The definition of a project
A project is not a physical object or a result, but a series of temporary activities aimed at achieving specific goals and objectives within specified time and resources (financial and human resources) (Choudhury 1988).
The features of a project
A project is characterized by certain features as outlined using the Australian high speed rain that connects Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne (Australian Government, Department of Infrastructure and Transport, 2012):
Projects have specific goals and objectives: The high speed rail Project had a specific goal, to serve electric trains moving at 350 kph to:
Reduce train crowding;
Improve train reliability and flexibility;
Reduce journey time between various parts of the United Kingdom;
Overall: accommodate the increase in rail demand by 2036.
All projects have time and financial constraints: the project is expected to have been completed in 2036
Projects have a lifespan: the project ends with the ability to accommodate electric trains moving at 350 kph.
Projects have various risks and uncertainties: The project has numerous economic risks including economic and political risks.
Various changes take place during the project period: such changes, as is the case with the Australia high speed rail, could include track changes to minimize risks and costs.
Projects are unique: The project will be unique in terms of track length, design and rail speed, which will be 350 kph.
Projects have varying degrees of complexity: the complexity feature of the high speed project is seen with respect to avoidance of obstacles and geographical features, penetrating through features, such as hills, and track design.
All projects have a life cycle: that depicts growth, maturity and decay stages. In every stage, as was the case with the high speed project, crucial activities are conducted. Stages include project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring and completion.
The relationship between planning and control within project management
Planning involves deciding how a project will proceed towards realizing its goals and objectives including:
Selecting future courses of action, from among several alternatives, to ensure the project is successful.
Setting control standards or project deliverables (Omran, 2005)
Making the project to proceed the way it was planned by ensuring that planned activities perform as desired (Omran, 2005). Control involves:
Setting a target (done during planning);
Determining actual performance;
Establishing difference between planned and actual performance; and
Taking corrective actions if needed
Planning facilitates control through the establishment of control standards or project deliverables- it is impossible to control without setting control standards. Control ensures the plan is executed towards realizing project goals and objectives. Control enables corrective measures to be applied to ensure project proceeds as planned.
The use of tools which assist the project manager with the planning and control of activities within a project
1. Gantt Charts
A Gantt is a bar graph: time on the horizontal axis and resources on the vertical axis. It is used to schedule resources
2. Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
Shows scheduled activities, their sequence and the estimated time required to accomplish them.
Designing PERT diagram involves:
Establish all necessary project activities and their sequence
Determine the amount of time required to complete each of the activities
Design the PERT network based on the information above
Work out the critical path for the project
However, PERT chart does not tell the interrelationship of the project tasks (Omran, 2005).
The project budget is a traditional and widely used project control tool. A budget is a numerical statement of anticipated results used to control a project based on anticipated achievement and cost
The major project that is due to commence is painting the inside of the conference hall
The project is part of maintenance practices of the organizational facilities. It is long since the conference hall was painted. The old paint has been falling off making the conference hall to lose its aesthetic aspect. The inside of the hall shall be painted using a cream water proof paint that will make the hall bright through light reflection while making it easy to clean the walls, using water, where necessary.
Project stages and deliverables
Stage 1: Feasibility
The feasibility stage will involve determining project requirements in terms of resources (human resources, financial resources, tools and materials), their cost and availability, as well as logistics. Activities include:
a. Calculating wall area to be painted;
b. Determining the amount of paint required;
c. Determining the tools required
d. Determining the human resources required; and
e. Determining the financial resources required.
Stage 2: Planning
This stage will involve
1. Scheduling of resources;
2. Setting project deliverables; and
3. Setting standards for evaluating project performance.
Stage 3: Implementation
Once planning is done, the project shall be implemented as per the plan. Activities in this stage include:
Buying materials and tools
Transporting them to the organizational premises
Scrubbing off old paint
Cleaning the walls
Applying the new paint
Allowing the new paint to dry
Stage 4: Evaluation
The evaluation will be done based on the standards established during the planning stage. Evaluation will be done during the implementation stage, particularly after
1. Materials and tools are bought and transported to the organization;
2. Old paint has been scrubbed off and walls cleaned;
3. First coat has been applied;
4. Second coat has been applied
5. The new paint has dried
Stage 5: Termination
This will involve commissioning the hall, which will mark the end of the project and render the hall usable.
I would not automatically accept the recommendation of a 10 years experience in the organization and has shown strong capabilities in management of a production team to be appointed as the new project manager for the reasons mentioned.
Project management is a discipline that is totally different from production management. The skills and expertise required for the two disciplines are totally different. Therefore, the person may not have the necessary project management skills and expertise.
Project management tools (including software) are totally from production management tools (Omran, 2005). Therefore, the person is not competent with project management tools.
Production management is only of project management implying that the person does not have experience and knowledge in other aspects of project management.
Projects are temporary and aimed at unique objectives while production is a continuous process. Therefore, unlike a production manager, a project manager must be dynamic and capable of handling projects in diversified fields.
There is a huge difference in focus between a project manager and a production manager. A project manager is usually focused on the internal aspects of the organization, including cost, scope and quality, while a production manager is concerned on the external aspect of the organization, particularly product strategy towards satisfying customer needs. Therefore, appointing the recommended person will lead to conflict of interests.
Network diagram/critical path chart
a) The activities of the critical path include A-B-D-F-H-I
b) Duration of the critical path is 20 months
Gantt chart showing cash flow required to complete the project.
Australian Government, Department of Infrastructure and Transport. 2012. High Speed Rail:
High Speed Rail Study. Accessed 13 August, 2012 from
Choudhury, S. 1988. Project Management. New Delhi, India: Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing
Omran, K. A. 2005. Planning and Controlling. Center for Advancement Postgraduate Studies
and Research in Engineering Sciences.