1(a) Describe project and project management in the light of aligning projects to strategic plan of organizations.
Explain with practical world view scenarios.
1(b) Describe the staff recruitment process. Discuss how this process can positively or negatively affect
productivity in a project environment.
2(a) What is the role of the Project Manager, mentioning the 3 (three) characteristics that makes an effective
2(b) Describe the Work Breakdown Structure and how projects are decomposed.
3(a) What is a project? State the six characteristics of a project.
3(b) State 12 reasons why projects fail and in your opinion, how can such failures be prevented.
3(c) Describe two types of project selection models in a typical IT project environment.
4(a) Identify the importance of identifying critical path on projects. How do you manage all the activities on the
critical path in terms of resources?
4(b) Identify and explain the six criteria involved in project selection and evaluation process.
4(c) Describe how to prepare a checklist for project closedown. Explain the challenges associated with this
process and how to surmount them.
5(a) Explain how to break the total project works and some major parts of the works into smaller and
manageable item. Relate your answer to project phases, cost account, work package, activities, activity ID, WBS
Dictionary and project schedule.
5(b) Define software estimation and its benefits. Cite an example of a typical software estimation.
]5(c) Describe a typical (generic) project life cycle. Describe the various phases and their outcomes.
6(a) Explain a strategic assessment, technical assessment, cost-benefit analysis and risk evaluation in the
process of project evaluation
6(b) Describe how to manage a post-project review with the customer and the project team.
6(c) Discuss a typical project you have undertaken and explain how opportunities and challenges were handled.
a) A project can be said to be as a temporary endeavour in which there is a described and defined beginning and ending which has been undertaken in order to meet some pre described goals and objectives. Project management can be said to be as planning, organizing, managing, leading and controlling of projects. The project management with respect to aligning it with the strategic plan of the organization can be said to be as the science or art of organizing the several components of the project for the development of the organization. In the light of aligning it with the strategic plan of the organization and from the practical world view it can be said that the strategic plan of the organizations are build up looking at objectives and goals for taking the projects. The strategic plans of the organizations are linked to the project activities in order to accomplish the project objectives along with the overall objective of the organizations (Heldman 2011).
b) The staff recruitment process is the vital function of the human resource management in an organization. And this is also one of the vital steps in creating a competitive and strategic advantage over the competitors. Generally there are seven steps in the recruitment process. The first step in this process is the identification of the vacancies. The specification includes the posts to be filled, the number of members, duties and responsibilities to be assigned to them and the qualification required (Clarke and Combat Poverty Agency 2012). The next step is the preparation of description of the job and its specifications.
The third step includes the advertising of the vacancies available in the company or organization. This also includes the locating and development of the sources from where the prospected candidates will be acquired. The fourth step in the staff recruitment process includes the short listing of the prospected candidates which matches the required characteristics. The fifth step is the arrangement of the interview of the prospected candidates and the final step includes the conducting of the interview of the prospected candidates and the decision making for the best candidates suitable for the job (Clarke and Combat Poverty Agency 2012).
The recruitment process can effect the project environment positively and negatively, because with a sound recruitment process the most desirable candidates for the job can be selected which will boost the project in an effective manner while a weak recruitment process can affect the project entirely and affect the performance of the project as well. The recruitment process includes the description of the requirements for the desirable candidates it this is not properly defined then the project can be negatively impacted. The productivity of the project depends on the desirability and effectiveness of the recruitment process. The more effective the recruitment process the more productive the project performance and vice versa (Clarke and Combat Poverty Agency 2012).
a) There are several roles played by the project managers, the main role includes
- Integration management: This includes the development and management of the overall project and managing its direction. This comes under the roles played by the project manager to handle all the tasks and activities related to the project.
- Management of scope of the project: This function includes the planning, managing and defining of the activities and scope of the projects. The project manager needs to evaluate the different actions to be taken in order to manage the scope of the project and keep all the workings under the control (Heldman 2011).
- Cost and time management: This includes the development of the schedules, allocation of resources and management of funds. The project manager roles also includes the management of the over all cost of the project and the manager tries to keep the cost under control in order to accomplish the project in the budgeted costs (Clarke and Combat Poverty Agency 2012).
- Quality management: The quality is the most vital factor that is managed by the managers (Heldman 2011).
- Human resource management: the role of project managers also includes the management of the human resource in terms of their duties, responsibilities and authorities (Clarke and Combat Poverty Agency 2012).
- Risk management related to the management of risk with respect to the project.
- Communication management: This also comes under the roles of the project manager (Heldman 2011).
The three characteristics which make the project manager effective include:
Good organizer: This is the vital characteristic which the project manager must possess to be effective. The project manager needs to handle the group of talents which vary from 2-50 members in the team, so the manager should be good organizer in order to keep the project in budget, and scheduled timely and so on.
Good Communicator: The project manager is the central repository which needs to communicate with all i.e. the top management and lower level management. The manager to be effective must have communication qualities in order to manage the activities related to the project in an effective and efficient manner. Communication is the key to success for the projects as this is the only factor which differentiates the manager from its subordinates and other employees (Clarke and Combat Poverty Agency 2012).
Excellent negotiator: The project manager to be effective must also be an excellent negotiator as the manager has to negotiate with several parties to the project in the day to day activities of the project. The project manager has to negotiate for time, costs and performances. The manager must negotiate in a manner and try to save the cost and time of the project in order to accomplish in a minimum cost and specified time period (Clarke and Combat Poverty Agency 2012).
b) Work break down structure in simple terms can be said to be as the process of decomposition of the over all project in to smaller components. It helps in defining the overall project activity and dividing it into smaller targets. The work break down structure smaller elements can be products, services or data’s (Highsmith, 2006). The WBS can also be said to be as the decomposition of the work that can be executed by the team members, this is done in order to accomplish the objectives of the project and also create the deliverables required (Haugan 2002). The decomposition is done by dividing the overall work into smaller and more manageable groups with the descending level of the work activities under the work breakdown structure and also the increasingly detailed definitions of the project works. Decomposition can also be said to be as the sub division of the overall work to the point upto which the work has been defined to the package level. The work package level is said to be as the lowest level in the work breakdown structure (Haugan 2002).
a) The term project has been derived from the Latin word “projectum” which has further derived from Latin verb “proicere” which means to throw an activity to forward area or direction. Project is simple language can be defined as the activity which has a specified beginning and end. This is carried out in order to achieve the pre defined goals and objectives within a given resource base and time and cost. The project can also be said as the science or business activity that has been undertaken primarily for the creation of a product or service or attaining a goal or objective. Mainly this is designed in order to attain a particular objective and aim (Highsmith, 2006). The project ones achieve its objectives then terminates. There are several characteristics of a project but six has been stated below:
- Projects are temporary in nature.
- Fixed time frame.
- Projects are taken in order to create exclusive deliverables such as , service, product or result.
- Project develops the capability to undertake and perform the services (Happy 2010).
- Projects are developed in easy sub steps comprising of different small steps.
- Project are completed when the goal and objective is accomplished (Happy 2010).
b) There are several reason due to which the projects fails though such failures can also be prevented by a little extra caution taken by the project manager.
- Incomplete requirements: this is one of the most vital factor due to which the projects fail. Lack of proper information to the project manager makes the most strongly planned projects failed. This can be prevented by properly managing and evaluating the overall requirements of the project (Gudda 2011).
- Lack of user involvement: With the lack of the user involvements in several projects leads to failure because human involvement is a must in accomplishing the projects. This can be prevented by involving the user in the project.
- Lack of resources: the project cannot become successful until unless the project have sufficient amount of resources, with the lack of resources even strongly planned and executed projects can be failed. This can be prevented by the proper management of resources (Happy 2010).
- Unrealistic goals and projections: Several projects fail because the goal of aim decided for it lacks realism and goals which cannot be attained those projects cannot be accomplished. This can be prevented by establishing such goals which can actually be attained as thinking to grab the stars or sun cannot be possible in the real life situation till date (Happy 2010).
- Lack of executive support; large projects fail due to the proper support of the executive related to the projects. This can be prevented by the proper allocation of the duties and tasks and proper monitoring of the tasks of the project (Happy 2010).
- Frequently changing specifications and requirements: This is also one of the reason due to which several projects fails, with the changes in the project requirement and specifications the over all planning and execution needs to be changes and this affects the over all performance of the project. This can be prevented by the proper management of the requirements of the project and fixing the overall specifications for the project under consideration (Gudda 2011).
- Lack of appropriate planning: Without strong planning even projects managed by best professionals fails. Planning is the vital part for the success of the project. This can be prevented by the proper planning for the project execution (Gudda 2011).
- Delay in performance: When the project is highly delayed and the project is not required any longer that is the point when it fails. Performance of the project is the main factor in the success of a project. This can be prevented by proper scheduling of the overall project (Gudda 2011).
- Improper management: lack of management of project is also reason for the failure of several projects. This can be managed or prevented by the proper application of the management theories and practices.
- Lack of technical clarity and management: Without technical clarity and management projects in this era cannot be successfully managed and succeeded. This can only be prevented by the proper management of the information technologies fused for the project (Gudda 2011).
- Technical illiteracy: This is also one of the reasons for the failure of large projects, but this can be managed by the proper application of the IT practices and using the technical expert services.
- Lack of proper coordination: with the lack of proper coordination in between the departments and groups several properly planned projects also failed. This can be prevented by the proper management of the groups and making cordial coordination in between them (Gudda 2011).
c) The two type of project selection method includes first as the decision making model and the second as the benefit measurement model. In the IT project environment these models are specifically used because the managers use the decision making model depending on the specifications of the project and next is the benefit measurement models like pay back period method, return on investment methods which determines the return on the investments in the IT projects (Schwalbe 2010).
a) There is several importance of the critical path method, but the main advantage is that it helps in determining the path which helps in accelerating the project by compressing the tasks and activities under the project. The activities on the critical path in managed in terms of the minimum resources that can be used to accomplish the project in the shortest of the time period. By putting more and more resources on the critical path activities and ending the overall project earlier by shortening the duration of the project is said to be as the process of crashing (Gudda 2011).
b) There are several steps involved in the project selection and evaluation process but the main six steps are:
- Defining the overall task
- Selection criteria and rating and ranking tasks
- Applicant and self assessment of tasks
- Review process
- Compiling and presenting the results
- Decision making
For preparing the checklist for the project closure require accessing the overall activities and jobs to be listed and checking each of the task accomplishment. Then each task and its sub tasks need to be evaluated with respect to their completion and their desired results. Finally the overall activities to e addressed and the desired results to be evaluated in order to analyze the proper closedown of the project. There are several challenges which are faced during this process as it become difficult to analyze the completion and results of small sub process and also the evaluation of the results. This can be solved by properly planning at the initiation of the project and checking each activity as it finishes and analyzing the desired results from each activity (Mantel, Meredith and Shafer 2006).
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