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Defining The Objectives Used In Different Projects Information Technology Essay

3083 words (12 pages) Essay in Information Technology

5/12/16 Information Technology Reference this

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Project objectives are define as primary statements describing what the project is trying to achieve. It can also be defines as the outcomes of the product or service that have been develop. Every project must have its own objectives and each objective must be achieved when the project has completed. Good objectives must be well-defined with no chance for misinterpretations, measureable in order to track the progress, realistic, and must have a time scale. By having all these, it is easier to prepare a list of interrelated tasks (Gantt chart or PERT chart) regarding the project and the smooth flow of operation could be achieved together with an effective utilisation of resources. It is worth to remember that every successful project depends on how depth project’s objectives are being defined.

Project failure might be as a result from unclear project objectives. This is the challenge of making a project become successful by achieving all the objectives and at the same time coping with the entire project constrain such as quality, time and budget. Unclear project objectives were resulted from unclear stakeholder needs. Sometimes, stakeholders don’t really know what they want and this will lead to unclear project objectives. Stakeholders may only have a vague idea of what they need. Therefore, it is contractor’s responsibility to turn this amorphous vision into something that fulfills stakeholder’s requirements and specifications. If it does not meet stakeholder’s requirements, there will be a significant impact towards the overall progress of the project in term of time frame to finish the project, resources and also the budget needed. For example, when stakeholder is not satisfied with work man ship, they will ask the contractor to re-do it again until they satisfied with the outcome. Hence, it will take more time than the project’s estimated time. Moreover, cost will also be greater than it was estimated because more resources are needed.

Inadequate scope management:

The Project Management Institute Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines project scope management as the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully. Adequate scope management must be completely done in quality manner. The scope management usually consists of an analysis of the product, details deliverables, project approach, lists of stakeholders, estimated completion time, and lists of project controls parameters. From here, the company must be able to manage what are supposed to be done and what is not supposed to be done in the scope of management.

Inadequate scope management will extinguish the capability of the company to control and monitor the work necessary within the estimated project completion time. It also will to increase the amount of delay regarding the progress and performance of the project. Without having adequate scope management, the company does not have the ability to estimate cost, time, and resources. Frequently attempt to change project scope usually came from lack of good communication, thus will significantly affect the project schedule and also will increase the costs.

Poor stakeholder management:

A stakeholder usually consists of individual or group of people who either supports or affected by the project. No matter how big or small the project is, stakeholders need to be managed wisely. To understand them require good communication and full courage because it is not about managing the system, but this is about managing a human. As far as being concern, most people do not like change because it is a human nature. Every stakeholder has their own point of view and it is the challenged to the company to bring up all the ideas and make a good decision in order to make it a successful project.

Poor stakeholder management is one of the factors that contribute to the failure of the project. For example, when the dealing process with the stakeholders was too late, their point of view cannot be revised thoroughly thus, could delay the project completion time. There also might be a problem when engaging with the stakeholder too early that will bring difficulties for the company in a decision making process. Project failure will also occur when the stakeholder’s change their requirement after the project have been started. This, in return will cause a trouble to the company because they have to alter their scope of work as per requested. Due to this problem, it might sometime increase the amount of money needed and the working hours of the manpower also were increased since the company needs to re-buy the resource and re-do the project.

Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche Project Failure (Poor Stakeholder Management & Poor Project Objective):

There was a request proposal delivered from the United States Army to the aircraft manufacturing companies which are Boeing-Sikorsky and Bell-McDonnell Douglas with regards to construct a new design of helicopters. After evaluation process was done, the Boeing-Sikorsky team has been assigned as the contractors by United States Army to design their new helicopter. They come up with RAH-66 Comanche helicopter prototype which is the latest technology at that time. For instance, it is made of composite material and also combined with stealth features to avoid detection from radar. It also has the ability to operate at night and in bad weather.

After all the flight qualification tests and evaluation were completed, the Comanche delivery process will soon take place. United State Army already planned to purchase 1213 Comanche and it is expected to be delivered in the beginning of 2006 [2]. However, in 2004, United States Army announced their decision to terminate the Comanche helicopter program because of:

The need to provide funds to renovate the existing helicopter fleet. [3]

The need to use Comanche program funds to speed up unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) development. [3]

An additional USD 450-680 million was required in contract termination fees to main program partners Sikorsky and Boeing Integrated Defence Systems [1].

From previous example, it can be seen that this project failure has a direct relation with the poor stakeholder management. In this case, United States Army is the stakeholder and also the project sponsor. It shares the responsibilities in ensuring the success of the project, has the authority to make decision and to provide funding for the project. However, they do not have enough funding to completely support the entire project and also might not examine all the risk thoroughly before the project started. This in return, will allow the project to continue for a long period of time without realising that the project cost does affect the other current factors which are upgrading the existing fleet and developing unmanned aerial vehicle. Besides, United States Army might also don’t have specific budgetary framework for developing the project or even if so, the time and cost estimates were not being properly prepared by those who had a duty for the project.

Also, it seems that even a good idea of developing such modern helicopters can end up with a bad impact if the project objectives were not clearly defined. In this case, their objectives are not realistic because during the project termination, they admit that the project was too expensive and would have been obsolete by the time it was pull out to service. As summarise by United States Department of Defense (2004) [4]:

‘To ensure the National Guard and Army Reserve have the capabilities necessary to accomplish the missions they are performing … [to] accomplish this in the near term will require a substantial investment in Army aviation.  Some of the capabilities those funds would provide are no longer consistent with the changed operational environment.  Therefore … [the] Comanche helicopter program has to be terminated and those resources reallocated to restructuring and revitalising Army aviation.’

Army procurement, Chief Kenneth Oscar during the interview with Government Executive.com (23rd February 2004) [5] said:

“We’ve taken the money we do have and applied it to our top three priorities … [which are] digitising the battlefield, Comanche and Crusader (an artillery system cancelled in 2002). We’ve decided that’s the best use of our money, so I don’t think Comanche is vulnerable at all.”

From the statement above, failure of this project can also be associated with the unclear project objective. At the first place, the United States Army has very strong interest with the Comanche project without really considering about their current financial status. On the other hand, their objectives do not seem to be realistic because at the same time, they have another undergoing project that need to be monitored and funded which are being overlooked by them. They did not however, figure this out during the initial phase of establishing the project objectives thus; it does not meet the criteria in getting good project objectives. As mentioned earlier, one of the good practices in deciding the project objectives is to be realistic.

Airbus A380 Project Failure (Inadequate Scope Management)

Overall structural sections of the Airbus A380 are fabricated in four European countries which are France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom. Then, all those structure being brought to the main assembly hall which is located in Toulouse, France. From here, it can be understand that the construction of Airbus A380 is made up from the combination of different management team. The delay of the aircraft to the customer occurs when the production team need to rectify thousands of wiring harness that run through each aircraft section. Andreas Fehring is the Airbus A380 vice-president program management said during the interview with Flight Global (18th July 2006), [6]:

“We’ve had a much greater number of changes than expected resulting from modifications to electrical systems and structure following feedback from bench-testing, flight-testing and customisation needs.”

The pre-assembled wiring harness produced in German failed to fit properly into the frame during the assembly stage held in main assembly hall, France. From then onwards, the problem had cause the French and German facilities blaming each other. Both of them were using the same designing software but not the same version. German engineers preferred to use an older version because for them changing over to the new version is costly and time-consuming (The New York Times, 11th December 2006) [7].  Unfortunately, there were compatibility issues between both versions and the consequence was that design specification could not match together. 

From the Airbus A380 project failure, although it seems to be a technical issues, it’s neither engineering department nor the project managers should be blame; it supposed to be the top management of the program team. Because all the major structural section were being assembled in various country, the company management structure is quite complex. The blame was supposed to be pointed to the top management. Others blamed an unresponsive management process, continual squabbling among its executives, and unresolved internal disputes (The Economist, 13 January 2007).

Inadequate scope management is one of the factors that cause project failure. Although the company has the capability to control and monitor the project, top management failed to make a simple decision in order to standardise the software that need to be used during the production phase. This will lead to a high number of time consuming to re-do the wiring job and thus, creating out of sequence work and increase in outstanding work. This is where all the work required, and only the work required to complete the project successfully is not being achieve.

Question 3

Project Objective

As discussed earlier in this chapter, project objectives are final achievement or result of the project. Every project should have its own objectives and these objectives should be met in order to ensure that the project will be successful. More specific and clear project objectives could avoid project failure.

There are elements that have to be followed to achieve clear project objectives. It must have clear statement which is a description of the project aim. It must also have some sort of measures to be used as an indicator to access the project achievement. The value of each achievement should be compared with the measures after a certain period of time in order to determine whether the objectives were either being met or not. William R. Duncan, (1996) summarise that:

‘Project Objectives – the quantifiable criteria that must be met for the project to be considered successful. Project objectives must include, at least, cost, schedule, and quantity measures. Project objectives should have an attribute (e.g., cost), a yardstick (e.g., U.S. dollars), and an absolute or relative value (e.g., less than 1.5million). Un-quantified objectives (e.g., “customer satisfaction”) entail high risk. ‘

In order to achieve a successful project, the project management team must know the importance of each project objectives. Furthermore, project manager usually hold the responsibility to ensure the project achieve all its objectives. Clear descriptions of the project objectives are developed, including the reasons why a specific project is the best alternative to satisfy the requirements. The documentation for this decision may also contain the initial project scope statement, deliverables, project duration, and a forecast of the resources for the organisation’s investment analysis. As part of the Initiating processes the project manager is given the authority to apply organisational resources to the subsequent project activities (PMBOK Guide, 4th Edition, 2008, p.45).

Regarding the Comanche issue, it can be assumed that the project was risky than other current undergoing project because the U.S. army do not realise whether it is possible for them to afford new project (new Comanche helicopters) instead of maintaining the current project that they already have and if it is possible, they do not know exactly how much the overall project will cost them. They should verify and clarify thoroughly their objectives before the project started in order to avoid the same failure to happen again in future.

Scope Management

Managing the project scope is primarily concerned with defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project (PMBOK Guide, 4th Edition, 2008, p.103). According to PMBOK, there are five steps of constructing the proper project scope which are:

Initiation.

Scope Planning.

Scope Definition.

Scope Verification.

Scope Change Control.

Initiation is the first step towards a successful project scope. This can be achieved by the process of identifying, clarifying and keeping a record of the stakeholders’ needs in order to meet the project objectives. After the initiation phase has been accomplished, scope planning is the second step that has to be followed. Scope planning is a further elaboration of the project scope statement that will be a reference for future decision. The project scope statement consists of the project objectives, and the requirements that can be used by the project team members as guidance for them to do their work. The third step is establishing the scope definition which is done by creating a work breakdown structure (WBS). A WBS is a tool used for defining the project scope statement in such way that it can be more manageable thus, easier to be monitored. Scope verification is the next step which incorporates the process of verifying or confirming that all the scope statement including the project objectives satisfies all of the regulation or specification requirements. The last step is the scope change control. It is the monitoring process of the current status of the project scope and if there is the need to change the project scope, it could help in managing project changes with regards to the scope baseline.

Regarding the Airbus A380 issue, the top management level should first identify and standardise which software should be used regarding the aircraft system and airframe design. After that, they should further mention which version of the software need to be used. After establishing the specific software version, they should create an illustrative strategy by means of work breakdown structure so that every progress or changes can be easily managed and monitored. And, if there is any project scope change, it could also help the project team to ensure that all the changes are standardise throughout the entire production facilities.

Stakeholder Management

Stakeholder management is not just about making everyone pleased, but it is about focusing on those people who have power to influence the progress of the project to make it successful. It is quite difficult to manage stakeholder as they are unpredictable, have different objectives and with regard to their attitude, they generally do not like any changes. Good stakeholder management could be basically achieved by good communication strategies. It is difficult to measure the value of relationship among the stakeholder but there is a solution to deal with this problem; managing their expectation.

Manage Stakeholder Expectations is the process of communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs and addressing issues as they occur … [which] involves communication activities directed toward project stakeholders to influence their expectations, address concerns, and resolve issues (PMBOK Guide, 4th Edition, 2008, p.261).

From the statement above, it is important to ensure that the stakeholders do understand about the project risks and benefits before the project started. It courage them to give full support of the project thus could indirectly build up the mutual respect and trust amongst them. In project management, the project manager is responsible for stakeholder expectations management. Actively managing stakeholder expectations decreases the risk that the project will fail to meet its goals and objectives due to unresolved stakeholder issues, and limits disruptions during the project (PMBOK Guide, 4th Edition, 2008, p.262).

In the future, U.S. Army should has transparency with the aircraft manufacturing company in term of financial and other issues if they plan to set off a new project. They not just a stakeholder but also project sponsors whose will provide funding for the project. In this case, the U.S. Army is the ultimate client. There will be a risk of losing a lot of money for breaching the contract after the agreement among the stakeholder (aircraft manufacturing company) had been achieved. This in return, not just only impacts their financial issues, but also could bring the negative impact towards their reputation.

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