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Christenson, D and Walker D H T, 2004, analyzed the importance of vision for the success of any project. The study highlighted the indispensable need of having the right vision for the success of any project. Authors developed this conclusion by the systematic study of an IT (Information Technology) case in order to illustrate their argument. The authors considered and proved that the vision is a primary driver towards making any project successful. A clear vision can be a big differentiator between the success and failure of any projects. The case study taken by the authors provided clear indication that the project leadership's commitment to the group's objective was one of major drivers towards to success of the project.
The authors advise that a project vision must answer following questions to arrive at the vision statement -
How can this project make a difference to the organization
What are the parameters of success
What is the extreme achievement for this project
The project vision often motivates and inspires the members of a team and the project stakeholders to shed negative behavior and embrace the positive approach for the common good. A well thought vision has two elements - The core ideology and the expected future. The element of Core Ideology includes Core Values and Core Purpose. The envisaged or expected future has been identified as BHAG (Big, Hairy, audacious goal). The authors argue that the visionary companies strive to keep the core culture and purpose while they move forward to the envisioned future.
On the area of characterizing project vision, following elements are mentioned -
Vision must be easy to understand and it should relate to Core essence and objectives of the project
The project vision must be motivating
The vision must rhyme with the requirements of the project stakeholder, organization culture and must have a valued proposition
The vision must be challenging and demanding
Concisely, an effective project vision must be clear, inspiring, credible and challenging. Following diagram illustrates the above statement.
Figure 1: Project Vision Effectiveness
(Source: Christenson, D, and Walker Derek H. T, Understanding the Role of 'Vision' in Project Success.)
The organization chosen for developing the vision statement is of a solar projects installation company. The organization installs the solar powered machines at Schools in Texas.
Vision statement of the Project
To develop and install the technically cutting edge solar powered machines at the school sites in the state of Texas.
How above Vision Statement facilitate enthusiasm and commitment for its successful realization
The above vision statement of the organization is developed with a context of all the four characteristics mentioned in 'Understanding the Role of 'Vision' in Project Success' (Christenson, D, and Walker Derek H. T). It has purpose ('Develop and install'), with motivation, satisfying the stakeholder's need ('School Sites'), credible and challenging ('technically cutting edge solar powered machines').
Steps to implement the above Vision Statement
The school has the requirement to install the solar powered machines in its premises due to the following requirements: -
An eco-friendly source of electricity, as part of social responsibility communication to students & parents. They can also embrace this initiative by the school
A low cost source of power, even though the initial cost of setup is high, but the running costs are low
Procuring renewable source of energy that will never get exhausted
Project feasibility analysis
In this phase, the solar project is tested for its feasibility by assigning the task to a project manager. The manager evaluates the following feasibility factors and reports to the management.
a) Technical feasibility: -
i) Availability of technology from companies efficient in installation of
solar project. These companies will provide the expertise, complete equipments, fitting and regular maintenance
ii) Experience of the management and operations team of the company, in handling similar project in the past. Hence, this will give a view of their competency in managing the project
iii) Availability of proper space for installation of solar panels. The space should receive ample sunlight during day-time and the space should also not be consumed for any other purpose. In addition, any other important task or operation of the school should not be hindered due to installation of the solar project
b) Economic feasibility: -
i) Benefit-cost ratio: The benefit from setting up the solar project can be calculated by finding the difference between the following two cost heads:
1) Cost of electricity bought from a power utility company over a sample time-period
2) Cost of total initial setup plus maintenance cost spent on the solar project in the same time period
Thus, in this project, benefit is made in the form of savings from the new power source (solar panels) over the earlier power source (purchasing electricity from a utility company). This saving to cost ratio over a sample time-period will support the economic feasibility of the solar project.
ii) Evaluation of technological possibilities like solar water heating, solar space heating, solar air conditioning in addition to the main source of electricity the photovoltaic array
c) Financial feasibility: -
i) Checks availability of funds for setup of solar project, which covers the cost of equipments, hiring of company services, cost of construction of supporting structures for installation
ii) Evaluate the cost of taking credit from banks or financiers to meet extra costs incurred in the project
iii) Evaluate the credit rating of the school in front of the banks and financiers being approached for loan. This rating depends upon the past credit history and image of the school
On the basis of the evaluation of the three feasibility factors, the solar project can either proceed if it is technically feasible in terms of space, technology and manpower expertise availability; if it is also economically feasible by providing respectable savings and also financially feasible due to the in-hand funds or convenient processing of credit. A positive signal from all these factors can allow the school management to proceed with the solar project, else to hold it either temporarily or for a long time, depending upon the factor.
After the solar project has been approved by the management, the project manager sits with the team and chalks out the project scope. In this phase the project management team works upon the project cost, quality parameters and project schedule. Here, an intermediate breakup of the work structure takes place.
Details are added to the project in this phase. Here, the project management team prepares a Design Basis Memorandum (DBM). The DBM consists of detailed information about quantity of photovoltaic arrays required to meet the electricity and other demands of the school, cost of the arrays, inverters, batteries, supporting poles and other equipments, cost of periodic maintenance, compliance to standards, data like availability of sunlight, weather conditions and time limit for completion of the project. In this phase bids for the solar project are invited. The cost and time schedule are compared and eventually the successful bidder is awarded the project.
The project budget is prepared in this phase and two types of emergency funds are assigned to this budget:
Management reserves: This reserve budget is kept for covering unexpected changes to the project, like compliance to a government regulation for standards
Contingency funds: This fund is for covering expected additional costs, like for the re-work on the solar panels in order to increase their surface area
In this phase, the complete detailing of the solar project is broken into work breakdown structure (WBS). The decision to use additional solar projects like solar air conditioning, solar space heating, solar water heating, solar drying, solar cookers, solar distillations to become a part of the new project is taken in this phase. The project is awarded to a solar project installation company, who in turn draft the detailed engineering design of the project.
In this phase the design and engineering aspects of the project are verified. The power output of the solar panels is measured and dissipation of energy is traced and rectified. The project is verified for its progress to meet the deadline. The verifications can be carried out at any time of the construction of the project. The solar panels can be checked if they are placed in proper places, where sunlight is abundant and whether the angle of the panels is proper. The design maps and documents are compared with the construction progress to find any deviations. At regular intervals the cost incurred is noted for comparison with the overall budgeted cost to check any cost overruns.
In this phase the school gathers information related to progress of the solar project. It keeps track of the direction in which the project is going, whether the costs are within the budget and whether a deviation from initial plan is not taking place. This phase witnesses the construction of the solar project.
Scope change control
A scope change control mechanism is put into place in the beginning of the planning phase. Only those changes are made in the structure, planning or equipments of the solar project, which are extremely important. And the changes are made only in consultation with the complete project management team, so that any deviations from the fundamentals of the project are pin-pointed timely. Every change must be initiated only after the evaluation that it will not affect the primary objective and vision of the solar project. The effect of the scope change of the project should also be evaluated in terms of cost, schedule and output of the project.
In this phase either major or minor changes take place in the project. The objective of this phase is to stick the project to the initial vision. Every precaution is taken to prevent changes to the engineering, schedule and cost structure of the project, so that the scope of the project is not affected. The project enters its completion after passing through this phase.
The Principal at Bloomington HS is a primary stakeholder whose involvement in the project is in the form of providing funding and resources. He/she represents the school and his decisions influence the solar project. The Principal benefits from the project through savings and a commitment to social responsibility. The Bloomington Independent School District is another primary stakeholder in the solar project. It is also funding the project and it benefits by saving on cost and by presenting a socially friendly face. Victoria Electric Co-op. is a secondary stakeholder in the project. They are suppliers of transmission lines in the solar project and their benefit is in the form of profit and association of their name in a social responsibility project. Four Brothers, LLC is a provider of expertise in the project. While in the Thermal Generation unit, the expertise has been contributed by A.K., Partner, J.B., Partner, J.S., Mfg and F.F. Engineering. All of them have benefited from this project by ensuring their jobs and associating their name with a social responsibility initiative.