Business organizations need to have agile, flexible, and reliable work processes and structures. The twenty first century has created an organizational model that is decentralized. It seeks to create scalable and automated business processes that enable the management to take advantage of new opportunities. A number of tools and methodologies have been devised in order to produce superior outcomes. Project management helps organizations to achieve efficiency and effectiveness. The process needs to be conducted in a reliable and consistent manner. This can be achieved only through logical and practical planning. Effective preparation is the key to success in project management. This paper will seek to explore conception and planning phases of a project. It utilizes research resources in order to derive accurate conclusions.
Brooklyn Technologies is a well known and reputed information technology provider. It provides a plethora of innovative software and hardware solutions to public and private enterprises. I have been working as a project manager for the web solutions department of the organization. London Luggage is an influential and well known player operating in the retail luggage industry. The organization sells diverse travel products that are suited for various consumer segments. Further the organization has expanded its operations into major cities of the United Kingdom. Recently the organization felt the need to create an online website. This e-commerce website would enable its customers to make online purchases for various travel accessories. Brooklyn Technologies provided a customized and specified e-commerce solution to the client.
Project management is concerned with developing, mobilizing, and allocating resources in order to accomplish business targets. Projects are defined as initiatives that have a particular aim and time period (Englund & Graham, 1999: Pg 54). The entire process follows a systematic and methodical approach. Projects are initiated in order to acquire tangible and intangible benefits for the business organization. A project is usually a temporary endeavour that has recognized and identified objectives. Project management requires meticulous planning and preparation. Managers must be able to evaluate the requirements and limitations of specific endeavours.
The primary requirements of the project are analyzed and assessed at the first stage. Project conception is a vital and integral element of project management. Managers are able to investigate the efficiency and effectiveness of projects. According to Cooke & Arzymanow, “Any flaws during the conception process lead to poorly executed projects” (2003: Pg 472). Managers conduct an extensive appraisal of the work environment. This helps them to make realistic assessments regarding the demands of the project. Appropriate strategies can be executed in order to ensure the successful completion of the project. Specific weaknesses can be rectified through a systematic approach.
Project planning is the next step in the management process. Blueprints are designed in order to provide a conceptual framework about project objectives and targets. Managers create models in this stage in order to determine the nature and scope of the project. According to Crawford, “Project planning must be able to devise appropriate controls that satisfy customer desires and requirements” (2002: Pg 23). Project planning is dubbed to be successful if it accomplishes a number of tasks. The project must be able to deliver the tangible and intangible benefits. It should maintain high levels of excellence and quality. It should be created within the given time period. Finally it should be able to suppress the constraints and limitations that were encountered during the process.
Globalization and Internet are dynamic forces which have impacted the business environment in the twenty first century. The Internet has emerged as a powerful medium for conducting business transactions (Evrard & Nieto, 2004: Pg 99). Major organizations have created e-commerce websites in order to increase revenues and profits. London Luggage has become a brand name in the United Kingdom travel accessory market. The organization sought to utilize its brand image, equity, loyal customer base, and innovative business approach to move into the online shopping market. The strategic aim of the organization was to create an online platform exclusively for customers. The organization’s customers would have 24/7 access to its products. They could engage in online shopping within the comfort and relaxation of home environment. The organization would also witness a significant decrease in operational costs. It could target a regional and international target audience through the online portal.
Client and Personal Responsibilities
The sponsor was tasked with the responsibility of providing project details, demands, and objectives. Also the client budget was determined and gauged in order to create a feasible proposal. The sponsor was tasked with the responsibility of providing support and assistance to the project team. Coordination and integration with the sponsor was a vital component of the entire process. End users were frequently consulted in order to obtain valuable feedback and guidance. As a project manager, my duties were to ensure that the conception and planning stages were executed in a smart manner. The first responsibility was to analyze the description and scope of the project. This involved creating specifications that would help in minimizing the presence of flaws, weaknesses, and problems (Evrard & Nieto, 2004: Pg 98). Customer demands and requirements were transformed into obtainable targets. Operations process was evaluated and assessed in the context of the business environment. A conceptual framework was developed in order to provide clarity and direction. The human and technological resources required for the project were evaluated in a prudent manner. A budget was created through methodical financial assessment and appraisal. Project expenses were determined in order to create a viable budget. Stakeholder interests and requirements were taken into consideration during this stage. According to Lim & Zain, “A complete document must be created that consists of expenses, responsibilities, targets, and timetables” (1999: Pg 243). The project planning phase involved a number of activities and responsibilities. It sought to create a viable plan based upon organizational, business, and work force demands. The functions of the website were determined by using a smart approach. Quality standards were designed in order to ensure superior outcomes. Monitoring and performance appraisal systems were designed in order to reduce or mitigate problems. Specific control systems were designed in order to track team progress. Team leaders were selected in order to provide frequent updates about the project execution. My duties involved providing regular updates and details to senior management. Extensive documentation and reports were used in order to ensure superior outcomes.
Team Member Selection
Project management teams comprise of qualified and competent members that are able to attain universal targets. The project team is an imperative element of project management. As a project manager, I selected team members based upon the required skills and competencies. Forming has been described as the preliminary step towards the creation of a team. Each team member must be able to demonstrate high levels of organizational dedication and job contentment (Nicholas & Steyn, 2008: Pg 56). Web developers, web designers, database designers, and graphics designers were selected to form the project team. Individual roles were described and defined. I debriefed the work team about the objectives, targets, time period, and budget of the customer. Storming is the second stage of project team formation. According to Nicholas & Steyn, “The project targets are elucidated in a clear and precise manner to the work team during this stage” (2008: Pg 56). During this stage, I addressed the concerns and apprehensions of the work team. Individual members were directed to use their skills for allocated duties. My duty in this stage was to create a supportive and cooperative work environment. Studies have identified norming as the third stage in the formation of project teams. The project team was empowered to apply creativity and innovation in order to accomplish job tasks. Performing is the final stage of the project team creation. I created an assessment instrument in order to monitor the performance of the work team. The system utilized several benchmarks like quality, quantity, cost effectiveness, time management, and communication skills in order to gauge the project progress.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Empirical studies have demonstrated a number of crucial variables that enable the success of project teams. The team must have superior levels of enthusiasm, dedication, and passion during the project implementation. Tasks should be divided amongst the work force in order to ensure quality and excellence (Pinto & Trailer, 1998: Pg 123). Finally the project manager should be able to deliver clear, precise, and accurate instructions to the project team. My project team had high levels of motivation and stimulus. They were enthusiastic in performing the various assigned tasks. A collaborative team environment helped to minimize work force conflicts and disputes. Project objectives and targets were understood in an apparent and lucid manner. I sought to understand and perceive the apprehensions and requirements of the work force. However it is also a fact that a number of constraints were encountered during the process. Website designers and graphics designers had poor communication skills. They were unable to provide consistent and reliable customer services to the sponsor. Delegation and autonomy was also a significant bottleneck during the project execution. Some team members began to procrastinate that temporarily slowed the project pace. The identification and recognition of problems suggests that the team members must be given training and development. Communication skills are vital for the success of any services oriented organization. Customer satisfaction is the main objective of business objectives. According to Turner, “Some individuals are technically proficient but lack basic communication skills” (1999: Pg 87). Training should focus on developing high levels of association and interaction between the staff and sponsor. Finally delegation should be practiced in a systematic and methodical manner. Protocols should be established to reduce or mitigate the chances of procrastination.
Project Quality Standards and Performance Measures
Quality control is an important element of project management. According to Morris, “It comprises of appraisal and testing procedures that ensure completion of project according to appropriate criterion” (1994: Pg 152). Quality checking is involved during the different phases of the project. It does not involve a set of final procedures during project completion. The e-commerce website was designed using practical and logical quality standards. An extensive quality management system was deployed in order to track the progress of the project. The website design was created according to business to consumer standards. Extensive documentation was provided for the various project phases. A series of inspections and tests were periodically performed to determine the efficacy of the website. I designed an information technology business model for the sponsor. This was based upon the sponsor requirements and demands. Quality standards involved the design, functionality, compatibility, flexibility, reliability, and agility of the business website. A number of performance measures were determined through mutual consultation and guidance. Functionality was defined as the ability of the website to execute its proposed purpose. This process involved identifying and recognizing the features available on the website for customers. Performance was another variable utilized to determine the success of the project. This variable sought to establish the ability of the website in satisfying stakeholder objectives (Bryde, 2003: Pg 775). A website can function properly only if it has consistency and reliability. These variables were utilized throughout the project in order to create uniform guidelines. Finally timeliness and suitability were used as variables to establish the performance of the website.
Appropriate Management Plan
Project management can be successful only if it is properly planned and organized. The online portal project for London Luggage involved systematic and methodical planning. My first duty was to conduct an appraisal of the opportunities that the project offered. This process involved conducting assessment of organizational strengths and weaknesses. Risk management was also extensively covered during this phase. Key corporate objectives were identified and recognized for the project. Broad objectives were first determined while operational details were filled at a later time period. A number of viable options were determined according to the customer specifications and requirements. According to Bryde, “The potential outcome of various options needs to be explored and analyzed using various tools” (2003: Pg 777). Finally the appropriate option for the customer was determined and designed. Project planning is successful only if the manager has an accurate illustration of goals and targets (Bryde, 2003: Pg 776). My job was to ensure that efficient and effective procedures would be implemented in order to produce superior business outcomes. A comprehensive and viable project plan was designed by taking into account various variables. I conducted a review in order to determine any flaws or weaknesses. The management plan was finalized after consulting with stakeholders. This plan was proposed as the best course of action. It would seek to accomplish the sponsor targets and objectives. It would be completed within the given timeframe and budget.
Project Planning and Management Tools
Empirical studies have documented a number of superior project planning and management tools. The overall aim of these tools is to ensure that project targets are executed in a smart and prudent manner. Another advantage of these tools is that they help to create an efficient and effective plan. Plus/Minus/Interesting (PMI) was a planning tool utilized during the project conception and planning. This tool helps managers to determine the advantages and disadvantages of a specific approach (Nicholas & Steyn, 2008: Pg 66). PMI helped me to decide the best database for the online portal. Another tool that was utilized was the cost/benefit analysis. This tool helps to determine the operational and administrative expenses incurred during the project. It helped create a viable and realistic business proposal for the sponsor according to the latter’s budget constraints. Force Field Analysis was used in order to understand the external and internal environmental variables that impact the project (Nicholas & Steyn, 2008: Pg 72). This technique helped me to determine the various features that would be available on the website. For instance I determined that two login panels must be created for buyers. These panels would be separate for new and old clients. It would assist the organization in creating promotional schemes for its customers based upon their loyalty and dedication.
Checking Project Plans
Project plans were evaluated through an efficient and logical approach. The first task was to ensure that the project team was accomplishing their targets. Specific benchmarks like schedule, work, and budget were used to assess the performance of the work team (Evrard & Nieto, 2004: Pg 99). Specific data was accumulated in order to monitor the success of the project. I devised a number of contingency plans in order to respond to unforeseeable circumstances. The work team was subdivided into four groups. A team leader provided real time information about the various tasks and procedures. An information management system was installed in order to provide extensive documents and reports about the progress of the project. A number of flaws and loopholes were identified during the project management process. End user training for the sponsor was being conducted in an ad hoc and haphazard manner. This was rectified by an extensive program of debriefing to the work team. End user concerns and apprehensions were documented and collected in order to provide a robust response (Evrard & Nieto, 2004: Pg 99). Another problem occurred during the transfer of organizational data into the website database. London Luggage did not have an advanced database system. This was rectified by systematically and logically sorting out various data. Information was processed in a smart and prudent manner.
Monitoring and Control Measures
Monitoring and control is an integral element of project management. The overall aim of this process is to ensure coordination and harmonization of various activities. Project activities were calculated and estimated by using various procedures. A number of variables were identified and recognized. These variables were evaluated through the basic objectives and aims. The entire process was conducted in a systematic and methodical manner. It was done in order to produce superior business outcomes for the business organization. Project conception and planning stages involved creating milestones. This process involved the application of dynamic and proactive business strategies. It sought to create an optimized and integrated process that would enable superior organizational outcomes. Corrective actions were undertaken during the entire process whenever flaws or inefficiencies were detected. Risk management was conducted in order to ensure success of the program.
Project management is an intricate and complex discipline that involves a number of variables. It is concerned with scheduling, classifying, and allocating resources for project execution. A project is an endeavour that has a specific target and time period. Project management involves a number of different phases. Project conception involves the process of identifying and recognizing objectives. It seeks to develop an efficient and effective plan for attaining organizational goals. Project conception helps the management to devise an appropriate course of action. Another important stage is the project planning. During this phase, a comprehensive and viable execution plan is developed. This phase helps to create a conceptual framework that guides the managers in attaining business goals. London Luggage required an online website that would enhance its sales and revenues. It was designed to take advantage of the information technology revolution. My responsibilities as a project manager were to ensure that goals were accomplished. It consisted of creating an appropriate framework for project execution. Client requirements and demands needed to be satisfied. Budget and time constraints needed to be taken into account during project management. A project team was selected based upon specific competencies and skills. This process involved motivating and stimulating the work force. It consisted of giving them detailed instructions about work duties. Quality and performance standards were designed based upon specific benchmarks. Appropriate project management tools were utilized in order to create an efficient and effective process. Finally monitoring and control procedures were implemented in order to ensure that organizational and business goals were achieved.
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