Strategical Project Planning Assignment

Strategical Project Planning Assignment

Assignment Help Australia bring strategical project planning assignment in which a project manager handles a typical project successfully.

Introduction

Before starting off the project it is imperative for a successful project manager to make a structure of the project. The following can be the example of the way to structure the project of restoration of the Arbours and Avery in the lost Elizabethan Knott Garden at Kenilworth Castle.

  Setting up ObjectivesContext of the project What are the changes it will entail? Why this project? What are the issues at stake?  
  Content of the ProjectWhat is the theme and content? What is the applied methodology? What are the activities?  
                      Where and WhenWhere will the project be implemented? What is the time frame? When does it starts/ end?
                        PracticalitiesWhat logistics are required? What practical aspects need to be taken care of?
  Budget and fundingWhat is the overall cost? Where from the fund will come?
         Method of communicationInternal communication: how does information circulate ? External communication: does it require media coverage?
  Follow up and evaluationHow and when to be evaluated? Which aspects? Why? What Follow-up is planned?

Structuring a Project: Questions to be answered before launching a project

The process of restarting the project will start from the step of getting a revised construction specification for the Arbour. Since this is the root cause of all the other problems which have subsequently occurred in the failing construction project which has an objective restore the Arbours and Avery in the lost Elizabethan Knott Garden at Kenilworth Castle.

Due to the facts that the project is running behind the schedule and has been plagued with the problems of recurrent delays due to this basic factor, simultaneously a step needs to be taken where an independent project review team possibly from a third party or an outside provider can be implemented to assess the costs which has already been incurred and the progress which has been achieved till date by the previous project manager as well as the project management report. Construction audits, due diligence assessments, peer review etc has to be checked by the same project review team. This will give me, the new project manager a basic idea about the challenges inherent in the project since I have been called in by the building company working on the project to restore the architectural features of Elizabethan Knott Garden at Kenilworth Castle after the project has ran into difficulty. All the risks and difficulties will have to be investigated in details since the no one is willing to take the risk for this particular project.

After the independent project review team finishes with their assessment and comes up with a go ahead signal for the project, the first thing that has to be implemented is the newly revised construction specification which will be used as the blue print for the restoration of architectural features of Elizabethan Knott Garden at Kenilworth Castle.

Since the project in the past has suffered from the problem of difficulty in allocating resources along with the poor specification of requirements, the budget has gone for a toss for the project. Hence according to the plan of action as well as the revised construction specification, the requirements have to be penned down and used as the driving document in future resource acquisition. A plan for allocation of resources has to be carried out as well.

There are various issues which needed to be taken care of simultaneously with these steps. These issues for project management in a project of restoration of a historic building are:

Firstly, since the drawings of the built structures are usually obtainable for the heritage restoration project it will be quite difficult to define a starting point for the project. For changing the structural aspect of the current building it would be needed to explore the heritage structure which is needed to be restored. The architectural and structural designs are done concurrently along with the investigation of the structure.

Secondly, the businessmen as well as the supervisors generally do not possess adequate previous knowledge and understanding of dealing with and restoring a heritage structure, hence it is difficult for them to get an idea what are the basic requirements of these kinds of project. The restoration project needs unusual materials like lime which is rather difficult to obtain. Hence it will be imperative for the project manager to find correct supply of the materials needed and getting these required materials of correct qualifications will tend to take more amount of time than which was estimated at the outset of the project. These will have to be taken care of in the time of designing the plan for allocation of resources.

Preparation and carrying out tests has to be taken care of as well. These have to be done onsite to check the feasibility of the forward steps for the project and it will be very important to include provisions for these activities in the timeline of the prescribed project since these would also need extra amount of time.

Thirdly, retrofitting the systems of utility in heritage structures generally need innovative designs which are not the type of standard design for retrofitting. Plan and execution of a system which is non standard can take a huge amount of time. These unidentified issues can make the process of estimating time of the completion of project very difficult. Subsequently the project duration and along with it the budget for the project meant for restoring the Arbours and Avery in the lost Elizabethan Knott Garden at Kenilworth Castle can overshoot the estimated costs by a huge margin. Added endeavour is thus requisite to be calculated approximately in the time plan of this heritage restoration work.

The design which will be newly drawn for this particular project should have the following points detailed in it:

  1. Conceptual Design
  2. Schematic Design
  3. Design Development
  4. Procurement
  5. Operation

The particular planning and strategies which have to kept in mind for being a successful project manager for this particular project as well as for a successful blue print of a project are the following:

Strategic management:

  • Long term and short term planning
  • Formulation and activation of policies
  • Generating procedures.

Strategic Management includes structural and infra-structural changes or triggers them.

Tactical planning: It prepares the organization with shorter period of time, adapting or reacting to unforeseen changes or progress.

Cyclical Planning: dealing with regular events. (e.g. activities during a holiday period)

Daily Planning: deals with actions that must be taken immediately within a small time   frame.

Contingency planning: deals with measures or actions taken or foreseen in an unforeseen situation.

The next point which needs to be assessed is the budget of the project with the previous discussion regarding the sourcing of material, simulation exercise etc kept in mind.

Finance Program in this type of project is of utmost importance due to the above mentioned reasons. On top of that this project has also wasted a lot of money for the organization. Hence the general tendency of the company which is running the restoration project will be sceptical for allowing further big cash flows for this particular project. Hence a very calculated and effective budgeting is needed to be done for this project. For getting an effective budgeting for this particular project, the project manager, in this case me, have to understand the basics of the restoration activity and take a highly systematic approach for allocating resources.

Allocating the workforce in this project will also be a very tricky task to accomplish since the project has already ran into bad waters. As given in the scenario, we know that the specialist technicians who are very costly to recruit are on hold and unable to carry out their work. The other problems are that all relationships inside the project team are strained and due to these the project meetings have almost stopped as well. No one is willingly to take responsibility for this process and arguments at site level are beginning to affect the other construction tasks.

Hence an efficient approach for workload division needs to be done which starts from the process of identifying who will be doing what in this project. It is equally important to identify the persons who will be absorbed into this project. Once the identification is done it is important to re induct them into this project for which the modus operandi and the strategic aspect has changed, which will help in providing them an overview of the newly laid overall blue print and methodology which will be applied for restoration of the Arbours and Avery in the lost Elizabethan Knott Garden at Kenilworth Castle.

Since from the scenario it is quite evident that the workers need to be motivated to keep on working on a project which has ran into troubled waters some time back, it is important to implement motivational techniques on them. The steps that will be taken to keep them interested and motivated in this work are

  • Equal distribution of work
  • Recognition based on performance.
  • Altering the perception of workers by giving them the kind of work they are comfortable with.

Next comes obtaining the approvals related to the English Heritage Buildings, since Elizabethan Knott Garden at Kenilworth Castle is one of the heritage buildings of England.

There are different rules and authorities who can pass the application for modification in historic buildings for the processes of modifying listed buildings or ancient monuments.

The consent for any kind of modification to the listed buildings has to be taken from the local authority. The rule says that, “It is required, if one intends to demolish a listed building or carry out building works on a listed building that would affect its character as a site of architectural or historic interest. These are structures of special historic interest or importance.”

It can be noted that several buildings in the United Kingdom have been listed as vital locations for archaeological interests. These nationally listed buildings also take account of special earthworks and ruins. The rulebook says that it is a crime to harm a listed antique structure. Hence, it is very important that before restart of the project the consent from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has to be obtained without any fail. If this process does not work then The English Heritage or Welsh Historic Monuments has to be contacted as the last resort.

Coming to the procurement of resources/materials as we have already noticed that the materials needed for this type of restoration work does take long to get delivered. Hence a supplier of the required materials like lime etc has to be found out. The secondary criteria is to get the supplier who is offering the best price for the raw materials needed for the restoration of the Arbours and Avery in the lost Elizabethan Knott Garden at Kenilworth Castle. The planning for materials has to be done quite before the actual work starts and the time which will be taken for this work has to be added to the timeline of this project. One more point of concern is the hidden costs for this project which is prompting individuals to look for shortcuts that are not being captured by the project tracking. This has to be avoided in this stage of the process.

Simulation as has been pointed earlier can be effectively used for accomplishing this project within the desired budget and timeline. AbouRizk et al identified that almost all of the project managers take help of Critical Path Method for doing the plan of the project and scheduling it. Yet, in almost all of the instances it has been seen that these strategies do not prove to be of much use after the project advances. Past researchers and academicians have recommended that activity based network planning has very less amount of effectiveness as far as construction and renovation of construction type of projects are concerned. AbouRizk suggested a simulation based framework that will take care of various risks which are generally attached with this kind of restoration project.

The lifting equipments are needed to be hired since the project will need them heavily. It has to be first checked that of the restoration company owns any lifting equipment like cranes. If not getting one on lease can be an effective option in this case. Again it has to be kept in mind that the company who is giving the best deal for leasing has to be selected for taking the cranes on lease. The timeline has to be checked before this process since the company can afford to take lease on only those days when the cranes will be absolutely necessary due to shortage of funds as well as high lease rental for these heavy equipments.

Since it is a point of concern that this project will not be able to meet the quality and health care management standards set, it has to be kept in mind and the project has to be likewise. The skilled labours that were kept on the bench have to re-introduced to the work with new set of instructions and new tasks. They will also be needed to carry out the extra excavation work which will be needed in this new form of the project.

Communicating the new plan of actions to the all of the stakeholders and convincing them about the feasibility of the new approaches taken has to be done by the project manager himself. The skills of leadership and relationship will come in handy here. Not only in this very important communication, but also to convince the project workers to concentrate fully on a project which has failed badly before the interpersonal as well as leadership skills will play a very important role. All of these will ultimately help in improvement of performance in the future.

In the process of reflecting upon my own ability to manage projects, I have been able to understand the importance of keeping a cool head in a scenario which has gone awry previously. I have also been able to understand that I do possess that capability. It helps in making a strategic planning keeping only the ultimate objective of the project in my mind. This also helps in concentrating on the immediate issues which need to be dealt with quite swiftly.

The other very important trait to have as a project manager is the power to convince other people. This will be very effective in these types of projects since it will need a lot of cajoling for convincing the internal as well as the external stakeholders about the financial feasibility of restarting the project.

Lessons learned:

  1. Think of problems as opportunities.
  2. Without taking risk there is no reward.
  3. One needs to think of these as opportunities for innovation.
  4. Dream big and define goal.
  5. Small victories are important in start.
  6. A team together can achieve more than a few individuals working not in tandem.
References
  1. World Monument Watch (2006) viewed from the webpage “http://wmf.org/resources/sitepages/india_dalhousie_square.html“inMay 2007.
  2. Ingalls R., 2002 “Introduction to Simulation” Proceedings of the 2003 Winter Simulation Conference pp 7-16
  3. AbouRizk S., Mohamed Y., 2002 “Optimal Construction Project planning” Proceedings of the 2002 Winter Simulation Conference pp1704-1708
  4.  McCabe B., 2003 “Monte Carlo Simulation for Schedule Risks” Proceedings of the 2003 Winter Simulation Conference pp1561-1565
  5. AbouRizk, S.M., and Halpin, D. W. 1992. “Statistical properties of construction duration data.” J. of Constr. Engrg. and Mgmt., ASCE, 118(3), 525-543
  6. Fente, J., Knutson, K., Schexnayder, C. 1999 “Defining a Beta Distribution Function for Construction Simulation” Proceedings of the 2003 Winter Simulation Conference pp1010-1015
  7. Lee D. & Shi J., 2004 “Statistical Analyses For Simulating Schedule Networks” Proceedings of the 2004 Winter Simulation Conference pp1283-1289
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