Project management is one of the most integral constituents of the contemporary international economics and the related scientific and business areas. In other words, almost any initiative of the modern rushing forces is framed into a project. To illustrate, when Microsoft launches the newest version of Windows or related products, it starts the new project. Adopting a new bylaw in the United States of America Congress is nothing but a project. Projects are everywhere nowadays, and their importance must not be undervalued by both the scientific and the business communities under any doubt. When the specific element of the project structure has been deliberately or inadvertently omitted by the project managers and project executioners, the repercussions for the project and for the entire enterprise, as well, may occur to be lethal( Ward, Chapman, 2004).
Naturally, it is a well-established fact that nowadays, it is almost practically and theoretically impossible to anticipate everything in beforehand. One of the most disturbing malevolent factors that can easily distress the performance of any project is force majeure (Baccarini, Archer,2001). To be more exact, a great variety of factors both scientifically technological and of natural origin are not accentuated by project manager when the project is being projected and the stages of the project scheme are being outlined.
The aim of this essay is to outline what factors of the project environment may be encountered by the project manager, how these situations are to be treated appropriately and what managerial decisions must be taken by managers. Another section of this essay is aimed to specify what traits, skills and qualifications shall possess an effective and highly productive manager capable of completing the most difficult projects, irrespective of the negative impact inflicted by the number of the unforeseen situations. Each section is substantiated with the typically encountered project failures and the ensued circumstances.
Overall, the aim of this paper is to prove that the most common factors which disrupt the implementation of any project is completely confined to the environment of the project and that the overlook of the specific elements of the project environment ultimately leads to the failure of the project (Hillson, 2002).
Project Management Stages and Points of Accentuation
Each project is developed in a strict accordance with the universally recognized algorithm. Deviation from this algorithm always leads to the conversion of a detailed project into the set of chaotic and unsystematic actions, and the ultimate outcome of the operation is very far from that was initially projected by manager (Collyer, Warren, 2009). In this section of the essay, the four major stages of the project management will be analysed and the most common failures inherent to the internal and external environment will be considered.
a) Project Concept
At this stage, the idea of the project emerges on the horizon, and the frames of the future project are formulated by the project managers, and the idea of the project is insulated from the list of the similar ideas. In other words, the boundaries of the future project are set. The most frequently encountered mistake in this very case is the wrongful determination of the project limits, both internal and external. In other words, the future project is defined either too narrowly or too broadly.
b) Project Planning
At this stage, those, who compose the project, exercise the detailed and meticulous planning on the basis of the limits, set in the first stage of project management. The main elements of the effective process involve the determination of the deadlines of the project objectives, project agents, third parties and the sequence of the project stages. In this section, the internal and the external factors which are often left unconsidered by managers are reviewed.
Factors of the Management Structure which Need to be taken into Consideration When Projecting and Implementing a Project
1) Cultural peculiarities of the specific geographical area, where the project is expected to be implemented. To illustrate it, it is highly undesirable to promote specific commodities in the countries of the Islamic religious family, because the Quran, the sacred book of all Muslims, strictly prohibits this policy. It is particularly necessary to accentuate all cultural peculiarities of the project at the stage of the project planning, because when the project implementation stage is under way, it is highly improbable for the necessary changes to be introduced.
Moreover, it is necessary to accentuate the fact that namely the cultural peculiarities and particularities of the project are most frequently among those, which are routinely disregarded by the managerial department of all enterprises. To illustrate it, the chocolate produced by one of the Swiss companies was widely commercialized in India, and a cow was used as a commercial model for the advertising campaign. The tremendous cultural blunder was perpetuated: the cow is a sacred animal for the Indians, and the decision to utilize it in commercial means was really ill-conceived, and the policy backfired to its creators.
2) Political Peculiarities.
A famous United States’ proverb says that nothing is certain in this world except for death and taxes. Following this assumption, political courses of the particular state are often indefinite in their natures. The Democrats replace the Republicans in the White House, the political inclinations of the global communities, as well as the political preferences of the singular nations are always volatile, whatever the political analysts say and however stable the political situation of the specific country may seem to be.
To illustrate it, while Honda facilities were erected across the Japanese Empire at the outset of the 20th century, no one could have easily anticipated that the nationalization of the factories may take place. The newly erected facilities were sequestered and the proprietorship was momentarily attributed to the state of Japan and to the Japanese Emperor’s family. Naturally, no one of the managerial team expected that such results may hypothetically or theoretically happen, and the entire project has been frustrated completely.
More specifically, the implementation of the unforeseen political decision always has a significant impact on the taxation environment of the company project (Ahsan, 2010). Nowadays, even the socially oriented projects are always subjected to the extensive taxation policy imposed by the government authorities. As far as the United States of America is concerned, the Republicans are known for being more tax friendly than their democratic colleagues and opponents.
Therefore, while projecting an effective business or social project, one will always meticulously and thoroughly accentuate the current and the anticipated political trends of the specific government formation. The flexibility and amortization fund must always be well-considered by the project managers team, because the changes in the taxation policy of the government may play a lethal role of a specific project.
3) Economic Peculiarities.
Under the scope of this category, the one shall closely stick to the economic peculiarities of the geographical area in where a specific business project is designed to be launched (Aaltonen, 2011). Although this area is often among the most well-considered and well-planned by the managerial department, the flaws of the economic and finance spheres are often among the most frequently encountered. To illustrate it, miscalculations or wrongful calculations are the most dramatic mistakes which are perpetrated by the bookkeepers and by the financial counsels of the project.
For example, when Coca-Cola was planning the opening of its facilities, the costs for the local advertising campaign have been simply forgotten by managers and, as a result, the costs for the entire campaign have been calculated wrongfully.
4) Technological Particularities of the Project
Under this section of the project management, and effective and highly responsible projecting manager has to accentuate the technology issues pertinent to the completing a plan and to the implementation of the specific business project. To be more exact, whereas a specific project is being launched, the scope of the financial investments required to elaborate a certain technological aspect of the project. The most frequently encountered problem with this section is that the scope of the required investment funds is calculated wrongfully. To illustrate, the Toyota managers failed to calculate correctly the amount of the funds necessary to project, elaborate and to launch a brand new exhaust pipe for the Toyota cars in Japan, 1998. The lack of the investment caused the delay in the output and the ultimate failure of the delivery dates.
5) The Particularities of the Legal Environment
The legal environment of the specific project composition and implementation is always among the most widely accentuated and mostly considered constituent of the project environment. Whereas the rest of the factors may affect the technological aspect of the project implementation or can delay the market emergence of the project, the inconformity with the provisions of the law ultimately results in the immediate and total termination of the business or any other project at all (Hillson, 2002).
The applicable law of almost any civilized state directly specify that the mandatory legal principles shall be scrupulously observed by the actors of the business project. To illustrate , in 1995 a Spanish importer was exercising a shipment of to Germany. The project coordinators failed to find out that the cadmium level of the paprika exceeded the level of the cadmium permitted under the Health Law of the Federative Republic of Germany. The shipment was disrupted, and the German contractor commenced arbitration. The Panel of Arbitrators ruled in the favor of the plaintiff. Therefore, the legal particularities of the specific business or other project, irrespective of its commercial or non-commercial nature shall always be considered and accentuated (Merna, von Storch, 2000).
6) Social Factor.
Social Factor is closely linked to the Human Resources constituent of the business project. The following traits must be inherent to any manager who claims to exercise an effective project management (Caliba, Muya, Mumba, 2009). Most importantly, these traits are especially cultivated and developed in the cases when the unforeseen situations of the aforementioned character arise (i.e. the cultural, political and economic miscalculations and ill-considerations).
a) Cooperation and Communicational Skills - these abilities of the professional manager are particularly important when the situation dictates that the project manager must react quickly to the volatile character of the market and to incorporate the newly elaborated changes.
The importance of these skills becomes evident when project manager has to negotiate the previously unsaid changes (Connor 1989) with the authorized state authorities and with the strategic and tactical partners of the enterprise.
b) Sagacity and the Ability to Anticipate the Relevance of the Projected Project Modifications.
To be more exact, an effective manager is capable of detecting, identifying and analysing the project sections and areas which are to be closely analysed and reviewed by the team (Lewis 2002). He or she must be capable of defining that the situation has not happened, but that the situation is very likely to happen, and what actions are to be implemented in order to diminish the negative repercussions of the project poor performance.
c) Stamina and Ability to Withstand Stressful situations
This mandatory trait of effective and highly productive crisis management dictates that the project manager or other authorized person is fully required to work the indefinite number of extra hours to ensure that the project will be corrected or that the negative consequences will be mitigated by the management team.
To illustrate, the Wise and Case International Law Firm in Tokyo premised have been highly damaged by the earthquake and by the accompanying natural calamities. As a result, the lawyers were naturally impeded to access the necessary documentation to protect their clients in the courts of law of Japan. As a result, the lawyers in a close cooperation with the managerial departments had to work up to 50 hours non-stop to ensure that the necessary documentation has been restored and that the firm is capable of carrying out the taken obligations. In this case, namely, the stamina of the workers was the factor, which played a vital role in the rescuing of the business project.
d) Sense of Reality
The project must be aware on how to identify whether he needs to concentrate on the further development of the project or he is obliged to take all possible measures to mitigate the negative outcome ensued from the failure to perform the project in the proper way (Baccarni, Archer, 2001). To be more specific, the project manager is mandated to have a close look and to exercise a meticulous research and analysis in order to find out whether the project must be frozen, processed or mitigated.
Apart from possessing a strong gut instinct, project manager is to be highly professional and skilled to guarantee that the situation has been all-roundly analysed and that his managerial decisions are neither ill-conceived nor they are pre-mature (Ahsan, 2010) . In other words the project is allowed to be frozen and mitigated only in the event where the rest of the remedies have already been implemented by project managers.
e) Excellent and Outstanding Skills and Professionalism of Project Managers and Performers.
This requirement prescribes that the project manager who is trying to rescue a project of any failure, blunder or miscalculation perpetrated by the rest of the team must be outstandingly skilled, professional and qualified in order to guarantee that he or she are capable of producing and projecting the wide set of non-standard an non-trivial managerial decisions. In the crisis situations, it is natural to assume that only non-standard approaches and techniques may contribute to the save the situation.
Having encapsulated the information outlined below, it must be highlighted that the miscalculations and project failures are always of environmental character.
Naturally, apart from outlying the purely theoretical framework, one must always be aware that managers of the company, especially those managers who have been assigned to eradicate the negative repercussions of the specific miscalculations of the specific business project must be extra professional and must possess a vast number of other professional traits to ensure that the project can be either saved or it can be maximally mitigated.
Overall, having analysed the literature and the empirical points of the research, it has become evident that indeed the overwhelming majority of the project failures of both business and non-business natures are engendered by the blunders in the project environment. These miscalculations are of political, economic, social , technological or legal character and the importance of the each one is very high. The failure in the one section may easily disrupt the entire project, and therefore the statement that the project environment is vital to the fulfilment of the project is completely true.