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BAGGA DISTILLERIES Pvt Ltd is a 20 year old company located at Hyderabad, India that was set up in the year 1989 and manufactures various varieties of Indian liquor comprising different tastes. Looking at the market conditions the company was established and competition has been developed for the local industry to compete with various other brands in the wine & spirits trade. Adopting the latest skills of production and marketing, this company established meeting the needs of the market and to stand the competition started other sub activities such as refinement and bottling on behalf of other major established brands of the Indian market thereby following the same quality and procedures with their consent in order to meet the growing demand and cater the huge local customer base. Maintaining high quality and attractive packaging has become a very popular trend in the Indian liquor industry within a short span of period. Further the company prospers to establish its firm worldwide & build in more technology within the organisation and maintain the highest standards of quality, control and assurance adhering to self enunciated standard operating procedures.
The following research project concerns the Critical Success Factors (CSF) in a project while it is off shored thus suggesting Bagga Distilleries (BD) the importance and need of its critical success factors. There has been a tremendous increasing interest pertaining to critical success factors in the field of project management. Project management offers a systematic and well defined structured approach to managing projects. The prime purpose of this study is to provide an in depth understanding of various critical success factors that play a pivotal role in the success of project as Bagga Distilleries (BD) have a mindset of off-shoring their business. Late since 1960's researchers in the field of project management have been trying to discover as to which factors lead to a dynamic project success. "Tackling the human and organisational aspects of a project is through the use of critical success factors". Pinto & Slevin (1988). Critical Success Factors (CSF) are those factors which if are not done right can result in failure of the project. In terms of BD trying to establish successful off shoring in an organized manner, it would never want to fail from a business prospective point of view. Avot (1969) "identified the reasons for project failure and concluded that wrong choice of project manager, the unplanned project termination and unsupportive top management were the main reasons for failure". Since then there have been many authors who have listed the factors at times even relating them to specific problems and their associated types of activity thereby referring them to critical success factors. A good implementation process will help develop a definite set of critical success factors which if addressed, will significantly improve the chances of successful implementation. These factors are all about methods, skills and practices that are essential in order to plan, manage, lead and track the project from start till end and to assimilate the change along the way. Bagga Distilleries unaware of the obstacles it may have; finds it difficult while off - shoring its business. Although many ways have been proposed to make a project successful but it is the implementation method that plays a major role in real time scenario.
A detailed insight at the above factors will allow the researcher to achieve an in-depth understanding of critical success factors relating to risk management, quality, communication, project mission and budgeting which in turn would enlighten the factors for BD to off-shore its business. After this step the researcher will with all the gained information recommend and be able to assist the managers in allocation of proper management services.
RESEARCH AIM & OBJECTIVES
How does identification of critical success factors help to gain sustainability in the field of project management in relation to business off shoring?
- To critically review current literature of critical success factors in the field of project management, identify the key areas & concepts and develop an analytical framework in order to support the research.
- To identify potential barriers and bring out the elements that contributes to the success of projects.
- To evaluate and explore the learning opportunities and isolate them in order to leverage the successful implementation of projects.
- To furnish a list of lessons learnt from the entire process and identify the importance of critical success factors in project management.
To achieve the above aims, this will be a pure qualitative study involving semi structured individual interviews with various Managers and Supervisors in BD.
A number of authors have actually found the way for critical success factors. One among them was Pinto & Slevin (1988) who identified some critical success factors in the literature based on theoretical and empirical studies that included Top management support, project schedule, monitoring project information and feedback, budgeting and risk management.
Cost, Time & Quality
"Remember Time is Money!"
(Benjamin Franklin, In advice to a Young Tradesman 1748, cited in Lock, D, 2000). Cost, time and quality trade-offs in projects have been the subject of research in a project. These have often been referred to as the golden triangle and are therefore used as a means for any particular project to be successful. Various authors have implemented different models for managing the time and cost of a project. One such model known as the investment model was developed by Majd & Pindyck (1987) in which the investment flow is continuous and each single unit of money spent represents next stage of investment which in turn is because of proper cost planning. Another major aspect that needs to be focussed in a project is Quality. According to Turner, R.J (1993: 160) "quality is often used to mean expensive, sophisticated or conforming to extremely high specification." whereas Field, M & Keller, L (1998: 311) have described quality as "the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs" . One good example of a brand that would maintain quality would be Rolex. According to Barry Boehm (1981) cited in Bruke, R (2003) the cost of a project increases if quality is not maintained at the beginning of the project. But then Lock, D (2000) added, Crosby's (1979) theory of quality according to which quality can be achieved without extra cost and emphasized that quality is less necessary in the cost, time and quality triangle. According to Juran (1992), the steps to a quality project arrive from two distinct but interlinked phases i.e. quality planning and quality control. Quality is when it implies to quality planning, quality control and quality assurance. Hence the golden triangle cost, time and quality together ensure a continuum process along with joint effort.
Human Resources & Motivation
Pinto, J, K. (1988) framed a project life cycle involving the four stages of a project as Planning, Conceptualisation, Execution and Completion. This proposed life cycle of a project explains how a project achieves its goals together with its implications and success criteria. Belout, A and Gauvreau, C (2003) criticized Pinto and Slevin (1988) that the key role in a project is played by Human Resource Management (HRM). HRM is required in every organization in order to meet its needs. In each and every project it is the people who manage and deliver. It is also quite important to have team work & coordination which would influence and motivate one another including all the departments involved in the organization. Relationship between leader behaviour and individual has three different theories, Transformational leadership, participative leadership and leader member exchange theory (LMX theory). Kahai et al. (2003) cited in (Jong, de, J.P.J & Hartog, D.N.D, 2007). Transformational leadership was opposed by Jaussi & Dionne (2003) cited in (Jong, de, J.P.J & Hartog, D.N.D, 2007) as they found a little effect on creativity. Belbin cited in Bruke, R (2003) acknowledged it was the low mental ability which stood as a factor for unsuccessful teams however Bruke, R (2003) contradicted this by adding the theory of negative selection which refers to the recruitment process.
Project Manager and Top level support
The most cited CSF in the project management literature is "top management support" (Fortune and White, 2006). The top management as a result of this must ensure proper support, guidance and directions to its project managers. This positive support will help managers to ensure team lead and help them take decisions. "Top management should take action on request, assist in conflict resolution, and provide continuous feedback." (Kerzner, 2006). Also the importance of top management support has inclined its significance by the introduction of different models like organisational project management maturity model OPM3. (Paulk et al., 1995; Project Management Institute - PMI Standards Committee, 2003). The first and foremost thing that the top level managers look for in a project is the deadline, reasons being bonus of the organisations, competitive actions and other methods of the dubious benefit. The above involves anxiety, fear and distrust among the members of the team. According to Dr. Samuel Johnson, in a letter to James Boswell dated 19th September 1777 cited in Field, M and Keller, L. (1998) when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fort night it concentrates his mind wonderfully. Block (1987) cited in Graham, J. R & Englund, L. R (2004), highlighted relationship in an organisation on the basis of people's agreement and mutual trust.
A well designed and structured Information System (IS) will clearly define all the requirements that a typical project needs and also explain an individual's role in the organization. According to Sims, D (1993) "Projects frequently fail". Generally managers most of the time concentrate on the project rather than managing it. One typical reason for this can be attributed to lack of information being translated to the manager. This usually shows how much important information is to a project. According to Daniel (1960), the success of a project largely depends upon information which plays a significant role until its achievement till the end. Information is categorised into three broad areas i.e. Environmental, Internal and Competitive.
- Internal information: One of the critical factors playing a key role within an organisation can be its internal flow of information as said by Daniel (1960) a projects success is confined to its information.
- Competitive information: Also from an organizational point of view it is necessary for the organization to know its markets and competitors which would in turn help to understand their methods and plans being used. The above information helps the organization to plan appropriately.
- Environmental information: Although there might be very few organisations that might consider this factor but neglecting this would definitely lead to inviting problems both in terms of managing a project as well as the organisation.
Such factors would definitely help an organisation to analyze its strengths and optimize its weakness.
According to Clarke, A (1999) practical use of factors helps to improve the effectiveness of a project. According to Henry Ford cited in Culp, G and Smith, A (1992) nothing is hard if you divide it into small jobs. Splitting the projects further into smaller achievable projects which would make it easy is a manager's duty and helps to a great extent. But for this the manager has to maintain the reports and mention the activity completion on a milestone plan. Francis Tarkenton cited in Culp, G and Smith, A (1992) adds to it, the 80 yard drive is better than 80 yard pass. In short this is how one can experience small victories which will also increase the confidence level of the team.
A project's risk and uncertainty can be defined as a welcoming threat in a project. According to William James cited in Chapman, C and Ward, S (2003), the art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. At the inception of each project it is necessary for the organization to have a look onto the major performance objectives Demeulemeester and Herroelen (2002) cited in Scatteman, D, Herroelen, W, Van de, S and Boone, A (2008). The first approach that any organisation would imply is to reduce the risk. In order to reduce and avoid this it is important for one to stay in touch with his team mates and supporters Keil et al. (1998) cited in Cervone, F.H (2006) mentioned that the project managers who constantly maintain good relationships with them in the organisation are the ones who tend to finish their projects on time which in a way also helps them to reduce the risk.
According to Harrison, L.F (1981) the basis for any project control system is project plan and budget. According to Maugham, S. M cited in Culp, G and Smith, A (1992), money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of other five. Also likewise budget stands as a basis for project objective and schedule. Each firm has got budget costs which are differentiated by Maylor, H. (2003) as materials, labour, travel and consumables. Hence each and every organization has got to maintain its budget in a record since it can keep a track of its cost estimates.
All of the above factors would confirm that in achieving an objective and goal, well anchored and organized, the Critical Success Factors have an upper hand in moulding a successful project. Thus the researcher proposes that the Critical Success Factor (CSF) approach is a beneficial approach for the organization to achieve success. There have been various critical success factors at different levels of the organisation. CSF has been clearly identified and explained in detail so that every slice of the organization must demonstrate in order to assure success and achieve significant results. Thus the researcher would recommend BD to maintain the transparency of information to flow, maintain its budget accordingly, defending its potential barriers or obstacles etc while off shoring.
Philosophical Approach to methodology
The learning style assessment or questionnaire (adapted from Kolb and McCarthy, 1984) assessed the research's style as an Accommodator and a Positivist (Refer Appendix 1). As per Saunders et al, 2003 the perception with which a researcher carries out his/her research is known as research philosophy and are classified into three Positivism, Interpretivism and Realism. According to Kolb theory cited in Mangina, E and Mowlds, F (2007), an Accommodator is a person who relies on pragmatism and action, plans things puts them into practice and enjoys the new experience. The researcher in his research is going to plan things accordingly and examine all data. The researcher also enjoys adopting risks and is quite capable to manage them thereby adapting qualitative approach being a positivist. According to Falconer, D. J and Mackay, D R. (1999), a huge amount of research is conformed to a positivist epistemology. The concerned approach makes it easy apart from consuming less time and also helps an accommodator in carrying out plans and experiments. Being an Accommodator and also a Positivist the researcher will be able to plan and experiment new theories.
The research approaches are mainly classified into three type namely qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method approach depending on the type of data they collect (Gill, J. & Johnson, P., 2002). According to Hyde F. K (2000), the role of quantitative research is to ignore the particular and describe the general. Since the cultural, political and social construction in the quantitative approach is ignored, it is being criticised. According to Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2003), the research strategy is constructive, inductive and interpretive but the researchers using qualitative approach always do not adopt these methods. There are two approaches to acquisition of new knowledge i.e. inductive and deductive. (Yin, R 1984) defines the qualitative method of research as an empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon in its real-life context when the boundaries between context and phenomenon are not clearly evident and which includes multiple sources of evidence. But Wells (1993) cited in Hyde F. K (2000) concluded that any research is not a qualitative stage followed but quantitative stage but it is an inductive followed by a deductive approach.
The traditional view is that quantitative enquiry examines data which are numbers; while the qualitative enquiry examines data which are narrative (Easterby-Smith et al, 2002). Qualitative research approach provides the researcher an opportunity to study and understand the issues in depth apart from enabling him to collect data on a large scale basis which in turn makes it applicable for this research to be conducted using the qualitative approach. In contemporary world there exist few authors who dismiss the qualitative research just as an explanatory tool but yet follow this method with success in planning and moulded conclusions when it concerns issues related to real life scenarios.
A Qualitative method is a study of how exactly people go about the concepts. This also involves the application of one to one interviewing which acts as a main tool. At times quantitative approaches are confined to it but the necessity of structured schedules is open only for qualitative approach. During interviews the researcher will also bear in mind to maintaining the standards of questions. According to Cassell, C, Symon, G, Buehring, A and Johnson, P (2006), "the interview questions focused particularly on how interviewees recognized quality in qualitative research" Semi- structured interviews in particular allow the flexibility of the chronology of questions. Another aspect of discussion could be about the interviews that are conducted in qualitative research. According to Kvale (1996) the answers pertaining to a single interview are just not enough and therefore conducting similar interviews on different interviewees would provide an advantage to the interviewers which in turn would give out similar outcomes on at a great extent. Therefore looking at the above explanation the researcher decides to support multiple interviews which in turn would also help him in collection of appropriate data.
Ethnography is something that has more attention than the participant observation. This bestows thick description as told by Punch (1994) an ethnographer is a research instrument. (Sarsby 1984:96, as quoted in Bryman, A and Bell, E (2003) Each field situation is different and initial luck in meeting good informants, being in the right place at the right time and striking the right note in relationships may be just as important as skill in technique. Indeed many successful episodes in the field do come about through good luck as much as through sophisticated planning and unsuccessful episodes are due as much as bad luck as to bad judgement. Validity and reliability play a credibility of qualitative method. Validity helps in understanding the intensity of the match between the researcher's observations & his theoretical ideas and reliability is what the members of research team agree to i.e., what they see and hear. The researcher therefore aims to maximize the understanding and knowledge gained from the above data.
The researcher thus intends to use a qualitative approach using the deductive and positivist approach and utilize the acquired data in a way to support the research which in turn will improve his ability of understanding.
Interviews in particular are one of the most widely employed methods in qualitative research. Information through processed data does not give a detailed explanation than interviewing people. Unlike Ethnography, method of interviewing has a complete access to all the areas of interviewing. Since specific topics related to the research are being discussed, Semi structured interviews will be conducted. Arskey, H. and Knight, P. (1999) the researcher will carry out individual interviews with the managers and supervisors (BD) to identify the various management needs.
The researcher will conduct standard interviews and proper scheduling shall be maintained. The researcher will study on the changes in critical success factors to identify questions suitable for the interview for which the information from literature review will provide a suitable platform to ensure proper designing.
In order to ensure reliability it is quite important to keep in mind the interview settings (De Vaus, 2001). The researcher will count on each one's opinion to decide the location where the interviews might take place. If possible a location with calm, quite and comfortable ambience would be decided which also would ease the process of recording the interviews. Prior permission from the interviewees would be taken before the recording takes place.
Interview Transcription and Analysis
After completion of the interview process all the transcriptions will be uploaded and analysed using QSRNvivo (refer protocol 9.1). After loading the transcriptions into the software the nodes within them will be developed in order to make it for the researcher to review and triangulate the emergent themes.
Qualitative Data Analysis
A daunting and elusive challenge in qualitative research is to provide proper conclusions with supportive evidences. According to Swanson, R and Holton, E (2005) the prime purpose of data analysis is to search for important meanings, themes, and patterns in what the researcher has heard and seen. The process of qualitative data analysis involves collecting data in large amounts.
Coding involves the task of organizing information into meaningful categories. According to Swanson, R and Holton, E (2005) coding involves data simplification where the data is broken up and categorised into simpler and more general categories. This useful tool will divide the data into consistent categories thereby making it confined and easy for the researcher to formulate new questions by allocating data appropriately.
Documents as sources of data
In order to follow the frequency of changes in management such as when and how frequently were the changes made; the documents relating to them would be collected. The researcher will put forth his request for these documents and there is a possibility of the documents coming in hardcopy to which the researcher will then scan them. To gather the essential documents and data required for the research one needs proper access to the organization. Once the researcher receives the documents his main aim would then be to analyse and look at the changes in the organisation.
Semi structured interviews will be conducted which in turn will allow the researcher to conduct an interview using pre planned questions and thus will have an option to change, choose and edit the sequence of questions during the conversation in the interview (Saunders et.al., 2003). According to Bryam, 2008 interviews should be conducted on people who make sense and are knowledgeable and who would also give an added value to the research. It is therefore due to this reason that the researcher has selected various managers, supervisors and employees involved at different levels in the organization that are to be interviewed.
PROFILE, PERSONAL SUITABILITY
Researcher's personal knowledge and skills
The researcher is a first class Computer Science Engineering (B.TECH) graduate from University Industry Hub- Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University. During June 2008 until December 2008 the researcher worked with SIERRA ATLANTIC INC as a software developer which helped him realise the importance of the critical success factors in the field of project management. In addition the researcher has carried out some small projects in software project management involving Anti-money laundering system using SQL and JAVA platforms at WIPRO Technologies during his final year of graduation that involved data collection and analysis skills. The above skills of data collection and analysis have provided the researcher with some knowledge and skills that might be useful in the relevant field of qualitative research.
Suitability of the writer's position in the organisation to carry out the research
As the researcher has worked with Sierra Atlantic in the past and is aware of the requirements in a business to off shore, he is extending a helping hand in finding out the possible factors that BD need to follow. The links and contacts developed will enable the researcher to get the required data and interview the key people (management) on the research objective, as permission has been granted from the organisations end. (Refer Appendix 6) The researcher has contacts in this organisation (BD) at the management level to support this research. The area and objective of the research has been highlighted after consulting the management of BD. The organisation understands that the research can help identify the critical success factors of the project, thus the management has vested interest in this research making it easier to explore the subject by being a participant and by providing data relevant to the subject. With the help of his relationships in BD it would be easier for him to gain access to the organisation and support his research.
Businesses nowadays look onto their comforts to explore its business forgetting the need of knowing the critical success factors. One such business is BD who wants to explore and establish its business worldwide. Just getting equipped with modern technology and resources will not help the business prosper. Maintaining a proper scale of risk, budgets and proper management skills is what this research will make it understand the essence and its importance of critical success factors that it needs to follow. Not only this organisation but other organisations, who fail, lack proper attention in this field.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT: PLAN, TIME and COST
A project plan prepared using Microsoft Office Project 2007 is presented in (Appendix 3). The project started on January 2010 and will finish by the end of April 2010. Certain aspects that are not in direct control of the researcher such as interviews might take longer time and this is the time when the researcher will head back home in the month of February. The required data for data analysis will be collected by the researcher when in home country (India). Part of the written up work will be completed in India along with interviews. The researcher will then produce written up work after returning from India.
Resources are prime essentials for research methods. Time is something which needs to be maintained by keeping track and could be assessed by the nature of the project. Also another major time consuming procedure is the transcription of interviews recorded. Recording equipment such as a camcorder shall be used to conduct interviews, which already has been approved by the firm as a part of the firm's agreement to allow the researcher to conduct interviews. Travel to home country (India) would be required to reach the organisation to conduct personal interviews and meetings and in turn also access individual and confidential data that might be of relevance. As told by many authors that qualitative method is an expensive process therefore the meetings with the managers and supervisors of the organisation are scheduled to take place in the organisation's meeting room itself. Necessary documents would be accessed from the organisation as discussed earlier in the methods section. (Refer Appendix 4 for consent letter). Access to other resources such as journals to get a detailed knowledge of the literature is required for which the academic library fulfils the above purpose and can be made good use of. The above resources will thus provide a strong basement and good foundation to the research and conclusions made in this project.
The researcher guarantees that this research will be carried out in a safe manner and will cause no harm in any sort of physical or personal manner. Interviews will be conducted with the consent of interviewees and will be informed about the recording. All data and information of the body shall be kept confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone without the firm's permission (Refer Appendix 5). The researcher will always make sure that the organisation is well informed about the reason for research, and under whose guidance is this being taken. The researcher will also make sure that no questions would be asked during interviews that would break the legal rules and the privacy of the organisation.
Since the researcher is aiming to interview all the managers of the organisation, this would sometimes become challenging as the managers would be scheduled with their priorities and would not be able to allocate sufficient time for the interview process due to which there might be some delays experienced and would therefore become time consuming.
QSR Nvivo procedure
- The interview transcript shall be saved in rich text format and the font and style set will be standard Vernada 10.
- All tables and illustrations will be removed from the documents.
- Documents will first be uploaded in the QSRNvivo folder and then into QSRNvivo project.
- After which the nodes will be created in the document and coded using a coder.
- Later models will be created which in turn will help the researcher to analyze the result.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
CSF - Critical Success Factors,
BD - Bagga Distilleries
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