Project management plan is a very important document that outlines all the activities of a project, its timeline, the associated costs, risks, deliverables, and all the stakeholders involved in the project. When a plan is drawn, it is important to conduct a critique on it before it is rolled out in order to identify areas that may need some adjustments. The project management plan for the Game Market Research Project has effectively addressed important issues that a standard PMP plan should have. However, the research has noted a number of issues that may need to be addressed before it is finally implemented, especially on the sponsor, project manager, and team details.
Projects cost a lot of time, human and financial resources and therefore, it is important that the planning is done effectively in order to yield the desired results. According to Schwalbe (2011), a project is always focused on achieving specific objectives within a given timeline. This scholar says that the ability of a project to deliver the desired result will depend on the manner in which it is implemented. The implementation of a project should be based on a clear project management plan that stipulates the activities to be carried out and their timelines, the individuals involved in the project and their role, the budget that the project is assigned to, and a clear definition of project deliverables. When these are outlined in an appropriate manner, it is very likely that such a project would be successful. It is therefore, important to conduct a critique on project management plans before its implementation to identify its strength and possible weaknesses that should be addressed before the implementation. This research will critique the project management plan for video game market research project.
Analysis of PMP
According to Stackpole (2010), the introductory part of a project is very important because it provides specific details about the project to the reader. Financiers would always determine the worth of a project by going through the introductory part. For this reason, it should always be addressed properly. The first part of this section is the name of the project. In this project, the name given was Video Game Market Research Project. This name is satisfactory because it gives a clear impression that the project seeks to conduct a market research on the profitability of video game. The project given at this section elaborates the fact that this project is a research work that seeks to determine the profitability of a video game rental service. The section is precise, but rather short for a comprehensive market research project. The sponsor’s details ad project manager and team details are not given in a satisfactory manner. As Stackpole (2010) says, it is important to ensure that all possible information about the sponsor and project management team should be provided for the purpose of transparency and accountability in the project.
This plan has a detailed structure of deliverables of the project. The plan has a clear market feasibility study, and a detailed documentation of the products created from the project. The plan has adequately defined the deliverables into specific categories. The reference details are given, but it is not satisfactory. It has been given in a weekly team minutes format, but it has not mentioned the use of any other resources consulted in the project given that it is a research project. The project management plan has a section for definition. The plan defines acronyms, which is very important. However, this section has not defined any technical terminology used in the project which is always a necessity in such plans. Not everyone who reads the document has the capacity to know their meaning (Project Management Institute, 2013). Explaining some of these technologies is very vital to improve ability of readers to understand the information. Finally, this section ends with some key assumptions made during project implementation process. This has been done satisfactorily.
According to Roberts (2011), the organization section of the project management plan should have specific information that clarifies a number of issues in the project. The first part in this section is the organizational chart that explains roles played by all project members. This project management plan has satisfactorily given the chart with the key stakeholders and their role. From the chart, it is clear that Elliot Wood is the project manager, and for this reason if anything goes wrong in the project, he would be fully responsible for it.
In this plan, the management team has given the organizational hierarchy of all the stakeholders who are actively participating in this project. From this explanation, it is explained that Lori Morrison, is the sponsor of the head of this project. It is also explained that that all important decisions in the project must be approved by her before they can be executed. She is regularly updated by the project manager. It is important to note that this section lacks some other important information about the project, especially an explanation of the specific roles of some of the members of the project besides the sponsor and the project manager.
Management and technical approach
Different projects always take different management approaches based on their nature, the time available, and resources, including human resource. In this project management plan, the team has started by outlining weekly activities that would be taken by project members. The plan has a table of the activities from week one to the twenty-sixth week. The planned activities are procedural, especially given that the first activity would be the selection of the project manager in the first week. With the project manager, this team would have a clear management structure that would guide all other activities that would be conducted at various stages. The plan has effectively given a series of activities that would be conducted after the formation of the project team. The plan shows that the project members were sensitive on the quality of the project by explaining a series of activities that would be conducted to ensure that the final report is of the expected quality.
Project controls are important in controlling and monitoring of the progress of the project. Although this project management plan has made an effort to define project controls, it did not give it enough relevance in the report. Instead, the plan came up with another section for change requests, which is just fine because it shows that the plan is sensitive of the possible changes that may take place in the project.
In every project, risk is not something that can be avoided because it occurs when it is least expected. As Lester (2013) notes, an effective project management plan should have a clear risk management strategy that would help mitigate the risks as they occur. In this plan, the team started by identifying the top three risks that are associated with the project. This is an excellent job because the impact and probability of different risks occurring is always different, by identifying the top risks, this plan appreciates that other risks may occur, but these three are most likely to occur, and their impact may be massive. This helps the financier understand how this can be addressed effectively for the project to be successful. The plan elaborates risk management approach, risk identification strategy, risk monitoring, and risk mitigation and avoidance. Although this approach is good, it would be better if the plan included risk prediction strategy once the project commences.
Game Market Research Project has a table defining its staff. The approach taken by the plan is enough to make one understand the role of various staff members, but lacks elaboration on the positions of these members. It is important to note that the technical process which provides an evaluation of the documentation standards is conspicuously missing in this plan. It is therefore, not possible to determine the system development life cycle that is selected for the project.
Work to perform
As Kendrick (2011) notes, a project management plan should have a detailed explanation of the specific activities that should be carried out in the project. Defined as the scope, this plan identifies the specific activities that should be conducted from the first day, the duration that it should take, the starting date and the finishing date for purpose of clarity. The activities have been categorized as initializing, planning, executing, controlling, and closing activities. This section is highly professional as it would not need one to have project management background to understand this information.
The plan gives key deliverables in three categories. The first category defines the focus group. The description given in this stage shows that the involved individuals understand what is expected of them in this project. In the second category, the plan describes the online survey that will be conducted in the project. It explains what should be done during online survey in a clear and concise manner. The last section describes the feasibility report. Westland (2006) observes that feasibility report is vital in any project plan. The financiers must be convinced that the output that would be obtained from the project is worth their investment. No one would be interested in a project that lacks the capacity to yield desirable fruits. This project has been validated, by the responsible stakeholders conducting the feasibility study.
The schedule of the planned activities must be given in a project management plan to help estimate the period that the project is expected to take. Gantt chart is the best tool that can be used to present the information in a pictorial form. This plan has a detailed Gantt chart stating the duration, start, and finish dates of individual activities in the project. From the Gantt chart, one can easily grasp the activities that would be carried out, and the duration they would take for them to be completed. The plan also has a milestone report defining the status of the activities, people responsible for the activities, and some relevant comments from the responsible officers explaining how the activities were carried out. The plan further presents a network diagram of the scheduled activities in this report.
The budget of the project is a sensitive area that must always be handled with a lot of care (Project Management Institute, 2013). At this section, it is important to have the total estimate of the overall project’s budget. This is precisely presented in this report. The plan also gives, in the same table, a summary of project cost management plan. The budget is presented in a table format which is clear to any person who may be interested in understanding the expenditure in the project. Finally the plan explains some of the key budgetary assumptions made in this project. Although not explained explicitly, the details given is enough to shade clear light on why these assumptions were made and their importance in budget planning.
The project management plan for Game Market Research Project may pass as a standard PMP because it meets some of the key issues that should be addressed in such a plan. From the analysis above, it comes out that such a plan should identify all the stakeholders in a project and their specific roles, the timeline for the project, the cost, the expected risks, and the source of funding in the project. All these issues have been addressed in this project management planning. Although it failed to elaborate on the specific activities done by project members, it has been comprehensive enough to address the key issues identified above.
Kendrick, T. (2011). 101 project management problems and how to solve them: Practical advice for handling real-world project challenges. New York: AMACOM, American Management Association.
Lester, A. (2013). Project Management: Managing Engineering, Construction and Manufacturing Projects to PMI, APM and BSI Standards. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide). Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.
Roberts, P. (2011). Effective project management. London: Kogan Page.
Schwalbe, K. (2010). Information technology project management. Boston: Course Technology.
Stackpole, C. (2010). A user’s manual to the PMBOK guide. Hoboken: Wiley.
Westland, J. (2006). The project management lifecycle: A complete step-by-step methodology for initiating, planning, executing and closing a project successfully. London: Kogan Page.