Project management in this strategic plan is focused in managing, assessing, evaluating the upgrading process of upgrading staff computers from windows XP to Windows 7 in the organization. Project management will evaluate on the steps to implementation, resources available for the project, constraints, quality and risks management, SWOT analysis and stakeholder identification.
Moreover, it is through project management that an organization carries out Cost Benefit Analysis, feasibility analysis and mission, vision, and core values are evaluated as well as refocused. In order to achieve the intended goals and objectives of the project, appropriate use of project management tools are needed (Baker and Sunny, 2000, p. 13). In this case, they will assist the team to plan and monitor the upgrade and ensure minimum inconvenience to the staff and clients of the organization. They also help in dealing with any issues or problems that arise and acquiring of any relevant knowledge that is useful for future plans and work.
The primary objective of this paper is to identify and explain how relevant project management tools are used to support the successful completion of this technical project. This will address the tasks, needs, nature, and challenges in project management as highlighted in the background. Therefore, project management is essential for effective and efficient implementation of any strategic plan in an organization, which translates to achievement of goals and objectives. Some of the activities to take place in this project include training of the staff to carry out the upgrading tasks and upgrading of approximately 400 machines.
Prescribed Project Management Tools
Project management tools assist the project manager in the evaluation of activities and time each activity is to be carried in the implantation process. Projects management tools helps showing the trend of each activity at specific time and this ensures that everything that is done is as per strategic plan hence provide an easier way to evaluate on any problem that may arise in the process of implementation (Crawford and James, 2002, p.73). Diallo and Thuillier, (2003, p.23) states that, project management tools provide for option of step to take and ensure that any issue and problem is accommodated. They enable the strategic plan to be flexible due to uncertainty in various implementation stages (Gareis and Huemann, 2000, p.709). In this case, the prescribed project management tools include Gantt chart, Logical Network, Pert Chart, Product Breakdown Structure (PBS) and Work Breakdown Structure.
Gantt chart is a project management tool that helps in tracking of tasks across time. It also shows the interdependencies between tracked tasks (Turner, 2000, p.84). Therefore Gantt charts are essential project management tool that is useful for displaying the tasks, progress, phases and the resources required in the process of implementation of a strategic plan.
Gantt chart helps in improving the communication of project manager. For effective implementation of any strategic plan in an organization, effective communication is essential (Crawford and James, 2002, p. 75). According to Sanford, (2004, p.179) effective communication helps in understanding of the project by all stakeholders hence acceptance by all. This translates to optimal achievement in the implementation process since each of the stakeholders feels he or she is part of the strategic plan in the organization. Gantt chart provides timeline that are visual from the start to finishing of specific activity in a project (Morris, 2004, p.88). It is easy to understand and easy to remember.
Gantt chart helps the stakeholders to understand the links between various activities this lead to optimal process in workflow hence optimal productivity and project success as a whole. Moreover, Gantt charts ensure effective allocation of scare resources. The stakeholder who are involved in implementation process, check where the resources are required and ensure optimal utilization, from the observation of the chart (Hartman and Ashrafi, 2002, p. 12). Therefore, it helps the project manager to operate within the planned budget ensure timely completion of the project. Finally, it helps the project manager and the stakeholders in charge of implementation to work toward the goals and objectives of the strategic plan of an organization.
Gantt chart diagram
Phase I Training of technician
Phase II Training of technician
Classification of computer in age and specification
JAWS screen reader program users
Other program users
Logical Network displays the sequence of activities in a strategic plan across time. It indicates the activity that logically precedes or follows another activity. Logical Network is essential for identifying the crucial path and progress of a project. It helps the project manager in understanding of the dependencies in his or her project, timescale and its workflow (Hartman and Ashrafi, 2002, p.12). It helps in revealing of critical information and data that could be overlooked easily. The overlooked information may have a negative impact on achieving goals and objectives of the strategic plan. Therefore, Logical Network helps in ensuring that solid goals and objective of a strategic plan are achieved (Hiltz, Turoff and Johnson 2007, p. 99). Realizing of the data and resources application will motivate the project management team and ensure that the carry out all the feasible option to get the best in the implementation process.
Therefore, Logical Network provides the road map for the team members in a project to follow. This ensures that the people involved in the project appreciate and understand the concept and the goals of the strategic plan from the start to the end hence effective implementation of the project. In a project, realistic timescale, Logical Network provide this efficient allocation of resources. Logical Network, play part in identification of activity slippage and helps in identifying of early warning of issues and problem that would lead loss of focus in achieving goals and objectives of the project (John, 2000, p. 18).
Phase I of Training of technicians
Phase II of Training of technicians
Sorting of computer
JAWS Screen Reader Program Up grading
Upgrading of other computers
Informing of other staff
Reviewing of the process
Program Evaluation and Review Technique focuses on analysing the activities involved in completing a given project. It focus on the time required to finish each activity and identification of the least time required to finish the whole project. It is used in scheduling, organizing and coordinating activities within a strategic plan. Martin, Horne and Chan, (2001, p.143) mentioned that Pert Chart clearly shows the activity dependencies. This sometimes make, it preferred over Gantt chart. However, interpretation of Pert Chart is difficult especially in complex strategic plan this result to the use of Pert Chart to complement Gantt chart (Archibald and Voropaev, 2003 p. 119).
Project manager is able to schedule, organize and coordinate tasks in the strategic plan. According to Martin, Horne and Chan, (2001, p.137) effective and efficient scheduling, organization and coordinating ensures timely implementation of a project and realizing of optimal goals and objective. It shows clearly on activity dependencies hence uncertainty can be predicted. Therefore, the project can be able to create room for adjustment, in case of, the uncertainty occurrence this lead to efficient minimization of the variances in the expected goals and objectives in a strategic plan. Moreover the project being carried out is widely accepted by the stakeholder since it shows the dependencies of the tasks hence the stakeholders understand the every task carried out (Crawford and James, 2002, p.79). This result to efficient implementation process hence optimal achievement of goals and objectives.
Product Breakdown Structure (PBS)
Product Breakdown Structure (PBS), in project management involve comprehensive, hierarchical tree organization of workings, which form a project deliverable, arranged in full part relationship. Product Breakdown Structure (PBS) is helpful in clarifying what is to be brought by the project. It also plays part in building work breakdown arrangement (Hartman and Ashrafi, 2002, p.5). Product Breakdown Structure is a Work Breakdown Structure, which applied in a different process of planning.
Product Breakdown Structure focuses on achieving the desired products or outcomes as per the goals and objectives of the project. It helps in identifying the activities and tasks that would lead to desired products. Therefore, this tool is essential since it help to maintain of quality of the work delivered for strategic plan. Dowdell, (2007, p. 31) emphasis that it is good for evaluating on the project at every point of the implementation and view on whether it is the process is working on to the direction expected in the goals and objective.
This help to review the implementation process and any necessary changes is carried out to ensure that, the outcomes or products are as stated in the goals and objective of the strategic plan. Product Breakdown Structure gives the project manager the foundation of explaining to the stakeholder on the reason for any change in the strategic plan (Crawford and James, 2002, p.76).
JAWS Screen Reader Program
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
Work Breakdown Structure is a comprehensive, hierarchical tree arrangement of deliverables and tasks that require to be performed to finish a project. Work Breakdown Structure is the basis for much project planning. It helps to identify the major deliverables of a project (Turner, 2000, p. 84). In this case, work is divided in to manageable tasks.
It helps to view the risky and essential work efforts. It also shows the relationships between the tasks and deliverables and the level of responsibility of each person involved. Therefore, it ensures that each stakeholder is active since they will work hard, for the not to be viewed as the cause of failure in the project. This translates to positive competition among the stakeholders and the end results are improved.
Moreover, much of the information delivered from this is complemented by Gantt chart. According to John, (2000, p. 18).Work Breakdown Structure helps in providing the foundation of the project management work (Pinto and Slevin, 2008, p. 67). This includes planning, estimation of cost and the allocation of resources and scheduling. Therefore, Work Breakdown Structure is essential tool in project management. In this case, Work Breakdown Structure is presented by Product Breakdown Structure since Product Breakdown Structure is part of Work Breakdown Structure.
Additional Project Management Tools
Cost Benefit Analysis
Project resources in this context include human resources, capital, time, and any relevant information that can lead to success of the project. This project of Operating System upgrade department will require employees who have skills and experience about the tasks of implementation of the plan. At every point of implementation, human resources will be required. Therefore it important to ensure that at the initiation of the project it is well embraced by employees for smooth and optimal implementation (Campbell, Carpenter and Sneiderman, 1997, p. 9).
Capital is also very important resource in a project. Finances help in paying bills in the project. Financial capitals are used in paying of human resources personnel in a project and equipment as well as services required in a project (Martin, Horne and Chan, 2001, p. 137). Time is an essential resource. Every plan in a project is laid down within specific time frame if not accomplished within specified time frame, the objective and goals of project as well as the organization. Any relevant information in a project is a resource. It may play a role in risk management, evaluation and project modification for optimal result (Jha, Doolan and Grandt, 2008, p. 43).
When the upgrading will be completed, staff, who use the JAWS screen reader program will fully maximize of it application since Windows XP is less compatible to the program. This lead to increased productivity of the individual using JAWS screen reader program hence increased output of the organization. Increased output and productivity of staff translate to profit maximization and improve effectiveness in the organization.
Training of the technicians, result to increased knowledge and efficiency in the organization. Technicians on the other hand, will equip other staff with the new knowledge and experience of the new operating system. Upgrading will also give the staff an opportunity to understand both operating systems.
Most of the staffs are used to application of Windows XP, there could be resistance from those who feel that they are fine with the operating system and see no need for change. This would affect the implementation process. Therefore, the desired outcomes of project may be affected.
The project requires staff to be present to avoid loss of essential information. In some instances, the staff may not be available. The technicians are likely to postpone on the activities of that day as per scheduled. Therefore, the project could take longer time than expected or scheduled. Moreover, this could demoralize the technicians and the time set for program is affected. Time is essential factor in implementation process, the longer the time taken the more the resources used.
Staff will have knowledge about both operating systems. There will be increased efficiency and effectiveness in production and service delivery hence increased production and quality services delivery. This ensures customer retention and increase. Therefore, there is increased profit.
Installation of Windows 7 will ensure that more programs that are compatible to it are installed. Installation of new programs that, were not compatible with Windows XP, means diversification of services by the organization increased revenue.
The project is to be carried out in the winter and spring and the implementers are using public transport. Therefore, these are bad weather seasons and could affect movement of the technicians. This would lead to delay in upgrading and the process would be affected in terms of time constraints.
Moreover, during upgrading some essential data could be lost. This can affect the daily operation of an individual as well as the organization in general. Other program, could not work well with the new operation system and therefore, integration of the two is required.
Dissemination of information and knowledge in a project is an essential element for the success of a project. All the stakeholders in a project desire to be informed of the status of the project and how it will affect them. The more the stakeholder get educated about the progress of the project and how it will help them in the future, the more they are likely to participate and benefit. The project framework for information is involving and obtaining the information from all stakeholders through their representatives.
The communication plan is for the following:
1. Project sponsor
2. Steering committee
3. Project manager
4. User Group participants
5. Subject matter experts
The communications methodology utilizes three directions for effective communication.
Top – down- it is important for all participants in this project to experience the support and guidance of the executive. The executive team ought to speak with a unified, enthusiastic voice about the project and be able to accommodate everyone involved. The executives will be directly to all levels of the organization and on other hand will need to listen directly to all levels of the organization. In order to implement project plan, the project management should be envisioned for tomorrow can only be driven by a sure and convinced leadership focused on a vision and guided by clearly defined, strategic, measurable goals (Shortell and Arnold, 2006, p. 4).
Bottom-up – this will help in development of confidence of the personnel involved in bringing the proposed changes to reality, it will be important to communicate the way in which the solutions are to be created. If the perception in this project is only, that of the steering committee, the proposed changes are likely to experience resistance. On other hand, proper consultations with all participants result to acceptance in a very promising way.
Middle – out – full support at all levels, where the changes will have to be implemented, is essential to sustainable improvement at this level, whereby there must be an effort to find and communicate the specific benefits of the changes. People need a personal stake in the success of the project management practices.
The project manager shall be providing monthly written status reports to the steering committee. The reports shall display following:
1. Summary of tasks completed in previous month
2. Summary of tasks scheduled for completion in next month
3. Summary of issue status and resolutions.
There shall be a monthly committee meeting, which will be held once a month. The meeting will be coordinated by project manager and every member of Steering committee is expected to participate. The project manager will be sending status report to each member of the team prior to the meeting so that everyone can review.
There shall also be bi-monthly project team status meeting, whereby every member of the project team will be invited to participate in the meeting. The project manager will be sending the status report to each member of the team prior to the meeting so that everyone can review in advance.
A risk is any factor that may potentially interfere with successful completion of the project.
Personnel developing the system did not participate in the design effort, hence lees understanding of the system functionality
Ensure that specifications documents contain sufficient information to allow new personnel to understand system
Personnel assigned to project will not have skills to perform work
Since the consultant provides personnel in design effort, it is anticipated that skills will be met.
Project plan may not be complete within time frame
Break project into smaller segments to ensure schedule being maintained
Proposed budget does not reflect all required activities
Review costing to ensure that all state organization activities reflected.
System requirements will change during the development time
Ensure that a change control process is established that limits changes
Conflict with various department of organization
Ensure proper consultation with other departmental heads
Computer department conflict
Lack of owning up the project by employees in health information department.
Ensure involvement of all the employees in the department to ensure the fill they are part of the project.
Project Management Overview
Project Management Overview
Project management is essential for achievement of goals and objectives targeted in the strategic plan of an organization. It entails planning, statement of the purpose of project management, design, operation and analysis, scheduling, and review of the project. Planning helps in focusing on various challenges that arise due to constraints and uncertainty (Freeman, and Beale, 2002 p. 17). These constraints include time constraints, budget constraints, personnel constraints and physical constraints. Project management gives a structure that helps the project manager and the stakeholder to evaluate and think on a problem and increase the possibility of achieving goals and objectives in a successful manner (Baker and Sunny, 2000, p. 13).
Project management ensures effective implementation of a strategic plan in an organization. It also ensures that goals and objectives of an organization are met within allocated time and resources. Project management tools help project manager in communication, record keeping, monitoring, authorization, interface control and reviews in a project (Nilsson, Soderholm, 2005, p. 41). Therefore project management tools are essential in strategic plan of an organization. All phases in the project are highlighted in project management and this enables the project manager to view the progress at each stage. These phases comprise of Design, Development, Fabrication, Integration, Testing and operation (Ward, 1995, p. 74)
Design phase involves defining of objectives, understanding of the constraints, identifying all the interfaces and subsystems, and identifying costs and availability. Moreover, in design phase, plan to achieve objectives are developed, schedule established and personnel needs are determined. Therefore, design phase lays the foundation of every activity that takes place in a project management (Murphy, 2003, p. 22). The results reflect thought of the project manager and other stakeholder on the problem address and give the way forward.
Development stage it involve testing of the concept, finalizing of the designs, purchase of materials, establishing of controls on the interface, completing of fabrication plan, and finishing and testing integration and plans. In this process presentation are made and identification commencement of each tasks are done. Fabrication and operation analysis is done. If the desire objective is not achieved, the process in re-evaluated to correct on error found by help of project management tools.
The ultimate aim of strategic planning is to increase the organization`s efficiency and effectiveness by enhancing present and future operations. It offers a framework for organization management`s vision about the future. The strategic planning process determines the manner in which the organization will be transformed to make use of the available opportunities to improve on its performance. Through this process, goals and objectives are established, together with the strategies for attaining them. In addition, a strategic plan incorporates an approach for measuring success.
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