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A project is a series of planned activities that are aimed at achieving certain objectives. Information systems projects involve the development of new information systems that enhance, replace, or upgrade an organization’s information technology (IT) infrastructure. Project management ensures that application of skills, tools, and techniques is required to accomplish specific objectives. According to Pinto, it is done within a given budget and time constraints. This paper focuses on how the five variables of project management–scope, time, cost, quality, and risk–are applied in the hardware replacement project. It also focuses on the risks involved and aspects which should be considered in selecting projects so they deliver excellent results in a business or organization.
Project Management Variables
In this particular case, the project of hardware replacement will include planning, assessing of risks involved, organizing the work, and gathering of resources needed to complete the work. It is crucial to get hold of human and material resources and direct activities for successful project execution. Like other areas of a business, project management must deal with five key variables: scope, time, cost, quality, and risk.
The Scope of a project refers to what a project entails and what is not covered within a project. For example, the scope of the project involving a new hardware system replacement might require new modules for input of orders and conveyance of information to the production and accounting section. According to Newton (2009), project management defines all the requirements needed to finish a project fruitfully, and so the scope of a project should not deviate from the original conditions.
Time is an essential variable in project management. It represents the period required to complete a project. Project management outlines the amount of time required to complete the hardware system replacement for the organization. The requirements are further broken down into tasks and activities. Project management endeavors to define the time required to complete each activity and come up with a schedule for completing the work.
Cost is a variable in project management that is based on the period of completion of the project multiplied by the cost of human capital needed for the project. The total costs of the project and the completion time must be set. In this case, the cost of software, hardware, and transport to the area of replacement is factored. Project management initiates a budget for the project and monitors ongoing expenses.
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Quality is a pointer of how the best result of a project meets the initial objectives identified by management. The quality of hardware replacement projects melts down to enhanced organizational performance and decision making. Issues influencing quality are crucial in any project implementation process. The importance of quality to a project cannot be overemphasized. Any time a company sets up a project, the primary goal is to enhance productivity. Thus, quality is a primary attribute that project planners rank highly on importance. Quality factors the accuracy and timeliness of information created by the new system and the ease of use.
Risk defines possible problems that can threaten the success of a project. The difficulties might jeopardize a project from attaining its objectives. In order to promote greater responsibility among employees, a company must propose upfront training and recruitment of high-seasoned project managers to oversee a successful implementation and maintenance of a project. The planning of a project is aimed at meeting timelines.
Considerations for Best Business Value
When coming up with a project, one must consider the project value against the available financial resources. Benefits that come from a project implementation and costs to be incurred should be the yardstick of selecting the most suitable project. In the current case, replacing the old hardware device is projected to ease service delivery, save time, and motivate employees. The equipment to be replaced should be scrutinized to ensure it delivers and meets the needs of the organization. It will also eliminate unnecessary and unanticipated spending in cases of the new hardware failure. Employees in the organization should be given proper training on the use of the new hardware. It is also crucial to select projects that can be easily maintained and sustained. In selecting a project, the size of an organization should be considered as well.
The planners of a project should assess uncertainties. A planning process should include analyses of costs, milestones, deadlines, measures/controls, approaches, etc. Having such aspects in a plan is critical since they show details regarding what a company wants to achieve at a certain cost as well as by a given time. When running a project, it is necessary to leave space for changes and flexibility. Ideally, a project plan should explain how a project factors changes that occur.
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A baseline is necessary before commencing any meaningful project. It explains current conditions in terms of progress or decline. Thus, it allows stakeholders to understand what needs to be corrected. Project planners find baselines a necessary tool that they use to evaluate whether they have achieved or failed in their pursuit of goals. A movement along the critical path should be managed based on expectations of a company. It may help a company in achieving its goals; although, planners must be realistic. Cost estimation is equally critical in any project.
Ideally, estimation of costs is supposed to be broken down into categories showing how each item is to be sourced and at what price. Life-cycle cost analysis is an option that presents all estimations from a commencement point to project completion. Presenting cost estimations using this approach is preferable since stakeholders are able to assess potential costs of projects. Thus, life-cycle cost analysis plays an important role in assessment of a project.
Frigenti & Comninos observe that the principle of best practice reveals that pursuing success requires using the best approach. Thus, employing techniques or methods that lead to greater outcomes forms the benchmark in project management. However, even the best practices evolve to become better. It requires significant improvements to existing approaches.
Minimizing Project Risks
To minimize project risks, it is crucial to set achievable goals. The failure of a project arises from results not meeting project expectations. Even while showing high results, a project may also not meet other people’s expectations depending on whether they were too high or too vague. Thus, it is vital to identify realistic, concrete, and documented goals to guide a project. It is crucial to decrease the risk by making goals clear. If set goals are too ambitious, they may be reduced back or the schedule may be prolonged.
It is advisable to avoid projects that are out of focus of an organization. Furthermore, it is crucial to concentrate efforts in the areas of the company’s expertise. It is also essential to ensure sufficient resource allocation and commitment of management. To yield better results, it is necessary to hire staff that is acquainted with the technologies employed. Finally, it is crucial to maintain a small project team. Team members can be dropped in accordance with the phase of a project. Risks can be also reduced if organizations adopt proven and current technologies as opposed to new technologies which have not been tasted.