1. Describe how a project manager can determine project progress for each element in the project balanced scorecard.
A. To successfully accomplish all five aspects of project determination (direct, regulate, limit, decide, and conclude) in managing project progress, a project manager can think in terms of a balanced scorecard approach. The concept behind a balanced scorecard is that an organization needs to be evaluated from the perspectives of customer, internal business, financial, and growth and innovation. If one considers a project as a temporary organization, the same perspectives make sense when monitoring and controlling a project.
When a project manager seeks to monitor and control a project, different critical aspects are often interrelated, and thus, their impacts on each other must be considered.
For example, a proposed change may impact the scope, quality, schedule, and/or cost. However, to understand project control, one must consider each aspect individually before assessing the impact on all other factors. This chapter begins with the project manager controlling internal project issues. The next major section of this chapter deals with the customer-related issues of quality and scope. The final sections deal with the financial issues of resources, schedule, and cost. The project manager can utilize a number of tools to manage schedule overloads and conflicts and to reprioritize the work. Earned value and project scheduling software such as MS Project can prove to be useful to manage these issues.
3. Give specific examples of risks on a project that are within the team’s control, partially within the team’s control, and outside the team’s control. Tell how you would deal with each.
A. Following are the examples:
Within team’s control example:
· Understand and control WBS: By assigning the tasks to appropriate person, so that the full scope of the project is completed on time, within budget with every feature and functionality intact.
· Closely monitor and control activity progress: Monitoring every activity helps in controlling the progress of it, in case of any backlogs so that it’s taken care ahead of time.
· Research challenging issues early: While taking up a project and planning’s its scope, identifying risks at the early stage is always a good plan, so that when either of those risks do occur, we would already have a plan to move ahead with.
Partially within team’s control example:
· Establish limits to customer expectations: It’s never easy to satisfy a customer, the only thing we can have a partial control is by setting certain limits on the expectations of the customer. This helps in the customer not going overboard at the last moment by asking things which are not possible.
· Build team commitment and enthusiasm: Having a team which is appreciated and has a great enthusiasm is always great for the project to get completed within time as expected. For this to happen, having appreciation events or team get togethers would be helpful.
· Build relationships by understanding project from client’s perspective: There is always a risk if there is no common ground with the client’s perspective. In such a case, it’s always better to find a common ground, by understanding the client’s perspective, and looking at the project from his side rather than ours and then trying to build that relationship by achieving trust of the client. Only in such a case would there be a smooth relationship.
Outside the team’s control example:
· Actively monitor project environment: Once the project is launched its out of the team’s control and is difficult to monitor every activity. In such a case some tools would be helpful, which would alert if a risk reaches a max level.
· Understand willingness or reluctance of stakeholders to agree to changes: The only thing the PM team can do here is by trying to achieve the trust of the stakeholders and present them with facts which convinces them.
7. List and give an example of when to use each of the seven project quality control tools described in this chapter.
A. Following are the project quality control tools:
A visual model used to show inputs, flow of work, and outputs and to identify possible data collection points for process improvement. A flow chart is a tool that project managers use as they begin to control quality. Flow charts can be used to show any level of detail from the overall flow of an entire project down to very specific details of a critical process.
· Network diagram of the project schedule.
· Flowcharts are used in strategic planning process which is helpful in having a clear understanding of the sequence and actions need to be taken.
Check sheets are customized for each application. Decide exactly what data will be useful in understanding, controlling, and improving a process, and create a form to collect that information. It is helpful to also collect the date or time when each event happened and notes regarding the impact or any special circumstances. When creating categories on a check sheet, it is wise to have a category titled “other” because many times, a problem comes from an unexpected source.
· Checklist at a garage which is usually signed by an engineer assuring the customer the completion of all service points which helps reduce any omission errors.
A vertical bar graph used to identify and plot problems or defects in descending order of frequency or cost.
The purpose of the Pareto chart is to quickly understand the primary sources of a problem using the 80/20 rule, wherein 80 percent of defects often come from only about 20 percent of all the sources.
· Checklist at a garage which is usually signed by an engineer assuring the customer the completion of all service points which helps reduce any omission errors.
A vertical bar chart used to show the average, extent of variation, and shape of measurements recorded for a process variable.
Once the additional data are gathered, they can be analyzed using a histogram, run chart, and/or control chart.
· Admissions these days have various ranges of measurements for instance here it would be “scores” achieved by each student based on which they would be filtered.
· If one of the potential causes of using incorrect scope is that the client demands the cost estimate within four days of job notification (that is, within the timing category)
A special type of scatter diagram in which one variable is time, used to see how the other variable changes over time.
· Analyze the efficiency of hospital check ins, with the time to check in the patient and the time of the day, to determine the delay in transferring or admitting patients during peak hours. This helps hospitals take steps to improve their process efficiency and reduce patient discomfort or risk to achieve a balanced scorecard.
A visual outline, often resembling a fish skeleton, used to identify and organize possible causes of a stated outcome.
· Sales team, working to increase the number of customers putting the company on their shortlist for major purchases, identifies through a survey that the key problem is that the customers perceive the company as a producer of poor-quality goods.
A run chart with process average and control limits used to distinguish between common and special causes of variation.
· As a Production team member, we use a tool which helps us know how stable the application is based on the number of crashes reported if any.
2. Use the following information to answer parts a through h. Describe what the results of each calculation mean to you as a project manager. What do you propose to do?
PV = $25,000
EV = $30,000
AC = $29,000
BAC = $1,000,000
a. Schedule variance (SV)
= 30,000 – 25,000= 5,000
b. Cost variance (CV)= EV – AC
= 30,000 – 29,000= 1,000
c. Schedule performance index (SPI)
= 30,000/25,000= 6/5= 1.2= 120%
d. Cost performance index (CPI)
= 30,000/29,000= 1.0345= 103%
e. Estimate to complete (ETC – First method)
= (BAC – EV)/CPI =
(1,000,000 – 30,000)/1.0345= 937,651.04
f. Estimate to complete (ETC – second method)
= 1,000,000 – 30,000= 970,000
g. Estimate at completion (EAC)
= AC + ETC
= 29,000 + 970,000= 999,000
h. To-complete performance index (TCPI)
= (BAC- EV)/ (BAC – AC)
= (1,000,000 – 30,000)/ (1,000,000 – 29,000)
= 970,000/971,000= 0.99897= 99.90% (Approx.)
3. A project manager has just learned that the schedule performance index (SPI) for his project is 85 percent. The calculation of the cost performance index (CPI) is 107 percent. How would you describe this project both in terms of budget and schedule?
Project performance in terms of budget and schedule:
The project expenses are well within the budget. CPI of 107% sits comfortably over 100%, which indicates good cost efficiency.
The project is lagging behind the schedule. The project plan seems to have under-estimated the complexity of the task involved or the team is not performing at par with their usual velocity. With only 85% of planned work completed, it is behind the schedule considerably. Some corrective measure might be required.
8. Using the data below, construct a run chart to visualize how the number of customer complaints is changing over time. Describe what you find in terms of trends, repeating patterns, and/or outliers.
There is a general upward trend in number of complaints filed over period of 2 weeks. If you see properly there is spike in the number of complaints on Tuesdays and Fridays. Fridays are amongst the busiest days of week. Mondays are consistently on lower side while traffic on Wednesday and Thursday doesn’t seem to have a pattern. Thus, one can look at the graph and also determine that days of week has less to do with the number of complaints.
7. For a productivity improvement project, you discover the most frequent cause of delays in receiving payment is incorrect invoices. Construct a fishbone diagram to identify possible reasons for this problem. What action do you recommend with the results of your fishbone diagram?
A. A fishbone outline is an instrument that can enable you to play out circumstances and end results examination for an issue you are attempting to explain. This sort of examination empowers you to find the underlying driver of an issue.
Fishbone diagram for identification of the problems of low productivity:
· Quality work ought to be utilized so they work without squandering their proficiency and create on time.
· The representatives should know the confinements of the undertaking and work as needs be inside the restricted time and spending plan.
· The working hours and conditions ought to be great for the representatives, with the goal that they are spurred and work proficiently.
· The representatives ought to be given motivating forces in light of their execution, which thinks about efficiency and additionally quality. Motivations push a person to rationale oneself for more generation.
1. Give two examples of why a project might be terminated early for cause and two examples of why a project might be terminated early for convenience.
A. Usually, all projects continue the process until the deliverables are submitted or the goals are met. However, there may be some situations when a project might be terminated early before its normal completion.
There could be several reasons/situations for a project to be terminated early for cause:
1. In-house and external projects sometimes may result in early termination due to change in project costs, a change in schedule and scope of the project, and a change in performance of the resources allocated. Also, sometimes the buyer terminates the project as he/she is not confident about the services provided by their contractor.
2. Another example where projects may terminate early could be when some of the deliverables or documentation are not completed for the submission as proposed. In this case, the project manager will negotiate with the customer regarding what and how much deliverables can be submitted. At this point, it is preferred that both the parties come to a mutual agreement to stop the project before its planned completion.
Projects may also be terminated early for convenience. The examples/situations could be as mentioned below:
1. When the project manager of the company faces unexpected changes in priorities or other difficulties, due to no fault of the contractor, he can terminate the project for organizations’ convenience.
2. Another example for termination of early convenience could be when organizations’ needs change and they decide to allocate resources to some different project which may prove to be more profitable to the organization.
4. A project manager is in the finishing stage of her project. It is apparent that one of the project’s deliverables will not be completed before the project is wrapped up. What options does the project manager have for this uncompleted deliverable?
A. During the completion process of the project, if some of the deliverables cannot be completed per contract, the project manager should first study the reasons causing this delay. If the project manager knows the reasons for the delay he could practice the following options depending upon the applicability:
1. If the delay in deliverables is caused by a shortage in resources, or delayed contractor services, the project manager can look for different options available within the organization to complete the deliverables at a lower cost or adjustment in resources.
2. Secondly, if the reason for an uncompleted deliverable is the project cost, change in project scope, and performances of the assigned resources then to maintain the stakeholder relationships the project manager can find other stakeholders in the customer organization who can provide funds to keep the project in progress with the reduced scope.
3. Lastly, if both the parties are aware of the delay in the deliverables a negotiated settlement can take place. In this case, the project manager may need to negotiate with the customer to deliver more in one area and less in another to which both parties come to an agreement.
5. Provide an example of how poor escalation of a project problem can create additional problems.
Team members while working on a project should know the potential risks they may face during a project. If a team member faces a big hurdle and is aware of its repercussions in the future then one should flag it to the project manager. For this, it is very important to have a good communication plan which includes planning and managing escalation of issues in a timely manner to the project manager. A team member should always know how to and when to escalate issues appropriately as this plays a major role in the success of the project. A poor escalation of a known risk could result in the failure of the project. Also, if the project manager gets to know of the issues from a third party later and not from his team, it reflects poorly on the project manager. Also, had the issue been escalated in time it could have saved a lot of time and resources spent on fixing the issue.
6. How does celebrating the completion of a project benefit the project manager?
It is always helpful to celebrate the success of the current project before moving onto the next project. It boosts the morale of the team members and helps motivate them to take on the next project. The success of the project should be communicated to the team members and upper management which is a great way of rewarding employees internally as well as externally. One way to understand the reason for celebrating is defined below:
· Ease Stress
When employees are given recognition of the challenges they have come through it gives them a sense of accomplishment.
When accomplishment comes through, it energizes them to take over the next projects and try their best to complete the projects successfully.
Limit1, “By recognizing their accomplishments, they are now ready to say, “the project is over; we will limit any additional work on this project.”
During the process, the team members exert themselves to complete the project successfully.
Celebration help employees believe in themselves and their efforts they had put in to complete the project.
Recognition and acknowledgement comes in the process of celebration which boosts their morale to deal with hurdles for other upcoming projects.
Celebration helps employees to do an easy transition from the last project to new project
Finally, celebrations help team members to ease stress that they may have been dealing with to complete the project successfully.
7. Why is it important to go through the process of closing, even for projects that are terminated early?
Projects may closeout early because of the buyer’s dissatisfaction who may want to invest money and time in a different way or because of the seller who is not confident about the services provided by the contractor. Regardless of any scenario, it’s important for a project to go through a closeout process.
The closing process helps the project manager keep track of activities that were completed, money that was used, documentation that was completed and submitted and team members that were awarded through the process. The closeout process includes the following phases which help both the parties in the long run. These are mentioned below:
1. Transition Plan helps the customer to use the project deliverables successfully. This plan includes the instructions regarding how to use the deliverables after the project completion.
2. Knowledge Management (Lessons Learned) phase which includes the feedback process from both the parties regarding the project process and results. It gives an opportunity to improve for both the parties in the future. Documentation of lessons learned is useful for project managers as they document the knowledge gained through the process. This documentation may include what worked well and opportunities to improve on the certain process which didn’t work well.
3. The Closeout Report is a summary of how the project that includes the status, timelines, lessons learned, accomplishment of goals. These reports must be well written in an organized manner for future access, for financial audits, lessons learned etc.
1. Kloppenborg, T. J. (2017). Contemporary project management: Organize, plan, perform. Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning
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