This week, you will begin work on your Final Project for this module. Your Final Project for this module will be completed in three stages and submitted in Weeks 4, 6, and 8. This week, you will complete the first stage of your Final Project—the Project Proposal. The purpose of the Final Project is to apply the concepts and techniques of the module to the development of the following:
Project scope statement
Staffing (resource) management plan
Risk management plan
Each of these will form a separate section of the Final Project.
Your task for Week 4 is to prepare a Project Proposal that covers the following:
1- Description of how you plan to manufacture, deliver, and assemble the boxes.
2- Information on how you will create a project plan. You can create your project plan using either Microsoft® Project or OpenProj™.
3- Description of how you plan to address time, resources, and cost issues to execute tasks and complete the project effectively and efficiently.
The purpose of this week’s submission is a proposal and not the solutions to the problems given in the case study.
The case study on which the project is based is as follows:
Project Background: The Research and Development unit of the Property Development Department of the Government (PDDG) is working on a program called the Seismic Zone Residential Construction Improvement Program. PDDG is working to assess the effectiveness of the boxes of a particular dimension used in the foundation of buildings.
PDDG has furnished the following specifications for the each box:
The size must be 300 x 250 x 200 cm with a slot of 10 x 10 x 25 cm.
The tolerance on outer dimensions must be +/-2 cm.
The tolerance on dimensions of the slot must be 0 to -3 mm in width. In short, the slot cannot be more than 10 x 10 cm.
It should be made of cardboard or metal sheet.
It should be made of small cubes of dimensions 5 x 5 x 5 cm.
It should be smooth in appearance.
The boxes should be delivered and assembled at the client’s site.
Company Background: Your company, Flexible Models (FM), develops to-the-scale industrial models. Your principal clients are industrial construction companies and your projects include building manufacturing plants, refinery process plants, and public usage buildings, such as halls and shopping malls.
FM also has clients in the residential construction business but deals in building complexes having more than 17,000 square meters of actual usable area. The model development skills of FM are well-known across industries.
The key departments in FM are as follows:
Designing and Drafting Department: This department is involved in understanding the client’s design requirements. Generally, the client specifies the design of the product. The department prepares the detailed drawings for the Cutting Department. It also gives them the assembly drawings with guidelines on the assembly approach. The resources from this department are allocated exclusively to the project depending upon the project requirements. Roy Benjamin, general manager, heads the department. He needs alternate day updates on product design. He is also a man of detail and requires detailed analysis.
Cutting Department: This department’s staff is competent in cutting the parts and producing the units as per the drawings. The resources from this department are not allocated exclusively to the project. However, the project work is taken up by the department and then delivered back to the project. Michael Gartner, general manager, heads the department.
Assembly Department: This department is responsible for assembling the parts based on the design drawings. The resources from this department are allocated to the project exclusively depending upon the project requirements. Philip Cloony, general manager, heads the department.
Supply Chain Management (SCM) Department: This department is responsible for vendor management, market analysis, contracting, and procuring required resources. The department is a single point of contact for the supply chain. Jim Stanford, general manager, heads the department.
New Model Development: John Morris is the vice president of this division. John is adept at using the Web-based project tracking system and insists on maximising its use. He is a person of detail and prefers point-by-point communication. He is keen on regularly obtaining information on the progress of the project and the project management processes that are being implemented. Having realised the need for effective portfolio management, FM has initiated the organisation restructuring efforts under John’s leadership, who is also the project sponsor. He wants you to undertake this project and help in strengthening the organisation’s initiative. You have been authorised by John to select people from various key departments for your project. These people shall directly report to you for the duration of the project.
The marketing chief, Caroline Smith, wants to keep the budget under control. Caroline is quite comfortable with quick information and does not like details. She prefers one-on-one meetings or telephone calls for quick updates.
FM primarily uses e-mail as the means of communication. The company also uses a Web-based project tracking system to gather information.
The editorial team of a local journal, Construction Consortium Journal, is interested in your project. Joseph Bukhmann, the chief editor, has full faith in FM’s expertise. He wants to know more about the project to report it in the journal.
Client Background: Paul Lee, the technical lead at the Research and Development unit of PDDG wants a once-a-week update about the progress of the technical design. The Seismic Zone Residential Construction Improvement Program Manager at PDDG would like to speak with you about the project progress on a biweekly basis. However, he needs a short presentation on the project status update two days before the biweekly call.
Assignment: You are accountable for the project costs, and hence, you are keen on developing realistic cost estimates and a realistic project budget. You have already estimated the effort, which is given in the table below:
|Interview client stakeholders||4 days||Design||8 person days|
|Product detail analysis||6 days||Design||10 person days|
|Assembly||6 person days|
|Refinement of the final draft||2 days||Design||4 person days|
|Design and Concept|
|High level design||4 days||Design||4 person days|
|Details with operation designs||6 days||Design||12 person days|
|Set up||4 days||Assembly||6 person days|
|Cutting and parts development||3 days||Cutting||9 person days|
|Sub-assembly 1||6 days||Assembly||12 person days|
|Sub-assembly 2||6 days||Assembly||12 person days|
|Sub-assembly 3||4 days||Assembly||8 person days|
|Assembly integration||3 days||Assembly||6 person days|
|Cardboard sheet||50 sheets|
|Metal sheets||50 sheets|
|Pre-delivery||2 days||Will cost USD 3000|
|Shipment/Delivery—delivery takes 2 weeks by sea.||Outsourced||Will cost USD 6000|
|Implementation||7 days||Design||11 person days|
|Assembly||7 person days|
‘Product detail analysis’ can start with ‘Interview client stakeholders’. However, the final draft can be refined only after both tasks are completed. The task ‘Details with operation designs’ starts with a 50% overlap with ‘High level design’. The tasks ‘Sub-assembly 1’, ‘Sub-assembly 2’, and ‘Sub-assembly 3’ all start after the task ‘Set up’ is completed. ‘Assembly integration’ starts only after all sub-assemblies are completed. Pre-delivery can start after set up, while shipment starts only after assembly integration. The last activity is implementation.
The ‘Cutting and parts development’ task requires skilled labour and is the most crucial task from a quality perspective. A minor mistake can cause a lot of waste and escalation in the cost of the product. There are only two skilled people in the company who can undertake this task and they are always extremely busy. The probability that they will not be available for this work in the schedule mentioned above is 0.7. This has impact on the schedule as the schedule gets pushed by 6 days for every day of delay in this task.
Traditionally, there has been a 0.3 probability of components getting damaged during shipment and the costs should incorporate 30% of additional budgeting for these incidences. In addition, factors such as a change in client requirements after the cutting stage, a delay in the arrival of raw materials needed for each task or process, and the time wasted during incorrect set-up should be considered when you draw the risk log and the risk management plan for the project.
Resource rates are as follows:
USD 20 per industrial cardboard sheet of 300 cm x 200 cm x (4 mm thickness) dimensions
USD 25 per metal sheet of 250 cm x 200 cm x (4 mm thickness) dimensions
Standard cubes of 4 cm are available in the market at USD 10 each
Design department: USD 150 per day
Cutting department: USD 90 per day
Assembly department: USD 150 per day
For completing the project plan, additional information can be found at the following Web sites:
Example of project plan in Microsoft Project:
Plutonic Power Corporation East Toba River and Montrose Creek Hydroelectric Project proposed construction schedule [Online]. (n.d.). Available from: http://a100.gov.bc.ca/appsdata/epic/documents/p245/d21140/1137607116785_57cca76fbbb94930bfb5cd42fc4020fb.pdf (Accessed: 15 September 2009)
Getting started with OpenProj (2008) Available from: http://openproj.org/wiki/index.php/Getting_Started_with_OpenProj (Accessed: 15 September 2009)
Note: Additional documentation can be accessed by clicking Next Tip of the Day within OpenProj and by pressing F1, which will give you online help for the item underneath the cursor. Note also, as an open source software package, documentation and support will be limited.
Examples of a project plan in OpenProj
Gantt chart (2008) Available from: http://openproj.org/wiki/index.php/Gantt_Chart (Accessed: 15 September 2009)
Please make sure that you cite and reference all your outside sources properly, as per the Harvard Referencing System.
Flexible Models is in the business of developing industrial models built-to-scale. The main clients of Flexible Models are industrial construction companies and residential construction firms. This particular project is for the Property Development Department of the Government (PDDG). Its Research & Development unit is initiating a Seismic Zone Residential Construction Improvement Program to assess the effectiveness of boxes used in the foundation of buildings. The requirement is to manufacture these boxes, ship it to the client’s site and assemble them there.
2. Implementation Plan
The complete project will be overseen by the New Model Development Department. All resources, including material and human, will be planned for and allocated to the project based on recommendations from this division. Project progress will be closely monitored based on milestones and regular status meetings.
The specifications for each box have already been provided by PDDG. The first step in the implementation would be for the Designing and Drafting Department to prepare the detailed drawings for cutting and assembly. They will have to work closely with the client to completely understand the specifications. Once the designs have been completed and verified by the client, the Supply Chain Management (SCM) department will procure the required raw materials and all other required resources from external vendors.
The Cutting Department will start producing the parts according to the design. Once this step has been completed, the Assembly Department will assemble the pieces to make the finished model. Component quality and adherence to design will be checked at every production step and before model hand-off to subsequent departments. This will enable quick identification of issues and faster resolution.
Once the model has been completely assembled it will have to be prepared for transport to the client site. This might require disassembly of certain components. Reassembly of the complete model will have to take place at the client site. This will require the expertise of personnel from the Design and Assembly departments.
The Web-based tracking system will be in use right from the initiation of the project. It will be used to track the project progress by setting up timelines and milestones with details of all stakeholders for every step. This will enable faster information dissemination for all people concerned without any information being withheld.
3. Creation of Project Plan
The first step in creating the Project Plan in Microsoft Project will be to create Resources and entering all their relevant details. The task list for the project has already been created by the project manager with details such as duration, effort and resource required. The billing rates of resources from the different departments are available and so are the rates of the raw materials to be used.
A timeline for the project can be created by entering the various tasks in Microsoft Project with the associated effort required and the resources needed to carry out the task. Task dependencies and priorities can be entered to sequence the tasks in the right order.
Once the project plan has been created, various reports can be created to analyze the cost and time impact of the project. Resource allocation can be done well in advance so that unavailability of critical resources does not hinder project completion. Budget analysis at every step can be done to control costs and ensure that the project is completed within the stipulated budget.
Regular milestones can be created so that the project can be effectively tracked and the status of deliverables can be found out easily. The requisite meetings and presentations can be setup in advance so that the stakeholders can prepare for them effectively and get work done quickly. These meetings and catch-up sessions can be setup as recurring events to take care of the periodicity of these events. The stakeholders can be informed well in advance.
4. Risk Mitigation
The main risks that projects face are Cost overruns and resource crunches. These invariably lead to projects running behind schedule. Creating an effective project plan taking into account all these risks can go a long way in mitigating these risks.
The risks and dependencies have to be identified during preparation of the Project plan. Resource and personnel availability can be planned in advance and case of risk of unavailability, alternate arrangements can be made. For example, a risk of unavailability of personnel from the Cutting Department has been identified with a probability of 70%. To address this risk the Project Manager can either schedule the timing of the personnel so not to clash with other project timelines, or hire extra labor or outsource this activity. The cost associated with each of these alternatives can be calculated and the best decision can be taken without sacrificing project timelines or budgets.
Sourcing raw materials from multiple vendors and staggering orders can help in mitigating risk of delay in obtaining raw materials. Also, processing batches of similar jobs from multiple projects will help in effective utilization of resources and personnel. These tasks could cause bottlenecks in the project if their schedule is not maintained properly. Creating a project plan and checking utilization of overlapping tasks by comparing plans across projects can help in load balancing and reducing rework and time lost in setting up jobs.
Changes in client requirements are another major contributor to project failure. Getting a signoff from the client at every major milestone and building in cost and time penalty clauses in project contracts for change requests are some of the steps the project manager can take to handle these risks.
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