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Question We would also like to hear your own thoughts about how best to promote effective communication for a program like this. What should we be looking out for, and what other things should we be thinking about? How would you respond?
I personally believe that without effective communication, a project cannot be managed properly. As, you have mentioned that due to lack of effective communication, despite having all the resources the performance was not up to the mark. Hence, I will try to bring a process of effective communication this time around. Firstly, we will have to talk with each and every member who has been assigned to this job. Otherwise, we will be unable to figure out in what direction the process is going. I believe that in every step of a project management plan there will be new issues and the leaders will have to take decisions accordingly. That is why, before deciding the plan of the project, we need to decide an effective communication plan. In the case of making an effective communication plan, firstly we need to make each and every members of the team understand why this project is so important for us. If the members get to know the importance of the project, all of them will work as a team. Then, we will set a few goals, which can be achieved by the members within the allocated time. In other words, we need to break the whole project into different parts and the team will be working on to solve the parts one by one. Once the team members become successful in solving one part after another, their confidence level will increase, which will help us in successfully completing this project. In the meantime, we will be working on finding the key members who are doing a great job. Once you find them, we can assign them bigger targets to work on. However, we need to realise that projects do not always go according to plan; hence we will have to be ready to make adjustments whenever needed.
I feel I have to speak up before we start this meeting. I've talked this over with a couple of the other managers, and we are NOT comfortable with this process. Why are you asking us to identify threats to the project and estimate their impact and likelihood? We're not statisticians and we're not here to fail - we need to get this work done. It seems like you are expecting us to come up with reasons why we shouldn't be undertaking this project at all. Are you trying to get management to kill this project?"
How would you respond to the manager's remarks?
I will try to make the senior manager understand the importance of risk management, in order to finish the project within the deadline. Moreover, as the senior manager has sad that he has said this earlier as well and at that time, no one gave him importance. That is why, I will make him understand, that despite following the PMBOK process the organisation has failed to complete the project within the deadline. If the organisation, besides following the PMBOK process, had given importance to the process of risk management, then they might have been successful in completing the project. The reason behind the failure of the organisation in delivering the job is the organisation's lack of importance to project management. However, this time around, in the context of the project Icarus, the process cannot be the same. The CEO of the organisation had been furious, as the earlier projects have failed. So, we will have to be extra careful this time around. If I can manage to make him understand why evaluating the threats and risks involved in the project is important, then he and the other senior managers will become comfortable with the process. I will make him understand, that if the team members get prepared by evaluating the risks, they can handle those situations with ease when they will arrive. Otherwise, without proper planning, the members will have to plan again from the start. This will take a lot of time, which might affect the organisation in terms of finishing the project within the deadline. In other words, evaluating the risks and the threats before working on the projects will help the team in running the project work smoothly without any disruption. The risk management process can be followed in a few steps; namely, avoidance, reduction of the risk factors, sharing the risks or transferring redistributes and risk retention.
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"Neither the lead project manager nor I have had much experience with procurement. We thought it would be best to talk with you before we discuss this with Joe again. How do you think we should respond?"
What advice would you give Neil?
Procurement Management Plan is a part of the whole project management process. Hence, I will make the concept of procurement management plan clear to Neil as he has no prior experience of working with this process. Moreover, the representative of the finance department has said that the vendors will have to be of a fixed price and hence the team cannot hire vendors above that price. However one of the key factors of the procurement management is to hire vendors from outside. In order to do that within the price that has been fixed by Fortune 500, I would advise Neil to deal with vendors who will understand that working within the fixed price will help them get subsequent projects from the organisation. As Fortune 500 companies undertake various small and large scale projects, the organisation will need several vendors in order to complete the projects. This can be a fruitful opportunity for the vendors and that is why they might get interested in doing the job within the fixed price. Furthermore, I will advise Neil to keep noticing the performance of the contractors as it is one of the key elements of procurement management plan. Moreover, I would also tell Neil to say to the contractors to finish the job, by giving a deadline which is at least 5 days less than the original. This will help him, in rectifying any mistake done by the vendor, in those remaining 5 days. On the other hand, there is always a bit of risk involved in working with the vendors. That is why, I will advice Neil, to not make too many changes in the project as those changes will have to be performed by the vendor as well and this might increase the cost.
What should we consider for our recommendation to the strategic technology committee?"
What answer would you give to Ali and Gabriela?
I would tell Ali and Gabriela that we can of course use the Scrum Project Management process in order to make the software's run smoothly. However, we also need to know how many of us, has experience of working in this process. Though, Scrum Project Management is being opted and is recognized as the most effective process by organisations involved in information technology. Even then, we must know the experience level of our team members. If it turns out that most of us have a relevant amount of experience in working with this process, then we can easily work in this process. However, if it turns out that only few of us, have worked with this process, then we will have to understand the amount of time left to complete the project and if there is enough time to make all the inexperienced members understand the basics of Scrum Project Management Process. However, it will be quite difficult for the managers to manage the whole project, as most of us will be working on this process for the very first time. In order to maintain the process firstly, we will have to be in touch with both the members of the team and the people who need this job, throughout the project, hence effective communication is required. Secondly, the team members will have to provide their working details every day. Furthermore, in order to gain success by working on this process, we need to figure out the resources which will help us to know the progress of the project. I have seen that organisations which undertake small projects often use spreadsheets to do this. However, as we will be dealing with bigger projects, this will not help us. That is why, we should figure out the resources first.
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For anything less than that, I'd expect us to either make drastic changes to the way we run projects or even start replacing personnel. How are we getting away with this?"
What would you say to Lillian?
I will say to Lillian that in order to gain success in the field of information technology, organisations will have to be disciplined in the Project Portfolio Management process. As she has already gathered information's about the success and failure rate of the previous projects, she has understood that the success rate of a project depends a lot on the organisation's approach towards the job. The retirement of the previous manager, has given her a chance to gather information about the working procedure of the organisation OmniCorp. This will help out in finding the areas which need to be improved in order to increase the rate of success. Moreover, she will have to make the members of the project that to follow the Project Portfolio Management process, the members will have identify, the goals and the strategies which need to be opted. On the other hand, being a manager she will have to support her team members as it is one of the key factors of the project portfolio management. Otherwise, the system will fail to gain success. Secondly, I will advice Lillian that she must evaluate the criteria of the project which will help her in undertaking projects according to its criteria. Here criteria mean, whether the project has business goals, the outcomes of the project, the risks involved in the project and few other things. Once she becomes successful in evaluating all these, she will no longer have to hire new professionals and can work with the same team members. Besides all these, I will explain the importance of risk management to her, which will help her in preparing her team to act accordingly when the risks arrive. Furthermore, I will advice Lillian to talk with the organisation to invest a little more on the process in order to make it coherent and visible. Maintaining all these will help Lillian and her team to reduce the rate of failure and increase the rate of success.
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