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Project Management, Coursework Example

Pages: 6

Words: 1559

Coursework

What is the time-cost trade-off methodology, and when is it used?

After determining the schedule and effort associated with a specific project there may come a time when it is necessary to make adjustments to specific variables to impact the quality, schedule or cost of a project.  Time-Cost Tradeoff is an analysis which incorporates the use of overtime or including multiple shifts to increase the total available amount of work time available to complete the activities of the project.  This type of effort would be used to decrease the overall schedule of a project.  It increases the amount of work effort into a shorter overall duration.  If a project is behind schedule or needs to have a specific completion date to avoid penalties or other negative ramifications for late completion the time-cost tradeoff methodology could be used.

Why do you need both normal and crash times and costs for this procedure?

The overall objective of the Time-Cost tradeoff is to determine which activities to crash in order to produce the desired results of the project.  Crashing involves putting more resources or money toward a specific task to ensure it is accomplished earlier.  In some instances it is not possible or cost effective to crash certain activities.  The reason it is important to have both normal and crash times in the procedure is to ensure that the objective of the project manager to attain the maximum reduction in schedule for the minimum cost is achieved.  If the project manager has both normal and crash times/costs a more informed and educated decision can be made on which activities to crash and the impact of those decisions becomes known.

Assume that an activity has a normal time of 20 weeks, a normal cost of $72,000, a crash time of 16 weeks, and a crash cost of $100,000. By how many weeks, at most, can this activity’s duration be reduced? What is the cost per week to accelerate this activity?

The maximum time this activity can be reduced is the difference between the normal time of 20 weeks and the crash time of 16 weeks.  The duration can be reduced by 4 weeks.  The total cost increase is $28,000 which is an additional $7,000 per week cost increase to accelerate this activity.

Why is it not appropriate to crash all of the activities in a project to achieve the shortest project schedule?

There are multiple reasons to limit the amount of activities that are crashed in a project.  First, the cost to crash every activity should be a limiting factor when crashing activities.  Crashing activities is the effort of putting more resources toward a certain activity to draw down the amount of time it takes to complete the task.  This is accomplished by increasing the amount of work effort or by fast tracking the tasks.  The first portion is adding resources.  When adding resources, mathematically, every person added it should reduce the amount of effort by a specific variable of time.  If it takes person one ten hours to complete a task then it should take two people five hours to complete the same task.  This does not take into account familiarity of the project, caliber of the resources or ramp up of the resources.  Fast tracking is also a great tool to reign in a project timeline.  This is overlapping efforts to perform them simultaneously instead of iteratively.  This reduces lag time and can help split longer tasks into more manageable efforts.  The project should not be crashed to a point where the cost to crash the activity exceeds the benefits of crashing.  There is also a certain point when the activity has reached its maximum crash potential.  It is not appropriate to crash all activities because it increases the overall cost of the project with potentially limited benefits.  In order to gain maximum benefits the analysis should be conducted and guidelines should be followed.  These include but are not limited to crashing critical activities, crashing from least to most expensive efforts and do not over crash an activity until it does not provide adequate results.

Discuss what needs to be done as a part of closing a project. Why are these activities important?

Closing a project comes with the sense of achievement and success.  In order to actually close the project there are certain things that need to happen.  These activities include conducting a lessons learned session, reconcile the budget, formally transition the goods or service the project completed, release or re-assign the resources on the project team, review and close open contracts, complete the project completion report and celebrate the success of the project.  These activities provide a necessary step in the project management lifecycle because each tie up loose ends and ensure that the resources are reallocated properly.  It also signifies the transition and all activities entailing support for that good or service.  The lessons learned activity helps build upon the project management knowledge foundation for future projects and the closure of the contracts and reconciliation of the budget ensure no extraneous costs or commitments are incurred after the project closure.  Without the project closure activities, the project is not complete.

Discuss the internal post-project evaluation process and the two types of meeting involved.

The post-project evaluation process includes a laundry list of activities that could be evaluated and documented.  The overall objective is to gain an understanding of the project management performance ranging from meeting effectiveness to technical performance of the good provided.  It is also to incorporate evaluation of scope management, schedule management, quality management and cost management played into the overall success of the project and gain an insight from the team members as to their views on the execution of those activities.  The project management performance would be evaluated in two separate meeting types.  The first is the individual meetings with team members so that they can provide the feedback as an individual with their thoughts and interpretations of the activities.  The next is a group meeting with the project team to see as a whole to gain the larger group consensus.

What are some ways you can obtain feedback from a customer after a project has been complete? How would you use this information?

There are multiple ways to gain feedback from a customer after the closure of the project.  One way is to conduct a project closure feedback survey.  The survey could be pointed to different groups.  The primary group would be that of the stakeholders.  The feedback the project manager would want back from the stakeholders revolves around meeting expectations for the product delivered and if the process to provide that product meet the stakeholder’s expectations.  Areas such as results, communication, execution and delivery could be addressed.  This information is just as useful as the lessons learned information because now the project manager has a better understanding of the stakeholders and how they interpret the project and its deliverables.  This gives the project manager the opportunity to modify existing processes to better meet the needs of the stakeholders.

Why are some projects terminated before they are completed? When would it be wise to do so?

There can be numerous reasons why a project is closed prior to completion.  Some projects are terminated because they have met a certain goal prior to full realization of the scope of the initial project.  If the rest of the effort is not needed the project is terminated.  There are also grounds in which the technical solution impedes the success of the project and based on technical grounds the project can be closed.  The solution the project was driving towards could be achieved by another project team which would limit the need for the project.  There could be a reallocation of resources to a higher priority project or there are insurmountable issues in the critical path and the project must be cancelled to properly allocate resources to a feasible project.  Resources and funding are very limited and the prioritization of projects help determine which projects will be implemented and which will not.  It is wise to allocate the resources to the highest priority which provides the best benefit to the stakeholders even if that means terminating a current project.

List the several lessons learned for a project member or project manager. How will these lessons learned inform your future projects?

Some lessons learned include managing meetings appropriately.  This means coming into a meeting with a specific agenda and expectations of the participants.  Also be sure that have another individual on the team to help keep track of key points brought up in the meeting.  The consolidation and confirmation of the meeting notes helps keep everyone on the same page and builds an inclusive nature to the project.  There is also the aspect of managing the trouble shooting or brainstorming sessions that sporadically occur during the meetings.  If the agenda dictates something else other than brainstorming tactfully move the team away from driving the issue into oblivion and provide a forum to brainstorm solutions at a later time.  A lesson regarding transparency is critical.  Transparency is needed throughout the project, both laterally and horizontally.  The project team must understand the goals, objectives and direction the team is heading.  All of these aspects can be utilized in future project to ensure specific components such as meetings, schedules and transparency is addressed during the project.  Staying in tune with the appropriate processes will facilitate project success.

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