Project Management: Plan Critique

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 9
Words: 2287
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College

Executive Summary

This report is based on critical evaluation and a detailed analysis of the report that was submitted with respect to the terms of the project management plan for the University of Ballarat. The project was designed to cater to a Local Area Network for the business school in the School of Business. The report is very concise and has major details mentioned in it but there are certain areas missing that need to be evaluated. The work breakdown has been mentioned as well along with the project tiles that will be needed.

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Introduction

Based on generic information about the project, the introduction provides no specific details and mainly has defined the purpose of various parts of the project plan. A slight review of the budget, the scope of the project, and team specifics like roles and responsibilities are touched to give out an overall description of the project management plan. General specifics like success criteria and a slight background should have been mentioned simply to apply context to the situation defining the need.

Name

The project is named “School of Business Local Area Network Project”, which is about setting up a network for staff computers for the School of Business currently present at the University of Ballarat. The plan is mainly regarding the development of a local area network for the faculty of the school of business in the university which is pretty derailing since the project does not mention the recipient of the project’s benefits and the core idea of the project. IT could have been better if the project was titled “Implementation of LAN for business faculty at the University of Ballarat”.

Description

The project description underlines some basic accomplishments which are planned and the benefits that it is designed to provide. The project description mentions in a summarized manner the number of computers that will be set up and how they can provide a long-term benefit to the University. This might sound simple but it needs a detailed description so that all aspects of its success can be visualized to form a shared vision.

Sponsor’s details

The plan mentions the contact information and the name of the sponsor. The relevance of the sponsor to the outcomes and the Stakeholders analysis report (Schwalbe, 2009) could have helped in aligning the roles and responsibilities of the sponsor and the level of influence that might result thereof. In case the sponsor falters, there is no specific source that can be referred to.

Project manager and team details

The team member details give out contact information and no outline is present for task allocation and hierarchy to be followed for decision making and other particulars.

Deliverables

Classified into hardware and documentation, the deliverables mentions some main areas including hardware equipment and documented flowcharts and the research reports that will provide future references and a basic outline of the project details so that the recipients can use if to identify the areas of progress and how the project was taken while it was being worked on. It includes the number of computers that will be provided and accompanying equipment along with documents mentioning the possible hurdles that might arise in the future so that the University can justify its costs and the benefit against the investment. A complete set of particulars has to be devised since hardware specifications are different and complex.

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Reference details

The project plan lacks a reference section which could have mentioned the basic model on which the project was planned on. The implementation of the network requires a specific model based on some previously constructed network models which was necessary to figure out the basis of their approach. This way the plan failed to bring forward the pros and cons of the implemented model.

Definitions

This sections normally uses key terms and terminologies used in the project but with this section of the plan, the definitions was restricted to the acronyms used in the project and the focus on the key terms was absent. This implies that certain terms of the network project can be misleading to a user without technical backgrounds i.e. finance expert or marketing expert. These terms are used in multiple meaning and the pluri vocality has not been addressed.

Organisation

Using the basic foundations of the organization, the sections outlined the mission, vision, goals and objectives and the values that will be followed in the implementation project. The section has vaguely mentioned the various goals and objectives and the strategic outcome of these long-term and short term targets. It would have been much more accommodating if the vision, mission and the relative targets were mentioned explicitly and clearly for review.

Organisational charts

Apart from a few assumptions, the document has failed to highlight the organizational structure and despite the revelation of the client in certain meetings, the common association of the client and the sponsor has not been made and the interest of different parties that will be benefitting from this project. The titles of the team are provided but their connection with the existing team is missing. In addition, the existing structure of the organization along with the hierarchal outline is not represented which would have been helpful if it was made graphically.

Project responsibilities

As mentioned before, the project team hierarchy has been mentioned but the association with the team is not exactly mentioned and the hierarchy has not been defined. In addition, the line of authority from the client side is not clearly mentioned where the client would mention specific objectives and the contribution of the client and the sponsor in the overall project. It would be supportive if the clients, sponsors’, team members’ roles and responsibilities and the level of involvement were mentioned clearly, so the decision can be traced back to its source.

Management and Technical Processes

This section defines the technical processes involved in the management of this project. The management processes that are involved in the overall project working are important to be mentioned so that the project can be evaluated on the dimensions that it has served and accommodated during its implementation. If correctly enacted, the project has a high rate of success, as normally considered. The document holds relative information to risk management, time management and the relative material management processes.

Management objectives

A crucial part of the management objectives, the duties and responsibilities of mangers is not listed. The communication flow and the task allocation and such other activities performed by the manager are not mentioned clearly. The developing team needed to mention the tasks and responsibilities of a project manager in detail with respect to every activity so that the team can have a well-designed regulatory work flow sprouting form managerial vision and concept of project implementation (Kousholt, 2007) (Obj-Web, 2011).

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Project controls

For establishing an effective project protocols, a complete strategy for control is needed which is not mentioned in the project management plan. Project manager is normally in charge of monitoring activities and since the role are not defined clearly except for mentioning that the manger will be in charge of overseeing the activities, the monitoring and control of the project is not defined clearly with respect to the tasks that will be performed in a step by step manner. This includes managing the quality of the project and using pre-defined qualitative measure to be implemented in order to perform the task as per the guidelines.

Risk management

The project plan has outlined the risk management procedure where the various risks of the project were mentioned and how important it is to be investigated including the contingency planning for risks. The need of a risk document is mentioned by the name of MILESTONE. The overall section lacks the analytic aspect of the project and no relative risks that can arise are mentioned which was very much needed considering the project could face certain risks and the ways in which it could be avoided. An intuitive approach was needed here which is absent (McNeil, 2005).

Project staffing

As mentioned before, roles and responsibilities for every step is not defined, the capacity of every individual in the team is unclear and the team has no clear view of the use of resource that will be utilized and the despite mentioning the remuneration in the budget, the important aspect of the total man hours needed to perform every job is absent. The hours that will be needed to work out the activities are mentioned but they are not justified with every single task and the allocation of hours for each task pertaining to late start, late finish or early start early finish so that a crash cost concept can be developed to save time and resources (Choudhury, 1988). Also, an assessment should be present to show the skill and expertise level which will enable the resources to complete the task in due time.

Technical processes

The project plan misses out of the project flowchart and the relative project life cycle which will enable the project team to cover different life cycle processes in due time and the division of different stages will also cover the current position of the project as its progresses incrementally with simultaneous progress in stages on a deadline.

Work to be done

This section defines the work processes that will be involved and the relative tasks handled in due time. The plan has outlined every task in detail and the time that it took place step by step with the inclusion of different stages for every task that took place. It is commendable that the tasks were listed down with the date that it was performed on and includes minute tasks as well.

Major work packages

The project is clearly divided into tasks with relative timeline that it will take to be performed. The work breakdown structure is quite random as mentioning the work that is to be performed and the graphical representation is missing which could have been more demonstrative of every task step by step. For a project, the tasks take place simultaneously and cannot be listed down to show the effectiveness of the project.

Key deliverables

The deliverables of the project are mentioned in this section which includes the hardware that will be used to implement this project and to show the relative hardware type that is needed and the quantity that will be required in. Also the cost of the item is listed in the budget. A market comparison could be helpful here to determine cost efficiency (Cost Management).

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Other

The plan includes the information of the hardware including the suppliers that provided the relative items and the unit cost and the total cost of the items although some items might differ in costs that need a detailed cost measurement for every item purchased from every supplier.

Schedule

The schedule has a detailed timeline against the tasks to be performed and the use of Gantt chart is evident in the project management plan. The project file is shown in the report which is a positive feature of the plan. The duration of the work over a timeline is mentioned with different tasks that will take place simultaneously and the relative time allocated for every step is mentioned in a major stage and small divisible tasks being supervised by the project manager. The project plan need to establish the allocation of resources in the project explained down to the number of resource with specific utility needs to be mentioned for every stage. At the same time, the diagram for interconnected activities is missing however to determine the relative correspondence among resources at every stage.

Budget

The budget plan includes the costs that have been incurred in the project and the relative sources that would consume the costs. This section has a detailed budget plan ranging from the hardware costs to the cost of the project team broken down to hourly rates and the summary of the total costs that will be incurred in the project.

Summary

The section includes the personnel details and the wages that will be payable t them in the longer run. The hours were calculated for the people in the team and the total wages were calculated. At the same time, the suppliers that were consulted for the items that was needed and will be purchased with respect to the cost and the item quantities that will be needed.

Detailed

As the project plan has relayed the titles and designations that will be used in the team with respect to the project guidelines. The relative costs such travel costs and the management costs as well as entertainment costs, printing and development costs incurred in the project and the provision of the supportive financial report is helpful. The comparison report between costs and the incurred costs is not mentioned which is important to determine the value that is achieved. This would help in calculating the cost benefit ratio. Separately every aspect has to be valued and considered on a cost plan to achieve effective cost management (Cost Management).

Conclusion

The project plan has a considerable explanatory factor and uses descriptive stance to explain what has been done in the project. The true essence of the project has been in detail provided but if the ideology was more focused towards the major content of the project instead of the content of the report then most of the shortcomings could have been avoided. The plan was explained based on the infrastructure but misses the aspect of the technical projection of the project. The work flow has been explained but the framework governing the project was missing without which the project management plan can be referenced for a future guideline (Kerzner, 2004).

References

Choudhury, S. (1988). Project management. Tata McGraw-Hill Education.

Cost Management. (n.d.). Web.

Kerzner, H. (2004). Advanced project management: best practices on implementation. John Wiley and Sons.

Kousholt, B. (2007). Project Management. Nyt Teknisk Forlag.

McNeil, A. F. (2005). Quantitative risk management: Concepts, techniques and tools. NJ: Princeton university press Princeton.

Obj-Web. (2011). Project Management. Web.

Schwalbe, K. (2009). Information Technology Project Management. Cengage Learning.