The case study that we are going to cover is of JWD’s consulting project management intranet site project, the objective of this case is to identify and to recognize the critical assumptions and constraints of project management.
The core objective of JWD is to provide world class project management services related to project management to various organizations that is in need for better project management services.
According to the CEO of JWD, Joe Fleming the company can streamline its services and also can increase and maintain its business opportunities and services by providing all the information’s related to project management and its services on the company’s intranet site, to make the services and products information’s available to its current and potential clients.
The business objective of JWD is to formulate strategies to find new opportunities and to continue their growth in the market along with increasing the profitability of the company.
The major objective of the company in formulating the project management intranet site is to support the objectives as defined by the company in its strategy and to increase the visibility of the expertise of the firm to its internet.
The company will not only achieve their strategic objectives but also help in reducing the organization’s internal costs by presenting standard tools, techniques, templates, and project management knowledge to all the internal consultants that are associated to the company. The project management intranet site will give a threshold to the company in meeting those objectives finally.
Current situation and problem/opportunity statement
JWD currently has a fully functioning web site as well as a corporation’s intranet; the organization uses the website to provide information about the company. And the intranet is basically used for providing human resource information to the employees such as let know the employees about the hours where they have to put their efforts on various projects and also let know the employee about their benefits and other assets and also allowing them to change certain information’s about them at times.
The other major advantages of the intranet for the employees is that they can access the online directory related to the company and its clients, the intranet also provides the employees with the benefit of using the web based e-mail system where they can read and compose mails from their ID that is given to them from the company.
The firm also uses an enterprise-wide project management system where the firm can track the progress in the projects and other reports and processes that is going on in the organization.
The major focus of the enterprise-wide project management system is that it can focus on the status of deliverables and other meetings scopes, time and cost goals.
The opportunity that the company has about including a new section on the company’s intranet is that of sharing the consultant’s project management information and knowledge across the organization.
The main point about the JWD consultancy is that it recruits only professional and experienced consultants that have wide knowledge and an area of expertise in the field of consultancy and gives them freedom to work on projects that they feel feasible according to the corporation’s requirements, and which they think might fit in the structure of the organization.
However even the most experienced and the most talented professionals is seeking for advice in the company on how to work effectively and efficiently as the business is growing exponentially and the projects are becoming more and more complex.
Critical assumptions and constraints
The intranet site that is proposed should be a valuable asset to the company as the company had invested a huge amount and resources in the project.
For the success of the project many factors plays a major role such as the consultants and the clients should actively support the project to give a threshold and a sense of satisfaction to the company as it is very important for the company to keep their morale up.
The intranet site must have the capability of generating back the amount that was invested in the project by reducing the internal costs of various other processes that were going on in the organization before the introduction of the project of intranet site, and also to provide new business opportunities to the company.
The main part that is to be played in the success and the initiation of the intranet site project should be that of the project manager who should make sure that all the processes related to the project is successfully implemented and is of worth. Secondly there should be an active participation in the project by expertise from various sections of the company as well as from the client’s organization.
The new system should be capable of running on the existing software’s and hardware’s of the company so that no extra cost of implementing new hardware and software should be faced by the company.
One more thing that the software should be capable of is that the software should be very handy to use i.e. there should be no complexity in operating the software by the client and other user form the public so that no extra cost should be faced by the company in providing the training and knowledge about the software. But the main thing is that the software should be secured enough so that no unauthenticated user can access the data that is not meant for him.
Analysis of options and recommendations
There are three options before the company to address the opportunity
The first option before the company is to do nothing i.e. any need for any new software or service solution as the business is doing well, new service can only make the job more complicated for the company.
The second option before the company is to buy new specialized software rather than building one and to make a little development about the software to increase and to maintain its capability in the company.
The third option before the company was to design and develop new intranet capabilities in the company itself using mostly the resources that they already had with them like the existing hardwares and softwares and the human resource that they have in the organization.
Based on the discussion that was done with the stakeholders the ultimate conclusion that JWD arrived to is to use the third option.
6. Preliminary project requirement
The major features and services that the intranet site promises to provide are:
The intranet site will give user an access to several project management templates and tools. I.e. the user must be able to use the templates and tools and also get have access to the instructions of how to use these templates and tools along with the examples to use these templates and tools on real time projects and services. One more feature that is included is that the user will be able to submit new templates and tools that can prove to be beneficial for the company and also reflects the user’s ability. The submission of templates and tools are subjected to be first edited and screened from the project management office.
The user will have an access to related project management articles that will help them in working on their own project. The clients and consultants will feel as there is an information overload when they will research on the project management information. This results in the wasting of precious time that they should be spending with their clients. The new intranet facility will include an access to all the project management articles that will prove to be very important in the project management, the articles will be made available to be searched by the topic name, this will save the precious time of the user and hence results in high productivity. The user can also send a command to the project management office requesting them to find additional articles that will meet their needs.
The intranet site will also have links to other main web-sites that will help the users in gaining important knowledge about the subjects. The site will also have a brief description about the external web-sites.
The site will have a very important feature named “ask the experts” that will help in building relationship with the current and the future clients, this feature will also help in sharing knowledge with the internal consultants.
The intranet will have appropriate security measures so that only authenticated persons can get the information’s and no person can get that information that is not meant for him, only the internal consultants and the authenticated persons can have access to the required information.
The site must have a feature to charge for the premium services to the internal members and the internal consultants. The site must also have a feature to charge the external users for some features. The payment option should have a credit card option along with other payment options. The user should be able to download the required information and data only after the verification of the payment.
The other features that should be included in the site should be suggested by the users.
7. Budget estimates and financial analysis
The JWD consultancy estimated the cost for the entire project to be $1, 40,000. The estimate that the consultancy arrived at is based on the factors that the project manager has to work for 20 hours per week in a total for about 6 months, and the other internal staff that is estimated to be working for 60 hours per week for a total duration of 6 months. The customer representatives were not considered to be paid under the project, the staff project manager’s pay will be $50 per hour, the pay of other members of the project management staff was considered to be $70 per hour, some initial cost were also estimated to be $10,000 for purchasing softwares and services from suppliers. After the completion of the project JWD estimated that the cost for the management and the maintenance of the software thereafter is estimated to be $40,000 per year by the company, this cost that was estimated were primarily to update the “ask the expert” feature and the online articles.
The projected benefits were based on the reduction of hours that the consultants will spend on doing the research on the project management information, tools and templates and other related features.
The projected benefits that the consultancy estimated were of the profit and new services that the project will develop for the country and hence will count in the company’s revenue. The company estimated that if 400 consultants will save 40 hours per year and if they could bill that time span to other projects that have generated a profit of $10 per hour, then it is estimated by the company that they could earn a profit of $1, 60,000 per annum, and if the intranet produces new business by 1% then it is estimated that the profit generated by the new project would be at least $ 40,000 per annum. Therefore the total profit that the company estimated would be around $ 2, 00,000 per annum.
8. Schedule estimate
The sponsors of the company were hoping to see the project completed within six months, but there were flexibility in the schedule.
The estimated life cycle of the product was assumed to be around 3 years by the company, and the product is considered to be very useful in its lifetime.
9. Potential risks
Several risks were involved with this project. The first and the foremost risk that was assumed by the company was that of the internal consultants and the external clients, as they don’t have any idea about the interest of the clients and the internal consultants in the new system i.e. the clients and the internal consultants were not satisfied that if the project will be proved to be fruitful and will be profitable for the organization.
User input also has a great significance and is very crucial for the system to be successful as the users are the ones that populate the data into the system, and the users were the ones that could tell the efficiency of the system and also realize the potential benefits of using the system.
The technical risks that were involved in the system were the searching method that was used to search the data on the intranet, and the security risks that were involved in the system like that of hacking into the system and the failure of the payment system.
But the system were using only that technologies that are technically proven by the experts therefore, there is a very little chance that the system will fail because of the technical failure.
The major business risks that were included in the system are the risk of the investment of money and time along with the investment of human resource. One more major business risk associated with the system is that of the projected benefits of the system i.e. not realizing the projected benefits of the system would be a great business risk for the organization as the organization would suffer a huge loss if they couldn’t identify the potential of the software.
10. Exhibits (Budgeting)
Exhibit A: financial analysis for the project management intranet site
Table : financial exhibit
The title of the project was project management intranet site project
Project start date
The project was scheduled to be started on May, 2, 2008
Project finish date
The project was scheduled to be ended on November, 4, 2008
The budget that the firm allocated for the project management intranet site was $ 1, 40,000. The initial estimate that the project manager estimated was a total of 80 hours per week work and that work was estimated to be done by internal labors majorly.
Erica bell was appointed as the project manager for the whole project.
The objective before the firm was to develop a new capability that is accessible on JWD consulting intranet site, the main task of the site will be to help internal and external customers in managing new projects effectively and conveniently.
The main features of the site is that the site will contain several tools and techniques that can be downloaded by the authenticated users and the outside users after paying some amount, the site will also contain examples of completed projects and templates that will be based on real time projects and that can be used by the internal consultants and clients for detailed understanding and completion of their projects effectively, the site will also contain important articles based on project management topics and that can also be used for gaining knowledge and understanding about the project management related topics, the site will also have an article retrieval service that will allow the user to send their query for the related article to the project management section and the project management section will made available those articles to the user. The intranet site will also have links to various other useful sites with a brief overview of the contents and the usefulness of the site, this feature will help the user in getting all the information about any related topic that they are unable to find on the company’s intranet site. The intranet site will also have an “ask the expert” feature on the site that will help the users to post questions and queries that they have about any project, after asking the advice from the experts about a related project the user will get an expert advice on how to tackle that problem and the related strategies about that project.
Some sections of the intranet site will be made available to the user so that they can access for free of cost, the other features of the site will be paid for the external users. But most of the section of the intranet site will be accessible to current customers and the internal consultants of the company, but there could be some features for which the internal consultants and the clients would have to pay, that features would be the value added or the add-on features of the site.
The approach applied by the firm on the project is:
The first thing that the project management team does is that they conducted a survey among the consultants and the customers to determine the critical features of the new intranet site.
The second approach that the project management team applied is to review the external and internal templates and to review the project management documents thoroughly.
The third approach by the project management team is concerned with the security and the accessibility features of the intranet site i.e. the project management team researched on the softwares that will provide the security features, manage user inputs in a corrected and well accessible mode, facilitate the articles, and to use and to implement the “ask the experts feature”.
The fourth approach that had being taken by the project management team is to use the iterative approach to develop the intranet site i.e. to continuously feed suggestions from descent users and to make the changes accordingly if applicable anywhere in the site like that related to the security features, and the applications.
The fifth approach that the project management team has taken is related to the financial aspects of the project intranet site i.e. the team is developing approach to determine the ways to measure the value of the intranet site in terms of reduced costs and in terms of finding ways to generate new revenues, both of these strategies is being monitor during the project and for one year period after the completion of the project.
Roles and responsibilities
Table : role and responsibilities of the team
Comments: “I will support this project as time allows, but I believe my client project take priority. I will have one of my assistants support the project as needed”-Michael Chen
“We need to be extremely careful testing this new system, especially the security in giving access to parts of the intranet site to the public and clients.”-Kevin Dodge and Cindy Dawson
Project management planning
Planning phase in the project management process is considered to be the most difficult phase as it consists of various processes and often is an unappreciated process. As planning is not always facilitated therefore many people’s assume that project planning is a vein process and view it in negativity.
The main purpose of the project planning is to guide the project in executing successfully. And to successfully execute the project it is necessary that the planning for the project execution should be realistic and useful i.e. it should be feasible, therefore a fair amount of time and process is required for the project planning process. In the project planning process peoples who is knowledgeable with the project planning phase should work on the project planning process.
The planning and processes table explains all the areas of project management planning like knowledge area of the project, planning process of the project, and the outputs that the team was getting after executing each and every task.
In view of the fact that the project management intranet site project was relatively small therefore, the project manager Erica believes that the most important planning documents that the team should consider should be the:
A team contract that will bound the team to their responsibilities.
A project scope statement that will clarify the scope and other aspects of the project
A work breakdown structure i.e. WBS should also be included.
The team will also need to formulate a Gantt chart analysis that will cover all the dependencies and the resources that is entered.
All the documents that were discussed and other information that is related to the project will be available to all the team members so, that the team members would have a detailed understanding of all the processes that is going on and will have a chance to make suggestions wherever applicable. JWD consulting had already used project websites for quite a few years and had been very successful in facilitating communications and document related information’s.
JWD consulting had also created project organization charts, along with a formal communications management plans, quality management plan, a detailed cost estimate plan, procurement plans, and other planning documents that is really helpful for the company in formulating strategies and other plans.
As soon as the project team had signed the charter, the project manager Erica organized a team-builder meeting related to the project management intranet site, the purpose of calling the meeting was that she wants each and every person of the group to get comfortable with each other i.e. she wanted that each person in the group should not be shy of any other person of the group and should feel comfortable with working with them, Erica herself had talked and met other members of the team personally and shared her professional experiences with them, this was the very first time that the whole project team is spending much time together. The team members consisted of Jessie faue who worked with Erica in the project management office, therefore they knew each other very well, but as Jessie was new to the company therefore she needed a team gathering to interact with others, Michael Chen was the senior consultant for the firm and had been involved in highest priority projects for the external clients, Michael attended the meeting with his assistant Jill Anderson who will support the project in the absence of micheal, michael’s involvement in the project was a double benefit for the team as he is very straightforward in dealing clients and is very experienced in his field, Michael’s assistance would also be a great benefit for the team as Michael knew both of the client representatives from past projects. Kevin dodge was JWD’s intranet guru who had a great insight of technical aspects and had a very good experience in this area. Cindy Dawson was also from the IT department of JWD and she also had a good experience in working as a business consultant and has remarkable negotiating skills. Kim Phuong and page miller was the two client representatives, and they were very excited about the project, but they were cagey of sharing sensitive information about their company with the team of JWD.
Erica had used certain techniques to let the team members get to know each other, she asked everyone about their dream vacations and where they want to spend most of their time, this activity proved to be an ice-breaker activity for the team as everybody felt relaxed after sharing their thoughts with each other.
After the session, Erica explained each and every aspect related to the project to the team and also explained the importance of the project and other major aspects, she also explained that the most important thing in working as a team is an effective teamwork therefore she then asked everyone to sign a contract that every person in the group felt comfortable in signing the project.
Contract signing between the team members for all projects had always been the key strategy of JWD to help in promoting the team work and to clarify the communication between the team.
Erica then explained the major aspects of the contract explaining all the details and aspects related to the contract, and then showed the team a sample template related to the contract.
Erica then divided the project management team into a group of two, the first group is the group consisting of all the members from the consulting department and in the other group she departs all the members of the information technology department. This strategy of Erica helped the team as all the members are now related to a particular group where they expertise their field, now everyone can provide their ideas and contribute to the knowledge related to the project in their fields.
Table : planning processes and output
Project name: project management intranet site project
Date: may 18, 2008
Prepared by: Erica bell, project manager
The CEO of JWD consulting, requested this project to support the company in meeting its strategic goals. The main features of the intranet site is that the site would increase transparency of the company’s products and services to the current clients and to the potential clients, with the help of the intranet which would be available to the clients and potential clients.
The intranet site will also help the company in reducing its internal costs and also help in streamlining the processes and operations that is going on in the company, the intranet site will also help the company to increase the company’s profitability by providing new opportunities, standard tools, new techniques, templates for assistance in project development, and will also provide project information’s and knowledge to internal clients.
The budget passed for the project is $ 1, 40,000. An additional amount of $ 40,000 per year will also be required after the completion of the project for the maintenance of the site and to include new features in the site.
The benefits that are estimated that the site would produce per year would be $200,000 per year by generating new businesses. It is very important to keep focused on the system paying for itself i.e. the amount that is invested in the development of the project, within one year of the completion of the project.
Project management related deliverables
Business case, charter, team contract, scope statement, WBS, schedule, cost baseline, status report, final project presentation, final project report, lessons-learned report, and other related documents are important for the management of this project.
Executing any project involves taking necessary actions to ensure all the processes are executed and is complied in the project management plan. Project execution also includes the work that is required to include any new hardware or software or any new process to include into normal operations.
Most of the products that the project had promised to deliver had been completed in the project execution phase and usually requires most of the resources to accomplish most of the processes. All the processes are like knowledge area, executing processes, and the output of the project execution phase is listed in the planning process and outcome table.
The main focus of many customers and project sponsors is the outcome that is related to providing the products, services, or the particular result that is desired from that project. Besides the outputs that are listed below other outputs are equally important like change requests, corrective actions.
As the project was relatively smaller project, therefore it was very much possible for Erica to work closely with other team members on the project to make sure that they all are working correctly and in the right direction.
Erica had a very good networking with peoples across the world that can help her whenever there is any problem related to the project, through networking Erica can well take advantages of her networking skills by getting the work done through other peoples in the firm and external peoples without any additional cost. She assured everyone that whoever uses the intranet application will also understand that they were producing as part of the project and assured them that this project will surely help each and every one of them in the future.
Erica knew that providing a strong leadership and using excellent communication skills will surely help in the project execution in a much better way.
that the firm majorly uses to outsource the portions of the projects.
Erica knew that Joe the CEO of the company and other project sponsors would like to see project reports and progress made in the project through milestone reports therefore Erica formed a milestone report based on that. Joe also wanted Erica to alert him to any potential issues and problems whichever arrived in the project, Erica used to meet all the project team members to talk on the issue quite frequently and also use to give Joe review about the ongoing in the project on a regular basis like once in a week or after completing a particular milestone.
Instead of using the project management software, Erica used the word processing software to create milestone report because the project was a relatively low level project, and she can very well manipulate the report format easily in the word processing software.
Table : milestone report as of June 17, 2008
Note: Path shown in red color is critical path.
Many conflicts did arrive in several meetings like conflicts on human resource and other issues. Sometimes it often happened that Michael seemed a little bored and Erica did noticed that thing, Michael often left the room in the middle of the meetings to talk to other clients, seeing that Erica asked Michael about the situation and found that though Michael was supportive for the project but he told Erica that he can only spend a little time for the project.
Erica saw that Michael was much more productive outside the meetings, therefore Erica thought that Michael should attend minimal time for team meetings and should concentrate on other issues like project development and related issues, Erica saw that Michael was contributing to the team by contributing to the team by providing the feedbacks and also through his leadership on the “ask the expert” feature for the intranet site. Therefore Erica adjusted his communication style and allowed Michael to manage the things as he would like to manage.
Another major conflict arose when Cindy was contacting the potential suppliers for asking assistance on “ask the exert feature” and related user request features. Kevin wanted to develop and write all the software for the project itself but instead Cindy insisted on purchasing the softwares and thought it would produce more business sense to buy all the softwares from a reliable source. Cindy had to convince Kevin to buy the software requirements and that it would be more effective if we purchase the required softwares from reliable sources.
Cindy discovered that their estimate of $ 10,000 to buy the software was only half of the amount that were needed for the project, she therefore discussed this problem with Erica explaining the need for custom development of the softwares no matter which supplier they choose for the project. Erica therefore agreed on to buy the softwares from some outside source, and therefore asked the suppliers to approve the additional funding that is required for the software. Joe did agree on to allocate additional amount but he still emphasized on the fact that the project should pay for itself within one year of completion of the project.
Erica also had to ask Joe on the matter that the project team were receiving low responses from the user on the surveys and requests. Therefore Joe sent out an email to all the JWD consulting consultants and other employees requesting them to provi
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