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Winsome Manufacturing Company produces plastic storage containers and sells them to the home consumer through home sales events. At the company’s quarterly meeting, the head of marketing described a new product to be introduced in the first quarter of the next fiscal year, approximately 9 months from now. The product will be a room-sized plastic storage unit suitable to the outside of the home; it is similar to a competitor’s product but will have significantly more features. This product will open new markets for the sales channel, lay the foundation for add-on products, and generate new revenues. Management has only seen preliminary sketches of the potential product but are very excited by the new product.
The project will require participation from the design, production, purchasing, shipping, sales, and marketing departments. Winsome Manufacturing owns a line of suitable injection molds, so all manufacturing will be done in-house. The project manager for this project has not yet been selected, but that decision is expected to be made in the next week.
A preliminary project initiation meeting will result in the identification of the project sponsor, selection of a project manager, and creation of the project charter. A manager in the production department who knows you are taking a college project management course asks you to prepare a brief report to help him prepare for the meeting by answering the following questions:
- Who are the project stakeholders? How will they be involved in the project?
- Who should be the project sponsor? Why?
- From which department should the project manager come? Why?
- What skills and experience are likely needed by the project manager for each phase in the project life cycle, and how do they differ between the various phases?
- What type of communication plan will likely be needed during the project?
- What information should be shared with the project stakeholders?
- What is the mechanism that could be used for each type of information?
- What is the frequency with which information should be shared?
- What should be done if project communications are not proving to be effective?
- What technology could be used for project communications?
- At what point could communication about the project become an ethical or legal issue?
- What information should be included in the following elements of the project charter:
- What is the problem the project proposes to address?
- What business opportunity might project completion create?
- What is the business case for undertaking the project?
- What is the financial impact of the project?
- What are the expected results of the project?
- What value will the project add?
- What are risks that might be involved with undertaking the project?
- What is the potential impact to the company if the project is not undertaken?
Present your findings as a Word document of 4–5 pages (not including title and reference pages) formatted in APA style.
Please submit your assignment.
Individual Project Rubric
Deliverable requirements addressed; understanding of material and writer’s message and intent are clear.
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Structure: Includes introduction and conclusion; proper paragraph format; reads as a polished academic paper or professional presentation, as appropriate for the required assignment deliverable.
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APA: Deliverable is cited properly according to the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.).
More Information from my professor
SCHEDULING and ASSIGNING ROLES
One of the critical components of the project plan created during the plan phase is the project schedule. The project schedule consists of the activities to be completed, the effort required, the duration of that effort, and the resources assigned to complete the activity. The project schedule is used throughout the project to guide the team and provide the direction they need to deliver the project results. The project schedule must be solid for successful project execution.
Creating the Schedule
The schedule is created from the work breakdown structure (WBS). The WBS describes what work must be done on the project. It is a listing of the tasks and associated dependencies between tasks. The tasks should be structured around the project’s deliverables and be at the level of detail necessary to give guidance to the team. The WBS also identifies the dependencies between tasks. Dependencies are the relationships between tasks. They determine the order in which work will be done. There are three main types of dependencies: finish-start, start-start, and finish-finish. The most common dependency type is finish-start, in which task A must finish before task B can start.
The schedule, which adds durations, start and end dates, and assignments of resources to tasks, describes how the work will be done. The schedule shows who is responsible for each activity as well as the timing of each activity. The project schedule is created by following these steps:
- Determine work efforts for tasks.
- Assign resources to tasks; allocate task budgets.
- Calculate start and end dates/task durations.
The work effort is the amount of hours or days it will take for one person to complete the task as if he or she was working on it full time. A task with a work effort of 40 hours means it will take one person a full 40 hours to complete the task. The work effort may be influenced by the resources assigned to the task. Choose the scheduling tool most appropriate to the needs of the project (such as critical path network, Gantt chart, or PERT), and continually examine and execute the project accordingly.
Assigning Team Members
Assigning team members to task roles is a delicate and critical task. When done correctly, the team members will be excited about their role on the project, feel confident they can successfully complete the tasks assigned, and know they will have some conquerable challenges as they move through the project.
To effectively assign tasks to people (and people to tasks), the project manager must perform the following:
- Identify the roles needing to be filled
- Determine the skills required for each role
- Determine the skill sets of the team members
- Assign team members to roles
The Schedule in the Execute and Control Phases
Scheduling a project is an ongoing task. Once the initial schedule is created during the plan phase, it is updated throughout the execute and control phases. It is a significant communication device. The project team uses it to guide them from task to task. The project manager uses it as a basis for determining whether or not the project is progressing effectively. Changes to the schedule are made as necessary to reflect new tasks, changes in scope, changes in resource availability, and other project changes.
Implemenation Plan Contingincies
How do you determine what contingencies might arise?
Contingencies from internal and external sources can arise at any time. External contingencies include the following:
- Economic contingencies, such as recession
- Environmental contingencies, such as natural disasters
- Political contingencies, such as changes in regulations and tax policy
- Competitive contingencies, such as new strategies from competitors
Internal contingencies include the following:
- Financial condition of the firm, such as the availability of funding
- Management preference changes, such as a change in strategic direction
- Availability of resources, such as technology and personnel
- Customer preference changes, such as shifts in paying preferences
Optional plans to deal with each contingency must be considered at the outset of the planning process.
How do you construct a strategic implementation plan budget?
The implementation plan budget should identify all costs drivers and allow for cost overruns. Some flexibility is needed in putting this budget together. Contingencies can alter the budget substantially and should be allowed for the budget construction. One approach is to construct three different budget scenarios based on possible best case, expected case, and worst case scenarios. A separate budget can also be constructed for each specific contingency. The task of creating multiple budget scenarios is greatly aided by software programs that can manipulate budget line items based on different considerations.
How do you construct a time line?
All time lines are fluid and can be affected by contingencies and inefficiencies in implementation. Subsequently, any time line for the completion of a task must be carefully determined to allow for some changes caused by inefficiencies or contingencies. The start and end dates for the task time lines must be coordinated with other task start and end dates in a workflow diagram to construct a viable project implementation time line. Internal coordination between tasks is needed to guarantee good workflow. The time line should be carefully managed throughout the process to make adjustments as needed. Obviously, time lines must be realistic and allow enough time to adequately complete the individual task.
What is an example of a management planning activity?
A management planning activity would include determining the goals and objectives for the strategic implementation plan. A goal would be one that sets the tone of the annual initiative. A goal also defines acceptable performance results, such as an increase in market share of 15% by the end of the accounting period. Objectives are the incremental steps needed to achieve a goal. Objectives need to be time specific and measurable in quantitative terms (e.g., improve customer service satisfaction by 10% by the end of the quarter as determined from the results of customer service surveys). By setting goals and specifying the objectives needed to be accomplished by the firm, management sets the expectations of the organization.
What is an example of a management leading activity?
A manager can engage in leading activities by setting good performance standard for his or her personal performance and constantly encouraging the employees to meet their goals. Good communication is the key to effective leadership. The manager can be an effective leader by practicing good verbal and written communication skills at every chance he or she gets. An example of this would be when the manager congratulates an employee who has made an important job-related achievement. Praising people by writing e-mails or memos to go out to the entire staff of the department or firm is another example of effective leadership. Managers should be visible to their employees at all times. Maintaining an open-door policy is another effective leadership practice.
What is an example of a management organizing activity?
Managers engage in organizing activities by designing a department organization chart and selecting employees within that department for leadership roles. Designing work assignments and roles are also significant organizing activities for managers. The manager can exert considerable influence on the ways in which the organization gets its work done by deciding what needs to be done and assigning those tasks to the appropriate employee. Each task must be organized by identifying the resources needed, the personnel who possess the needed skills, and the funding to complete the task. Organizing activities are virtually continuous tasks that managers engage in frequently.
What is an example of a management motivating activity?
Managers motivate employees by doing the following:
- engaging in relationship building
- providing performance appraisals
- informing employees of whether they are doing a good job
- providing discipline when it is needed
All of these activities are central to keeping employees sufficiently motivated during the course of their work tasks. It is a long-standing management mantra that a good company must find and hire self-motivated employees; however, this fact must constantly reinforce that motivation. By being involved and demonstrating interest and commitment to both the employees and their tasks, the manager can create a motivating atmosphere within the department or the firm.
How do you set start dates for an implementation phase?
The start date for a task in the implementation phase is tied to the budget and the intended time lines for completing the task. If the time allocated for completing the task is 4 months, and the next task is scheduled to start on April 1st, then the start date for that task must be December 1st of the preceding year. Another determining factor in setting the start date for an implementation phase might be the availability of the funding for that task. If the money is available in the fourth quarter of the year, then the task start date would usually be sometime during that quarter. A third possible determining factor in setting the start date for the implementation phase task is the availability of the personnel needed to successfully complete the implementation plan.
How do you set milestone dates for an implementation phase?
A milestone is a major task that must be completed before the next task begins or before the next phase must be implemented. Milestone dates must be integrated with the time lines of each implementation task so that the next task or phase of the implementation plan is started on time. Because there is always some flexibility regarding when a milestone date is set, it is a common practice to set a range of time during which the milestone is completed. That time range may be a few days or a few weeks depending on how other tasks are proceeding toward their milestone dates. Milestone dates become tighter as the implementation plans and final completion date draws near.
How do you set end dates for each phase?
The end date for each phase of each implementation plan is determined by certain factors, including the following:
- competitive pressures
- needs dictated by other phases in the implementation plan
- availability of resources
Each of these factors can be fluid and dictate changes in the previously set end dates.
The Role of Project management
The advancement in innovative technology creates a demand for project management to accommodate business organizations with the latest technological changes. Projects become more sophisticated with the advancement of hardware and software and the incorporation of global networking. It is advisable for management to comply with the current developments in technology and implement them into their systems.
The complexity of the information technology manager’s job encompasses an increase in responsibilities, which include the following:
- supporting regional and local IT staff
- participating in IT development
- becoming the liaison between the manager’s department and regional IT management for all IT-related matters
- implementing and monitoring network security, and providing support for troubleshooting, routine and comprehensive system backups, upgrades, and disaster recovery
- purchasing necessary hardware and software
- organizing teams for project proposals, possibly even working with other departments within the company such as human resources, marketing, sales, and accounting
Familiarity with the IT project’s structure can help incorporate a well-defined process into the project. The project should be broken down into phases in which the inputs, tools, and outputs are thoroughly defined for each phase. In this way, it is easier to manage all aspects of the project more effectively and keep problems to a minimum. The development and completion of a project should contain the following attributes:
- Purpose: The proposal of the project must originate with a legitimate reason.
- Length: The decision about whether a project will be short-term or long-term is dependent upon its complexity.
- Resources: These include hardware, software, and stakeholders.
- Sponsors: These are people who provide direction and financing for the project. Sponsors can also be experts from each department who will provide input to ensure that their departmental needs are met.
- Uncertainty: Changes in the time and cost of an IT project plan can occur because of unforeseen circumstances.
To address the business needs of the project and better define the activities that will occur throughout the entire lifespan of the IT project, six software development lifecycle (SDLC) phases are pertinent to the success of the project: planning, analysis, design, construction, test, and rollout. The needs of the planning phase are ascertained through information gathered from questionnaires or client requests. In this phase, the project is initiated after approval from management; identifying user needs; determining system performance requirements and future technological upgrades; developing the architectural design of the new system; and considering risks, benefits, and alternative solutions. The analysis phase focuses on the operations the end system must perform. A more detailed description of the system can be developed and formalized after the system needs are determined. The utilization of business, data, event, and process models during the analysis phase will ensure that both the development team and the end-user are in agreement with the scope of the project. In the design phase, the user interface is designed with the intentions of fulfilling all necessary operational requirements defined in the analysis phase. In the construction phase, a detailed design of the physical system is built according to the documented requirements. This will include hardware, software, databases, and modules. System quality is of the utmost importance in this phase because it will determine the reliability, security, and flexibility of the end product. The test phase is the most critical part of the SDLC phases. In this phase, the constructed system is rigorously tested, and the interrelationship between mechanisms within the system is verified for accurate functionality. It ensures that the final implementation of the system is ready for the rollout phase. In the rollout phase, migration from the current system to the new system takes place. The new system can be released to the end-user once the conversion is completed.
As new technology emerges, a project manager’s role in incorporating this new technology becomes more demanding. As long as SDLC is utilized in future information technology systems, redundancy and system development risks will be minimized, system efficiencies will increase, project costs will be reduced, and the system will be prepared for future reuse and redesign.
System Developement Process
Information systems are usually developed by users to solve specific business problems. This presentation explains the system development process and reviews some of the tools used in system development as well as approaches to development.
The system development life cycle involves five phases: planning, analysis, design, implementation, and maintenance. In the planning stage, the systems analyst, who is the person primarily responsible for developing the system, must define the problem to be solved and prepare written documentation of it. Then, the systems analyst must determine whether the system is technically, operationally, and economically feasible. In the analysis stage, the analyst analyzes the current system, describes the current system and what the user requires in the new system. The analyst identifies alternative solutions, estimates costs and benefits, and selects the best choice. In the design stage, the analyst designs the system, including layouts of the screen and description of all files, procedures, and hardware needs. In the system implementation stage, the system analyst acquires system components, and tests and installs the system. In the maintenance stage, after the system has been in use for a while, it may need to be updated. Updating usually occurs because errors are found that weren’t detected during testing, a new function is added to the system, or requirements change.
Several tools assist in the design and analysis of the information system. They help the systems analyst organize his or her thinking and to examine design alternatives. Data flow diagrams (or DFDs) use symbols with different shapes to show the flow of data in an information system. They are used in the analysis of the current system and in the conceptual design of the new system. Entity-relationship (or ER) diagrams show the relationship between information in a database. Like data flow diagrams, ER diagrams also use different shapes and notations to indicate the type of relations between entities, another term for the information in a database. CASE tools are computer-aided software engineering tools that are used in system development; for example, a CASE tool can allow the systems analyst to draw data flow and ER diagrams.
In addition to the traditional approach involving five steps, other approaches to software development include prototyping, rapid application development, and object-oriented analysis and design. Prototyping is an approach in which the systems analyst quickly develops a partial version of the system, or prototype, that doesn’t perform all the required functionality but does enough to allow the user to provide input and feedback. The analyst then modifies the prototype to reflect the changes. Prototyping involves the user during the development process to make sure their requirements are met.
Shortening system development time can be supported by rapid application development, or RAD. This approach uses prototyping and CASE tools to speed up the development process and requires significant user involvement in the development process. As a result, the system is more likely to meet the users’ needs and require fewer changes.
Object-oriented analysis and design combines the data and processing methods. This approach to software development involves analyzing the objects that are important in the system and designing the system based on those objects. Object-oriented analysis and design replaces the system analysis and system design phases in the traditional five-phase development process.
Another approach to business system development is called business process reengineering (or BPR). The goal of BPR is to completely redesign business processes, or the tasks or activities which occur during business operations. The goal of the business process redesign is to improve the way the organization functions. Usually, a team of analysts and users follow a sequence of steps similar to the system development process, but they focus on understanding the current process in order to make it better.
This presentation discussed the system development process. The five stages in the system development life cycle—planning, analyzing, designing, implementing, and maintaining—can have different names in different models, but generally, these stages are implemented in building systems. Also, tools for software development and other approaches to the process were discussed.