Project Management in an Office Setup

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Strategy is the detailed plan to battle with the competitors of any particular industry. Because of the strategy some industry fails while some succeeds. This is very important segment of the business management. In recent times many organization take outside help for their strategy purpose to make good and dynamic strategy. As strategy consulting firm primarily deals with strategy of various firms from different industry, it is expected their strategy will be more professional and capture the most business variables. Usually consulting firm helps different kinds of organization to improve their performance thorough the business problem analysis and improvement of the plans and business process. Strategy consulting firm mainly deals with the business and corporate level strategy formulation of the clients.

BestConsult will be a midsized strategy consulting firm that deals with about 50 clients per year. The targeted client will be both private and public. Moreover besides internal stuffing best consult will hire external experts to get the best possible result in the case of strategy consulting. The business process of BestConsult is given in the following paragraphs.

Structure of the Standard Activities

Structuring the BestConsult and setting up the standard activities is very important job. If these two activities are implemented properly organization will work flawlessly. BestConsult will handle around 50 midsized projects each year. To do so the number of employee, communication process among them, job description of each position etc will be designed early.

Every consulting project has its own appropriate mix of three sorts of people. By tradition, these are called "finders, minders and grinders." This refers to the three main activities that make up consulting work. Finders (usually the most senior level) are in the charge to find and bring business, designing the scopes and planning the projects and segmenting the projects life cycle and required time frame. Moreover they maintain the good client relations during the project. The main job of minders is to administer the projects and the team of people working on it. Grinders (the lowest level) perform the systematic tasks. Generally, this is an idealized structure. In many case all may contribute in analysis and/or junior people perhaps delegated tasks with the higher levels according to the model.

Standard activities of the BestConsult will tied these three major areas of consulting firm. The organization structure describe in the up next part designed to segment the organization accordingly. Finder role will be played by Potential planning division and customer relation division. Minder role will be played by project activity division and implementation division. The grinder role will be played by bottom level workers mainly perform in team approach. The bottom level team constitute of 3 to 5 member on the basis of the scale of the project.

Organizational design

An organization's internal structure contributes to explaining and predicting behaviour. That is, in addition to individual and group factors, the structural relationship in which people work have a bearing on employee attitudes and behaviour.

Structure also constraints employees to the extent that it limits and controls what they do. Manager need to be remained that structural variables such as work specialization, span of control, formalization, and centralization are objective characteristics that can be measured by organizational researchers. Employees don't objectively measure these structural characteristics. They observe things around them in an unscientific fashion and then from their own implicit models of what the organization's structure are like. The following diagram shows the relative importance of different activities of an organization according to its size.

Large firm

Small firm

Spokesperson

Resources Allocation

High

Liaison

Monitor

Disturbance handler

Negotiator

Entrepreneur

Figurehead

Leader

Moderate

Entrepreneur

Disseminator

Low

Importance of Managerial Roles in small and large Firms

As BestConsult combines the internal and external personals in their organization to provide consulting service, the internal organization should not be very heavy. BestConsult will provide service to midsized organization. The organizational structure should be designed according to the customer. A group consists with 3 to 5 person will give the charge of few clients. The group coordinator will be in charge of the group. And the group coordinator will change among the group member from project to project. Organ gram of BestConsult given below:

Diagram : Organ gram of BestConsult

This above exhibited organizational hierarchy will be maintained by the BestConsult. Chief Executive Officer will be the key person of the organization and he or she will have one advisory panel for helping regarding decision making. Under CEO, Chief of Project will be played the role of operating officer. This post will be look after only project, which is the key activities of BestConsult. Project officer will be segmented in two parts. Under this category implementation will be executed by the small, high performance sub groups. On the other hand Project planning department will be conduct all desk job of the project. Two sub division of the project planning department will be potential project analysis, deals the new project and Detail project activity budgeting division will be outlined all the activities to be performed by the implementation division. Chief financial officer will be in charge of the financing and accounting activities including the internal audit of the organization. Human resource division's role is very crucial for BestConsult. This division wills mange internal employee as well as external personals for project implementation. Externals will be mainly the key experts of relevant field of the project like academicians, experience executives etc. Marketing and customer relations division will be in charge of the publicity, acquiring new customers and retention of existing customers. This organogram will be suggested for the BestConsult. Approximately 35 employees needed run an organization with above diagram for implement around 50 projects each year.

Managing People

In an organization which is based on the quality of the employee it's very important to manage people effectively. BestConsult will use both internal and external employees to conduct their consulting job. So they have to recruit small but efficient set of employee and establish a network of high skilled external human resource.

To manage people the foremost important thing is creating a good and favorable workplace for the employees. Both the organization and the individual generally share strong expectations about what constitutes a reasonable period of time for each stage of the career path. Either by their own choice or career ambitions or at the strong suggestion of the firm, persons who are not promoted within this period will seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Few firms offer career positions at the middle-level or junior ranks. Partnership or ownership is usually restricted to those who attain the highest levels. In recent years, however, which have seen a people shortage or "war for talent," some firms have experimented with offering profit sharing, stock options or other financial incentives to allow those who are not at the highest levels to share in the firm's overall success. This has not removed the expectation that most staff will continue to strive for promotion to the highest levels.

This promotion system serves an essential screening function for the firm. Not all young professionals hired will develop the project management and client relations skills required at the higher levels. While good initial recruiting procedures may serve to reduce the degree of screening required, they can rarely eliminate the need for the promotion process to serve this important function. The existence of a "risk of not making it" also serves the firm in that it puts a degree of pressure on junior personnel to work hard and succeed.

The promotion incentive is directly influenced by two key dimensions: the normal amount of time spent at each level before being considered for promotion and the "odds of making it" (the proportion of juniors promoted.) For any given rate of growth, a highly leveraged firm (one with a high ratio of juniors to seniors) will offer a lower probability of making it to the top, since there are many juniors seeking to rise and relatively few senior slots opening up. A less leveraged firm at the same rate of growth will need to bring along a higher percentage of its juniors, thus providing a greater promotion incentive.

Business System and Documentation

There are, of course, standards, methodologies, and requirements; but even the organisation with the tightest controls, and employing Best Practice methodologies, will usually find considerable gaps in its system documentation. Why? The reasons can be found in a combination of practical circumstance, and human nature.

Practical condition is led by the reality that, over the life of the function, there will, most likely, have been a lot of individuals keeping and developing it, all with varying degrees of expertise and concern, all with a diverse output, and very few who remain with the business system.

The human character feature equates to attentiveness and ability, or thought and skill. As software is generally maintained and developed at the production level (the final step in the development process) the need and opportunity to fully document the process is lost, because there is no immediacy influencing the current task at hand; the maintenance and development.

According to Wikipedia a business process improvement (BPI) typically involves six steps:

1. Selection of process teams and leader: Process teams, comprising 2-4 employees from various departments that are involved in the particular process, are set up. Each team selects a process team leader, typically the person who is responsible for running the respective process.

2. Process analysis training: The chosen procedure team members are educated in procedure analysis and documentation techniques.

3. Process analysis interview: People working along the processes will have undergone several interviews with the members of the process teams. They gather information about process structure, as well as process performance data, during the interview,

4. Review cycle: The draft documentation is then reviewed by the employees working in the process. Additional review cycles may be necessary in order to achieve a common view (mental image) of the process with all concerned employees. This stage is an iterative process.

5. Process documentation: The interview results are used to draw a first process map. Previously existing process descriptions are reviewed and integrated, wherever possible. Possible process improvements, discussed during the interview, are integrated into the process maps.

6. Problem analysis: A thorough analysis of process problems can then be conducted, based on the process map, and information gathered about the process. At this time of the project, process goal information from the strategy audit is available as well, and is used to derive measures for process improvement.

BestConsult should undergo these steps to make the organization accurate and well performing. Not only at the time of starting has the business had updated the process of the business at continuous basis.

Task 2: Communication, Culture, Project Teams & Leadership

Project Communication Management: The importance of communication in the success of a project is immense. Careful communication planning and setting the right expectations with all the project stakeholders is extremely important. Face to face initial communication within the project team to establish the team dynamics and learning the customer's expectations are the keys to success when starting a project. Throughout my years as a project manager, my belief that the success of a project is a matter of effective communication has been continuously reinforced.

As listed by Kerzner: Typical literary definitions of effective communications include:

An exchange of information

An act or instance of transmitting information

A verbal or written message

A technique for expressing ideas effectively

A process by which meanings are exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols

Effective communication involves both sending and receiving the message. With this in mind, a good definition of project communication management can be "Project Communications Management includes the process required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, dissemination, storage, and ultimate disposition of project information" (Project management institute standards committee, 1996, p103).

Basically, communication is the way information is exchanged between entities. There are various components of the communication process. They include the message, source, encoding, channel, decoding, receiver, feedback, noise, context and shared meaning. One of the primary points of effective communication is that it is interactive.

Communication during projects can be of many different types such as oral, written and non-verbal. Oral communication is mainly utilized in face-to-face meetings or over the telephone as well as in group meetings and affords a lot more flexibility to the speaker, such as the ability to communicate not only with voice but body language, attitude and nuance. The subtle nuances that can be communicated during verbal communication are not present during written communication. Written communication, on the other hand, is usually more precise. It can be sent through correspondence such as memos, letters or notices. It can also be sent via Email or the project management information system. The key to making written communication more effective is to first grab people's attention, and then give them a reason to want to read the rest of the communication. I have found this a very useful technique in my projects. When communicating with the customer, say about the status of the project, I try to include attention grabbing graphs and pertinent milestones along with the usual text status and the variance reports. Another type of communication that plays a big role during projects is the non-verbal kind. The way people dress, the tone of their voice, their stance while talking all convey something significant. Being aware of a person's body language can greatly enhance your own level of understanding. A sudden intake of breath may indicate that a person wants to speak, or a furrowed brow could be an indicator that either the other person does not understand you or does not agree with your point.

It is clear that project success depends greatly on effective project communication. I have personally found that 90% of my project management time is spent in some form of communication. It may be within the project team or with the customers. I may be working on resolving the issue of the day, working on the overall project plan, solving interpersonal issues within the team or communicating the latest roadblock to the customer. Communication is the project manager's sword as he or she guides the project team through the jungle overcoming the various issues and roadblocks with an eye on the finish line.

Culture and Conflict Management: Organization created from a group of people for attaining a common goal in future. For that reason they have to remain as a group and to increase the efficiency the group possess some common values and perception. According to Stephen Robbins, "organizational culture is a system of shared meanings." But how the culture created or what is the definition of the organizational culture- it is very much debatable question. Tejashree Talpade defined the organizational culture created through paradigm, rituals and routines, organizational structures, control systems, equations of power, symbols, stories and myths.

Moreover organization possesses dominant culture and sub culture. Dominant culture practiced throughout the organization and sub cultures are practiced by the small group of people, sub division etc. Employees learn both dominant and sub culture by stories, rituals, material symbols, languages, and environment. Organizational culture amplifies commitment, Guides decision making and behavior of employee. Google is continually hiring geeks of the industry and want creative output from them. Creative people cannot control by the equation of power. If it is done the creativity of the people diminished. As BestConsult will provide the creative jobs they have to maintain an organizational structure which supports creativity.

Angle (1989) describes one proposition regarding supervisory encouragement which is cohesiveness (open, confrontive climate for conflict resolution) increase the innovation effectiveness. Absent of this, cohesiveness is negatively related to the level of innovation in the team. As BestConsult planned organizational structure will be small high performance team based approach, cohesiveness is very important element.

The KEYS subscale titled "organizational encouragement" encompasses several aspects, including encouragement of risk taking and idea generation, supportive evaluation of ideas, collaborative idea flow, and participative management and decision making (Amabile et al., 1996). Concepts put forth by other scholars align closely with some of these. For example, the idea of an open flow of communication across groups in the organization is supported by Angle (1989) and Kanter (1983). In particular, Kanter puts a heavy emphasis on integrative structures, multiple structural linkages with intersecting territories and horizontal communication that is often supported by a matrix organization. Organizational structures and a culture that supports, or perhaps more appropriately does not punish, this type of communication will be more likely to have more effective creativity and innovation.

Project Team Recruitment and Motivation: In theory, recruitment should be simple, and many managers perform the same routine: they write a job description, put an ad in the newspaper or online, wait for the résumés to arrive and then hire the person they like the best.

It all sounds so simple. But there's usually more to the process just "picking the best." How will you know if a candidate is likely to get on with the rest of the team, or with your organization's culture? What if a candidate doesn't accurately describe their skills, and so, in reality, is incapable of doing the job? And how can you make sure that the best people apply for a position?

Recruitment mistakes waste time, money, and organizational resources, and they can really hold a team back. This is why learning how to recruit effectively is such a smart move for managers. Indeed, recruiting is one of the most important jobs that a manager does, and it's one of the main ways in which good managers differentiates themselves from bad ones.

Motivation is a general term applying to the entire class of desires, drives, needs, wishes and similar forces that cause people to behave in certain ways. The key understanding motivation lies in the meaning of and relationship between needs, drives and goals, as it indicates the degree of readiness of an organism to pursue some designated goal, and implies the determination of the nature and locus of forces including the degree of readiness. From the perspective of organizational behavior, motivation is a managerial function to inspire, encourage and impel people to take required action.

Motivation can be expressed in formula, like formula-

P = M (A+K)

Where-

P = Performance

M = Motivation

A = Ability

K = KnowledgeNeeds satisfaction

Motivation

Needs

Activities toward achieving goals

In 1955, a seminar was arranged in Nebraka of America. In that seminar, it was justified that encouraging, maintaining interest and realizing mental attitude of the subordinates is motivation. So in the organizational sector, it serves as a method to encourage employees toward achieving the goal.

Project Leadership challenges: Leadership plays a central part in understanding group behaviour, for it's the leader who usually provides the direction toward goal attainment. Therefore a more accurate predictive capability should be valuable in improving group performance.

The original search for a set of universal leadership traits failed. At best, it can be said that individuals who are ambitions, have high energy, a desire to lead, self confidence, intelligence, hold job relevant knowledge, are perceived as honest and trust worthy and are flexible are more likely to succeed as leaders than individuals without these traits.

The behavioral approach's major contribution was narrowing leadership into task oriented and people oriented styles. But no one style was found to be effective in all situations. A major breakthrough in our understanding of leadership came when we recognized the need to develop contingency theories that included situational factors. More recently, neo-charismatic theories have gained increased acceptance. As we learn more about the personal characteristics that followers attribute to charismatic and transformational leaders.

Task 3: Individual Critical Reflection on Learning Outcomes

Project is temporary endeavor to achieve any particular goal or job. Project is quite different from the general business. Masters in Business Administration programme mainly deals with general business organization both profit and non profit. It covers management, marketing, financing, accounting of the business organization. But project is also very crucial for current world. Project can be engineering, medical, mining, strategic, marketing and many others. For better understanding of these projects it is very important to learn some in depth of it. The learning outcomes are also very interesting of this module. Many those learning outcome previously thought in different modules, but as business is quite different from the project, repetition with major alteration was very helpful to assess the dynamics of project management.

Among the learning outcomes LO2 is quite appealing and help me lot for improving myself. Normally business is going concern, so termination is not the duty of business manger. But in the case of project success of the manager depends not only the implementation but also termination of the project successfully. This is completely new concept for me. Time, Scope and Cost relationship is another interesting topics. The difference between traditional and agile model of time, scope and cost management helps me a lot to understand project outcomes and its potential good performance. The quadruple constraint quality, which we already thought in management. TQM also deals with it. But the term quality and its relation with the project is not very clear to me.

Another important and catchy concept was core process areas. Project or business, whatever it is, management success depends on the good process and reengineering of the selected process. Project process divided in eight types of process. Among these process procurement, communications, risk management are the most interesting. These concepts are new and seem to be important to me. In the business teams and groups are working year after year. As a result cohesiveness created automatically with the time span. But in the case of project cohesiveness need to be bring very quickly right after the start of the project. It is very important for success. So project members should be recruited with this aptitude. This is another understanding from this module.

With previous knowledge this module helps me a lot to acquire some new ideas and thoughts not only useful for project management but also for other areas of my study. But I feel lack of practical in depth understanding. May be reason is time constraint and uniqueness of the module.

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