Management Consulting/MBA questions
Sir can you upload answer for the following question:
1)a) Distinguish between Project and Production Management.
b) Discuss the critical success factor in Project Management.
2)Discuss the various methods for economic analysis of the project. Also explain the drawback of the traditional methods.
3)What is an ideal resource profile and how does it get influenced by practical considerations of project execution?
4)Elaborate the concept of “Earned value of the Budget” in PERT/Cost System.
5)Explain the importance of “Project Review” in the context of Control of a project.
6)Draw a Project Network for the following activities.
Activity :A B C D E F G H I J K
Predecessor : - - - A A B B D, E C G,I F, H, J
HERE IS SOME SOME USEFUL MATERIAL.
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1] a) Distinguish between Project and Production Management.
4.Mission of the project
5.Roles/Responsibilities of the project team members.
6.Project Facilitator/ Manager
12.a complete set of task with the linking structure
13.work breakdown structure
15.a realistic time eatimate / schedule
17.means of communication
20.risk management plan.
Defining objectives and scope Even on the smallest project there will be objectives which must be achieved. As a project manager, it is in your interest to define what these objectives are since you are likely to be assessed on whether the project meets those objectives. It is your responsibility to ensure the project meets those objectives and you are accountable for this. In short, the book stops with you.
Now suppose you don't define and write down what the objectives are, you are always going to be at the mercy of any boss who decides he's got it in for you. The defined and documented set of objectives is your insurance policy against your manager later coming along and saying you didn't meet the objectives.
Similarly with defining the scope. The scope forms the boundary of your project. If you don't define what it is, the likelihood is that it will grow and grow as the project progresses and although you might have started managing a very small project, before long your project could become very much bigger than when you set out.
You still need to document who are the stakeholders on a small project as well. By defining who these are, you can ensure that you cover all of their needs when you define the objectives and deliverables.
Somebody is going to have to carry out the actual work to produce whatever is delivered from your project. Even if the deliverables might be small and don't take much time to produce, they should still be written down. By documenting these things and then having them reviewed by others allows errors to be found. Your aim should be to document a detailed enough set of descriptions of the products to be delivered. These descriptions will then be used by the people who will produce the deliverables. Even if these descriptions take no more than a page of text, it is important to write them in a clear and unambiguous way. If you don't write down a description, it means that the person making the deliverable can interpret what is required in unexpected ways which will only result in work being done later to correct the mistakes. So, always define and document the deliverables.
Project planning If you were to walk up Mount Everest, you would never do it without a considerable amount of planning. Even if you walk up the hill at the back of your house, there is probably some planning involved - what time do you go? What should you take with you? It is the same on even the smallest project where you will still need to work out which activities are required to produce a deliverable, estimate how long the activities will take, work out how many staff and resources are required and assign activities and responsibilities to staff. All of these things need to be written down and communicated effectively to the project team members. I've seen lots of people become unstuck because they think they need to use some kind of project management planning software such as Microsoft Project. This is an unnecessary overhead. I've noticed that people tend to waste too much time making their Microsoft Project Gantt charts look pretty, so that they lose sight of the reason why they are using the tool. Instead, for small projects I find that creating a bar chart in Microsoft Excel is the best. It is simple and more than adequate for small projects. Just make each column a sequential date, write your tasks in the first column, and fill in the cells to represent the time the activity takes. In addition to the bar chart, you will need to document the milestones on the project. Milestones are the dates by which you need to deliver certain things, or may be the date on which a major activity ends. The responsibilities of each project member must also be documented in the project plan.
Communication Even in the smallest project team comprised of just a project manager and one other person, the project manager will still need to assign tasks and responsibilities to the other person. It can't be assumed that they will know what they should do without it being effectively communicated from the project manager. If the project manager doesn't assign them specific activities, then the chances are they will go ahead and work on things which are not needed by the project. So, either the project will end up delivering the wrong things, or the project will get delayed since time will need to be spent later on doing the activities which should have been done earlier. You can communicate the plans via email, or give a print out of the plan to your project team member(s), or better still, call a meeting and run through the plan with the project team members. Remember, if the plan changes, you will also need to communicate the changes to your team as well.
Tracking and reporting progress If we still consider our two person project team - the project manager and one other person - the project manager will need to know the progress of the activities which the other person is working on. This can be done in a variety of ways: a short daily email detailing the work completed, the work still left to do, and a list of any issues/problems. In most cases this will be sufficient. Alternatively a short 15 minute face to face catch up can accomplish the same thing. Or a combination of the two things might be best. In any event, the project manager still needs to be fully aware of the progress that is being made so that progress can be tracked effectively.
Change management Even on our two person project, changes are likely to occur. Requests for change usually come from stakeholders and it is your responsibility as project manager to assess the impact of accepting these into the project. To do this, you need a good estimate of the impact the change will have in terms of the extra effort and cost involved. This will often impact the schedule as well, so by having a clear understanding of how the schedule and budget will be affected you can make the decision as to whether or not you will accept the change into your project. On a small project there shouldn't be any need for any fancy change control board to decide if the change is accepted. A quick discussion with the key stakeholder(s) should be sufficient for you to come to a decision providing you have worked out the impact on cost and schedule. One thing you should never do is simply accept the change. Even if you think the change is small, you should never accept any change(s) without fully understanding what its impact will be on cost and schedule. That is a recipe for what we call 'scope creep' where the project grows bigger and bigger as more and more changes are added into the project. Before you know it, your small project has become a much larger one and you will inevitably fail to deliver your project to your original budget and schedule.
Risk management There will be risks even on a small project. Make sure you have thought through all the potential risks at the beginning of the project, monitor the top ten risks each week (or top five if the number of risks is small) and keep looking out for new risks. Failing to manage risk properly is one the main causes for projects to fail. The overhead in managing risks is very low. On a recent project, I drew up a list of what I considered to be all the risks on the project. It came to about 10 risks in all. Of these, five were serious risks. I worked out a plan to avoid or minimise each risk. In all, it took me little over a couple of hours to do this. Then, each week on the project, I would spend say half an hour reviewing all the risks and thinking of any new ones. At the end of the project, whilst some risks actually had materialised, because I'd identified a plan at the start of the project to minimise the impact of these risks, the impact of these risks on the project ended up being minimal. So, with little up front and ongoing effort, you get a big pay back if you manage the risks throughout the project.
OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT , as a function ,normally includes the
-TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT
-JUST IN TIME INVENTORY MANAGEMENT
-STRATEGIC CAPACITY PLANNING
-PROJECT PLANNING AND CONTROL
-MATERIAL REQUIREMENT PLANNING [ MRP]
-BUSINESS PROCESS ENGINEERING
ETC ETC ETC
Production means application of processes. (Technology) to the raw material to add the use and
economic values to arrive at desired product by the best method, with out sacrificing the desired
quality. We have three ways of Production, they are:
(i) Production by Disintegration: By separating the contents of Crude oil or a mixture the
desired products are produced. For example the crude oil is disintegrated into various fuel oils.
Similarly salt production is also an example for product produced by disintegrated. We can use
Mechanical or Chemical or both technologies to get the desired product, so that it will have desired
(ii) Production by Integration: In this type of Production various Components of the products
are assembled together to get the desired product. In this process, Physical and Chemical Properties
of the materials used may change. The examples are: Assembly of Two wheelers, Four wheelers and
(iii) Production by Service: Here the Chemical and Mechanical Properties of materials are
improved without any physical change. The example for this is Heat Treatment of metals. In real
world, a combination of above methods is used.
In general production is the use of any process or procedure designed to transform a set of input
elements into a set of output elements, which have use value and economic value.
PRODUCTION/OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT – AN OVERVIEW
PRODUCTION/Operations Management is the conversion of inputs into outputs, using physical resources, so as to
provide the desired utility/utilities of form, place, possession or state or a combination there-of to the
customer while meeting the other organizational objectives of effectiveness, efficiency and adaptability.
It distinguishes itself from other functions such as personnel, marketing, etc. By its primary concern
Production and Operations Management
for ‘conversion by using physical resources’. There should be a number of situations in either
marketing or personal or other functions, which can be classified or sub-classified under Production
and Operations Management.
For example, (a) The physical distribution of items to the users or customers, (b) The arrangement of collection of marketing information, (c) The actual selection and
recruitment process, (d) The paper flow and conversion of data into information usable by the judge
in a court of law, etc. Can all be put under the banner of production and operations management?
‘The conversion’ here is subtle, unlike manufacturing which is obvious. While in case (a) and (b) it is
the conversion of ‘place’ and ‘possession’ characteristic of product, In (c) and (d) it is the conversion
of the ‘state’ and characteristics. And using physical resources effects this ‘conversion’. The input
and / or output could also be non-physical such as ‘information’, but the conversion process uses
physical resources in addition to other non-physical resources. The management of the use of physical
resources in addition to other non-physical resources for the conversion process is what distinguishes
production and operations management from other functional disciplines.
Production /Operations Management systems are also described as providing physical goods
or services. When we say that the Central Government provides service and the Indian Airlines
provide service these are two entirely two different classes of utilities and consequently the objective
and criteria for reference will have to be entirely different for these two cases.
We may say that the actual production and operations management systems are quite Operations
Management complex involving multiple utilities to be provided to the customer, with a mix of
physical and non-physical inputs and outputs and perhaps with a multiplicity of customers.
CRITERIA OF PERFORMANCE:
Three aims of performance of the Production and Operations Management system may be identified.
(a) Effectiveness, (b) Customer satisfaction, (c) Efficiency.
The case of Efficiency is productive utilization of resources is clear. Whether the organization is
in ‘private sector’ or in the ‘public sector’, is a ‘manufacturing or ‘non-manufacturing’ organization
or a ‘profit’ or a ‘non-profit’ organization, the optimal utilization of resource inputs is always a
desired objective. The effectiveness has more dimensions to it. It involves optimality in the fulfillment
of multiple objectives with a possible prioritization within the objectives. Modern production and
operations management has to serve the target customers, the people working within, as also the
region, country or society at large. Thus Production / Operations Management system, has not only to
be profitable and / or efficient, but must necessarily satisfy many more customers. This effectiveness
has to be again viewed in terms of the short and long-term horizons depending upon the operations
Optimum, Good, Better operations management can improve:
(i) Efficiency of operation system to do things right and broader concept.
(ii) Effectiveness of operation system refers to doing right things that is seven rights, they are:
Right operation, Right Quantity, Right Quality, Right Supplier or Right Vendor, Right
Time, Right Place and Right Price.
Basically, efficiency and effectiveness of the operations system can be measured by four dimensions,
they are: (i) Cost, (ii) Quality, (iii) Dependability and (iv) Reliability. In fact these directly relate to
the competitiveness of the organization, both nationally and internationally. Modern developments in
better tools and techniques, methods and systems like Automation, Flexible manufacturing, CAD,
Production and Operations Management
CAM, CIM at management, CADD, CIMS, Use of Robotics, TQM, OR Techniques etc, are taking
place to achieve improvements in Cost, Quality, Dependability, Reliability and Flexibility and thus to
help for better management.
DEFINITION OF PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT
It may be defined as:
(i) The performance of the management activities with regards to selecting, designing, operating,
Controlling and updating production system.
(ii) It is the processes of effectively planning, coordinating and controlling the production, that
is the operations of that part of an enterprise, it means to say that production and operations
Management is responsible for the actual transformation of raw materials into finished products.
(iii) Production management is a function of Management, related to planning, coordinating and
controlling the resources required for production to produce specified product by specified
methods, by optimal utilization of resources.
(iv) Production management is defined as management function which plans, organizes, coordinates,
directs and controls the material supply and Processing activities of an enterprise,
so that specified products are produced by specified methods to meet an approved sales
programme. These activities are being carried out in such a manner that Labour, Plant and
Capital available are used to the best advantage of the organization.
OBJECTIVE OF PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT
The objective of Production Management is to produce the desired product or specified product by
specified methods so that the optimal utilization of available resources is met with. Hence the
production management is responsible to produce the desired product, which has marketability at the
cheapest price by proper planning, the manpower, material and processes. Production management
must see that it will deliver right goods of right quantity at right place and at right price. When the
above objective is achieved, we say that we have effective Production Management system.
SCOPE OF PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT:
In fact, we apply Principles of Management; and functions of Management in our day-to-day life. We
all know, from morning till night, we plan our activities; we coordinate available resources and
control our activities to achieve certain goals. So also any organization must follow the Principles of
Management for its survival and growth. The same is applicable to production Management also.
Reading and learning Production Management will enable one to be capable of solving the problems
of the organization, may be an Educational Institution, Production Shop, Hospital, Departmental shop
or even a barber shop. The problems a manager face in various organizations are more or less similar
to that of Production department but smaller in magnitude. Hence the knowledge of Production
Management will help any professional Manager to tackle the problems of his business easily.
For example: The Production Management consists of Planning, selection of materials, planning of
processes, Routing, Scheduling and controlling the activities etc., Take the example of an Educational
Institution/University. Here also selection of raw students, Planning of the Course Work, Educating
the students and conducting the examination. Therefore this knowledge will enable one to apply the
Production and Operations Management
principles of Production Management to any field of life without restriction. Here, We have to
remember that the above is also applicable to the management of a service organization and the
management of a Project. Here it is better to distinguish between product, Service and Project, so as
to help the reader to know on which particular aspect of Production Management to put much
emphasis, in managing a service organization or a project.
(i) Product: Manufacturing system often produces standardized products in large volumes. The
plant and machinery have a finite capacity. The facilities constitute fixed costs, which are allocated to
the products produced. Variable costs, such as, labour cost and materials costs. While manufacturing
the product use value and economic values are added to the product. Hence the product is a store of
values added during manufacture. Because the input costs and output costs are measurable, the
productivity can be measured with certain degree of accuracy. Product can be transported to the
markets and stored physically until it is sold.
(ii) Service: Service system present more uncertainty with respect to capacity and costs. Services
are produced and consumed in the presence of the customer. We cannot store the service physically.
Because of this the service organizations, such as Hotels, Hospitals, Transport Organizations and
many other service organizations the capacity must be sufficiently or consciously managed to
accommodate a highly variable demand. Sometimes services like legal practice and medical practice
involve Professional or intellectual judgments, which cannot be easily standardized. Because of this
the calculation of cost and productivity is difficult.
(iii) Project: Project system does not produce standardized products. The Plant, Machinery, Men
and Materials are often brought to project site and the project is completed. The project is of big size
and remains in the site itself after completion. As the costs can be calculated and allocated to the
project with considerable accuracy, Productivity can be measured. Once the project is completed, all
the resources are removed from site.
BENEFITS DERIVED FROM EFFICIENT PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT
The efficient Production Management will give benefits to the various sections of the society. They
(i) Consumer benefits from improved industrial Productivity, increased use value in the product.
Products are available to him at right place, at right price, at right time, in desired quantity
and of desired quality.
(ii) Investors: They get increased security for their investments, adequate market returns, and
creditability and good image in the society.
(iii) Employee gets adequate Wages, Job security, improved working conditions and increased
Personal and Job satisfaction.
(iv) Suppliers: Will get confidence in management and their bills can be realized with out any
(v) Community: community enjoys Benefits from economic and social stability.
(vi) The Nation will achieve prospects and security because of increased Productivity and
healthy industrial atmosphere.
FUNCTIONS OF PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT
The functions of Production Management depend upon the size of the firm. In small firms the
production Manager may have to look after production planning and control along with Personnel,
Production and Operations Management
Marketing, Finance and Purchase functions. In medium sized firms, there may be separate managers
for Personnel, marketing and Finance functions. But the production planning and control and Purchase
and stores may be under the control of Production management department. In large sized firms the
activities of Production Management is confined to the management of production activities only. As
such, there are no hard and fast rule or guidelines to specify the function of Production Management,
but in the academic interest we can mention some of the functions, which are looked after by the
Production Management department. They are:
(i) Materials: The selection of materials for the product. Production manager must have sound
Knowledge of materials and their properties, so that he can select appropriate materials for his
product. Research on materials is necessary to find alternatives to satisfy the changing needs of the
design in the product and availability of material resumes.
(ii) Methods: Finding the best method for the process, to search for the methods to suit the
available resources, identifying the sequence of process are some of the activities of Production
(iii) Machines and Equipment: Selection of suitable machinery for the process desired, designing
the maintenance policy and design of layout of machines are taken care of by the Production
(iv) Estimating: To fix up the Production targets and delivery dates and to keep the production
costs at minimum, production management department does a thorough estimation of Production
times and production costs. In competitive situation this will help the management to decide what
should be done in arresting the costs at desired level.
(v) Loading and Scheduling: The Production Management department has to draw the time
table for various production activities, specifying when to start and when to finish the process
required. It also has to draw the timings of materials movement and plan the activities of manpower.
The scheduling is to be done keeping in mind the loads on hand and capacities of facilities available.
(vi) Routing: This is the most important function of Production Management department. The
Routing consists of fixing the flow lines for various raw materials, components etc., from the stores to
the packing of finished product, so that all concerned knows what exactly is happening on the shop
(vii) Despatching: The Production Management department has to prepare various documents
such as Job Cards, Route sheets, Move Cards, Inspection Cards for each and every component of the
product. These are prepared in a set of five copies. These documents are to be released from Production
Management department to give green signal for starting the production. The activities of the shop
floor will follow the instructions given in these documents. Activity of releasing the document is
known as dispatching.
(viii) Expediting or Follow up: Once the documents are dispatched, the management wants to
know whether the activities are being carried out as per the plans or not. Expediting engineers go
round the production floor along with the plans, compare the actual with the plan and feed back the
progress of the work to the management. This will help the management to evaluate the plans.
(ix) Inspection: Here inspection is generally concerned with the inspection activities during
production, but a separate quality control department does the quality inspection, which is not under
the control of Production Management. This is true because, if the quality inspection is given to
production Management, then there is a chance of qualifying the defective products also. For example
Teaching and examining of students is given to the same person, then there is a possibility of passing
all the students in the first grade. To avoid this situation an external person does correction of answer
scripts, so that the quality of answers are correctly judged.
(x) Evaluation: The Production department must evaluate itself and its contribution in fulfilling
the corporate objectives and the departmental objectives. This is necessary for setting up the standards
for future. What ever may be the size of the firm; Production management department alone must do
Routing, Scheduling, Loading, Dispatching and expediting. This is because this department knows
very well regarding materials, Methods, and available resources etc. If the firms are small, all the
above-mentioned functions (i to x) are to be carried out by Production Management Department. In
medium sized firms in addition to Routing, Scheduling and Loading, Dispatching and expediting,
some more functions like Methods, Machines may be under the control of Production Management
Department. In large firms, there will be Separate departments for Methods, Machines, Materials and
others but routing, loading and scheduling are the sole functions of Production Management. All the
above ten functions are categorized in three stage, that is Preplanning, Planning and control stages as
shown in figure.1.1.
* Product development Planning for 4 resources Routing
* Process design Materials Estimating
* Sales forecasting
and estimating Methods Scheduling
* Plant location ↓↓
* Plant layout and Machines and Despatching
Layout of facilities |
* Equipment policy | Inspection
* Preplanning Manpower Expediting
←Pre Planning Stage →←Planning Stage→←Control Stage →
TYPES OF PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
The organization of manufacturing systems, also planning and control of production greatly
depends on type of product type of the product line. Basic principles that guide the formation of
planning policy and its execution may be the same for all the manufacturing concerns. But emphasis
on a particular aspect of production management in fulfilling of specific requirement of the plant and
the management approach to the problems of inventory, machine selection, machine setting, tooling,
routing, scheduling, loading, follow up and general control will differ depending on the type of
production system. Three main factors generally determine this aspect are :
(i) Type of production i.e., quantities of finished products and regularity of manufacture. For
example whether Job production or Batch Production or Continuous Production.
(ii) Size of the Plant i.e., Small Industry, Medium sized Industry or Large Industry.
(iii) Type of Production: In general there are three classifications in types of Production system.
They are discussed below.
(a) Job Production: In this system Products are manufactured to meet the requirements of a
specific order. The quality involved is small and the manufacturing of the product will take place as
per the specifications given by the customer. This system may be further classified as.
(i) The Job produced only once: Here the customer visit the firm and book his order. After
the completion of the product, he takes delivery of the product and leaves the firm. He may
not visit the firm to book the order for the same product. The firm has to plan for material,
process and manpower only after receiving the order from the customer. The firms have no
scope for pre-planning the production of the product.
(ii) The job produced at irregular intervals: Here the customer visits the firm to place orders
for the same type of the product at irregular intervals. The firm will not have any idea of
customer’s visit. Here also planning for materials, process and manpower will start only
after taking the order from the customer. In case the firm maintains the record of the Jobs
Produced by it, it can refer to the previous plans, when the customer arrives at the firm to
book the order.
(iii) The Jobs Produced periodically at regular intervals: In this system, the customer arrives
at the firm to place orders for the same type of product at regular intervals. Here firm knows
very well that the customer visits at regular intervals, it can plan for materials, and process
and manpower and have them in a master file. As soon as the customer visits and books the
order, the firm can start production. If the volume of the order is considerably large and the
number of regularly visiting customers are large in number, the Job Production system
slowly transform into Batch Production system.
(b) Batch Production: Batch Production is the manufacture of number of identical products
either to meet the specific order or to satisfy the demand. When the Production of plant and equipment
is terminated, the plant and equipment can be used for producing similar products. This system also
can be classified under three categories.
(i) A batch produced only once: Here customer places order with the firm for the product of
his specification. The size of the order is greater than that of job production order. The firm
has to plan for the resources after taking the order from the customer.
(ii) A Batch produced at irregular intervals as per Customer order or when the need
arises: As the frequency is irregular, the firm can maintain a file of its detailed plans and it
can refer to its previous files and start production.
10 Production and Operations Management
(iii) A Batch Produced periodically at known Intervals: Here the firm either receives order
from the customer at regular intervals or it may produce the product to satisfy the demand.
It can have well designed file of its plans, material requirement and instructions for the
ready reference. It can also purchase materials required in bulk in advance. As the frequency
of regular orders goes on increasing the Batch Production system becomes Mass Production
System. Here also, incase the demand for a particular product ceases, the plant and machinery
can be used for producing other products with slight modification in layout or in machinery
(c) Continuous Production: Continuous Production system is the specialized manufacture of
identical products on which the machinery and equipment is fully engaged. The continuous production
is normally associated with large quantities and with high rate of demand. Hence the advantage of
automatic production is taken. This system is classified as
(i) Mass Production: Here same type of product is produced to meet the demand of an
assembly line or the market. This system needs good planning for material, process,
maintenance of machines and instruction to operators. Purchases of materials in bulk quantities
(ii) Flow Production: The difference between Mass and Flow Production is the type of product
and its relation to the plant. In Mass Production identical products are produced in large
numbers. If the demand falls or ceases, the machinery and equipment, after slight modification
be used for manufacturing products of similar nature. In flow production, the plant and
equipment is designed for a specified product. Hence if the demand falls for the product or
ceases, the plant cannot be used for manufacturing other products. It is to be scraped. The
examples for the above discussed production system are
(i) Job Production Shop: Tailors shop; cycle and vehicles repair shops, Job typing shops,
(ii) Batch Production Shop: Tyre Production Shops, Readymade dress companies, Cosmetic
(iii) Mass Production Shops: Components of industrial products,
(iv) Flow Production: Cement Factory, Sugar factory, Oil refineries...etc.,
prepare plans for
Plans and Test runs
b) Discuss the critical success factor in Project Management.
Critical success factor (CSF) is the term for an element that is necessary for an organization or project to achieve its mission. It is a critical factor or activity required for ensuring the success of a company or an organization.
"Critical success factors are those few things that must go well to ensure success for a manager or an organization, and, therefore, they represent those managerial or enterprise area, that must be given special and continual attention to bring about high performance. CSFs include issues vital to an organization's current operating activities and to its future success
Critical success factors are elements that are vital for a strategy to be successful. A critical success factor drives the strategy forward, it makes or breaks the success of the strategy, (hence “critical”).
It is estimated that 78% of projects fail to meet their original objectives. All too often, project implementations are over budget, late, lacking in functionality or ultimately never delivered. Not because they are intrinsically bad projects but mainly because of poor upfront planning. Project participants become anxious to begin work, organizational leaders want quick return on investment and resources are often limited due to conflicting priorities. You can improve these statistics. The time spent on project planning will directly yield a more successful project outcome.
How many projects can you look back on and say, if I had to do this all over again, I would have definitely planned it differently? Did the organization’s leaders understand the importance of project planning? Despite the scope of the project, administrative leadership must support and encourage the project team to spend time planning the project appropriately. Although this seems to be a very basic concept, it is surprising how many projects are executed without the appropriate levels of project planning. The most common consequences of poor project planning can be referenced from Table one.
Table One: Consequences of Poor Project Planning Consequence: Reason:
Organizational priorities are not met The project team does not consider the strategic business objectives of the organization, nor do they relate business objectives to how they affect the project.
Over budget When scope is not clear, scope creep causes the project to go over budget exponentially.
Low team morale Team is not clear on project objectives and never feels good about the project deliverables.
Confusion among resources Team chaos when roles and responsibilities are unclear.
High resource turnover With high performing resources, frustration sets in and eventually the resources that thrive on being productive will ask to move off the project.
Unclear communication Employees of the acute or non-acute setting are not routinely informed of the project’s status, so the rumor mill and miscommunication ensues.
Missed dates Critical path, risks and issues are not being managed.
user expectations are not met End-user requirements and expectations are not considered.
Table Two: Thirteen Steps to Successful Project Planning Planning Objective: Purpose:
1. Business objectives and core themes Document the primary purpose and goal for embarking on this project. Summarize these objectives with a series of core themes.
2. Scope, approach and assumptions
• Project scope and approach
• Sequencing and milestones
Document a “fence” around the “what, where and when” of the project. This section should include controllable and uncontrollable barriers to the project. This also should outline facilities required for the project team (desks, chairs, phones, software versions, etc.).
• Equipment, facility needs and standards
3. Critical success factors Document the most important items required for project success.
4. Change management strategy
• Project testing and training plan
Document how the project team plans to handle the changes the project will bring to the organization or end-user. This is also a great time to start outlining the project testing and training plan.
5. Acceptance procedures Document how project acceptance is going to be handled (verbal, signature, etc.).
6. Project organization
• Project resources
• Project roles and responsibilities
• Organizational map
• Organizational structure and responsibilities
• Steering committee structure and responsibilities
Document the “who” within the project. This section includes the project organizational chart, structure and resources.
7. Project communication and control
• Meeting structure
• Status reporting
• Issue management
• Risk management
• Workplan management
• Budget reporting
• Knowledge sharing
• Project calendar
• Documentation control
• Internal project communication
• External project communication
• Documenting complaints
Document the “how” within the project. How will you run your project regarding standards, protocols, processes and procedures for the project management team to follow?
8. Disaster recovery and support plan
• Disaster recovery
Document your plan for disaster recovery, supporting the go-live and eventual day-to-day operations of the application being installed.
9. Decision making and escalation Document the formal project decision making and the chain of command with regards to escalation of issues and risks.
10. Change control procedures Document how you plan to manage changes to project scope.
11. Performance measurement process Document strategy for measuring project performance (example being Earned Value Management or EVM).
12. Quality and customer satisfaction Document strategy to make sure the organization is satisfied with the results of your project. Don’t wait until the project is over before you ask, “did we meet our objectives?” Quality and customer satisfaction must be planned into the plan.
13. Build the project workplan-WBS
(Work Breakdown Structure)
• Activity Definition
• Activity Sequencing
• Activity Duration Estimates
• Schedule Development
• Resource Allocation
Defines the activity, sequencing, duration and schedule using a PMIS (project management information system). Examples being Primavera® and MS Project®.
The project team will be anxious to add or receive clarification on these items. Thoroughly discussing these items with the team is a necessary step. The team’s buy-in is critical to project success. Once the team is committed to the items in Table two, develop a meeting schedule and timeline that meets your project planning objectives with the team. Set up each planning work session via a project calendar and provide the team members with project deliverables (pre-work), so every meeting is productive. Make sure each team member is prepared by providing project status documentation prior to the meeting. This ensures that each meeting builds on the previous meeting, rather than starting from scratch. If time is an issue for preparing pre-work, split the responsibilities among the project team. Keep in mind this is a team effort. Ask each team member to prepare for the planning topic prior to each meeting to productively discuss and then mutually agree on the plan. The primary facilitator of the planning session must keep to the agenda and topic and not allow the discussion to stray too far from the topic. If not facilitated properly, the schedules and/or planning objectives will not be met and the team will become frustrated. Facilitate each planning session in the same fashion until the planning objectives agreed upon at the onset are met. The goal of the last meeting should be to make a final review of your project planning deliverable and provide time for last minute changes prior to submission into your project sponsor for sign-off.
How long should one spend on project planning?
Estimated time allocation for project planning must be outlined by the project team at the onset of the project based on the size and complexity of the project. Typically a good estimate for timeframes will depend on the scope of the project, but scope should not be the only criteria. Although your project may be small or “just a upgrade,” you should still plan for the activities in Table two. The common mistake of not following a standard planning process will lead you to become part of the 78% failure statistic. As your organization accepts project planning as common practice, you will start to learn how long planning will take for future projects. Scope, dollar value, complexity and (most importantly) how long decision making takes in your organization, are all key factors in establishing the first project planning timeline. Table three provides some general project planning timeframes for implementations. These estimated weeks in Table three do not factor a 40 hour planning work week. The estimates in Table three factor the reality of time constrained physician, interdisciplinary clinician, financial and administrative schedules.
What are the top three critical success factors?
Having realistic expectations and timeframe are critical success factors for any project. Although projects tend to run over original estimated timeframes within the organization, advance planning will mitigate the risk of a project taking longer than originally planned.
Involving end users is vital in making sure your project meets their needs. A project that does not consider the requirements of the end-user or, at a minimum, involves those for whom the technology is intended, is bound to fail. Make sure you take the time to solicit business management involvement in your project. This small step has the ability to make or break your organizations project investment. Since time is typically a challenge for business end-users, solicit their time via a project calendar. Work with them off hours or go to their locations of practice in the acute or non-acute setting to make it easier for them to provide input.. Implementation is the project team’s responsibility.
Executive buy-in is the third key critical success factor in making sure you meet strategic objectives as a project manager. Without support and guidance from executive physician and administrative leadership, your project will struggle to meet its objectives when tough decisions need to be made. As you complete your project plan, present to your executive sponsor, and administrative leadership a summary of your project. Meet with them to describe the project plan. Your description need not be detailed, but provide them with a high level outline of your project plan, timeframes, goals, objectives and challenges. This will help you build trust and confidence with the executive leadership team. Remember, communicating, soliciting participation and reinforcing goals and objectives will help the administrative leadership team to provide the highest level of support for your project.
What can you do to improve your chances of success?
First, follow the lead of our panel of experts. Gain administrative commitment to the project and ensure that enough time is spent on project planning. Ask yourself the questions in Table four to benchmark how your project plan stacks up against our recommendations. Use these questions as a pre-planning checklist to test whether or not your projects have a high probability of success. If you answer no to any of the questions in Table four, it would make sense to follow-up on those areas and spend more time on planning.
THE OTHER IMPORTANT CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS ARE
1. User Involvement -15.9%
2. Executive Management Support -13.9%
3. Clear Statement of Requirements -13.0%
4. Proper Planning - 9.6%
5. Realistic Expectations - 8.2%
6. Smaller Project Milestones -7.7%
7. Competent Staff -7.2%
8. Ownership - 5.3%
9. Clear Vision & Objectives - 2.9%
10.Hard-Working, Focused Staff - 2.4%