Blog Post Image

Exam Question 3.1

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 7th March 2013

Hello Paul,

I read your feed back on Clare’s answer and thought id have a go.

 

Explain the term project and describe four characteristics of a project?

A project is unique, a sponsored, transient endeavour undertaken to achieve a desired outcome that will in the eyes of the sponsor be viewed as positive.

Cost – The cost, from outset to the completion of the project to include any losses for example the impact of the project if this results in a reduced production level during the project life cycle, this may be off set against increased production after handover, or an increase in expenditure during the project life cycle for additional resources to balance production.

Time – An agreed time scale to complete the project, this may be governed by a critical deadline, such as a window in working patterns or merely an agreed time frame to complete the project that is of a less critical factor where another criteria such as cost is of more importance and time may have more flexibility as a result.

Benefit – The improvement that is measurable and viewed from the project sponsor to be of a positive nature as a direct result of the project completed. For example the project may have a criteria to increase production for business as usual, this will be measured by the direct relationship between pre-project and after project production. If the level of production is within the specific criteria set in the PMP the project may be seen as being of benefit.

Quality – the project may have to meet several quality specifications, upon success of this criteria again these will be pre-agreed in the PMP, for example if the project includes structures they may be required to blend into the surrounding this may determine the size or shape or colour of the finished project again agreed in the PMP, or for example there may be a noise level that has to be adhered to, this can again be measured and the Db levels will have been pre agreed in the PMP.

Differentiate between a project and business as usual; make five points in your answer

A project is unique one off exercise that is usually undertaken to improve business as usual, were as business as usual is the day to day out puts or production routine that is determined as the norm.

A project has a definite time constraint from the start to a pre-agreed completion date, business as usual is a continuous process.

Business as usual goes through a repetitive product cycle from start to finish, a project goes through a life cycle which only has a certain number of predefined steps and a completion date.

A project can be the first item off a production line that has criteria to meet, once these criteria have been met, repetative production of the item can be considered as business as usual.

A project is a way of change this could be a new factory process layout designed to improve quantity, but a business as usual would be to maintain by repetition the level of quantity produced.

 Explain the problems an organisation may have in implementing a project way of working.

People – you may need to retrain staff to be able to implement the project if they do not have the required skill set.

 If Members of your team don’t work directly for the Project Manager then it may be hard to motivate them to carry out the job that is needed as they or their managers may consider other priorities as more  importance than the project for them to carry out. 

Process – the organisation may believe they have a better knowledge of keeping the project on track by following the organisation’s rules, but a Project Manager has a different view & may find these rules frustrating, but these rules are needed for the organisation to manage the Risk from an organisational point of view and may conflict with the project, this is where pre-consultation is vital.

Sometimes Organisations may have developed bad habits over time and lack control, projects needs structure and stability to be completed within its pre-agreed restraints. 

Technology – Projects often bring in new technology that the organisation does not have the requisite knowledge in house, this could lead to risks,  for example a new computer system could be unreliable or not even work as planned leading to delays, this may result in external skills or and retraining of personnel all of these can impact on the time and the cost of the project.

When new technology is implemented it may require knowledge beyond the current capabilities of the staff at the organisation, this may lead to the tasks being subbed out to another company which leads to a high level of contract staff.  A good working relationship, level of understanding and trust is required and very important.


Thanks.

  1. Student says:

    Thanks for your feed back Paul, I found that very helpful.

  2. Paul says:

    Dave, sorry for the delay it was a busy week and I wanted to give you some detailed feedback.

    The answer to the question is good, however I would add some examples to demonstrate the point. For example the London 2012 Olympic and Para-olympic games were a perfect example of a time bound project.

    The answer to Differentiate between a project and business as usual; make five points in your answer is too brief, remember they are looking for 2-3 sentences per point including an example for full maks. So your answer

    Business as usual goes through a repetitive product cycle from start to finish, a project goes through a life cycle which only has a certain number of predefined steps and a completion date.

    needs to be

    Business as usual goes through a repetitive product cycle from start to finish, a project goes through a life cycle which only has a certain number of predefined steps and a completion date.For example a care production line may run continuously for many years producing the same range of cars, however the project to design a new car will be of limited time duration.

    The answer to the question “Explain the problems an organisation may have in implementing a project way of working.” is better because you have included explanation in your own words. In general terms the challenges implementing project management do relate to people, proceses and tools.

    People relates to the competence of people in project management to understand and apply the principles of project management, without the basic understanding of project management it is almost impossible effectively apply project management.

    Process relates to the existence and adoption of project management processes such as planning, risk management or change control. If these processes don’t exist or are poorly understood or applied. Or if they are too complex and in-flexible for the situation then the processes can be a barrier to the implementation of effective project management.

    Finally if the organisation the lacks to tools to support project management, such as access to planning software like microsoft project, or an accounts system that can track work packages, or and effective way of collecting progress information or document control they it can be very difficult apply project management, even if the people are competent and the processes are in place.

    I hope this helps. Please do keep participating in the study group.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.