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A Project Management And Control System
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Summary of the key issues and facts
It deals with developing, manufacturing and marketing consumer food and beverage products which are produced locally and internationally. It has four major groups that work independently. The engineering group deals with planning and controlling capital projects. Before the implementation of this control system, the capital project was concerned with financial approval of the projects. It was done because some projects were over-budgeted and there was a need for proper utilization of capital funds in an intensive way. Due to these factors, Heublein, a consultant, developed the PM& C program that was implemented to improve execution of capital projects. The major purpose of coming up with the PM& C was to help in getting better performance on projects. The design of the program consisted of diverse projects for the different departments. The success of the projects depended on better planning and control. The implementation of the program was to be done in phases. The phases were educational overview of the management team in engineering departments, system design, plan development and lastly implementation.
In the first phase, the managers of the different departments were inducted in a workshop for training and also for them to contribute to the development of the program. They were best suited because they knew what the company required better than the developer. In the second phase, it was an incubation period for the review and discussions on the management principles and objectives by the departmental heads. At the final steps of this phase, a meeting was held between the managers and the consultant to arrive on a consensus about the issues raised. The other phase had the actual development after arriving at a consensus through voting. The last phase involved much of implementation whereby it was done in reference to the plan. Also in this, was the evaluation of the results obtained, from the previous activities.
In the project plan, the guidelines of the content of the project plan were developed and they were to meet the corporate tracking requirements. The span of the project was scheduled to be one year and estimated to spend about 200,000 US dollars. The main objectives were; to enable better communication between groups and the management, to help the management monitor progress of projects closely and to provide capability for the personnel in the groups to manage and control projects. A work breakdown structure was designed to help in meeting the objectives effectively. It comprised of various aspects that included the design phase results. In it, the project scope was analyzed in details. Also, the performance reports, project planning, revision procedure and approval procedures were defined. The requirements included procedure manuals, Reporting control systems. For them to give results effectively, a computer support survey was required and other methods of analysis. Training was vital in all these implementations.
Since the program did not involve many purchases and large number of people, the use of Gantt a convention was possible for the control of the project. This is a chart that comprises of the tasks scheduled and their timeline.
Answers to questions 1-5
The project planning aids that were used in the chapter were the Gantt convention, the Work Breakdown Structure and the accountability matrix. Gantt convention is a chart that uses schedule bars showing the plan and then filled in a performance sheet. It helps in clearly showing what is required to be done and at which level. Work breakdown structure involves a plan of all the stages involved in the implementation of a project plan. It’s imperative because it helps in simplifying what seems to be complex in the plan. The accountability matrix comprised of many levels of accountability and geographical dispersion of the staff. It spells out the people responsible for each task. Unless there is assurance of accountability, it’s not clear who does a certain task. The levels of accountability have one person who has complete responsibility followed by others who are below them.
The Project plan differed from the project described in this chapter in that; their initial projects were solely dealing with financial justification and did not lay much emphasis on implementation of the projects. In this plan, implementation is considered very important because developing the system without adhering to it would not give the desired results. The projects planned had to have realistic budgets to assure good results.
Their WBS differed from the one described in that; it was easy to identify the component elements in the activities scheduled to achieve them. It can be indented or inform of tree formats. The tree version is good because the entries can be made in form of boxes. Also, their accountability matrix differed with the described one in that; the one used by Heublein had multilevel accountability and geographical distribution of the project staff. It reflects much on the strategy of the program.
In comparison to the project portfolio process, the project was successful because it followed the set guidelines and was completed on time. Project portfolio process is a means of choosing the right project and then using a suitable project management technique. It was well adhered to in the development of this control system.
The previous focus on cost-benefit was that their projects did not intensify on proper utilization of the funds set for the projects. Some of their projects were also budgeted over the expectations. This system includes a cost-benefit analysis though not in a table in the sense that the set tasks were completed in due time. Also, the amount of money used was controlled according to the objectives of the project.
The recommendations from the project are;
a) The project management framework should be incorporated in the project plan. They should occur when the project is complete.
b) There should be an International standard to guide project developers on how to come up with a good control system.
c) The system designed catered only for the financial justifications of the projects; thus more systems should be developed to cover a wider scope in project management.
d) It would be necessary to have a project management software in planning, organizing, managing resources and implementing plans.
Lessons learnt from the study
From the program, it is evident that for the project to succeed, clear guidelines governing it must be well outlined. From the Heublein PM& C program, the planned tasks were completed on time meaning that the plan was followed effectively. Since the plan was formal and consisted of references, it was easy to meet the objectives. Also, a project requires a well structured work breakdown structure showing the different stages of the project plan so that implementation is simplified. In most cases, an accountability matrix is necessary to show who are responsible in various areas.
Janet Peter is an academic writer and an editor and she offers research writing service.
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