Introduction to Project Management
Project Management is an application of methods, process, skills, experience and knowledge which is used in achieving objectives of the project. This concept is used in preparing the plan for task and also it helps in successful accomplishment of goal. Project management is also used in implementation of the project plan as well in controlling and monitoring the plan. The following study is based on developing the new IT system. This research will explain the primary concepts and practices which are underpinning project management, different potential risks and their impact, ways to minimize the effects of risks on proposed project, tools and techniques to resolve the issues and many other aspect of project management.
1. Areas where the Chief Executive should pay particular attention and the action he should take to maximize chances of success
From the analysis of given case, it has been found that there are several areas where Professional Photography Association has faced problems. In this situation, the Chief Executive should pay attention on those areas and take actions to overcome them as soon as possible. The areas which require more attention are described below.
Information Technology Issues
The IT facilities within the organization have developed and grown with the time. In the present time, facilities and procedures of IT which has been adopted by company are more flexible. But the major problem associated with existing installed IT systems is that there are some sections which have become obsolete and are not able to support as well as are compatible with the other IT facilities. The situation became worse at the time when association took the decision of piecemeal implementation of technology which was not integrated with one another.
On the other hand, there are many other issues which have risen due to use of obsolescence and old IT facilities and technologies. The existing system has not able to store databases of employees and other business clients. Therefore, it is not possible to store additional information on existing database management software. If the new database software will run at old IT system then, the chances of failure or breakdown of instrument will increase and it will result in losing existing data and information.
Action for maximize chances of success
For overcoming the major IT facilities and technology issues, the Chief Executive of Association should take appropriate actions. For bringing improvement inthe existing IT system, he should develop an Information Management strategy. In this strategy, a new IT system should be installed which will not work on old facilities. Along with this, the old procedure will not be suddenly replaced by new IT system. Both the facilities will work parallel untill the whole data base will not store in new system and employees will not familiar with new facilities. After this, the old system will completely removed from the association. The benefits of new IT system is that it will control over the developing and storing of new records, reduce operating costs, it improves productivity and efficiency, minimizes the risk of loss of database, help in better decision making etc.
Issues regarding use of communication methods
It is a second area where the Chief Executive should pay attention after improving IT system. There are 8 branches of Professional Photography Association in UK. One is in US and all the branches are using different communication tools. At the time of allocation of resources in these branches, the use of various communication methods has increased communicating problems. Along with this, there are many employees who are full time employed in the association and due to the use of dissimilar communication facilities on different location; they are not able to access the information immediately. These methods are not compatible with each other and have created miscommunication problems between the association branches. Therefore, different communication facilities have created barriers during allocation of resources, roles and responsibilities, accessing the information etc.
Action for maximize chances of success
Association should not relay on using different kinds of communication systems and methods because it has increased miscommunication and also has resulted in losing important information. Therefore, Chief Executive should pay attention on this problem and take right actions regarding the use of communication system. In this context, internal and external communication methods should be used. In the case of communicating the data and information within the organization and UK branches, the email, fax, telephones and LAN should be used. But, for established the communication channel with the US branch office, WAN (Wide area network), teleconferencing, EDI, emails and fax facilities should be used. The above stated method will help the association in improving communication between UK and US branch offices as well as it will also assist in reducing miscommunication. In addition to this, by using the similar communicating facilities, the accessibility of data and information will become easy.
Flow of information
From the analysis of given case study, it has been explored that in association, the flow of information is from bottom to up. The key information has been prepared and it is transmitted from secretary to the organization executive. Although, the current approach is beneficial for the association because it have increased the engagement of employee’s and has created awareness in the staff to maintain the quality of services. But in the case of change in the organizational structure, the flow of information will be affected. For resetting entire process will require more time and investment as well as improper utilization of resources.
Action for maximize chances of success
Chief Executive should take actions before bring the modifications in organizational structure. To minimize the negative impact of bottom-up communication approach, management should adopt top-down communicating approach. The benefits of using this approach will be effective utilization of resources, minimizing the rework situation, reduction in issues regarding sharing of information, increasing organizational discipline, enhancing efficiency, ease of delegation etc. Therefore, by taking the above stated action, the Chief Executive of association will maximize chances of success in various business operations.
2. Features which are missing from the case study
After analysing the given case, it has been explored that there are various features which are missing in the case study. In the first section which has related to the association information, there is no evidence regarding the existing organizational structure, managerial and leadership styles, working environment, health and safety policies, mission, vision, business objectives and goals . After moving further in next section which is related to information technology, there is no information about the existing IT system and other facilities. Along with this, there is no clear information about the IT department. So, it is difficult to know that whether the organization has outsourced or is having any own IT department within the association . The next section has related to use of information and IT facilities in the firm in which no evidence has found about the employees who are using the information in various business operations . Along with this, it becomes hard to identify that whether the association has used up-down approach for communication or not. On the other hand, there is no information regarding the problems which occur after implementing the suggestions of one of the employee related to IT system. Therefore, these are some information which have been found missing in the given case study.
3. Identification and analysing the major risks associated with the project as well as a actions will required to avoid or mitigate the effect of the risks
Project risk is an unsure event or condition and if it occurs than it affect the project objectives in a negative way. If the potential risk of the project has not identified earlier then, the risk of completing the plan within the given schedule, budget and quality will become high. Therefore, it is required to analyze possible risks in the project. In the given case scenario, it has been found that there are various risks associated with the project which are as follows.
This is the biggest risk in the proposed project which includes various factors such as scope creep, integration of new system with old system issues, defects or breakdowns in hardware and software, changes in dependencies etc. For example, if the executive of association always add new requirements in the project then, it will become more difficult for the development team to complete the project within the time and schedule. It will be a scope creep because the additional features have not provided the guarantee that new system will properly work and will be compatible with other supportive IT facilities in new future.
To avoid or mitigate effect of the risks, it is needed to define the project objectives clearly, manage changes during the project, use the risk register for managing the risks, determine causative elements etc .
For the proposed project, there are several reasons by which the plan may not proceed according to the define schedule. The factors which are responsible for unexpected delays are unavailability of the skilled employees, lack of resources, lack of financial resources, natural factors etc. For instance, the test team who are developing the new IT system cannot start the work until the developing team complete their assigned tasks. The development team have not finished their work because the skilled person has left the job. This situation has created delay in the entire project .
To overcome the effect of schedule risk, the various tools can be used such as Work Breakdown Structure, RACI and Gantt chart. These three tools will help in scheduling the project and meeting the deliverables of the plan according to expectations of association.
For the proposed IT system, the personnel and funds are the major resources. For example, if the employees are not skilled or project is facing the issue of less employees at beginning then it is obvious that proposed project will come under human resources risks. On the other hand, if the association has not enough funds to carry out the project in continuous manner or are not able to invest more money in buying the new IT facilities then, it will raise the financial risk in the project and it will not be completed within the given time.
To avoid or mitigate the resources risk, it is important for the management of association to estimate the accurate budget for the proposed plan as well as hire the skilled personnel to minimize the resources risk for the project. On the other hand, by outsourcing some activities of plan, the risk of resource can be easily minimized.
This risk can be raised in proposed project of new IT system due to defects or obsolescence of software and hardware, failure of existing technology to perform the various operations etc. For instance, in the mid of project, the development team has realized that the new IT system does not support and integrate with the existing IT facilities as well as meet the specifications of association. Therefore, these types of small-small issues create technology risk for the proposed project.
To minimize the technology risk and its effects on the proposed project, the various methods can be used. By securing computers, servers and wireless networks by using firewalls, updating the software to the latest versions, taking the backups of data, training employees in using IT systems and developing the IT risk management policies and procedures, the technology risk and its effects during development of new IT system can be overcome.
From the above study, it has been concluded that project management is an important element for both manufacturing and services organizations. There are various tools and techniques which are available to resolve the problems of the plan so that, the project can be delivered within the given time and budget. The Chief Executive of Professional Photography Association has to pay attention on those areas which requires more improvements and takes actions in enhancing the productivity. On the other side, schedule, scope, resources and technology risks is the major risk which is associated with the new IT system project. To reduce the effect of these risks, the various actions have been taken by top management of the association.
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