Project Management Techniques

Subject: Tech & Engineering
Pages: 8
Words: 2020
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: Master

Introduction

“A project can be defined as a collaborative enterprise, frequently involving research or design, that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim” (Walsh, 2008). A project’s objectives will determine how it is run and the end results. Several parameters must be in place for a project to be complete. They include people, time, resources and different stakeholders. According to Walsh (2008), “project management is the discipline of planning, organizing, securing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives”.

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Important tools for a successful project include financial management, professionalism and risk management strategies. “Project management techniques today consist of transformational, flow management and value generation” (Lonergan, 2011). Another important aspect of the project is knowledge management. It comprises of many tasks and initiatives to enable a project create, represent, distribute and adopt data and information.

Managing risks associated with project management

Walsh (2008) defines risk management as the “identification, assessment, and prioritization of risks followed by coordinated and economical application of resources to minimize, monitor, and control them”. Principals of risk management include creation of value, addressing uncertainties, creating a systematic and structured strategy and creation of a dynamic and responsive management of change (Harold, 2009).

Technical risks are those risks related to the professionalism of the project and affects it directly. They include incomplete or wrong designs, uncertainties over availability or delivery of materials, inadequate or inaccurate site assessment and wrong specifications and estimations. Logistical risks are mainly caused by lack of proper transportation infrastructure in a region. They include availability of resources and a timely delivery of materials among others.

Financial risks affect the cost factor of a project. They include inflation, fluctuating tax rates, delayed payments, repatriation of funds and foreign exchange rates (Heerkens, 2007). On the other hand, construction risks include safety and natural uncertainties. Other examples of construction risks include poor industrial relations, weather implications and uncertain productivity of materials. Political risks make it hard for projects to access expatriates and import the required materials (Heerens, 2007). When a country is politically unstable, it is not easy to be consistent and safety is jeopardized.

The most important factor in risk management is adhering to available laws and regulations on safety. Different standards and regulations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and the actuarial societies standards are taken very seriously in many regions. Use of risk management tools such as the ‘CM at-risk’ approach will ensure that the developers assess risks and manage them before they happen. Training employees on safety will be paramount in minimizing risks that could put their lives is danger. The project will also adopt standardization of projects processes, to ensure minimized risks and consistency.

Stakeholders analysis

Stakeholders can be defined as people who are interested and directed by the project’s actions. A business’ strategy must work for the benefit of all the people linked to it, including the community in which the project is operating in. Stakeholders in this project include employees, suppliers, owners, the management and those who appoint them, and those funding the project. They can be categorized into four classes. The first class will include those that the project requires very little effort to impress or influence such as the society and environment. The second class is comprised of those stakeholders who have very high interests in the project but have very little power when it comes to exercising control such as shareholders and suppliers. The third class will be made of stakeholders who have a high degree of influence but are not very much involved in day-to-day activities of the project such as investors and customers. The last class is a group of people who have power to effect the project’s operations. As a result, their needs will have to be satisfied first and foremost. Employees and customers fall in this category.

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Project background

Company XYZ is part of a large multi-national American Organization that assembles transmission for the North American Truck market. The company is re-organizing and is moving part of its operations to another sister plant in the same region. The part of operations the business is moving is involved with the manufacture of gears. The project will take 6 months, starting 10th October 2011 to April 2012 the same date or earlier. Any delays will cause significant problems to the supply chain of the organization. Therefore, the plant has to be in full production by the set date or earlier. Steps involved in the project are identified and discussed below.

Project management

The project will be led by the company’s project manager who reports directly to the senior management. The board of management is expected to sit and approve funding for the project. The project manager is expected to send a weekly briefing to the vice president of the company, who will then brief the board on a monthly basis. Progress will be measured by identifying and measuring different deliverables after every step. Key parameters that will be used to measure progress in the project will include the recruitment, quality of equipment sourced from suppliers, stability and quality of plant constructed and finally capacity and efficiency of production. Milestones already accomplished in the project include identification and acquisition of the appropriate space, identification of equipment required for the project, setting up a team for the project, risk analysis and financial arrangements.

Work breakdown structure

Work breakdown structure

New Plant layout

The new plant layout is aimed at ensuring easy and effective movement of people, raw materials and finished products from one point to the other. The Numerical control center will ensure proper coordination and communication of operations within the plant.

New Plant layout

New plant equipment

For a successful plant layout, the business will first need to establish a good and accessible location for the project and ensure there is a well able and experienced project manager. The chosen has the basic facilities such as a well developed drainage system, a waste management plan, water, power and other basic amenities that the project will require. The step will involve planning for the plant’s operations, site design and architecture, sourcing for materials and purchases.

New suppliers and old suppliers increased supply

Good suppliers not only ensure quality, but also help the project manager stay within the set time limits when doing a project (Lock, 2007). A panel will be set to interview the new suppliers on their capacity to deliver, have them submit samples and negotiate prices. The existing suppliers will be provided with the list of required parts to have them deliver samples and negotiate prices.

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Human resource issues

“Human resources make up the workforce of an organization and help implement policies relating to effective use of resources to produce results” (Harold, 2009). The number of employees needed for the project will be established a month before the project begins. After interviews are done and a team is established, ten of the employees are expected to go to Europe for training on how to run such a plant. They are then expected to return and train the rest of the team.

Plant layout and production planning

According to Singh, plant layout and planning can save a business a lot of money and time by ensuring easy movement and minimum wastage (Singh, 2005). This process will carried out by XYZ engineers to ensure consistency with the company’s facilities structures and quality of work. Installation is expected to take one month, with an assumption that required materials will be delivered on time.

Overall plan

According to Lonergan, a project is considered successful if achieves its goals and objectives at the set time (Lonergan, 2011). The overall process is scheduled to end a month earlier than the set deadline. This is so as to give room for any lateness or delayed deliveries. From the designed Gantt charts, the project is expected to be complete by the set deadline so that normal operations can begin at the designated time.

Gantt Charts

New plant equipment

Gantt Charts

New and old Suppliers selection

New and old Suppliers selection

Human resources issues

Human resources issues

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Plant layout and production

Plant layout and production

Overall project plan

Overall project plan

Measuring the project’s milestones

Measuring the project's milestones

Tasks

Tasks Days Duration Dependency
Task A: Plant layout
1. Planning 42
2. Sourcing for equipment 50 A1
3. Purchasing and transportation 37 A2
Task B: New suppliers and old suppliers increased supply
1. Sourcing for suppliers 20 A1
2. Vetting and selecting suppliers 2 B 1
3. Transportation and testing machines 41 A 3
4. Installation 25 A3 B 3
C: Human resource issues
1.Advertisement for jobs 20 A1
2. Interviews 30 C 1
3. Selection and recruitment 23 C 2
4. Training in Germany 30 C 3
5. Training the rest of the team 30 C3C 4
D:Plant layout and production planning
1. Equipment installation 25 B 4
2. Production in shifts 28 D 1
3. Packaging 30 D 2 D3

Network diagram

Network diagram

Risks and mitigation

Risks Mitigation
New plant equipment
-Lack of reliable suppliers
-Unprofessional designs
-Lack of proper human power.
-The work will be done by XYZ designers
-Using existing suppliers
Suppliers
Inconsistent suppliers
-Delayed deliveries
-High prices.
-Use existing suppliers, who the business has established a good relationship with -Source materials locally
Human resources
-Lack of experienced personnel
-Rejected offers
-Senior positions will be given to existing XYZ employees
-Advertise for jobs early enough
Plant layout
-Wrong specifications for delivered equipment
-Late delivery of material
-The person in charge of this process will be expected to stay in touch with suppliers
-Constant inspection of equipment before they are delivered
-Strict deadlines set for suppliers

Conclusion

Project management includes initiating a project, assessing progress and implementing steps that will produce the expected end results. Several parameters must be in place for a project to be complete. They include people, time, resources and different stakeholders. Key processes in this project include knowledge, human resources and risks management. It also involves consultations among all stakeholders to ensured consistent progress.

Company XYZ’s project involves installing a new production plant. Risks involved in such a project can be categorized into financial, construction and logistical risks among others. To manage them, proper regulations must be adhered to, assessment must be consistent and the team must be well trained on risk management. Steps involved in the project will include initiation, planning, executing the plan and monitoring progress. Challenges include inconsistent suppliers, lack of material, lack of personnel and disagreements between stakeholders.

Reference list

Harold, K., 2009. Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling and controlling, John Wiley & Sons Inc, Boston.

Heerkens, G., 2007. Project management: 24 lessons to help you master any project, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Lock, D., 2007. Project management, Ashgate, Burlington.

Lonergan, K., 2011. All about project management. Web.

Singh, P,, 2005. Setting up a manufacturing plant, California State University, California.

Walsh, R., 2008. Time management: Proven techniques for making every minute count. Avon, Mass.: Adams Business.