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COMP 1009 Project Management, Middle East College, UAE

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Objective:

You are encouraged to see the role of a project manager within the broader perspective of strategic business management, understanding where projects come from and why they are selected.

Outcomes:

1. Identify and explain the changing social and organizational effects, on both individuals and society as a whole, of information systems and technology projects.

2. Evaluate the tools and techniques that need to be applied for the effective and successful implementation of a computer based project

Tasks: Assume that you are a project manager in ABC Systems Development Company which is located in KOM. ABC Company undertakes projects based on specific client requirements.

Task 1: Submit a work proposal for this assignment by the end of 5th week of Spring 2019, which must include: Understanding of deliverables – a detail description of deliverables; General overview of proposed plan - initial understanding of solution to task2 and task3; Resources identified.

Project management: Payroll system implementation

Task 1:  Understanding the deliverables:

ABC Company is in need of some HR system that can help it with payroll management. Along with other functions HR is one of the most prioritized functions of the firm and therefore they are looking for such software that can make HR decisions faster and help with the task of managing employees. This project is initiated in order to assist, the ABC Company in installing the HR system that can help to manage payroll. A huge number of systems starting from ADP Workforce Now, Xero, Dayforce HCM, Wave, Zenefits to oracle and several others are available for the company (financesonline.com., 2019). However, for this company, Oracle is considered as the most suitable one due to the global recognition it has.

In the following tasks the project of implementing this system in ABC company is initiated. The first section would analyze the key objectives of the project, cost and duration for the project and give a better understanding of the proposed technology. This would cover the scope of the project. The next section of the study would focus on managing risks and assessing them. Along with that it would also revise the previous plan so that the overall cost and itemizing could be minimized. The last part of the project would focus on analyzing the project management software and making a comparison among the software.

After analyzing them, it would also shed light on the most suitable project management tool among the two mentioned in that part. For this project several resources have been used. Starting from information collection to execution, most of the time the secondary resources have been used. Several other type of resources, required for the project is financial help and human resource that is the assistance people for framing out the project plan and implementing the use of Payroll system at ABC company.      

Task 2: Write the scope statement for the selected project. Your scope statement must include: Specific objectives, Cost, Duration, and Proposed technology that will used in the project.

Answer - Specific objectives:

• To assist ABC company install payroll system software

• To identify the most suitable software

• To find out the most convenient method for installing the application

• To use tools of project management effectively

Cost

The project would involve some key financial investments. The following chart documents a approximate value that would be required for the project of Payroll installation in ABC.

Particulars

Cost

Price of the software

239

Installation charges

879

Paying the consultancy involved with installation 

6543

Training employees 

5313

Alternatives for mitigate risks 

7510

Recruiting some new employees

1189

Contingency fund 

5156

Others

8760

Total

35589

Duration

The overall duration that could be considered for the installation procedure of the software and associated activities like training the employees, evaluating whether the tool is working well or not, all of these would take at least a 3 month long procedure. The following Gnatt chart is used to chalk out and predict the timing that would be required for completing all of the parts of the project:

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Stages:

• Evaluating existing payroll system software

• Selecting the most suitable one

• Required meeting and communications before installation

• Finalization

• Installation of the software

• Data transfer from hard copies or other sources to the software

• Training employees for the procedure

• Evaluating the use and profit of using the software

The entire duration and work breakdown structure are given bellow:

Implementation : Installation of the software

Starting Date

Duration

End Date


01/03/2019

90

30/05/2019

Conceptualization and initiation

01/03/2019

5

06/03/2019

Selection of project aims

01/03/2019

2

03/03/2019

Selecting objectives

03/03/2019

2

05/03/2019

Analysing excluded and included scope 

05/03/2019

1

06/03/2019

Developing project charter as well as plan

06/03/2019

25

31/03/2019

  • Evaluating existing payroll system software

06/03/2019

15

21/03/2019

  • Selecting the most suitable one

21/03/2019

5

26/03/2019

Analysing the  pros and cons of selected technologies

26/03/2019

3

29/03/2019

Finalising the platforms to be used 

29/03/2019

2

31/03/2019

Execution and control stage

31/03/2019

15

15/04/2019

Required meeting and communications before  and during Installation 

31/03/2019

7

07/04/2019

Finalization 

07/04/2019

4

11/04/2019

Implementation : Installation of the software

11/04/2019

4

15/04/2019

: Closing stage of the project

15/04/2019

5

20/04/2019

Data transfer from hard copies or other sources to the software 

15/04/2019

1

16/04/2019

Training employees for the procedure

16/04/2019

4

20/04/2019

Evaluation of project success

20/04/2019

40

30/05/2019

Evaluating the use and profit of using the software    

20/04/2019

20

10/05/2019

Analysing data 

10/05/2019

15

25/05/2019

Analysing data  ROI

25/05/2019

5

30/05/2019

Proposed technology that will used

The project proposes the use of Oracle system People Soft software for payroll management. The company claims that, “A single rules-based engine and scalable platform with an ever growing list of country extensions enable you produce multinational payrolls that fully comply with local requirements” (Oracle, 2019).

The proposed technology for the project is the payroll software made by oracle. This application can help the firm in several ways. First of all, this can help in consolidating desperate payroll operation for various nations. This is beneficial for improving accuracy, of payroll management, managing financial data and time. Several nations have several regulations that are different from one another. Certain regulations are there that influences payroll system. This software is able to act according to the requirements of the nation and the varied regulations. This can also calculate, manage the payroll of employees in different currencies. Therefore, in case of global expansion this software would be of high benefit for ABC Company.  

Task 3: The Risk Management Plan – Risk Analysis and Plan

Perform the risk analysis by considering the project schedule needs to be cut by 10% and project budget must be reduced by 20%.

Provide a professionally-looking document that includes:

Using the IT Risk Framework in Figure 8.2, page no. 212, of Information Technology Project Management text book by Jack T. Marchewka as basis, Identify a total of six risks for each of the five phases of the IT project methodology depicted in the outer rink of the framework. Then, use the frame work for analysing each risk by moving from the outer ring to the center. Also for each of the six risks identified, describe a strategy for managing each particular risk.

Answer :  The Risk Management Plan – Risk Analysis and Plan

The following risk management strategy can be considered for dealing with the risks. This is also expected that this risk management can deduction of project time by 10% and project cost by 20%.

Risk management.jpg

Each of the stages of this project should be evaluated effectively so that the risks can be mitigated and the overall time and cost could be reduced. The five stage of this project management are

• Conceptualization and initiation:

• Developing project charter as well as plan

• Execution and control stage

• Closing stage of the project

• Evaluation of project success

The type of risks that could occur during all of these stages and the possible mitigation strategies are summarized in the following section.

Step 1: Conceptualization and initiation: The first stage is of understanding the requirements of the company and reason behind the use of software for payroll management. After conducting required research, effective payroll management software has to be chosen in this stage. In this stage, the key risk that could occur is ineffective research resulting to selection of less beneficial software. Following is the analysis of the category and characteristic of this risk.

• The risk occurs at the conceptualization and initiation stage

• This type of risk should be considered as one of the most critical aspects as this would determine the whole progress of the project. This is an external risk as the application developer is not within the ABC Company or the consultancy that is helping it out with the installation process. however, it is essential for the project manager to be cautious of the selection process as he or she would be liable for failure of the project.

• It is unknown- unknown stage as the ineffective nature of the product, that is the software would only be known after it is used

• The sources of the risk are people and technology, people because it is selected by the consultancy and technology because, the lack of proper features or optimization, the product is flailing to meet company requirement.

• This would affect the quality and scope of the project

Mitigation strategy: The risk could be mitigated with ensuring that proper focus is being denoted on analyzing the performance of the software and selecting accordingly. Reviewing of the feedbacks accumulated from the customers will also help in ensuring that the appropriate software being selected. Subject matter experts and specialist should be consulted for gaining a technical perspective, which will help in mitigating the risk.

Step 2: Developing project charter as well as plan: The main risk that could occur in this stage is ineffective time planning. The category and characteristic of this risk is analyzed bellow.

• The risk occurs at the second that is developing and planning stage.

• This is an internal risk as the time management and schedule planning would be done by the participants of the project only.

• The risk is of unknown known category as the planning is done by the team and the consequences would only be known at half part of the project.

• The sources of this risk are people and the process. The people are responsible for making the project faster and planning time effectively. Along with that the process is also required to be smart enough so that the overall time can be reduced.

• This would mainly affect the schedule and budget of the project. Ineffective time plan may result to reducing the overall time effectiveness for the project. Long time would result to more financial investments.

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Mitigation strategy: The ineffective time planning risk is mainly faced in during the stage of developing and planning which hampers the stage and the completion of the project in the stipulatedtime. In order to ensure that the risk of ineffective time planning is being addressed, there should be a prioritization of the tasks, which are important, and more time should be allocated for completing them. There should be suggestions and advices sought from experts regarding the time management and how to ensure that the tasks are being completed in a methodological manner. Proper communication will also help in maintaining time schedule for the project.

Step 3: Execution and control stage: During the stage of execution and control, the company should take care of the management of the workers and overall procedure. During this stage the usage of the chosen application would have to be evaluated. This stage also involves the installation of the selected software and therefore, this is one of the key responsibilities for the project management during this stage, is to maintain the work quality of the project and ensure highest security. The most impactful risk during this stage is the issue of security. During the installation process, there is high chance of data leakage which can affect numerous employee financial data and private information of the company and therefore considerable attention should be given to ensure better security at this stage. The category and characteristic of this project risk are described in the following section.

• The security risk is taking place in the third stage

• This could be both internal and external risk as both the participants’ negligence or intrusion of hackers or low security features of the system could result to this issue.

• This is an unknown risk as the threat would come anytime without any prior knowledge of it

• The source of the risk is technology

• This is going to affect the financial and quality aspects of the project

Mitigation strategy:

This risk can take place in the control and execution stage. The project is exclusively dependent the application or software being chosen for the project, henceforthevaluating the features of the software is of utmost significance in addressing the co9ncerns regarding security. Verifying the securityfeatures of the software, which is to be used in the project before purchasing it will help in mitigating any issues regarding securitywhich could possibly arise. The important data and information regarding the project should be protected with ensuring that they are being password encrypted.

Step 4: Closing stage of the project:

Risk: conflict among the stakeholders

After the closure or during that period, it becomes essential for workers to know about the growth of the project, the investment required and a lot of other information. Closer would also involve managing the employees and reallocating them for other projects. Therefore, high chances are there, that at this stage participants may indulge into conflicts.

This risk is taking place in the 4th stage that is the stage of closer

• This risk is internal

• This is a known project as closer of projects comes with confusions and complicities

• The source of the risk is people

• This is going to affect financial aspect of the project

Mitigation strategy: The conflict among the stakeholders could be mitigated with ensuring that there is a proper code for communication in the project, with meetings, workshops and group sessions in between stakeholders being conducted for ensuring that there is seamless communication. The communication should be in both ways, with the stakeholders being provided with the information regarding the entire project and the associated procedures. The communication will help in reducing any conflicts among the stakeholders and ensure that the stakeholders are efficiently  incorporated in with the project.

Step 5:Evaluation of project success:

Risk: ineffective evaluation method

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This could be the lack of strategies to measures the return on investment and the growth of the project. Following are the characteristic of the risk.

• This is occurring in the evaluation stage

• This is an unknown risk as the risk can come only after the evaluation methods are implemented

• This is an internal risk

• The source of the risk are process, people and also

• This is going to affect the quality of the project and the scope of the project as well

Mitigation strategy: The risk, which is associated with the ineffective evaluation method, could be addressed with the use of key Performance Indices, balanced score cards and other tools for the evaluation of performance. The ineffective evaluation method could also be addressed with having a properly detailed and planned operational layout, which will be helpful in evaluating the project according to the stages and deducing whether the objectives are being accomplished or not.

Task 4: Identify any two Project Management software (excluding MS-Project) and present a synopsis showing a comparison between the two. Highlight the strengths and weakness of the PM tools under consideration in your own words.

Answer : Overview of Asana and Trello

Asana is a mobile and web application, which allows the project manager for simplifying the team, based management of work processes. The software was created in 2008 by Google engineer Justin Rosenstein and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz(Asana, 2019). The application promotes visibility and transparency allowing the user for focusing on their objective with the smart features and intuitive interface. The software helps in communicating, tracking progress and sharing plan in real time with the members.

Trello was conceptualised as one of the first applications for project management, which took an approached primarily based on a board based, or a card-based approach created by Fog Creek Software in the year 2011. The application integrates the kanban approach, which was a visual way for managing the tasks. The application enables the project manager in viewing the current stage and the state of the tasks and manages the progress. The software allows the project manager for creating tasks, assigning tem, prioritising and tracking the progress (Trello.com, 2019). The intuitive interface makes it easier for collaborating, adding attachments and comments and providing information to the user at a glance.

Features

The workflow in Trello is essentially drag and drop for the tasks from the columns to highlight the stage in which they are. The application is Kanban Board based and could be customised with the user’s own labels and columns and enable notifications on milestones(Johnson, 2017). Both the applications enable the users for commenting on the particular tasks, keeping a track easily and joining in the conversation. Asana allows the user for arranging and grouping the tasks in a similar manner as Trello, with one difference in how the sections are grouped in Asana, which makes the process of tracking easier. Asana allows the user to view everything in their timeline and calendar format, essentially providing the user with a comprehensive overview of the project with highlighting the sequence of the tasks. List of features in Asana include Document Management, Scheduling, Project Management, Issue Tracking andResource Management.

Strengths and weaknesses of Asana

The software is a dedicated projectfocused service with the design of the interface being presented very intelligent making the optimal usage of the space available. The work experience with the software is enhanced with the user-friendly layout, with the option of colour coding the important tasks in hand(Asana, 2019). There is the possibility for adding new tasks in the softwareand seamless integration with the Goggle Drive and Email.

Pros

• Many features
• Free trial(No credit card necessary)
• Colour coded tasks according to importance
• Multiple tags could be added
• Android and iOS versions available
• Allows quick addition of new tasks
• Email integration
• Free to use forteams of 15 people
• Integration with Google Drive
• Time trackingwith integrating withEverHour

Cons

• Tasks assigned to one member
• Absence of personal view
• Too many graphics and sub tasks could be difficult for working with
• Long curve for learning
• Lack of two-factor authentication

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Strengths and Weaknesses of Trello

Trello is incredibly flexible and is super configurable which allows the user for designing a methodology and system for their needs. The visual progression is very intuitive, with the tasks being moved from one vertical list to another in the application, which helps in trackingand visualising the progress being made(Trello.com, 2019).

Pros

• Free trial (No credit card necessary)
• Simple instruction and layout
• Android and iOS versions available
• Integration withGoogle Drive
• No limit on the Trello cards
• No limit on the number of peopleinvited to the board
Cons
• Could be hectic having different cards
• Free plan does not include export

Pricing

Asana is effectively free to use for a team of 15 members, and then progresses onto $9.99/user/month. The pricing of both the applications, Trello and Asana are similar as they offer free trial versions with limited usability for the users and the premium versions of the software could be brought for paying a certain amount. The two applications are similar, as they require the user for a premium paid user account for more work management options. The price details of both the applications have been mentioned below,

Price Details of Asana.jpg

Fig 1: Price Details of Asana

Price Details of Trello.jpg

Fig 2: Price Details of Trello

Selection of one of the tools

The project management application, which will be used, is Asana considering how this application provides for a seamless collaboration with the other files and app for an enhanced user experience. The software is very flexible in nature, with the end user having the freedom for defining the projects and the tasks. Unlike the other software, which could restrict the user, Asana is more flexible and is essentially free for small teams.Trello sometimes is oversaturated with different columns, which make it hard to filter what is relevant and what is not.

Both the applications offer API, but the API of Asana is available for the paidusers only and Asana has a user limit of 15 users compared to Trello’s unlimited users. However, Asana’s premium account will provide access to a specialist for the on boarding, process design, deployment and more, which is availableonly in the highest package of Trello.  Asanaalso offer free integration with different tools, which is limited in the case of Trello. The dependency management, ease of use, third party integration and the other features in Asana is also comparatively better than Trello, which makes Asana the choice as the project management tool(MacPherson, 2014).

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