The creation of the project plan has never been easy. This process is developed from the aims of creating new fields of revenue in line with the company’s search for profitability. A project plan details and shows a way which helps managers to follow clearly laid down communicative channels and various management tools. Baselines for estimate performance and basic management plans are key components of this process (Larson, 2010). This plan has several steps which include:
Step 1. Explanation of the project plan: This explanation is done to the stakeholders in order to make them conversant with the key components. At this step, the manager sets the direction of the project. However, it should be noted that the project plan does not mean the planning of project. The stakeholders in the project comprise of those people who are affected by the project and its results.
Step 2. Definition of roles and responsibilities: It is crucial to determine the key stakeholders in order to review the planned documents; this is done at this stage. The major key is that stakeholders are project sponsors, designated as business experts, project managers, and project team. The others are ultimate users of the project products, auditors, procurement specialists, quality analysts, and risk analysts.
Step 3. Commence of meeting: This is hold to gather the main stakeholders in order to discuss the project. It acts to build up trustfullness and exchange of ideas from other people. Several topics are discussed in this step of plan development. They include roles and responsibilities, business vision and strategy on sponsor’s point of view, team commitments, basic rules and size of the group.
Step 4. Scope statement development: This step aims at getting a common agreement among the stakeholders in terms of the project. This step's intention is to get a buy-in agreement between sponsors and stakeholders so that to avoid development of miscommunication further. This scope involves needs of business, project objectives, approach and key events, justification and benefits to accrue from the finalization of the project. Most people regard this as a contract between the project manager and the sponsor.
Step 5. Baseline scope development: A breakdown of the work is laid down at this step. It identifies deliverabilities of the project and consequently breaks them down into a hierarchy.
Step 6. Schedule and cost base development. This step sees into the timeline of the project and the cost implications. It involves resources mapping, tasks identification and costing, possible constraints to the project goals attainment and interdependence of tasks from the developed cost baselines.
Step 7. Development of the basic management of the plan: Since the basic cost, scope and schedule are in place, there is a need of guideline to help the project team in managing the variance within the plan and the actual project implementation process.
Step 8. Staffing plan development: This step details in terms of time, when a certain resource will join or exit the project and put this information on a chart. It specifies time and resource only.
Step 9. Project quality and risks analysis: This step seeks for making assured that the end products will suit the customers preferences and the sponsor’s intentions.
Step 10. Communication: It shows the issues to be discussed, rights to access to the information, and to whom reports should be sent.
The sixth step, which involves cost and schedule, is very hard to develop because it provides budgetary considerations, seasons, availability of resources, and flexibility due to unknown forces.
Key Aspects of Post-Project Evaluation Process
The initial post-project evaluation comes between six to twelve months after the completion of a project. This post-project evaluation is like postfactum of the project. It sees into details regarding to the methods which worked in the project and why they worked. In reviewing how tasks were accomplished it is supposed to specify whether the right methods were used. If the team feels the project was a success, and would be recommended for replication elsewhere, then a clear delineation of the way the result was arrived is documented and kept. It refers back to the original plan, and the results to determine how closed the outcomes are to the plan.
The process of post-evaluation starts by making the main stakeholders informed about the project is complete and post-evaluation is about to start. The post-evaluation considers several aspects of the project to determine if their achievement was achieved satisfactorily.
This process of evaluation has several steps.
01) Evaluation plan creation: This lays the foundation of the scope, the indicators to look for and the cost implication of the post-evaluation process.
02) Construction-stage evaluation requirements: This counsels whether the capital assets were used properly in terms of cost, time and service or not. The evaluation team looks for the project is finished in time and within the agreed budget. In addition, if there were some delays, the reasons for them are explained.
03) Operations stage evaluations requirements: This reviews the process performance in terms of attainment of objectives laid down in the plan of the project.
04) Long-term outcomes evaluation: This stage focuses on the future and the laid down foundation for futher post-project analysis. The aspects of costing, maintenance of cost are looked after as well.
The questions focused in post-project evaluation include
- Was the initial plan quite easy or complicated to deliver the expected results?
- Was some expertise missing in the team?
- Were the required resources used?
- Did the communication system work well?
- Were there incidents of miscommunication that slowed the pace of the project?
- Were few people involved or a lot?
- Was there a risk that went undetected and thus, caused huge economic losses?
- Was there impediment of the project goals by political factors or other forces?
- What were the external forces that could not have been avoided?
There are several prerequisites to a successful post-project evaluation. They are:
- Planning and costing of the project evaluation as a part of the project:
- Securing of commitment from the senior managers of the project:
- Involvement of main stakeholders in planning and execution of the evaluation:
- Development of indicators and criteria for evaluation:
- Fostering of leaning in the process.
Customer feedback is very crucial in the post-project evaluation. The customer surveys are usually done on the base of previous post-evaluation to provide with details on the customers perceptions on the new look products or process and their efficiency. If the customers are satisfied, then business is guaranteed, but if they do not show any positive attitude, the project team has to determine what were made wrong to give such an impression, and the corrective measures available to the better attitudes. Since customers were among the main stakeholders in the planning process, their dissatisfaction drives the project went outside the laid-down objectives. They are seen to give an unbiased view of the project proximity to the objectives.
This case study presents a necessitated problem of the project whereby the owner of Digitsig inc., sees the need for expanding his factory, so that to cater for needs of increasing base of customers. The topic objective of the project is an increasing the holding space for ready-made goods, raw materials, as well as creating more space for working.
The scope of the project is expansive. It involves designing and the actual expansion of the factory. This is because it encompasses facilitation of the current production potential with extremely encouragement of the future capabilities of the factory. Many customers are being undeserved because the factory is limited in its ability to produce. Therefore, the scope of the project includes both expansions in capacity and recommendation for resource utilization.
The needs of the project were to increase efficacy as well as to cope with the increasingly growth of thedemand by customers. In addition, there was a great need to reduce the trucking costs between the leased property, which was several miles from the factory, and the factory itself thus, creating an overshoot of overrun expenses, which could be alleviated by the factory expansion. Moreover, there was a need to maintain the current customer base, and without the expansion, they could have moved to the competitors who had more capacity to serve them better.
The constrains in this project were not of a technical nature. They involved unethical procedures and lack of knowledge of the current options regarding the project. The unethical constraints in this case studies, and project in general are presented by Andy Gibson. He deceived Mr. Clemson, so as to take more money from his pocket. He told him the project would take 15 months, but he would struggle to finish in 12 months, and that attracted a 10% bonus. The other constraint is presented by the information of Mr. Clemson. He is not wise enough to take time to sample different contractors before settling on the group to carry out the expansion.
Assumptions and Risks
The Assumptions and Risks in this Project were:
- The project would increase the firm’s capacity to serve customers:
- The project would be finished within 15 months:
- The booming business would enable Mr. Clemson to make more profit to cover the expansion costs:
- The Ag contractors were able to deliver the project needs:
- The right information was offered to Clemson before the deal was closed:
- The expansion project was based on the right evaluation of the needs, and was the best project to be undertaken.
When Mr. Clemson of Digitsig met Mr. Andy Gibson of Ag contractors at a networking outdoor activity, they engaged in a cordial, professional talk to lead the development of interest of the both parties. The way the agreement was presented shows a naive part of Mr. Clemson and a cunning, unethical opposite information of Mr. Gibson. The way he pressures Mr. Clemson to offer him the contract to expand the project is making eyebrows raise. When the engagement to work together began, Mr. Gibson created a scenario where he was under the promised abilities to deliver the project. He made it looked so abstract and complicated that it was supposed to take 15 months minimum only , although he already knew it would take less. At the end of the day he wanted to look like be over-delivered, was based on the promises he made. As a result, he was to be awarded a 10% discount. This is an unethical issue. The dilemma in it was that, if Gibson told Mr. Clemson the truth about the requirements, cost and time span of the project, he could not have earned more, therefore; he had to cheat so that to get the extra money. This presentes confirmation of an ethical dilemma. Another dimension could be that Mr. Clemsonmet a man in a seminar who praised himself allover, instead of taking time as an entrepreneur to verify the claims or even to see the last client of Ag contractors dealt with, he was awarded the contract. He contemplated this process, but that could have meant Mr. Gibson would start the other four projects thus, being left without a contractor. He wanted to work and could not afford to wait. He went against the ethics of contracting to award the contract to the Ag contractors.
The process of hiring a contractor to do a project implementation needs careful researching and decision-making. This is expected of any prudent manager. On the contrary, Mr. Clemson seems not to follow any process whatever. He seems to be attended a networking seminar where he met Mr. Andy Gibson the co-owner and partner of the Ag contractors. In the process of their cordial chat, Mr. Clemson mentioned the intention of the factory expanding . Mr. Gibson being an opportunistic man, has jumped into an offer to help. The make sure he fixes Clemson, he shows how committed he is with some other four upcoming projects, comparing with the other contractor that Mr. Clemson might target. This is what gave Clemson a push to choose the Ag contractor to work with. This was done without even knowing implications of the expansion in terms of cost and expected time of completion he had considered with the other contractors. “Jacob became worried that he might not get another contractor and did not want to waste more time” (Case study 1).
If Mr. Clemson was to draft a policy to address the process of hiring outside consultants, he should capture the minimum verifiable criteria to decide on the consultants’ credibility. The Consultant hiring process should involve a competitive form of selection where the best deal would be adopted. In addition, the consultant to be selected should have undoubtable experience in the appropriate field. Other attributes of such consultants would be: flexibility, results focused on creativity, determination, drive and resilience, customer focus, planning and organizing ability, apt communication skills, ability to work alone or in teams, and relationship making skills. With such traits in a consultant who understand their jobs, the ethical concerns such incidences like those of Andy Gibson will not occur again.
During the project, planning or superior to implementation a communication plan is drafted. Its main target is to show the structure of following in the communication within the project and outside. This plan contains:
- The aims and target groups
- Strategy and content to be communicated
With the above laid-down, Mr. Clemson could have known how to voice his concerns. Since this did not seem to have been made provision for, Mr. Clemson was tied down to, either fail to avail the funds to the Ag contractors until they listened to what he had to say, or wait until the project to be finished. The rudeness demonstrated by the Ag contractors by not listening to his opinion, not returning his call or even answering them, goes beyond the mutual understanding of projects. The project manager should have reported to him properly, but this was not forth coming. If Mr. Clemson wanted to heard, he should have made sure he held weekly meetings with the contractors so that to get updates get an opportunity to air his concerns. Instead, he seemed to be busy, and that made the contractors lock him out of the project, and the subsequent development of the cold treatment. In fact, his inability to create right channels of communication led to him being excluded.
The post-project evaluation is a serious undertaking that needs the inputs of all main stakeholders in the project. In this case, it only seemed that Mr. Gibson and his new colleague Gerry walk into Clemson’s office and announced that the project is complete within the time and budget. I assume, this seems to be the only aspect of evaluation that has been done. The conflict with the sub-contractors is also part of the post-evaluation that they did, but this is completely unethical. The post-project evaluation is done to see if the needs of the sponsor have been met in this case Mr. Clemson. In addition, it determines if the customers’ preferences will be accomplished by the results of the undertaking. This seemed to have no environmental audit to determine environmental alteration and affects on the surrounding environment. This post-project evaluation is one of the poorest I have ever seen. A consideration should have been made on a view of Mr. Clemson regarding the completed project, and let him see his support or reservation of the outcomes, which did not happen. There seemed to be no evaluation criterion in place, which could be provided for a customer survey, which is very crucial in post- project evaluation.
A new policy by the Ag contractors prior to post-project evaluation should at least contain the evaluation questions to guide in the evaluation process, the required information to rate the project performance, time frame considerations, roles utilization during the project and a customer survey guideline to get the overall feeling of the project. It should also make this policy to design an evaluation plan. This plan will deter cases witnessed. The contractors would not be walking into the sponsor’s offices and announcing the outcomes of the projects while standing. An unethical presentation could have been the least expected of the two contactors who showed up in Clemson’s office. There should be laid down rule that the opinion of the project owner be factored in the evaluation to see what their views are. At least the policy should contain, purpose of the post evaluation, applicability, evaluation requirement, and types of evaluations to be conducted, evaluation standards, evaluation responsibility, evaluation use, evaluation resources, documenting and sharing evaluations reports (Egeland, 2011).
The customer survey would seek to answer the following questions.
- Did the final deliverables meet the acceptance criteria?
- Did the final deliverables meet the expectations?
- Did the delivery date meet the needs?
- Did the cost meet the stipulated needs?
- Was there an Overall satisfaction with the project?
- Was the project plan complete and effective?
- Was there a clear definition of the project scope?
- Was the change-management process effective?
- Did the level of involvement in the project fit the needs?
- Was there a constant communication of the progress of the project?
- Was there an overall satisfaction with the project management process?
If Mr. Clemson were taking the survey, the result would be astonishing. He would bluntly say the final deliverables were not met, and the project did not meet his acceptance criteria. The cost of the project exceeded by 50% the stipulated amount and the communication during the implementation was very poor. The overall feeling would be that the project did not meet its expectations, and its scope was not well defined.
The key areas to focus on before the commencement of the project would be to evaluate the needs of the project and the alternatives that could be more beneficial to the customer. In this case, the needs were; to increase efficacy as well as to cope up with the increasingly growing demand by the customers. Moreover, there was a great need to reduce the trucking costs between the leased property, which was several miles from the factory and the factory itself thus, creating an overshoot of overrun expenses (Commonwealth, 1995). The other need of the project was to maintain the current customer base so as to avoid spillage to the competitors.
In trying to make Clemson access his needs, I would sequentially offer him a hint about estimating what he customer requirements were and the suppliers’ ability to supply raw materials. Thorough this, I will be able to suggest to him the concept to just –in-time production where much of the overhead costs in inventories would be eliminated. This would mean that there would be no much-required space for storage of raw materials and finished goods. This is because, suppliers would supply the raw materials needed, and the production systems would be harmonized between all departments to produce only the ordered products. By adopting this system of lean production, he would be able to successfully serve customers and be able to operate in profit because the trucking costs would greatly reduce.
In making Clemson be an active member, he needs recognition and constant involvement in all the processes of the implementation. In addition, I would also maintain a constant communication and weekly meetings that would be coupled with reporting on the progress. I would make it clear without his commitment, the project implementation would be a total failure and both his desire to operationalize the outcomes and the urge to sustain his business would go through the drain. This could create a positive image of his participation and he would own the implementation plan, thus enabling smooth operation and communication. Moreover, in such projects, decision-making involves opinions of both the project manager and the owners. If Clemson’s opinion were sought, he would feel like his presence in the project is much valued and worthwhile. This would act as an incentive to make him cooperate and participate fully in all undertakings of the project. As was motioned earlier, the tactic I would employ to make Clemson achieve his needs, would be to suggest the just-in-time (JIT) production system, this would be started by a survey of the current production channels in his factory so as to access the need for upgrading or overhaul. This would enable him to boost production based on placed orders. In addition, the JIT production system would see a decreased in inventory and trucking expenses for the leased property. This would mean that the need for JIT lased space would disappear because the already available space can accommodate to the requirements of JIT production. This strategy would enable Clemson achieve his goals satisfactorily.