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1.0 The five major variables of the project management related to the scenario
One of the most important variables that must be considered during a project management phase is the scope of management. The scope comprises not only the work included but also the work excluded from the project. In the project management, scope refers to all kinds of work needed to conduct the project effectively and profitably. The management ensures that the operations of the projects are restricted within the initial plans of the project.
Secondly, the amount of time needed to complete a project is very important and should be put into consideration. The project has got major components that need to be further broken down into simple tasks and activities. Therefore, it is the duty of the project management to do breakdown projects into constituent tasks in order to determine the amount of time needed to complete each and every subset task before the final project schedule is formulated.
Another important variable in project management is cost. Cost is a product of time taken to complete the project and the cost of man power needed to conduct the project successfully. It also includes an estimated value of hardware and the work space available. The project management must first budget in bid to control all the expenditures of the project. Quality of the project is also significant as it designates the extent to which the desired end results meets the objectives of the management based on the organizational performance and decision making processes. Quality is a direct function of timeliness, accuracy and the simplicity of the information produced by the new system.
Finally, risks are problems that may arise and further hinder a project from meeting its objectives during the implementation phase. Risks increase the project costs and prolong its duration; lower the project quality and make the project completion impossibility. Consequently, risks make the objectives of the project management unattainable hence unsuccessfulness of the project.
2.0 Considerations to be applied when selecting the best project.
Variety of projects that offer solutions to a wide range of problems such as improving organizational performance are often presented to the firms. Since these projects require much of the company resource to implement, a correct selection is a pre-requisite. Therefore, firms need to be keen on the suitable projects that can adequately meet their organizational needs. There are a number of factors that are considered by the firms in the process of selecting the best project.
First, the company must consider the cost and benefits of the project. The benefits are divided into two categories namely tangible benefits (quantifiable and measurable in monetary terms) and intangible benefits (unquantifiable). The intangible benefits may include an improved decision making and customer service delivery. In the process of selecting a project, the company needs to calculate all potential benefits against corresponding costs in all scenarios. If it the costs exceed the benefits, then the project is unrealistic. However, if the benefits surpass the costs, the firm is prompted to carry out further financial analysis to establish whether the return on the invested capital is satisfactory.
Before a project selection, the firm must carefully consider the information systems plan. The plan entails a statement of business goals that stipulates how specific goals could be achieved through information technology. After reading the report, the firm managers could then know how specific systems of the projects will contribute to the general objectives of the firm. In addition, the plan contains finer descriptions of organizational, management, and authority structures alongside necessary criteria that will enable the management choose the most beneficial project.
Finally, portfolio analysis is required to help evaluate different system projects. The analysis records all the firm’s information systems projects and assets. Each and every information system project is associated with specific sets of risks and benefits. To advance the returns on portfolios, the firms need to balance between the risks and the returns on their systems investment.
3.0 Factors that influence project risk
System development projects are likely to have higher risks causing it to experience a problem of delay. The level of the project risks is largely influenced by the project size. Larger projects tend to experience greater levels of risks while smaller ones are predisposed to lesser risks. The project is considered large if huge amounts of dollars are spent, project team size is big or many sections of the business are affected by the fresh system. Large scale system projects are complicated and hard to control therefore they exhibit higher rates of failure.
The level of risk is also affected by the structure of a project. Some projects which involve sophisticated technologies are complex in nature. As such, these projects tend to be more cumbersome to control or manage. Finally, the level of the information system staff’s and team’s technical expertise has got a great influence on the level of the project risk. The availability of the highly skilled staff and experts significantly reduces the risks.
4.0 The strategies to minimize the project risks
In order to reduce the peril and further increase the chances of developing a more successful solution, a number of strategies have to be followed depending on the structure, size and levels of qualification of the project staff. For instance, if the project entails complex technology, experienced technical and administrative project leaders should be recruited. However, if the available project staffs are not sufficiently competent then project management is under an obligation to subcontract.
Large projects are more advantageous to the company when formal planning and tools for documenting and monitoring the project plans are properly used. Methods of documentation (Gantt and PERT charts) need to be applied appropriately. Gantts presents all the activities of the project together with their corresponding starting and ending times but not task dependencies. As a result, the US navy developed a Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) to replace the Gantt charts. A PERT chart is relatively more reliable compared to Gantt chart as it depicts all the project activities and their interrelationships. The chart provides a list of all specific activities of a project and the tasks to be completed before others can begin. Hence, the managers should have an adequate knowledge about the two charts of documenting the project plans. The knowledge helps in appropriate application which in turns reduces the risk that may be involved.
The process of developing a new information system not only involves the installation of new hardware but it also involves adjusting to the organizational changes caused by the new scheme. The new solution may include new information, fresh decision making authority or new business process. The new systems are liable to fail in their intended functions unless the management introduces it to the organization with much caution. Similarly, the process of change in planning effective and successful implementation of the system may be critical. In the first place, company has to make various employees and shareholders aware of the newly introduced solution. If possible, the management should also train the employees and provide the resources that deal with the new program.