Project management is a process that entails the application of some course of actions, methodologies, experiences as well as expertise to attain a particular project’s objectives. This report is focused on the Blue Spider (BS) Project to determine the types of issues that could impact its performance. Lord Industries is a principal contractor in this project who also subcontracted Park Corporation to undertake Phase 1 of the project. Essentially, the project is faced with risks in all of its phases, which have been managed in different ways. Scope change is a susceptible aspect since it affects virtually every element of your application, eventually costing the project more money and time. The decision to initiate the BS project was indeed strategically effective. Gary Anderson had an MBA degree and was known for his incredible performance as a production engineer. The involvement of stakeholders in a project plays a significant role, especially in the early stages of the project. Stakeholders help in shaping design methods to ensure that appropriate designs that would render the project successful. Despite having an MBA degree and being well-known for his incredible performance as a production engineer, Gary was unqualified, to become a project manager. The BS project experienced different risks all throughout the lifecycle of the project that was managed in different ways. Functional employees belonging to the customer, as well as those of the contractor have not to be allowed to interact with each other without passing by the project office because these are employees from different companies; therefore, they are bound by various policies and work cultures. To sum up, the BS Project has been very informative as it provided different lessons that are very resourceful for organizations that are in the process of starting a new project.
Blue Spider (BS) Project
Project management is a process that entails the application of some course of actions, methodologies, experiences as well as expertise to attain a particular project’s objectives. A project may be planned appropriately, with access to sufficient funds as well as the essential technical knowledge. But, the incapacity to proficiently coordinate as well as manage all participants’ efforts may result in a high budget, an inability to deliver within the specified schedule, or the achievement of poor functional and also technical quality (Joslin & Müller, 2016). However, the general management functionality of a project turns out to be critical whenever a project is complicated and vast. This report is focused on the Blue Spider (BS) Project to determine the types of issues that could impact its performance. Lord Industries is the main contractor in this project and also subcontracted Park Corporation to undertake Phase 1 of the project. Essentially, the project is faced with risks in all of its phases, which have been managed in different ways. The project also has issues associated with communication management, project manager selection, minimized level of trust among customers, selecting the best contract, and even ethical issues. The first part of the report is a project appraisal discussing the problems faced and tailored to answer the questions raised. It will also conclude by providing lessons learned from this case study as well as provide recommendations to have improved performance in project management.
At the initial stage of the project, the project scope was not clear. As Parks Corporation was making preparations for a proposal that would assist I in winning the BS project’s contract, it risked failing to attain the criteria necessary for determining the subcontractor of the BS project. Essentially, Lord Industries was seeking a company offering a lower bid, having technical proficiency as well as a good proper management performance in previous projects. However, Parks tried to avoid the risk by contracting a subcontractor having the necessary technical expertise as well as management performance. Parks also risked failing to satisfy the necessities for the operation of the design material (Blaskovics, 2016). The design required to be operated at a range of -65oF to 145oF though Parks could not operate at a temperature of more than 130oF. In this instance, Parks attempted to address risk through deceptive tactics on their stakeholders that its design specification was compatible with operating at 155oF temperature (Meunier, Quinet, & Quinet, 2014). Deceiving the stakeholders that could result in more risks in the project life.
Scope change is a susceptible aspect since it affects virtually every element of your application, eventually costing the project more money and time. Relying on the time scope change happens, may result in more work or rework. This is very devastating to the stakeholders (Sato & Gnanaratnam, 2014). For instance, scope change may lead to new requirements, then segments of the user interface which have been established, as well as approval made, might require that the drawing board is revisited to make amendments. Scope change might also require the code to be rewritten to accommodate modified functionalities. This also can affect project testing and even deployment and support plans.
The decision to start the BS project
The decision to initiate the BS project was indeed strategically proper. First, the BS project had not found a qualified project manager who, based on his academic qualification, gave high hopes of managing the project effectively. Gary Anderson had an MBA degree and was known for his incredible performance as a production engineer. Since he was qualified to handle the project and also based on his previous reputation in production engineering, he decides to begin the project (Ning, 2017).
Additionally, the fact that an adequate and competent staff was chosen to take part in the project decides to begin the project strategically sound. Before starting a project, it is essential to select project team members who meet the criteria needed to effectively run the operations of the project. Therefore, with this adequate and competent staff in place, it was clear to begin the project. Responsibilities had also been shared among the project staff as Anderson assigned work that was monitored and coordinated among his project team (Ning, 2017). Some functional managers were placed to take part in decision-making on deciding work responsibilities and duties as well as being accountable for long-term administrative issues. This gave a clear indication that it was ready to start the project.
The involvement of stakeholders in a project plays a significant role, especially in the early stages of the project. Influences of stakeholders can be easily seen in the early stages of a project since decisions made early minimize the unnecessary change in the course of later development phases and even in the overall lifecycle costs. Early involvement of stakeholders in a project results in a low likelihood of developing poor designs in the project. Stakeholders help in shaping design methods to ensure that appropriate designs that would render the project successful (Meunier et al., 2014). Also, the early involvement of stakeholders in the project design results in a high likelihood of an adequate plan of improvised construction operations as well as less scrap.
Moreover, stakeholders provide early knowledge regarding the end-users leading to high customer satisfaction concerning functioning and use. More importantly, the more the stakeholders are aware of the actual use of products by customers, the more the operations of the stakeholders will be efficient with regard to meeting the needs and intentions of the buyers. The more the stakeholders are knowledgeable about the precise design objectives specifications at an early stage, the more they are capable of meeting or revising the specification through the adjustment of their abilities. Early involvement creates room for creative solutions and invention to establish and exchange new ideas (Meunier et al., 2014). Stakeholders play a critical role in providing and exchanging new ideas, which are essential in making sound decisions for the project design. Early involvement of stakeholders also results in creating procedures that are coordinated and running in phases.
Some distinct stakeholders were major individuals having an interest in the BS project or were potentially impacted by the direct and indirect way of its performance. The main stakeholders involved the customer Lord, Industries, Director of Engineering, Testing Engineer, Project Manager, Department Manager, Chief Project Engineer, and Production Manager. However, there were communication management problems that occurred among these stakeholders, which led to other issues (Zulch, 2014). These problems entailed the delay of communication from project management to the customers and also the provision of false information to customers. One of the powers that stakeholders such as the departmental manager had is to delegate duties and responsibilities to staff members. They were tasked with monitoring and assessing performance among the staff to ensure that everyone attends to his or her duties expertly.
Gary’s qualifications as a project manager
Despite having an MBA degree and being well-known for his incredible performance as a production engineer, Gary was unqualified to become a project manager. Project management requires exceptional skills to effectively manage a project which Gary lacked. Furthermore, he lacked previous experience in control, which makes him unqualified for a significant project position. He had an excellent academic background but lacked the necessary skills and expertise that are needed for a project manager (Wang, Keil, Oh, & Shen, 2017). Therefore, Parks Corporation did no choose a suitable and qualified project manager for BS Project because he had minimal influence over staff members, did not have experience in project management as well as was not trained on the role of a project manager. The chosen project manager did not have the most fundamental qualities which could have assisted in the appropriate management of the project. The project manager needs to have six vital skills, including team management, communication, risk management, leadership, personal organization, and also negotiation. Communication skills are essential since project managers spend ninety percent of the time of the overall time of the project communicating. Project managers are needed to communicate issues, ideas, vision, as well as goals in an efficient way. They are tasked with producing reports and giving presentations.
Apart from developing high technical skills, a project manager is required to possess leadership skills capable of allowing the team to deliver. Processing the appropriate leadership skills facilitates the project manager to encourage the project team as well as achieve the desired result because of the increased support from staff. Negotiation skills are utilized in negotiating scope, budgets, and resources, among others (Wang et al., 2017). Personal organization is also essential because it makes sure that project managers are capable of organizing their life, and this shows that they are capable of managing other people. As an effective team manager, the project manager can be tasked with coordinating and administering teams through encouraging teamwork, delegating tasks, conflict resolution, goal creation, and performance evaluation. Moreover, risk management skill allows a project manager in predicting and developing solutions to some problems before arising, alleviating the chances of delivering projects effectively. Gary lacks these essential skills, thus making him unqualified for the position of project manager.
Risks refer to uncertain events that are probable to cause an effect on a project. Risks are capable of being managed in four basic methods, including mitigating, accepting, avoiding, and transferring (Ning, 2017). The BS project experienced different risks all through the lifecycle of the project that was managed in different ways.
Initial stage risks
At the initial stage of the project, Park Corporation had prepared a proposal that was capable of helping the company to win the project’s contract. Essentially, Parks encountered the risk of failing to achieve the standards for selecting the subcontractor of the BS project. Initially, Lord Industries was seeking an organization that was offering a low bid, possessing technical experience as well as proper management performance in previous projects. With much effort, Parks avoided the risk because it had a tendency to satisfy the established criteria. The subcontractor had fundamental technical experience and management presentations (Sato & Gnanaratnam, 2014). Parks also experienced the risk of failure to satisfy the operating design material operations. The designs required to be conducted at a temperature ranging from -65oF to 145oF though Parks was incapable of functioning at temperatures more than 130oF. To mitigate this risk, Parks attempted to deceive the customer with regard that the design specifications were operational at temperatures reaching 155oF. Deception of the customer was capable of resulting in other risks for the project.
Planning Phase Risks
Activities being done in this stage involves creating a team that would be operating on the project. Getting the right project leader to look for people who possess the required skills and lead the project team was a risk to the project (Meunier et al., 2014). The ease of this risk by looking for someone who had been employed in the company and possessed enough skills technically was tried by the engineering director. He ensured the project manager was briefed on what was a requirement for him to perform. Getting the appropriate people on the team was done with the assistance of engineering director under his influence to acquire the best individuals
Implementation Stage Risk
Some of the undertakings being performed in this phase involve testing and developing a product that could come across specific needs of the project.it was a necessity to improve sure signs and inspire staff that would ensure the project was within the agenda. Communication with other members and clients as necessary to get updates on the project updates. The risk of failure was faced by the park in the matrix, that was eased by coming up with new material that meets the set standards. Secondly, the risks of altering the project scope that could add the costs were faced by parks. Mitigation of the threat was implemented by the contactor through organizing a trade of breakdown to identify what should be done away from the project afterwards (Wang et al., 2017). Parks’ failure to provide information well that prompted customer risks was handled by growing more meetings and reporting that required to be set and passed to the client. Postponement some takes moderated the risk of having a program and making people work extra- time
Closeout Phase Risk
Completion of the project at this stage involved lacking funds for BS project risk. This was controlled by asking the management to increase more funds (Zulch, 2014). The project also posed the risking of coming up with a product that did not adhere to the stipulation of taking extra than five years. Conducting more test was to be done on the made material to check the first test outcome.
Communication between functional employees
Functional employees belonging to the customer, as well as those of the contractor has not to be allowed to interact with one another without passing by the project office. This is because these are employees from different companies; therefore, they are bound by various policies and work cultures. Such direct communication among employees can cause communication management problems, thus straining the relationship between the two companies. Direct contact between employees from the two companies reveals administrative secrets and also the sharing of rumors that could cause serious mistrust (Meunier et al., 2014). This is likely to increase doubts on both sides of the customer regarding the ability of Parks to deliver the project based on the specification. Such communication might raise expectations of the customer due to rumors shared and in turn, receive different expectations. Communications needs to remain formal and authorized to ensure that the information of the two parties is bound by the privacy and confidentiality policy of the two parties. Project organization is formal and has to remain confined to the project’s rules. Communications have to manage and controlled to ensure effective collaboration and coordination of activities in the organization. Direct communication between the employees from the two parties will increase the communication problem as well as trust issues. Therefore to strengthen trust among the two parties, more rules have to establish that are focused on avoiding direct communication between the two parties.
Reflection on teamwork
In the BS project, teamwork has been made a priority. The team members played a critical role and had the ability to react fast but were hindered with poor communication as well as the lack of priority control over the project in progress. The customer and the contractor also collaboratively worked to ensure that the project is successful. Cooperation and coordination among the team members were highly practiced to facilitate the project (Blaskovics, 2016). Due to the improper management by Gary, the project manager for the teamwork was weakened. The deception of the customer that the functioning material operates up to 155oF caused mistrust among the stakeholders. Cooperation diminished due to the trick and lying that Parks Corporation made. However, the project team had a common goal that kept them working towards it despite the mistrust between them. To counter the trust issue, rules were established that helped them gain trust among themselves.
In group work, teamwork was the key to the achievement that was made. Every team member participated as every member was assigned duties and responsibilities to accomplish. The team members observed mutual accountability as they all took accountability for the actions and responsibilities of the team altogether. The group shared a common goal, which enables it to achieve its objective. It is apparent that by all team members sharing a common goal, it significantly contributed to the achievement of the aim of the team. All team members were supportive of taking risks and also supporting change. Roles were defined for every team member, which stimulated progress. Communication was done freely among the team members. This free communication facilitated the easy transition of work among the team members. Trust among the team members was critical, and it was ensured that trust was established and maintained throughout the teamwork. Trust made it easy to work collaboratively and also to solve problems quickly without much interference.
Conclusion – Lessons learned from BS project
To sum it all, the BS Project has been very informative as it provided diverse lessons that are very resourceful for organizations which are in the progression of starting a new project. It offers some essential consideration of the needs to be made whenever one is working on a new project form the initial stage to the final step. I got to learn that there are various ways to manage risks for a project. I also got to learn that projects comprise of different stakeholders having various communication requirements. It is, therefore, vital to create a communication plan which will be utilized in satisfying the information needs of the stakeholders. The project’s success is significantly determined by the type of project manager working on the project. It is noteworthy that the failure to choose a suitable project manager with essential skills as well as qualities results in issues that arise from various aspects of the project. I also learned that a contractor is capable of eroding the trust established among the customers on them through adjourning to communicate vital information or deceive them, which might lead to a harsh relationship between the two parties involved. Additionally, companies should also focus on avoiding engagement in unethical practices like lying to the consumer because it will end up damaging the reputation of the company.
From the group project, I learned that scope changes are susceptible to a project since it affects virtually every element of your application, eventually costing the project more money and time. Also learned that early involvement of stakeholder is significant and should be encouraged. This is because the influences of stakeholders can be easily seen in the early stages of a project since decisions made early minimize the unnecessary change in the course of later development phases and even in the overall lifecycle costs. Early involvement of stakeholders in a project results in a low likelihood of developing poor designs in a project.