project. There are some reasons for lack of teamwork and here are as follows: different beliefs, different experiences, lack of clarity on decision making (Methods for making decisions are changing or unclear.), lack of team communication skills, poor group facilitation, and lack of trust and lack of time. Those reasons really led the team to failure because they do not have teamwork. They lack of clarity on decision making because the project manager should be responsible for this task and relay it all to his team members on what the client’s specifications for the project and his decisions are changing because he became busier when another project came in. Our ability to make decisions depends on our own self-understanding and how we handle ourselves when making decisions. We need to know when we are good at making decisions and when we are in danger of being less effective because of blinkering, avoidance, vulnerability or even fear. Understanding our own strengths and weaknesses is essential to our being able to improve our ability to make good decisions and move on. The principles of a good decision making are clarity (utter objectivity about the issue, the context and the consequences), conviction (the place of intuition, values and trained judgment), and courage (turning belief into action to build next steps), communication (embracing listening, engaging and persuading). To establish a strong business relationship, effective communication practices must be established. Many opportunities for poor communication take place in any work environment. The boss many not have received an important email from a subordinate, or an order might not have been shipped on time due to a missed phone call. No matter how minor or major the lack of communication is, poor communication will strain the productivity of the organization. Awareness of such problems in communication is the first step toward solving them. Poor communication in business whether written or oral, can obstruct the efficiency of your organization or a specific department. For instance, vague email messages that require clarification, documents that need rewriting due to errors, and uninformed presentations and speeches, can greatly affect the flow of work in the company. Effective business communication skills are crucial to successfully completing any project, large and small. When multiple employees or company departments team up to complete a large project, the value of each department’s skills will increase exponentially. Without implementing clear communication practices, however, company projects will be slow and inefficient to complete. If poor communication skills result in the inadequate handling of important projects, this can cripple the company’s innovation and capacity to make positive contributions to society. The capacity to innovate is proportional to the capacity to communicate directions, and to communicate new and exciting ideas and improvements. If you have decided to be a project leader then the most important role for you is to be a good communicator. Poor communication will be the first thing that will help you succeed in failing. We all have bad days and sometimes react to people and situations in ways that are not useful. It is doing this over and over that will make you fail. There are some communication skills that we need to avoid like not following up as you said you will, not returning phone calls and emails, not using basic courtesy, not listening, telling outright lies and constant negativity. Communication is essential for people to be more productive and enthused in general. If you are serious about your business then take the time to learn the correct communication skills to help those in your business or to make your customers feel you care. Don’t let poor communication skills ruin your business. Let strong, effective communication is the building block of your business. Most people associate the word “facilitator” with the training environment. Often, that person at the front of the room leading a training sessions, is referred to as the course facilitator. While it is true that some seminar leaders do “facilitate”, the facilitation role is often important in other areas. For example, the chairperson at a meeting often takes on the responsibility for facilitating the meeting, rather than “running it”. The government employee involved in mediation of disputes between other parties is also a facilitator. Human resources staff members often facilitate discussions in various contexts. And staff that work with groups of stakeholders and members of the public may be well advised to take on a facilitating role rather than a directing one. A facilitator is an individual whose job is to help to manage a process of information exchange. While an expert’s” role is to offer advice, particularly about the content of a discussion, the facilitator’s role is to help with HOW the discussion is proceeding. In short, the facilitator’s responsibility is to address the journey, rather than the destination. In this manner the project manager lacks good facilitation to his team members and that is why the journey of their project didn’t come to their destination which is to finish it. They all lack of time for the project because the project manager accepted another project in which he wasn’t able to finish yet the first project this leads to failure because he was not able to supervise his team and without him the project turns out into a big mess. I would have to recommend having a new team with a new set of members. Have a responsible leader in which he would have focus to one project only so that they could all meet the deadlines. Have a regular meeting so that they could discuss the progress of the said project everything is possible if they could just communicate with each other. The team should have regular reports on the progress of the project. They should have a time table so that they will have a smooth flow of the tasks to be done to be able for them to meet their expected deadline because finishing a client’s offered project could uplift the name of the company and also to the team’s confidence.

  1. What is your assessment on the performance of the company president?

A good leader possesses characteristics which leads the entire group or team to success. He is the one guiding and leading the group to its journey for them to reach their destination which is the finish line or success. Good leaders have vision. Good leaders know where they are heading and they lead these people toward the same vision that they have for their lives, a community, or even a nation. They do not just look at what things are, but at what things could be. Good leaders are not passive people. They are usually extremely passionate in whatever they’re doing. Whether it is sports or business, leaders are extremely focused and some of them are even consumed by their passion. Good leaders are wise and discerning. Being a leader often means that they need to make crucial decisions at various points in their ministry. Having the wisdom to make the right decision is extremely important in ensuring the success of the organization. They have compassion for their followers. While they understand they have a goal to pursue, they constantly look back and care for the people that are following them. They are not selfish people who only think about their own needs and luxuries; they also have a heart for the people under them as well. Good leaders are charismatic; they are attractive people and they draw people to them by their shining personalities. Whether is it the way they speak, or the excellence they demand from people; these leaders have an X-factor that people feel drawn toward. They are very good at orating and speaking. They are extremely well-versed in public speaking and they can influence and inspire people with the things that they say. With this ability, it is not surprise that they can usually garner a good following. They are persistent in reaching their goals. They understand that reaching a destination is filled with setbacks. Despite that, they see that the benefits of reaching the goal are greater than that of the setback that they experienced. This makes them extremely persistent people. Good leaders have integrity. They mean what they say, and they say what they mean. They are people who keep their promises and they don’t play the two-faced political game that a lot of others do. As such, people find them trustworthy and they give their commitment to these leaders as a result. . They are courageous. Winston Churchill says that courage is the virtue on which all others virtue rest upon. Besides just having a pipe dream, good leaders are courageous enough to pursue after it. The fears are real, but a courageous leader pursues them despite the fears. Good leaders are extremely disciplined in their pursuit of their goals. While most people would be easily distracted or discouraged, good leaders discipline their flesh to keep focused and to keep steady despite the circumstances. My personal assessment to the company president as the project manager in the said project from the XYZ Company is that, he is not an effective leader because he just led the team’s project to failure. He is the first to be blamed on what really happened because he didn’t even consider his availability if he could manage to work on to projects simultaneously. He just accepted the second project right away without even thinking of his commitment on the first project. Without his leadership, guidance and supervision his other team members failed to accomplish the given task. It is such a shame on the company’s reputation because they were not able to meet their deadline with their client. The project manager’s role in a nutshell is the overall responsibility for the successful planning, execution, monitoring, control and closure of a project. Preparation is a key part of project management. If the project is not started correctly, it will end up with problems such as rework, scope creep, schedule delays, etc. While some might be tempted to jump in with both feet and start writing code or tearing down walls, the project manager needs to help provide a solid starting point for the project. It is this starting point that will help determine whether the project will eventually be successful or not. This starting point is the jumping off point for the project and the team, and it is worth the time and effort to make sure that there is a good foundation for the project in the long run instead of jumping blindly into something that is not fully understood by the project team. Project managers spend a great deal of time managing what other people are doing, creating processes for the team to follow, and making sure that everyone is working at their full potential. How often, though, do we spend time making sure that our pencils are sharpened and our edges are honed? This tends to get forgotten in the rush of being busy project managers. It can be just as important for a project manager to make sure he or she is performing at their best as it is for a project manager to make sure that their team is performing at their best. A project manager is the person who has the overall responsibility for the successful planning and execution of a project. He or she must have a combination of skills including an ability to ask penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve conflicts, as well as more general management skills. In the situation, the project manager or the company president ins not able to do his part as the project manager at the first place because if he did, the project would be a big success but because he lacks leadership that would guide his team members nothing right happened but instead a failure. He had all the control in planning for the project but he tend to disregard it because he thinks that his members could do it all without him which is false because a team needs a leader. And the leader is him.