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MB0049 : ABC Company implements got a very big project and they decided to allot the same to a new project manager, who joined the company recently. In order to execute the project successfully, what are the various phases in which the project lifecycle should be divided.
Answer :-Phases of project management life cycle in order executed the project successfully

Analysis and Evaluation Phase

It starts with receiving a request to analyse the problem from the customer. The project manager conducts the analysis of the problem and submits a detailed report to the top management. The report should consist of what the problem is, ways of solving the problem, the objectives to be achieved, and the success rate of achieving the goal.

Marketing Phase

A project proposal is prepared by a group of people including the project manager. This proposal has to contain the strategies adopted to market the product to the customers.

Design Phase

Based on the inputs received in the form of project feasibility study, preliminary project evaluation, project proposal and customer interviews, following outputs are produced:

  • System design specification
  • Program functional specification
  • Program design specification
  • Project plan

Inspecting, Testing and Delivery Phase

During this phase, the project team works under the guidance of the project manager. The project manager has to ensure that the team working under him implements the project designs accurately. The project has to be tracked or monitored through its cost, manpower and schedule.

The tasks involved in these phases are:

  • Managing the customer
  • Marketing the future work
  • Performing quality control work

Post Completion Analysis Phase

After delivery or completion of the project, the staff performance has to be evaluated. The tasks involved in this phase are:

  • Documenting the lessons learnt from the project
  • Analysing project feedback
  • Preparing project execution report
  • Analysing the problems encountered during the project

MB0049 : Describe the various steps in risk management listed below:
 

a. Risk Identification

b. Risk Analysis

c. Risk Management Planning

d. Risk Review

 

Answer : Risk Identification

Risk identification occurs at each stage of the project life cycle. To identify risks, we must first define risk. As defined earlier, risks are potential problems, ones that are not guaranteed to occur. When people begin performing risk identification they often start by listing known problems. Known problems are not risks. During risk identification, you might notice some known problems. If so, just move them to a problem list and concentrate on future potential problems.

As projects evolve through project development so too does the risk profile. Project knowledge and understanding keep growing, hence previously identified risks may change and new risks identified throughout the life of the project. Here we will discuss various tools and techniques available for risk identification. The best and most common methodology for risk identification is done using a brainstorming session. The brainstorm typically takes 15-30 minutes. You have to be sure to invite anyone who can help the team think of risks. Invite the project team, customer, people who have been on similar projects, and experts in the subject area of the project. Involving all stakeholders is very important.

Limit the group size to nine people. In the brainstorming session, participants discuss out potential problems that they think could harm the project. New ideas are generated based on the items on the brainstorm list. A project manager can also use the process to refer to a database of risk obtained from past. Here, prior experience and learning from past project plays a very important role. The information obtained from such databases can help the project manager to evaluate and assess the nature of the risk and its impact on the project. Also to a great extent the judgment of the project manager based upon his past experience comes very handy in dealing with risks.

Risk Analysis

The first step in risk analysis is to make each risk item more specific. Risks such as, “Lack of management buy-in,” and “people might leave,” are a little ambiguous. In these cases the group might decide to split the risk into smaller specific risks, such as, “manager decides that the project is not beneficial,” “Database expert might leave,” and “Webmaster might get pulled off the project.”

The next step is to set priorities and determine where to focus risk mitigation efforts. Some of the identified risks are unlikely to occur, and others might not be serious enough to worry about. Pareto’s law studied earlier applies here.

During the analysis, discuss with the team members each risk item to understand how devastating it would be if it did occur, and how likely it is to occur. This way you can gauge the probability of occurrence and the impact created.

To determine the priority of each risk item, calculate the product of the two values, likelihood and impact. This priority scheme helps push the big risks to the top of the list, and the small risks to the bottom. It is a usual practice to analyse risk either by sensitivity analysis or by probabilistic analysis.

  • Sensitivity Analysis: In sensitivity analysis, a study is done to analyse the changes in the variable values because of a change in one or more of the decision criteria.
  • Probabilistic Analysis: In the probability analysis, the frequency of a particular event occurring is determined, based on which its average weighted average value is calculated. Each outcome of an event resulting in a risk situation in a risk analysis process is expressed as a probability.

Risk analysis can be performed by calculating the expected value of each alternative and selecting the best alternative. Now that the group has assigned a priority to each risk, it is ready to select the items to manage. Some projects select a subset to take action upon, while others choose to work on all of the items.

Risk Management Planning

After analysing and prioritising, the focus comes on management of the identified risks. In order to maximise the benefits of project risk management, you must incorporate the project risk management activities into our project management plan and work activities.

There are two things you can do to manage risk. The first is to take action to reduce (or partially reduce) the likelihood of the risk occurring. For example, some project that work on process improvement make their deadlines earlier and increases their efforts to minimise the likelihood of team members being pulled off the project due to changing organisational priorities. In a software product, a critical feature might be developed first and tested early.

Second, you can take action to reduce the impact if the risk does occur. Sometimes this is an action taken prior to the crisis, such as the creation of a simulator to use for testing if the hardware is late. At other times, it is a simple backup plan, such as running a night shift to share hardware.

For the potential loss of a key person, for example, you might do two things. You may plan to reduce the impact by making sure other people become familiar with that person’s work, or reduce the likelihood of attrition by giving the person a raise, or by providing extra benefits.

Review Risks

After you have implemented response actions, you must track and record their effectiveness and any changes to the project risk profile. You need to review the risks periodically so that you can check how well mitigation is progressing. You can also see if the risk priorities need to change, or if new risks have been discovered. In such case, you might decide to rerun the complete risk process if significant changes have occurred on the project.

Significant changes might include the addition of new features, the changing of the target platform, or a change in project team members. Many people incorporate risk review into other regularly scheduled project reviews. In summary, risk management is the planning to potential problems, and the management of actions taken related to those problems.

MB0049 : List out the macro issues in project management and explain each.
Answer : Macro Issues in project management:

Evolving Key Success Factors (KSF) Upfront: In order to provide complete stability to fulfilment of goals, a project manager needs to constantly evaluate the key success factors from time to time. While doing so, he needs to keep the following aspects of KSFs in mind:

  • The KSF should be evolved based on a basic consensus document (BCD).
  • KSF will also provide an input to effective exit strategy (EES). Exit here does not mean exit from the project but from any of the drilled down elemental activities which may prove to be hurdles rather than contributors.
  • Broad level of KSF should be available at the conceptual stage and should be firmed up and detailed out during the planning stage. The easiest way would be for the team to evaluate each step for chances of success on a scale of ten.
  • KSF should be available to the management – duly approved by the project manager – before execution and control stages.
  • KSF rides above normal consideration of time and cost – at the levels encompassing client expectation and management perception – time and cost come into play as subservient to these major goals.

Empowerment Title (ET): ET reflects the relative importance of members of the organisation at three levels:

  • Team members are empowered to work within limits of their respective allocated responsibilities. The major change from bureaucratic systems is an expectation from these members to innovate and contribute to time and cost.
  • Group leaders are empowered additionally to act independently towards client expectation and are also vested with some limited financial powers.
  • Managers are empowered further to act independently but to maintain a scientific balance among time, cost, expectation and perception, apart from being a virtual advisor to the top management.

Partnering Decision Making (PDM): PDM is a substitute to monitoring and control. A senior with a better decision making process will work closely with the project managers as well as members to plan what best can be done to manage the future better from past experience. The key here is the active participation of members in the decision making process. The ownership is distributed among all irrespective of levels – the term equally should be avoided here since ownership is not quantifiable. The right feeling of ownership is important.

This step is most difficult since junior members have to respond and resist being pushed through sheer innovation and performance – this is how future leaders would emerge. The PDM process is made scientific through:

  • Earned value management system (EVMS)
  • Budgeted cost of work scheduled (BCWS)
  • Budgeted cost of work performed (BCWP)
  • Actual cost of work performed (ACWP)

Management by Exception (MBE): “No news is good news”. If a member wants help he or she locates a source and proposes to the manager only if such help is not accessible for free. Similarly, a member should believe that a team leader’s silence is a sign of approval and should not provoke comments through excessive seeking of opinions. In short leave people alone and let situation perform the demanding act.

The bend limit of MBE can be evolved depending on the sensitivity of the nature and size of the project. MBE provides and facilitates better implementation of effectiveness of empowerment titles. MBE is more important since organisations are moving toward multi-skilled functioning even at junior most levels.

MB0049 : Compare the following:  

a. Traditional Vs. Projectised Organization

b. Reengineering Vs. E-engineering

Comparison between traditional and projectised organisation

Traditional organizations

Projectised organizations

They have the formal organisation structure, with departments, functions, sections having a hierarchy of managers and their assistants. They have teams comprising members who are responsible for completing one entire deliverable product.
All of the managers function on a continuous basis catering to a series of requirements issued by the planning department. The teams will have all the resources required to finish the jobs.
An assembly of various units of their production forms a products and a variety of such products make up the business of the company. They have a time schedule within which all the elements of the projects have to be completed.
No particular member or a department or a team is responsible for the completion of any particular product. Their creativity and innovation is in particular respect of their jobs. There is greater accountability among team members and everyone is responsible for the delivery.
Most of the members do not get exposed to other areas of operations in the organisation. They become specialists and insular. It is found that a sense of ‘ownership’ of the project motivates team members to be creative, cooperative among them to achieve high productivity.

Reengineering Vs. E-engineering

Reengineering:

This is a process by which managers redesign a bundle of tasks into roles and functions so that organisational effectiveness is achieved. By doing so dramatic improvements in critical measures of performance like cost, quality and service are expected. There will be a radical rethink about the business processes adopted.

A business process may be of any activity like inventory control, product design, orders processing, and delivery systems. No reference is taken to the existing process and an entirely new process is adopted. The following rules for reengineering are effective:

  • Make changes with the outcome in mind – not the tasks that result in them.
  • Make the users of the results of the process effect the change.
  • Let the people on the spot decide on the solution – decentralise.

E-Engineering:

The term E-Engineering refers to the attempts of companies to make use of all kinds of information systems, to make their functions efficient. New information systems are installed for conducting all business processes in the organisation. The use of electronic communication within the organisation enables frequent interactions between employees and results in better communication.

Typically meetings require their presence, but with teleconferencing a lot of time and money is saved. Data have repositories which are accessible, transferable and updatable instantly and used by all concerned. Cross-functional workflows make it easier to coordinate activities. The increase in efficiency makes the organisation meet customers’ requirements faster. All these result in widespread utilisation of knowledge in the organisation. It helps in creating and making available high quality of information. The information system also comprises of intranet and internet solutions to carry on their regular activities online.

MB0049 : Describe in brief the various aspects of programme management?
Answer : When we consider the portfolio of projects as a programme, there are many aspects of the management that we need to consider closely. The main considerations will be on resources, risks, quality of the projects at every stage of the execution in terms of meeting the expectations of the client as per the contract and monitoring the change processes that get enmeshed during implementation.

Let us look at each specific in detail

a) Risk Management: Evaluating and mitigating the risks associated with the programme is very important. This may have impact on the planned changes to the business operations.

b) Process: Process governing the delivery of the project should be well defined. They should ensure that the quality and purposes are fully met.

c) Change Management: We saw in earlier chapters that change is a part of any project and hence a programme as well. This deals with keeping a track of the changes and developments external to the project environment and studying their impact on the programme.

d) Personnel Management: Human resource is one of the most important resources in programme management. We need to ensure that people are adequately trained and placed at the right place. This is essential to ensure on schedule and smooth delivery of the projects.

e) Support Services: We need to ensure that the support services like human resources and IT are able to adapt to the changes that take place in the projects as well as business operations as a whole.

 MB0049 : List and explain the traits if a professional manager.
Answer : The project manager is an important team member who often makes the difference between project success and failure. A project manager should have the skills to unite diverse individuals and have them function as one cohesive team. There are certain traits that enable a manager to be effective in his functioning. The top management will look for these in a person who they want to employ for project management. Let us discuss some of these traits in detail.

a) Leadership: These managers lead by exhibiting the characteristics of leadership. They know what they should do, know why they are doing it, how to do it and have the courage and vision to execute it. They have the power of taking along others with them. They lead by making themselves as an example for the entire team. He is about to trust his team members and assign the right job to the right person.

b) People Relationships: Any leader without followers cannot be successful. They need to have excellent human relationship skills. The manager should:

  • build up his team based on the core values of sincerity, objectivity, dedication and ethics
  • ensure that his subordinates get opportunities for growth based on performance
  • make his subordinates a part of the decision making process, thus ensuring cooperation and commitment during implementation
  • delegate freely and support them and give enough room for expression of thoughts and also make things challenging for team members
  • keep aspirations of the team members into considerations

c) Integrity: Highest levels of trust, fairness and honesty are expected while dealing with people both within and outside the organisation. This includes the customers, shareholders, dealers, employees, the government and society at large. They ensure that functioning is clean. Their transactions will be transparent. Ethics is something they practice diligently.

d) Quality: The quality philosophy should not cover only the product quality, but every process that has gone into making it. Economy of words when instructions are given, acknowledging compliance, arriving on time, remembering the promises and above all a keen eye for details and patience to make others know what they want are components of quality.

e) Customer Orientation: It is now recognised that every organisation has two sets of customers – internal customers and external customers. Internal customers are people in the organisation – employees, directors and team members. External customers are clients and all members of society the company comes in contact in connection with the business.

f) Innovation and creativity: Professional managers think beyond the obvious. They exhibit a keenness to go behind a problem and attempt to find the root cause of the problem. They will draw from their experience from diverse fields, seek further information and consider all possible alternatives and come out with some new and unique solution. This happens when they have open minds.

g) Performance Management: The professional manager not only ensures that his performance is at peak all times, but motivates his entire team to perform the same. This comes by appreciation and encouragement. In case of shortfalls, he arranges training for them so that their performance improves. Thus the team members know that they are expected to perform, that they get help to do so and their effort is recognised and rewarded too. This is the simple path of performance management.

Managers can follow a seven step performance management model.

  • Set Objectives/Performance Standards
  • Communicate these to the employees
  • Review/monitor
  • Check actual performance Vs. Standards set
  • Identify gaps
  • Jointly decide on corrective action, if needed
  • Reset objectives for next period

h) Identification with the organisation: A sense of pride and belonging goes with the “ownership” of the job, the project, team members and organisation. This is brought about by the culture and communication system in the organisation. Information sharing brings in trust and promotes belongingness. The tendency seen is that most managers strongly identify with their own departments, units or divisions and they lack a sense of organisation.

i) Empowering employees: The professional manager should possess the ability to empower his employees down the line. Empowerment is the process by which employees are encouraged to take decisions pertaining to their area of work. This leads employees developing a sense of pride in their jobs. But managers often hesitate to empower their subordinates as they feel insecure and show a sense of uncertainty. The professional manager practices empowerment and encourages employees to grow and develop in their positions.

j) Coping with changes: There is a saying – ‘The only constant in this world is change’. A professional manager has the ability and capacity to cope with change. He accepts the fact that change is inevitable and is ready to implement change at the workplace.

To implement change successfully, it is essential that employees are involved in the implementation of change. Moreover, the positive and negative consequences of change need to be discussed and understood before implementation. Thus a professional manager has the attitude to accept change as a way of life and takes it in his stride.


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