Projects initiation was the first activity that we engaged in. It was undertaken after a SWOT analysis of the hotel identified that the POS project was the most valuable and most favorable at that time. The next activities that followed were project scope documentation, project approval and signing off. These activities involved definition of goals and assigning of tasks. They also involved the dividing the project into baselines (technical, functional and management and cost baselines). Project plan execution involved a number of activities that included the following: getting bids from suppliers, auction, procurement closure, enterprise information infrastructure design, training of implementers, point-of-sale system implementation, carrying out test-runs, going live and training of the users. The final activity was the formal closure of the project.
Risk management involves the systematic way of identifying, analyzing and responding to a potential risk to a project (PMI, 2013). Risk management involves the maximizing of the probabilities and consequences of the desired positive events while minimizing the undesired ones. Risk identification in the project was done to identify the potential risks that might have affected the project during its course. A risk management plan is used to identify, analyze, and formulate response measures, monitor and control the risks as they happen (PMI, 2013). A risk management plan was formulated and risks were identified using information gathering and the use of checklists. Information gathering was carried out using a SWOT analysis that identified all the threats and weaknesses in the project.
Checklists were used to analyze historical information and knowledge that had been accumulated from the similar projects. Checklists offer ways for the quick and simple risk identification. The risk management plan offers a good method of identifying, analyzing and management of risks. Risk analysis is the process of assessing the impact of or the likelihood of the identified potential risks (PMI, 2013). It involves the process of prioritizing the risks in accordance to their likely effect on the project activities. A risk analysis offers a way by which to assess the importance of addressing certain risks and their response measures. For example, the aspect of time-criticality of the risk may play a role in the magnifying of the importance of the risk.
A risk matrix/probability and impact matrix is used during risk assessment and is formulated during the risk analysis and risk management process. It was used to raise awareness about the visibility of certain risks and offers a red alert on which risks needed to be handled and responded to first. The risk matrix answers the questions of what is the likelihood of the risk occurring? And what are the consequences in the event of that risk?
Key: 1-3 (Low risk), 4-6 (Moderate risk), 8-12 (High risk), 15-25 (extreme risk)
During the course of the project, a number of changes were observed which led to the changes in the scope of the project. However, a proper scope management plan was instituted that took care of the scope creep management. Scope creep relates to the uncontrolled changes and the continuous growth in the scope of the project (Kerzner, 2001). The project was broken down into baselines that included schedule, cost and technical. The schedule baselines were used specifically for time management and to incorporate the changes in the schedule of certain project activities. It was used to allocate extra time to activities that would take a longer time. For example, there was a delay in the delivery of the equipment by the suppliers and this led to a delay in a number of activities such as installation and training. Cost baseline, on the other hand, was used to manage any changes that arose from the cost of equipment or project activities.
More procurement had to be done so as to allow more training on hardware and software. A change management plan was put in place to continually manage the emerging changes to the project (Kloppenborg, 2001). This was done by either rejecting or incorporating the changes to the revised project plan. A scope creep management plan ensured that changes in the project scope were integrated to the project. The delivery delay by the suppliers, for example, was a scope creep which also resulted to changes in the entire project.
Planning for project quality involves identifying all the relevant quality standards applicable to the project and determining how best to satisfy them (Termini, 1999). It is one of the key processes in project planning and should be done regularly and concurrently with the other project activities and processes. Planning for quality was done earlier on during project planning. A number of tools and techniques were used for planning quality. Benchmarking was one of the tools that were used for planning for quality. It involved the comparing of actual and planned processes of the project to generate ideas for the improvement of the project and also provide a measurement standard for performance. The other projects by which were found within the organization while others was from other organizations that had successfully initiated the project. The project also employed a cost/benefit analysis to ensure that the project resulted in a higher productivity, used less costs and ensured the satisfaction of all the relevant stakeholders to the project.
A cost of quality analysis was also carried out to determine the prevention costs, costs of appraisal and the costs of failure (Haugan, 2002). Quality verification ensured that all planned project activities were implemented within the quality system. In the project we carried out scheduled quality audits to identify how the project performed and the lessons learnt that could be used to improve the quality of the project. Quality control, on the other hand, monitored the specific project activities to ensure that they are in compliance with the set quality standards and identifying the various ways to eliminate the causes of undesired outcomes. Quality control was carried out using regular inspections to determine whether the activities conformed to the set quality standards. Inspection involved the activities of measuring, examining and testing.
The project was faced by a number of challenges that demanded corrective action to ensure its successful completion. It has been found out the challenges are inevitable in any given project and without corrective action the projects would not have a successful completion (Harrison, 1981). Challenges and changes to the project occurred as a result of scope creep, budget overruns and delays in time. Scope creeps in the project were corrected using the schedule baselines by limiting the amount of time of certain project activities. A change in resource allocation, project activities and assignment of tasks to the human resources ensured management of the scope creeps. Budget overruns in a project can be corrected through asking for more funds from the project sponsors or using the stand by funds to ensure the successful completion of the project. Time delays, on the other hand, were corrected through the restraining of certain activities and carrying certain project activities concurrently. A risk analysis carried out earlier offered an excellent way of carrying out corrective action (Haugan, 2002). The risk analysis ensured that there were alternatives in place to prevent the project from stalling in the cases of a risk. A risk analysis can be used as a precautionary measure to the entire project (Kerzner, 2004).
A cause and effect analysis identified the various factors leading to time delays and budget overruns. Constant consultations with the various project stakeholders were able to identify the factors responsible for these problems. It was found out that the schedule baseline for the project was not adhered to as a number of project activities took longer than time allocated for them. There was a delay in the deliveries of the procured which ultimately led to a change in the schedule. The corrective action employed was the adjustment of the schedule baseline to factor in the lateness in the delivery of the procured goods. Owing to the inflationary adjustments, the prices of the products were slightly higher than the amount that was allocated in the budget. This caused a budget overrun. The standby funds that had been set aside by the project sponsors helped in the mitigation of this challenge.
Project Management Technique
The project management techniques and strategies that are relevant to this study include the following:
- Project quality management.
- Regular project and product quality audits.
- Project timeline and schedule development through MS Project or other software.
- Gantt chart development and PERT analysis.
- Project scope document development.
- Requirements gathering and analysis.
- Using the PMBOK (PMI, 2013)
- Cost management and resource management.
- Project schedule management.
- Change management.
- Project scope creep management
- Corrective action
- Risk Management
- Developing the milestones.
Scope management is an important aspect in project management (PMI, 2013). Project scope management is concerned with defining and controlling what is included and what is not included in the project. A proper scope management process goes a long way in ensuring the successful completion of any given project. Having in place a properly defined scope would help in the prevention of the occurrence of scope creeps. Scope creeps occur as a result of the number of changes in the project activities. A scope creep management plan ensures that the integration of changes in scope to the project plan (Kerzner, 2004). There are instances where changes are uncontrollable and have to be included in the project. Sometimes, a project may demand more resources than the ones allocated to it.
As a result, the project scope would expand. With a properly defined scope, a scope creep occurrence would adequately be factored in and the necessary adjustments made to the project plan. Monitoring and control of projects can be done using the various baselines (schedule, time and technical). These baselines offer control in terms of the amount of time the project takes and the cost of the entire project (Kerzner, 2004). For instance, a case of budget overrun in a project can easily be mitigated by cost baseline. Standby funds, for example, can offer mitigation to budget overruns. A proper schedule baseline can offer mitigation to the problem of time delays. A schedule baseline would monitor the amount of time a project activity takes and would also offer adjustments related to the changes experienced (Kerzner, 2004). Real causes of time delays such as the lack of resources must be identified. As a result, standby contracts for resources should be in place. Additionally, having in place standby human resources can help mitigate some of the problems such as time delays.
Kerzner, H. (2004). Advanced project management: Best practices on implementation, (2nd ed.) Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN: 9780471472841.
Kerzner, H. (2001). Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. New York: John Wiley.
Harrison, F. L. (1981). Advanced project management. Aldershot, England: Gower.
Haugan, G. T. (2002). Project planning and scheduling. Vienna, Va: Management Concepts.
Kloppenborg, T. J. (2001). Contemporary project management (2nd ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western.
Termini, M. J. (1999). Strategic project management: Tools and techniques for planning, decision making, and implementation. Dearborn, Mich: Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
PMI. (2013). A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Project Management Institute.