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MB0049 – Project Management
Assignment Set- 2
Q.1 Define activity, event, and path as used in network development. What is a dummy activity? Describe the CPM model. Answer: A network is a graphical representation of a project, with all its activitiesand their interrelationships. The network graph gives complete details of thepro ject, with all activities drawn according to their sequence as stipulated in the project plan and respecting their interrelationships. Activities a project consists of a number of activities, each representing a stage, a process, a task, an action, or work in progress which requires time, money or resources for its completion. Stated in simple terms, an activity is a step in project completion for which it resources are required. Activities may be real or dummy. While real activities consume time and resources and represent a stage of work in the project, dummy activities are used to establish dependency relationships. They consume neither time nor resources. Activities are interrelated through predecessor and successor relationships.Predecessor activities are activities which have to be completed before aparticular activity can be sta rted. Likewise, successor activities are activitieswhich can be initiated only after a particular activity has been completed. Events An activity has a beginning and an end denoted by events. Events are instantaneous occurrences. They have no duration. They consume neither time nor resources. Every activity has two events associated with it. While one event represents the beginning of the activity, another event denotes its completion. The first event in a network is the start of the first activity and thus initiation of the project. The last event represents completion of the project. Dummy Activity A dummy activity is a simulated activity of sorts, one that is of a zero duration and is created for the sole purpose of demonstrating a specific relationship and path of action
on the arrow diagramming method. Dummy activities are a useful tool to implement when the specific logical relationship between two particular activities on the arrow diagramming method cannot specifically be linked or conceptualized through simple use of arrows going from one activity to another. In this case, the creation of a dummy activity, which serves essentially as a form of a placeholder, can provide exceedingly valuable. Dummy activities should in no cases beallocated any duration of time in the planning an d/or scheduling or projectactivities and components. When they are illustrated in a grap hical format, dummy activities should be represented by the user of a dashed line with an arrow head on one end, and may in some cases be represented by a unique colour. CPM model The Critical Path Method (CPM) is one of several related techniques for doing project planning. CPM is for projects that are made up of a number of individual ―activities." If some of the activities require other activities to finish before they can start, then the project becomes a complex web of activities. CPM can help you figure out: How long your complex project will take to complete0•which activities are "critical," meaning that they have to be done on time or else the whole project will take longer If you put in information about the cost of each activity, and how much it costs to speed up each activity, CPM can help you figure out: Whether you should try to speed up the project, and, if so, What is the least costly way to speed up the project.
Activities An activity is a specific task. It gets something done. An activity can have these properties: Names of any other activities that have to be completed before this one can start A projected normal time duration If you want to do a speedup cost analysis, you also have to know these things about each activity: A cost to complete0•a shorter time to complete on a crash basis
The higher cost of completing it on a crash basis Discuss the advantages of using PM software package. What are the common features available in PM software packages?
Answer: Project management software provides small to large businesses, whoundoub tedly juggle a number of tasks, with a solution that helps keep them organized. There are a wide variety of project management software packages available, including webbased applications accessible from any location. Each software boasts its own set of features, but they all share common benefits businesses can appreciate. Collaborate on Projects Employees are often assigned individual tasks that are a part of a larger project an entire team is working to complete. Project management software gives employees away to collaborate on projects by sharing documents, timelines and status updates. Delegate Tasks As a business owner, you likely weigh the knowledge, skills and abilities of employees before delegating tasks to them. Use project management software to easily delegate tasks to the appropriate employees. By assigning roles in the system, each employee has access to necessary information and knows who they should contact if they have questions or concerns, or need information about a particular topic. Stay on Schedule Project management software lets project managers add a start and expected completion date to projects and tasks they include in the system. This informationalerts employees to upcoming deadlines, allowing them to manage their time appropriately to complete tasks before or on the listed due date. Track Projects Keep track of the progress of projects with project management software. The software will let you know what's been completed, as well as by whom, and what still needs to be done. Employees can provide updates as to what they're working on and share their updates with the project manager and team members. The software eliminates the need for status update meetings and emails. Provide a Snapshot When training new staff members and introducing them to projects your company works on, project management software offers a snapshot of the project you can share to get new staff up-to-speed. The snapshot allows you to show employees the project from
start to finish, give them background information and let them know how the project will move forward. Communicate with Clients and Vendors Project management software enables businesses to share and collaborate withclients and vendors in addition to employees. Companies using projectmanagement software can provide their clients with usernames and passwords giving them access to project files. Clients can give feedback, make edits andreview progress. CNN Money asserts that, because businesses need to be connected to vendors and clients, project management technology is essential. Features of Project Management Software Scheduling One of the most common purposes is to schedule a series of events or tasks and the complexity of the schedule can vary considerably depending on how the tools used. Some common challenges include: Events which depend on one another in different ways or dependencies. Scheduling people to work on, and resources required by, the varioustasks, commonly termed resource scheduling. Dealing with uncertainties in the estimates of the duration of each task.
Providing information Project planning software can be expected to provide information to variouspeople or stakeholders, and can be used to measure and justify the level of effort required to complete the project(s). Typical requirements might include: Overview information on how long tasks will take to complete. Early warning of any risks to the project. Information on workload, for planning holidays. Evidence. Historical information on how projects have progressed, and in particular, how actual and planned performance are related. Optimum utilization of available resource.
Define risk management. What are the different types of risks that can affect a project?
Answer: Risk, according to Webster, is "a possibility of loss" Risks arise fromuncertainty, our inability to foresee the future. If an uncertainty creates thepotential for loss, we refer to it as a risk. The opportunity to quantify risk is provided by the language of probability. Aprobability di stribution (sometimes called a risk profile) characterizes a risk bydescribing the range of possible consequences and their probabilities of occurrence.
Figure: Risk is quantified by providing a probability distribution over possible consequences. Risk is not an additive property—the risk of a portfolio is not the sum or average of the risks of the individual projects within the portfolio. In the case of projects, like financial investments, portfolio risk is determined by the underlying statistical relationships among the uncertainties that contribute. If these underlying statistical relationships are identified and modelled, they can be exploited to find optimal risk-based tradeoffs. Conversely, if they are ignored, large risks may be masked and opportunities to avoid them missed.
Project Risk Management Project risk management has been defined as, "an organized assessment and control of project risks." Figure below shows the general, 3-step approach to risk management. Step1 is to identify the risk. Empirical data, recent events, and new regulations (which often signal regulator concern over new risks) are inputs to the risk identification process, and brainstorming and risk scenarios (see below) are examples of techniques that can be used to define and clarify risks. Step 2 is to analyze the risks, which means characterizing risk in terms of likelihood and consequences. Step 3 is tomanage the risk, taking into account the resources available and theorganization's willingness and ability to accept risk.
Figure: The basic steps of risk management. The appropriate level of detail required for risk management depends, obviously, onthe magnitude of risk. Riskier projects, such as new product launches, globalinitiative s, projects involving new technology, some major regulatory-driven projects, and so forth, tend to have complex interacting elements and involve high stakes. A poor track record on similar projects is an indicator or risk. Likewise, more attention to risk is required when there is project deferral risk. Large deferral risks often occur for organizations responsible for managing systems whose failure might produce serious, large-scale health, safety, environmental or financial consequences (such as a large electric transmission network or an oil refinery). While sophisticated risk management is
most needed for the most risky project environments, some level of project risk management should be provided in all cases. Types of Risk The most common project risks are: Cost risk, typically escalation of project costs due to poor cost estimating accuracy and scope creep. Schedule risk, the risk that activities will take longer than expected. Slippagesin schedule typically increase costs and, also, delay the receipt of proje ctbenefits, with a possible loss of competitive advantage.
Performance risk, the risk that the project will fail to produce results consistent with project specifications. There are many other types of risks of concern to projects. These risks can result in cost, schedule, or performance problems and create other types of adverse consequences for the organization. For example: Governance risk relates to board and management performance withregard to ethics, community stewardship, and company reputation. Strategic risks result from errors in strategy, such as choosing atechnology that can't be made to work. Operational risk includes risks from poor implementation and processproblems such as procurement, production, and distribution. Market risks include competition, foreign exchange, commodity markets,and interest rate risk, as well as liquidity and credit risks. Legal risks arise from legal and regulatory obligations, including contract risks and litigation brought against the organization. Risks associated with external hazards, including storms, floods, andearthquakes ; vandalism, sabotage, and terrorism; labour strikes; and civil unrest.
As indicated by these examples, project risks include both internal risksassociated with successfully completing each stage of the project, plus risks that are beyond the control of the project team. These latter types include external risks that arise from outside the organization but affect the ultimate value to be derived from the project. In all cases,
the seriousness of the risk depends on the nature and magnitude of the possible end consequences and their probabilities. In addition to project risk, project deferral risk can be important. Project deferral risk refers to the risks associated with failing to do a project. Like project risk, project deferral risk can arise from any of the bulleted risk sources listed above (the second list). Project deferral risk can also occur if there is only a limited window of opportunity for conducting a project—if the project is not conducted now, there may be a risk that it might never be possible to effectively do it later.
Oftentimes, external risks contribute more to portfolio risk because they impact multipleprojects simultaneously. For example, a pharmaceutical company's R&D project s affected by the uncertain outcomes surrounding the specific compound involved, however many projects could be impacted by a change in regulations. Similarly, petroleum firm's exploration project depends on uncertainty over whether oil is present at the given location, but uncertainties over the market price of oil affectmany projects. Likewise, a construction company might have many projectsthreate ned by the external risk of an increase in steel or commodity prices.
What are the roles and responsibilities of project leader? Describe the leadership styles for project managers.
Answer: Project Leaders: Command the technical respect of the development team and the business respect of the client. Generally could write the software if necessary, but itisn't an appropriate use of their time. Nonetheless, they frequently review code and occasionally contribute something because they just can't help themselves. Performing duties as a project lead is similar to taking on the role of a manager only for a short period of time and for one specific project. Instead of managing anentire department, the project lead is placed in charge of a smaller group of people who are working toward a common and specific goal.
Define Goals The project leader is charged with defining the goal of the project. This is a key step in the planning process because it allows the team to measure the results of its efforts. The project lead must establish the goal as well as the overall plan (including a time line) for accomplishing that goal and then disseminate thisinformation to his team in written or verbal form (preferably both). The ability to communicate effectively with team members is key.
Assign Duties Once the plan is in place, the project lead must assign team members to complete the elements of the task at hand. She must decide which team member is most appropriate for a particular task based on the member's experience and expertise. When assigning members to work with each other toward a common goal, she must also consider the personalities, strengths and weaknesses of each person.
Monitor Progress During the course of the project, the lead is responsible for monitoring progress on regular basis. This could be daily or weekly. The project lead must schedule and preside over regular meetings (whether via teleconference, email chat or in person) with the team members to inquire of each person's developments. If even just one of the members isn’t performing his own duties, it could make it harder on the other members and potentially jeopardize the entire project. The project leader must resolve issues between teammates and with other entities that are involved. Report to Higher Ups Before, during and after the project is complete, the team leader must report to his own manager on the progress of the project. He must be able to communicate effectively with his bosses, explain issues, request assistance if necessary and, in some cases, prepare and deliver a professionally written report. He is responsible for the completion of the goals that he set at the onset of the project and must be prepared to explain the reasons for the mission's failure or success. Project leadership styles Authoritative – A manager who falls under this style has a vision and is happy to share it with their team. They encourage and allow staff and team members to collaborate on project. An authoritative manager is project-knowledge-full and their teams notice and respect that knowledge. They recognize individual contributions and encourage strengths. Coercive – Many managers who work with junior teams use the coercivestyle. Some team members often view this as a dictator type style; however, the project manager’s strengths are essential in outlining anentire project, setting the project scope, and monitoring the project to the end. Little input is allowed from junior associates with this management strategy. Project managers who use this style should be careful only to use it when team members have inadequate knowledge, education or drive to complete projects collaboratively.
Democratic – A project manager who does not lead or guide at all falls under this project management leadership style. Consider a football team without a coach or an art class lacking an instructor and you have the gist of this style. Because of the democracy atmosphere, all project team members are allowed input, which can often lengthen the time of the project. An upside to this styles employee morale. All For One & One For All – A manager with the all for one and one for all management style is likely found in microbial community project management. People are encouraged to work at their own pace and use individual creativity. Managers of Gen X and Y often fall into this category because of the way they define how work and projects balance within their lifestyle, a strong trait of Gen Y and X. Too little guidance or supervision, however, can deter or lengthen the project and its goals. Pacesetter – While one would think a pacesetter would reward and offer clear goals to get the job done, this is not the case. Pacesetters expect the highest standards from their teams and will often terminate the weak. Managers who utilize this style should expect a lot of stress within teams. The Team Leader A strong coaching trait and patience appears inmanagers who utilize the team leader style. They are experts in riskmanagement and change co ntrol skills because of their encouragingpersonality, even through downturns or failures.
Explain the life cycle of a project. Describe the various phases of project management life cycle.
Answer: Project Management Life Cycle Initiation involves starting up the project, by documenting a business case, feasibility study, terms of reference, appointing the team and setting up a Project Office. Planning involves setting out the roadmap for the project by creating thefollowing plans: project plan, resource plan, financial plan, quality plan,acceptance plan and communications plan. Execution involves building the deliverables and controlling the project delivery, scope, costs, quality, risks and issues. Closure involves winding-down the project by releasing staff, handing over deliverables to the customer and completing a post implementation review. Project Initiation Project Initiation is the first phase in the Project Life Cycle and essentially involves starting up the project. You initiate a project by defining its purpose and scope, the justification for initiating it and the solution to be implemented. You will also need to recruit a suitably skilled project team, set up a Project Office and perform an end of Phase Review. The Project Initiation phase involves the following six key steps: Project Planning After defining the project and appointing the project team, you're ready to enter the detailed Project Planning phase. This involves creating a suite of planning documents to help guide the team throughout the project delivery. The Planning Phase involves completing the following 10 key steps:
Project Execution With a clear definition of the project and a suite of detailed project plans, you are now ready to enter the Execution phase of the project. This is the phase in which the deliverables are physically built and presented to the customer for acceptance. While each deliverable is being constructed, a suite of management processes are undertaken to monitor and control the deliverables being output by the project. These processes include managing time, cost, quality, change, risks, issues, suppliers, customers and communication. Once all the deliverables have been produced and the customer has accepted the final solution, the project is ready for closure. Project Closure Project Closure involves releasing the final deliverables to the customer, handing over project documentation to the business, terminating supplier contracts, releasing project resources and communicating project closure to all stakeholders. The last remaining step is to undertake a Post Implementation Review to identify the level of project success and note any lessons learned for future projects.
What is project control? Discuss the various elements of project control.
Answer: The traditional view of Project Controls as defined by PMBOK has beencost & schedule during the project execution phase. Although this view ispersuasiv e in industry, we believe an effective Project Controls process can be applied in a collaboration of its various sub-disciplines, such as: 1) Planning, Scheduling & Project Reporting Scope management Project deliverables Work breakdown / Cost breakdown structures; Schedule management Schedule forecasting Corrective action Progress measurement / reporting Productivity Analysis & Calculation
2) Earned Value Analysis & Management
3) Cost Engineering & Estimating Estimating Cost management Cost control Cost forecasting
4) Change Management & Controls Change order control Trend Analysis
5) Risk and Delay Claims Risk Assessment & management Delay Claims Quantification Forensic Schedule Analysis
Put simply, Project Controls encompass the people, processes and tools used to plan, manage and mitigate cost and schedule issues and any risk events that may impact a project. Importance of Project Controls: The successful performance of a project depends on appropriate planning. The PMBOK Guide defines the use of 21 processes that relate to planning out of the 39 processes for project management, (Globerson&Zwikeal 2002). The execution of a project is based on a robust project plan and can only be achieved through an effective schedule control methodology. The development of a suitable Project Control system is an important partof the project management effort (Shtub, Bard & Globerson 2005). Furthermore, it is widely recognised that planning and monitoring plays a major role as the cause of project failures. Despite the continuous evolution in the project management field, it appears evident that the traditional approach still shows a lack of utilisation of Project Controls and there have been a number of articles published to support the importance of controlling the achievement of project objectives. It has been proved time and again that Project performance can be improved if dedicated Project Controls systems are in place. An IBC2000 Project Control Best Practice Study carried out by IPA identified that good Project Control practices reduce execution schedule slip by 15%. Project Controls cost range from 0.5% to 3% of total project, (including cost accounting), therefore, to break even, Project Control needs to improve cost effectiveness by around 2%. A sample studycarried out by the IBC Cost Engineering Committee (CEC) in 1999, sho wed costimprovements for the projects in the study, was more than 10%. It is noted also that NPV (Net Project Value) also benefits from schedule improvements. Success factors are based on good Project Control practices, which result in good cost and schedule outcomes.
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