Chris Bell Chris Bell 'A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.'
- Spike Milligan
Chris Bell

Sitemap

About Me >>   Master's Degree >>   IT-625 - Information Technology Project and Team Management


SNHU - IT-625 - Information Technology Project and Team Management
Written by: Chris Bell - June, 2016


Project Objectives, Strategy and Communications Plan | Project Management



Project Objectives, Strategy and Communications Plan


The project charter is a document that lays out the project objectives, strategy and communication that will occur during the course of the project. It could state that there will be a meeting held with stakeholders after each milestone is completed, for example, to make sure that the project is on time and on budget. When things go wrong they need to be assessed to figure out how they can be fixed to get the project back on course. It's important to keep the lines of communication open so that the meetings schedule in Phase 3 aren't affected by the slight problem we might have in Phase 1. It also important to calculate the risk involved with making mistakes, going over budget or spending more time than anticipated on certain tasks.

Project Objectives


The project objects are tasks agreed upon by the vendor and customer in order to have complete customer satisfaction in the end. For example, it's far too general to simply say, "I'll build you a website for $500" without defining exactly what the website will include, and what it will not include. By creating the project charter document you're defining exactly what the customer wants and having them sign off on it as well. Once everyone agrees, the project can start.

The objectives start with this project charter document to state all of the tasks that will be completed. Next, we'll meet with the customer to approve the project charter and its tasks. The database is the main objective, but we also need to conduct interviews with Medical Informatics to determine how the tables will relate to each other, how the data will be normalized, how we will avoid redundant attributes, what business rules need to be established and what reports need to be generated from the comprised data. Defining these rules, goals and objectives will establish a list of tasks for us to complete, and give us information to determine the resources, time and money necessary to complete the project. If the completion date isn't as important then we can use less resources over a longer period of time, however if the project is time sensitive we'll need more resources in a shorter period of time.

We already know that we need the programmers to take training courses for the new software so that they can complete these tasks quicker. The learning curve will only happen once and they will be able to use the software for future projects. Therefore, we won't be charging Medical Informatics for the training costs.

Project Strategy


The existing problem with the project is the schedule. When making a sandwich, one must get the bread before including the meat and condiments. Getting the bread is a predecessor that must occur before getting the meat and condiments. There's no need to a large lapse in time between getting the bread and moving onto the meat. This example shows that the layout of the project doesn't make good use of following predecessors back to back. Instead, getting the bread takes about 2 minutes, while getting the meat and condiments are scheduled 2 days later. A specific change to the schedule involved changing the schedule of the IS Manager and Project Manager to a more systematic approach. As you can see below, the tasks are scheduled closer to each other so that the project can continue without waiting for a particular resource.

Project Strategy - Microsoft Project (After)


The strengths of the project involve the list of tasks, goals and objectives. There is a clear list of tasks that need to be completed along with the time and money to complete each task. There is time scheduled for planning, interviewing, and communication with stakeholders. The weakness was the previous project manager that could schedule the tasks correctly, or make sure that the resources were in fact ready to handle their tasks. Scheduling the programmers to use unknown software was wrong. A tasks needs a resource, period. A resource needs to be able to complete the task. Developing the project charter defines exactly that, so we need to be sure that each resource is prepared to handle each task immediately when the time comes.

Changing the layout of the schedule is a huge opportunity for us to get the project back on track. Another opportunity is getting training for the programmers. Spending money on training could also save us money on the project charter when they complete the task faster than expected. External threats involve Mother Nature (time off), changes to our customer's plan that affect our plan, and even issues with hardware and software that could break during this project. Another threat is the fact that we must bring the project back on course in order to keep the project going.

It was mentioned that the project funding would stop after passing the threshold of 20% over budget, in which we're quite close to now. It's always better to involve more people when making these types of decisions. "It is well known that a cost or time estimate usually has a better chance of being reasonable and realistic when several people with relevant experience and/or knowledge of the task are used (sometimes called 'crowdsourcing'). True, people bring different biases based on their experience. But discussion of the individual differences in their estimate leads to consensus and tends to eliminate extreme estimate errors. (Larsen, 132)"

Solutions to the problems are underway. The schedule is changing to decrease the amount of time of completion by minimizing the gaps between tasks. This won't initially save money, but it will save time and bring us back on track. Identifying risks and opportunities allow us to consider getting a preventative maintenance job our hardware to assure us it won't fail during this crucial project. While minimizing gaps between tasks we can also be sure to include time for those on vacation, sick time and Mother Nature that randomly cancels a day of work.

Five Stage Team Development Model


There are 3 stages to complete before the Performing stage the tasks of the project, including Forming, Storming and Norming. These steps of the Project Planning development were not exercised thus far, which is created scope and budget issues. In order to get back on schedule we need to complete these tasks for the rest of the project. We need a clear plan for each task with post discussions, changes and alterations always being necessary. Including all of the "wants" a customer requests after agreeing to a certain project and budget can cause severe budget problems.

Without the 5 steps of the development model completed the team is likely to get frustrated with each other, point fingers and create conflicts throughout the entire project. You can each trust that I will lead this project in the right direction, but I need your support and teamwork for a polished finished product.

According to Investopedia, a popular website for investing advice, "The payback period is the length of time required to recover the cost of an investment. The payback period of a given investment or project is an important determinant of whether to undertake the position or project, as longer payback periods are typically not desirable for investment positions." The ideal payback period for any investment is 'tomorrow', but upon completion of a successful project, the payback period should be within 30 days on completion. The project charter defines the tasks and objectives to prove in the end that it was completely successfully. If we stay on budget then the full payment will include all of the scheduled profits as well.

The selection model for this project is numeric in nature because it's labor intensive. The labor rates multiplied by the total time equate to the total costs, while the price charged to the customer covers our costs and includes a profit. Again, as long as we stay on time then we stay on budget, and if we stay on budget we successfully win all of the profits. As problems or scope creep occur we start eating away at our profit margin.

Communication Plan


We need to communicate with our management and resources, along with the customer's management and users. As the project progresses we need to communicate the good and the bad to everyone involved. We need to fix problems to get back on track, and communicate with each other during the process. Our problems cannot increase the price to the customer, however we need to notify them that we had an issue if the issue forces us to change the completion date.

Upfront communication with the customer's management team will determine that we're on the same page to commence. Communication will be intense between the PM and resources during the course of the project. Then there will be milestones that warrant communication via interviews with our stakeholders and the stakeholders of the customer. We need to notify our stakeholders to let them know that everything is on track or that problems have occurred that need attention. Likewise, we need to communicate to the stakeholders of the customer with status updates to assure them it will be completed on time and on budget. Those milestones are set in the MS Project sheet.

Fax via email from $7.99/mo.



Progress reports, also known as status updates, will be created and sent to the stakeholders of the project. If there are identified issues we will address them and consider solutions before mentioning it to stakeholders. Each milestone completion requires interviews and management signatures to move on.

All of the information pertaining to the project resides in a MS Project sheet available to everyone involved through a cloud application such as Drop Box (Sign in required). Updates to the document are uploaded immediately to give everyone a clear and current snapshot of the project. All changes to the document are made only by the project manager with attachments of reports and information. All of the time to complete tasks and create status updates will be included in the Project sheet.

The information will be collected from each resource involved in the task and presented in the cloud application. "Dropbox is a free service that allows you to easily store and share your documents, videos, and photos and always have them on-hand when you need them. (Nuez, n.d.)" All of the files pertaining to the project can be collected and stored in a single location for all parties to view. Again, updates are only made by the project manager, so all documents will be reviewed by me first.

In conclusion, the project objectives, strategy and communication plan are all important to the project's success. Using Drop Box to make all of the documents available will limit the amount of questions sent to each other as they can review the current status by logging in. The project charter is the most important part of the project because it defines the exact tasks that need to be completed. The MS Project sheet clearly defines these tasks, resources, timeline, budget, and communication involved. It also defines the milestones that require the stakeholder's signatures in order to move on. If perhaps there are problems that the stakeholder notice then we'll have to make those changes and communicate how much extra time it will take. The milestones are the most critical as they will set the pace for the next phase of the project.


References:


Larson, Erik, Clifford Gray. Project Management: The Managerial Process, 6th Edition. McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions, 10/2013. VitalBook file.

Investopedia.com (n.d.). Payback Period. Retrieved from:
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/paybackperiod.asp

Nuez, J. (n. d.). 7 Awesome Benefits of using Drop Box. Retrieved from:
https://www.babble.com/tech/7-awesome-benefits-of-using-dropbox/