Product Design Project

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Introduction

A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product or service

A project as a combination of organizational resources pulled together to create something that did not previously exist and what will provide a performance capability in the design and execution of organizational strategies. Projects have a distinct life cycle, starting with an idea and progressing through design, engineering, and manufacturing or construction, through use by a project owner. A project can be several things. Generally projects involve engineering or the construction of a product, but they do not always have to. A project is the way through which one will achieve a result.

The impact on project outcomes of time, cost and quality variables

There are three factors in product development can influence the project: time, cost and quality.

The cost of a given project is usually computed by enumerating its features, and the time it will take to implement them. Likewise, the number of features and their depth of quality and usability are limited by finances and time. The amount of time a project will take is direct result of feature set, and the amount of money the company is willing to spend. Since there factors have a direct relationship, when you attempt to adjust any one of them, the other two feel the effect. You can’t reduce the cost without sacrificing features or deadlines. You can’t increase feature without incurring extra costs and time spent. You can’t reduce time to meet a market window without reducing features or increasing cost.

1.3 The importance of a cost/benefit analysis in building a business case

The justification for undertaking the project, based on the estimated cost of development and the anticipated business benefits to be gained. Therefore you need a method of project evaluation that compares the potential benefits with the anticipated costs.

Cost benefit analysis is very beneficial for panning a business. It helps in comparing the total benefits expected against total cost. It also helps in evaluating several options in the above way and choosing the best one in terms of profitability and returns. Thus while building a business case; it would be instantly known through this analysis that is we going to get in return of our assets to be invested.

  • Typical tangible benefits include:

Cost savings (reduction in operating costs)

Improved profitability (increased sales; increased profit/sale; improved cash flow)

  • Typical intangible benefits include:

Increases in information flow

Increase in employee/customer satisfaction

Improved decision making

Improved organizational future

1.4 The importance of setting business objectives and how they influence the project

The assessment of benefits and reduced costs should follow a natural path. Projects have objectives which when achieved, realize benefits. In order to meet objective, detailed requirements have to be identified and meet.

Objectives are basically goals that are set by organizations so that the whole organization can work towards its fulfillment. They are very important to the organization. They provide a clear understanding of what is to be achieved by the organization or the project. They also tell us what resources are to be utilized and what time frame we have for accomplishment of goals. They are also important because using objectives performance of the organization or a specific project can be measured.

1.5 systems development life cycle

A project has a life cycle in systems development, the major activities through which to pass in order to produce the final product. Systems development life cycle is defined as a product development process. It is a distinct process which is independent of software or some other information technology considerations. It is used by systems analyst to develop a system which includes seven stages:

  • Feasibility study: establishes a high-level view of the intended project and determines its goals.
  • Requirements definition: refines project goals in defined functions and operation of the intended application. Analysis end-user information needs.
  • Systems specification: the objective of the system specification stage is define a IS system that will fully meet the user requirements.
  • Systems design: describes desired features and operations in detail.
  • Program design and development: this stage’s objective is to produce the programs that compose the system, based on the specification contained in the system design document.
  • System test: The testing phase requires organizations to complete various tests, the inclusion of expected functionality, and applications. Thorough testing is critical to ensuring systems meet organizational and end-user requirements.

7. Implementation: when all of the previous stages have been completed to satisfaction of everyone involved, the system is then ready for implementation.

Two example of life cycle can be organized in systems development:

  • The figure 1 illustrates waterfall model is simplest way of progressing through the systems development life cycle. The water fall model is a model in which you can’t some back to the previous steps. Like the waterfall it only flows or work in one direction, there is not any possibility that you move to the previous step. So for that you have to complete your current step fully and don’t leave any work in that step.
  • The figure 2 illustrates a V model of TEST, the V-model is almost same like the waterfall model, but the difference Is that, the waterfall model moving to the downward direction, it work in the form of V shape means at the and move upward. Until the coding step the model move towards downward but after the coding step it bent and move towards upward direction. The reason for this V shape is that the each and every step done at one side it will be tested on the other side, so at the end all steps will be verified and tested correctly.

Feasibility study

Requirements definition

Systems specification

Systems design

Program design and development

System test

Implementation

Figure 1 A waterfall model of development life cycle

Requirement definition

Deployed Application test

System requirements User Acceptance Test

Use case System Test

Requirement analysis Integration Test

Detail Design Unit test

System development

Figure 2 illustrates a V model of TEST

Take 2 Managers in projects

2.1 project organization

The formal organization structure defines the working relationships between the organization’s members and their jobs and is illustration of the organization chart. An organization chart is a graphic illustration of the organization’s management hierarchy and departments and their working relationships. Each box represents a position within the organization, and each line indicates the reporting relationships and lines of communication.

CORPRATE MANAGEMENT

STEERING COMMITTEE

FUND

PROVIDER

CUSTOMER

OPERATOR

SUPPORT&

MAINTENANCE

RESOURCE

PROVIDER

IINDEPENDENT

OBSERVERS

SUPPORT

PROJECT MANAGER

TEAM MEMBER

TEAM MANAGER

TEAM MEMBERS

Figure 1 organization chart (MBP Colin Bentley 2002 p35)

  • Corporate management

This is a general heading for a senior management group who have overall responsibility for a project, but who delegate the actual supervision of it to the steering committee. It is their job to establish tolerance margins of the whole project and pass this information to the Found Provider.

(Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002, p34)

  • Steering Committee

Steering committee involve Fund provider, Customer, Operator, Support, Maintenance and Resource Provider. They represent senior management’s interest in project. It is the key decision-making body, accountable to senior management for the success of the project.

These key decisions are:

  • Whether the project should begin;
  • What tolerance should be allowed for a stage;
  • Whether to commit to the next stage;
  • Whether to continue when an unexpected event take a stage outside its tolerances;
  • To confirm that the project can close.

(Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002, p36)

The Steering Committee approves all major plans and authorize any major deviation from agreed stage Plans. Steering committee has responsibility to monitor the risk and advise the Project Manager of any change in its status and to take action, if appropriate, to ameliorate the risk. The Steering Committee will eventually control the project at a correspondingly high level using the project plan as a yardstick of progress.

  • Project manager

The Project Manager has the authority to run the project on a day-to-day basis on behalf of the Steering Committee within the constraints laid down by the Committee. In a customer/supplier environment the project manager will normally come from the customer organization, but there will be projects where the Project Manager comes from the supplier.

A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. They have the responsibility of the planning, monitor, controlling and closing of any project. The person who heads up the project team and is assigned the authority and responsibility for conducting the project and meeting project objectives through project management.

  • Independent observers

In dependent observers, such as Quality Assurance or Internal Audit, actually report back to a management team that is outside the project. Where any direct reporting on the project is concerned, then they should report to the Steering Committee, not the Project Manager. (Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002, p36, p37)

  • Support

The project manager should define what support he or she needs, and whether this support he or she needs, and whether this support should be full-time or part-time. This will partly depend on whether the company has specialized groups that offer the various types of support required. (Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002, p37)

  • Team Manager

This is a useful role to define in the standard structure. It sets out the relationship between the Project Manager and manager of an internal or external group that is delivering one or more products to the project. It defines any negotiations about the work to be done, the link to any formal contracts for the work, reporting and quality responsibilities. (Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002, p37)

  • Team Members

In smaller projects there may only be one team, in which case the team members would report direct to the Project Manager. Where there is a need for Team Managers, they will have team members reporting to them. In such projects, the Project Manager may also have a team working directly for him or her. ((Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002, p37)

2.2 risk management

The Project Management Institute defines project risk as:

A risk is a possible future event that may affect your project either positively or negatively. The project manager has the responsibility to ensure that risks are identified, recorded and regularly reviewed.

The Steering Committee makes the key decisions on risk management. The Steering Committee represents the three in any project; the customer, the user and the supplier. The Steering Committee has two responsibilities:

  • To notify the Project Manager of any external risk exposure to the project;
  • To make decisions on the Project Manager’s recommended reaction to risk.

Each party in a project may have a different set of risks to which they feel exposed, or will have a different view of a risk and the alternative actions. The customer will try to protect the achievement of the business case and get the supplier to take the risks or bear the cost of any preventive or avoiding action. The supplier will try to protect the expected profit margin and therefore take the opposite view. The customer’s project manager is responsible for ensuring that the appropriate level of information is gathered from all sources to enable a true assessment of risk to be made. Although the management of risk is a cyclic process, it can be considered to have two main parts, risk analysis and risk management.

Risk analysis comprises three overlapping activities:

Activity

Purpose

Risk identification

Preparing a list of all the potential risk which could be faced by the project

Risk estimation

Determining how important each risk is, based upon an consequences to the project and the business

Risk evaluation

Deciding whether the level of each risk is acceptable or not and, if not, what actions can be taken to make it more acceptable

Risk management consists of four major activities:

Activity

Purpose

Planning

Selecting the option most appropriate for each risk; developing a detail plan of action; confirming its desirability and objectives; and obtaining management approval.

This activity may proceed in parallel with risk evaluation

Resourcing

Identifying and assigning the resources necessary to do the work(including monitoring);confirming that the revised plan is feasible and cost-effective; checking revised plan against the project Business case

Monitoring

Checking the status of risks; checking that countermeasures are happening and are effective; capturing lessons learned on the effectiveness of risk reduction measures

Controlling

Making sure that execution of the plan is having the desired effect on the risks; ensuring that the management of risk processes are applied effectively; modifying the plan where necessary

During the risk management process, the project manager and team would also undertake a Business Risk analysis. The project manager is responsible for seeing that risk analysis is done, and the steering committee is responsible for the management of risk. In practice the project manager may take decisions on certain risks where the consequences are within the tolerance margins, but even there it would be wise to advice the steering committee of any such decisions

No matter how effectively you plan, there will be times when things go wrong that prevent you from achieving your objectives. Things that go wrong are often beyond your control. For example, a machine may break down or an employee may call sick. When the uncontrollable occurs, you should be prepared with a backup or contingency plan. Contingency Plans are alternative plans to be implemented if uncontrollable events occur. If a key employee calls in sick, another employee fills in to do the job. Construction work is usually contingent upon the weather. If it’s nice, they work outside; if it is not, they work indoors. Shippers have contingency plans to use in case of a strike by the Teamsters truck driver union. (Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002, p107, p110, p113)

2.3 The importance of contingency plans for when problem do arise

To develop a contingency plan for the department, you should answer three questions:

1. What might go wrong in my department?

2. How can I prevent it from happening?

3. If it does occur, what can I do to minimize its effect?

The answer to question 3 is your contingency plan. When developing single use plans, ask everyone involved what can go wrong and what should be done if it does go wrong. Also ask others within and outside the organization who have implemented similar plans. They may have encountered problems you haven’t thought of, and they may have good contingency plans to suggest.

Task 3 Planning, Monitoring and Control

3.1 Benefits of project planning

The benefits of project planning are many; there are the following several points.

  • Pre-think future action

The discipline of thinking carefully about what has to be done helps to avoid unpleasant surprise during the project. Many projects have gone over their targets on time and cost, or have produced low quality products because of time wasted on recovering from type of problem. This pre-think activity also allows project management to become aware of the true scale of what has to be done, which in turn clearly assists the estimating process.

  • Verify target achievability.

We make a simple plan to decide how long it would take and whether the deadline is achievable. It must be strongly emphasized that it is actually unprofessional for a project manager to accept a deadline without knowing whether or not it can be met.

  • Identify problems and risks

Even with a plan, things can and will go wrong in any project. Without a plan, project manager may fail to see the dangers and difficulties ahead, resulting in them having to fix problems as they arise instead of identifying them before they do. The process of planning helps to identify risk areas and take actions.

  • Resource planning

One of the major problems in managing projects is getting the right people involved at the right time. The steering committee is responsible for resource provision, but they clearly need to be informed of who is required and when. The plan provides this information.

  • Communication to others

The plans allows project management to inform the people involved (and their managers) of their required involvement (who, when, what). Without this communication medium, they may not know until too late, by which time they have other commitments.

  • Gaining commitment

Once people have been informed of their involvement, the plan is there to remind them of this, with project management able to get a firm commitment in advance that they will be available. This is best achieved by getting involved parties to sign their acceptance of the plan.

  • Providing people with objectives

An important part of motivating staff is to provide them with unambiguous and achievable targets. The existence of a plan allows these targets to defined, understood and agreed.

  • Basis for control

All the preceding benefits are subsidiary to the main reason for having plans. That is-as a basis for controlling the project. Project control is all about comparing what has been achieved with what was originally planned. If you don’t know where you are going or when you expected to get there, how will you know if you are ahead of or behind schedule? It is obvious, therefore that the plan is prerequisite to this function.

(Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002, p49-p51)

3.2 Monitoring

In all projects, difficulties and risks will evolve relatively slowly and mostly undiscovered. One of the causes of a possible project failure is the current way to track and audit projects at certain milestones only.Monitoring is a management tool for tracking progress of ongoing projects. The basic idea is to compare actual performance with plans and to measure actual results against expected results.

The monitoring function is an integral part of project execution. It is simply a way of making efficient project follow-up and to provide systematic, consistent and reliable information on project progress. Once in place, monitoring will save time and effort for the project manager and facilitate project follow-up and reporting. It does not make a project more complex – instead, it makes it more systematically manageable.

The project manager monitors the overall project. A phase project manager monitors his phase. The phase project manager reports to the overall project manager of any risks. Differing levels of management within the project require different levels of detailed plan in order to discharge their responsibilities.

We used a hierarchy of plans for use in the project planning process.

3.3 Configuration Management

Configuration Management is the mechanism for managing, and keeping control of all the project’s specialist products. It keeps files and libraries of all the products of a project once they have been quality reviewed, controls access to them and maintain records of their status; Configuration Management gives the project management team precise control over the project assets. The title given to the person or group operating the configuration management method is Configuration Librarian.

Configuration Management consists of five basic functions:

  • Planning- deciding what level of configuration management will be required by the project and planning how this level is to achieved;
  • Identification- specifying and identifying all components of final product;
  • Control- the ability to agree and freeze products and then to make changer only with the agreement of appropriate named authorities. Once a product has been approved, the motto is Nothing moves, nothing changes without authorization;
  • Verification-a series of reviews and configuration audits to ensure that there is conformity between all products and the authorize state of products as registered in the Configuration Management records.

If the project has been outsourced, the Configuration Management method used by the supplier should be compatible with that of the customer or whichever group will look after the product in its operational life. (Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002, p154)

Configuration management process works are:

Step 1 - Configuration identification – knowing what items are under configuration. Configuration identification is the process of identifying the attributes that define every aspect of a configuration item. A configuration item is a product (hardware and/or software) that has an end-user purpose. These attributes are recorded in configuration documentation and baseline. Baseline an attribute forces formal configuration change control processes to be effected in the event that these attributes are changed.

Step 2 - Control and how to identify them. Configuration control - how to handle change request, emergencies, and procedures.

Step 3 - Describing how to build release and control variants. Step 4 - Status accounting – tracking the items and managing transactions between one status and another. Configuration status accounting is the ability to record and report on the configuration baselines associated with each configuration item at any moment of time.

Step 5 - Configuration auditing – proving the above are being done properly.

Configuration audits are comparisons of the configuration item description record and the current physical representation of the product to ensure that they match. The audit also checks that all configuration item description records are present, complete and adhere to agreed standard.

Task 4 E- Commerce Project Plan

Introduction

E-commerce is used to describe online sales from a web site to a consumer. Developing successful e-commerce systems requires a unique set of computer and business development skills.

4.1 Organization

Users

E-commerce systems must meet the needs of their users if they are to be successful. Users generally come from both within and outside of organization that develops and e-commerce system.

Team managers

Each project will require a manager who understands how to combine the skills of organization and computer people in order to achieve a successful development. Project managers may come from either an organizational or a computer background. When manager a project, it is important that they are able to mediate between competing viewpoints and help achieve the optimal outcome.

Managers within the project, there can be categorized as follows:

  • Senior managers-senior management must be actively involved, because e-commerce applications cut across boundaries both within the organization and between the organization and others. These managers will have to negotiate, approve and champion various level decisions that will have major, long-term effects on the organization.
  • Project managers- their specific responsibilities are project planning and scheduling, targeting and motivating the project teams, setting team objective, exception handling, managing user involvement with development teams and handling problems escalated from the project teams. (BSA 3.9 p.81)
  • Configuration managers-configuration management involves the controlled development and release of software such that its content and status at any stage is known. This applies throughout the development life cycle and continues once the product has been released. It should also include training materials, test scripts and documentation. (BSA 3.9 p82)
  • Quality assurance managers- the quality manager is responsible for a quality management system which consists of quality control, quality assurance and quality management tools, techniques, methods, processes, practice, standards and guidelines. Quality assurance ensures that quality standards, guidelines, practices, methods, etc. are all in place and are used. The products within an IT system are subject to quality control, which is the measuring of the quality of the products to ensure they reach the required standard. This can be achieved by inspections, reviews, testing and tools such as static code analyzers, if available.
  • User managers-managers are often users, in the sense that the systems under consideration fall within their jurisdiction. Managerial levels of staff do not normally concern themselves with the minutiae of operating the business, but are directly involved with translating overall strategy into tactics and working decisions.

4.2 Systems Development Life Cycle

4.2.1E-Commerce feasibility

Establishing a Web presence can benefit a company in numerous ways

  • increase sales - this is the first thing that people consider  when dealing e-commerce
  • decreasing costs
  • increase profits
  • Expands the size of the market from regional to national or national to international
  • Contract the market
  • reach a narrow market- target market segmentation allows you to focus on a more select group of customers

4.2.2 Requirements analysis

E-Commerce System Features http://www.stoysnet.com/index.php/Key-Features-E-Commerce.html (Accessed 20 APRIL 2008)

Standard Features

  • Shopping Cart (branded with your logo & look)
  • Tax calculator
  • Shipping calculator
  • Automated order response
  • Out-of-stock notification
  • Order e-mail notification
  • Order fulfillment checklist
  • 128-bit SSL web site security
  • Personalized customer accounts

Industry Tailored Features

  • Manufacturers List (based off of your inventory)
  • Huge product database
  • Toy ratings system (1-5 stars)
  • Learning Fundamentals
  • Toy related searching
  • Category   Age
  • Gender
  • Manufacturer
  • Brand
  • Similar Items
  • Most Requested
  • Inventory management
  • Expert recommendations
  • Statistics analyzer (sales, items most hit and searched, page hits, etc.)

Hosting Features

  • Up to 50 POP e-mail accounts with automatic SPAM and virus filtering
  • Web-mail
  • Daily database backups
  • 24/7/365 hosting support

Hardware Requirements for e-Commerce

Windows XP Pro or Windows Server 2003 Operating System

2.5 GHz Celeron Processor (typical)

80GB Hard disk drive (typical)

Raid 1 recommended 512 MB RAM

Ethernet Card

Connectivity path to the Internet and your local LAN

4.2.3 System design (e-Business and e-Commerce Infrastructure, Abhijit Chaudhury& Jean-Pierre Kuilboer, 2002, p33)

E-commerce

Information Technology Platform

Software Solutions

Web languages (HTML and XML)

Search Engines

Software Agents

Multimedia

Packaged Solutions for E-commerce

Server platforms

Networking Infrastructure

Networking

Communication protocols for E-commerce

Network Security

Encryption and Digital Payment

4.2.4 Testing

  • Ensuring the developed solution meets the requirements
  • Ensuring the developed solution functions as was intended
  • Ensuring the developed solution is usable

4.2.5 Implementation

  • Preparing users for the new system
  • Install or upgrading any hardware required for the utilization of the new system
  • Install the software
  • Converting the data
  • Establishing or modifying procedures to support the other implementation activities

4.2.6Support (includes maintenance)

  • Providing advice/training to assist user so that they can use the system
  • Fixing problems that were not caught in testing

4.3 Planning

3.1 Scheduling Project Processes and Activities

A project schedule provides a detailed plan of activities that need to be completed in order to develop a particular system and the resource that will be allocated to complete them. Project schedules follows:

Activity

Reference

Dependent on

Project start-up

Project Control/Reporting

Requirements Analysis

System Design

Assemble internal and external teams to project

Identify tools, technical requirements and e-infrastructure

Setup Development Environment

Prepare Software/Web Development Plan for Implementation

Implementation

System testing

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

NONE

A

A

C

B

D

E

C

,F,G

I

ID

TASKS

DURATION(week)

A

Project Start-up

1

B

Project Control/Reporting

3

C

Requirements Analysis

4

D

System Design

4

E

Assemble internal and external teams to project

3

F

Identify tools, technical requirements and e-infrastructure

6

G

Setup Development Environment

5

H

Prepare Software/Web Development Plan for Implementation

3

I

Implementation

2

J

System testing

4

Activity Description

Timescale

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Day

A

C

D

F

I

J

B E G FLOAT

FLOAT B E G

Example of Resource Leveling

4.4 Monitoring Progress

Project failures often occur where progress is not actively monitored. The monitoring of progress involves: accurately assessing progress as it relates to the project schedule and comparing this progress to the schedule and identifying any major discrepancies. The Critical Path Method is common technique for monitoring progress based on analyzing a networked schedule of activities, linked to their prerequisites.

References List:

  • Managing Business Project, Colin Bentley, 2002
  • http://www.stoysnet.com/index.php/Key-Features-E-Commerce.html
  • e-Business and e-Commerce Infrastructure, Abhijit Chaudhury& Jean-Pierre Kuilboer 2002

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