A project refers to a set of activities organized in such a manner that the required objective can be achieved. A project may range from a few days to few months or even years depending on the amount of work involved. Project management principles help ensure that the project is implemented effectively. It helps analyze the situation and also implement plans and organize activities relevant to the project in such a manner that it is possible to form effective implementation of the project plan.
Many projects are cancelled before they are completed. Many are completed late and cost well over their original estimates. Of the rare few that are completed on time and within budget, many do not meet the needs of the project stakeholders. The reasons for these are poor project management or no project management. The success of any organization or a particular project depends on a detailed study of the major characteristics of projects and also proper management of the projects (CAR, Morano R, 2003).
Project Firecracker would be a set of initiatives to implement effective project management techniques at all levels of National Corporation to make it a Project Oriented Organization.
Project management is the application of knowledge, skills using formal set of tools, and techniques to a broad range of project activities to meet the requirements of the project. Project management requires special knowledge and skills. It is achieved through a series of processes, such as initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing projects, which are performed by project managers and their teams. Project teams manage the work of the projects, including competing demands regarding scope, time, cost, risk, and quality stakeholders with differing needs. (Project fundamentals student guide, 2013.)
There are various steps to be followed in implementing project management in an organization. The project managers must understand and define the project goals and objectives to be sure that the project addresses the appropriate business requirements, specifying tasks or how goals can be achieved (Lewis, J. P. 2002).
Project teams need to design and implement a project plan with strict controls – adhere to the ‘critical path’, to ensure the project is being managed ‘according to plan’.
Project managers should identify the resources needed and associate budgets and clear timelines for completion. This project aims at ensuring that there be effective implementation of the project through risk management. Major risks that impacted the project include the budget risk and regulatory risk. These require to be mitigated effectively. Risk has a huge bearing on the overall schedule of the project. Improper budgeting leads to huge cost over runs. Also improper budgeting leads to improper ordering of materials. It leads to delay in supply of materials, it increase the delay in the project. It also leads to wastage of man hours. It is crucial to manage these effectively.
The project management team must create and maintain a set of procedures and guidelines with a clear project framework for achieving project specific goals and business goals. PESTEL analysis makes it possible to create better understanding of all of the elements of the external environment. The political forces that affect this project are those that apply to the nation that have government sanctions placed against them and those that are prone to unrest in the nation as well as its policies (CAR, Morano R, 2003).
Domestically we are faced with unfavorable policies such as restrictive trade policies, in dealing with sustainability. Governmental agencies must support sustainability policies and ensure that while the government forms these policies they are in favour of the project.
One of the biggest problems experienced is the lack of financial controls in project management. So it is necessary to empower the team with knowledge and skills to manage accounting aspects of the projects.
Teams need to communicate regularly and effectively to share the right information with the right people in a timely manner. Effective communication is vital to the success of any project. Any problems that arise in a project should be tracked promptly, understood and fixed as soon as possible.
Managers need to monitor project performance against the project plan and put emphasis on phased development with regular and measurable progress. It is necessary to create and sustain focused and motivated teams by rewarding people’s achievements and acknowledging their contributions (Douglas Hubbard, 2009).
Teams should also incorporate quality assurance within project life cycles in order to consistently produce quality outputs. The achievements, problems, and future plans must be shared with project members. Project activities must be frequently reported to the higher management (Lewis, J. P. 2002).
The project results should be reviewed through post-project evaluation and retrospectives to lay the groundwork for repeating good practices and experiences and avoiding the same mistakes in the future.
Benefits of adopting project management
1. Better Efficiency in Delivering Services: Project management provides a “roadmap” that is easily followed and leads to timely project completion.
2. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Whenever a project gets done on time and under budget, the client walks away happy. And a happy client is one that the organization will see again. Smart project management provides the tools that enable this client/manager relationship to continue and prosper.
3. Enhanced Effectiveness in Delivering Services: The same strategies that allowed you to successfully complete one project will serve you many times over.
4. Improved Growth and Development Within your Team: Positive results not only command respect but also more often than not inspire the teams to continue to look for ways to perform more efficiently.
5. Greater Standing and Competitive Edge: This is not only a good benefit of project management within the workplace but outside of it as well; word travels fast and there is nothing like superior performance to secure your place in the marketplace.
6. Opportunities to expand your Services: This is a natural byproduct of greater standing. Great performance leads to more opportunities to succeed.
7. Better Flexibility: Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of project management is that it allows for flexibility. It allows managers to map out the strategy that they want to take to see their project get completed on time.
8. Increased Risk Assessment: When all the players are lined up and your strategy is in place potential risks will jump out and slap you in the face. And that’s the way it should be. Project management provides a red flag at the right time: before you start working on project completion.
9. Increase in Quality: Enhanced efficiency brought about by proper project management enables a company to design, develop, test and deliver more products that meet the customer’s expectations the first time (Chapman, 2001).
10. Increase in Quantity: And increase in quality is often the result of better efficiency, and proper quality control measures, a simple reminder regarding the benefits of project management.
By implementing fundamental project management strategies, Project Firecracker can narrow down on the focus of National Corporation to reach its desired goals and achieve those goals within specific time and cost perimeters.
Fundamentals of executive project management
In traditional management the work task is repetitive, self-contained and management oversees the conversion of inputs, taken from the environment, into useable outputs, which are put back into the environment. This was the method followed by National Corporation till now.
Projects of all sizes and all priorities need some involvement by executive management to allocate the needed resources appropriately to the projects. Projects that are most important to the organization often need more executive management involvement than projects that are of routine nature for the organization.
Project management is kind of business process of the project oriented organization, which includes the sub processes project start, continuous project coordination, project controlling, resolution of a project discontinuity, and project closedown.
The project start is the most important part in project management, because in it the project plans, the project communication structures, the relationships to relevant environments, and so on are developed and defined in the project start process. For each project management sub process, the objectives, functions, methods, responsibilities, and deliverables can be described; this enables the quality of the project management process to be measured.
It is a project management function to manage, build up and to reduce the project complexity. The differentiation of project roles, the creation of sub teams, as well as the consideration of different functional disciplines and hierarchical levels in the project team are organizational possibilities for building up complexity. The application of different project management methods i.e., work breakdown structure, the schedule, the cost and resources plan, risk analysis, project environmental analysis, etc. offers different perspectives (Pinto and Morris, 2013).
The critical activities include the following:
- Obtaining license
- Choosing location
- Market research
- Deciding of the menu
- Collection of resources - finance, interiors and human resources
- Organizing them
- Final Implementation
Based on the critical path network diagram 5 weeks of time would be required to complete this project.
Project management includes five main processes as listed below (Wikipedia, 2014)
- Planning or design
- Production or execution
- Monitoring and controlling
The initiating processes determine the nature and scope of the project. If this stage is not performed well, then the project will be not be successful in meeting the business’ needs. The team members need an understanding of the business environment and should ensure that all necessary controls are incorporated into their project.
Any deficiencies in any part of the project should be reported and appropriate recommendations should be made to fix them.
The initiating stage should include a plan so as to analyzing the business needs reviewing of the current operations along with financial analysis of the costs and benefits including a budget stakeholder analysis, users, and support personnel for the project, including costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedule (Lewis, J. P. 2002).
Planning and design
After the initiation stage, the project is planned to an appropriate level in detail. The main purpose is to plan time, cost and resources adequately to estimate the work needed and to effectively manage risk during project execution.
Project planning generally deals with determination of planning a particular project, developing the scope statements, selecting the planning team; identifying deliverables and creating the work breakdown structure; identifying the activities needed to complete those deliverables and networking the activities; estimating the resource requirements for the activities; estimating time and cost for activities developing the schedule; risk planning; gaining formal approval to begin work.
Additional processes, such as planning for communications and for scope management, identifying roles and responsibilities, determining what to purchase for the project and holding are also important part of project management.
Executing consists of the processes used to complete the work that is defined in the project plan to accomplish the project's requirements. Execution process involves coordinating people and resources, as well as integrating and performing the activities of the project in accordance with the project management plan. The deliverables are produced as outputs from the processes performed as defined in the project management plan.
Execution process includes Directing and managing project execution, Quality assurance of deliverables. Acquiring, developing and managing the Project team, stakeholder expectations, distribute information, and finally Test the deliverables against the initial design.
Monitoring and Controlling
Monitoring and controlling consists of those processes performed to observe project execution so that potential problems can be identified in a timely manner and corrective action can be taken immediately, when necessary, to control the execution of the project. The key benefit is that project performance is observed and measured regularly to identify variances from the project management plan.
Monitoring and controlling deals with measuring the ongoing project activities like where we are and where we should be against the project management plan while considering the project variables like cost, effort, scope, etc.
Closing includes the formal acceptance of the project and the ending thereof. Administrative activities include the archiving of the files and documenting.
Project controlling and project control systems
Project controlling should be established as an independent function in project management. It implements verification and controlling function during the processing of a project in order to have check over the defined performance and formal goals. The tasks of project includes the creation of infrastructure for the supply of the right information and its update, the establishment of methods to accomplish an appropriate project structure, project workflow organization, project control and governance, creation of transparency among the project parameters.
Fulfillment and implementation of these tasks can be achieved by applying specific methods and instruments of project control like investment analysis, cost–benefit analysis, etc.
Project control is that element of a project that keeps it on-track, on time and within budget. Project control begins early in the project with planning and ends late in the project with post-implementation review, having a thorough involvement of each step in the process. Control systems are needed for cost, risk, quality, communication, time, change, procurement, and human resources.
The processes that each manager follows during the life of a project are collectively called the project management life cycle. Every project has a life cycle, with a beginning, a life and an end defined by accomplishing the objective.
The types and extent of processes initiated depend on the nature of the project, i.e. size, probability of failure and consequences of failure. Strong and effective leaders apply process to protect all projects.
Reasons for the recent failure of a project in National Corporation
The reasons for the failure of this project were several.
Lack of proper job description, along with a clear description of the roles and responsibilities meant the employees were burdened by responsibilities that did not match their skills or experience.
Communication within the organization between different departments was very time-consuming, leading to huge turnaround times for a response to even a simple query. This further reduced the efficiency of the teams. Also this implied that the teams could not be expected to have an updated, consistent picture of the objectives they were supposed to work towards.
Clear communication is key to the success of any venture. But this was lacking in NC, due to a lack of a culture that encouraged clear communication. There was no proper communication between the team members either within the organization or even across, with the clients, leading to all kinds of misunderstanding and frustration.
The employees of NC did not have any motivation to be honest, and accountable. Over-burdened by various roles, they would be forced to be negligent in understanding and discharging their duties. For example, the sales team ‘assumed’ that a delay in delivery of the products was fine with the customers, but did not bother to communicate the same to the client in advance.
Jeff was assigned to the tool division, the purchase of capital equipment and the selection of production methods and the associated manufacturing cost that would be used in the quotation used in the manufacture of the product. Despite being a mechanical engineer, he had enrolled for a course in statistics. But his efforts to excel at work were not encouraged. But instead he was assigned to He was held responsible for assigning the project to the appropriate sections. He was also appointed as one of the co-heads of the project. It is obvious here that too many tasks were being assigned to an individual; there was a lack of proper delegation of tasks to the right team members.
Lack of a proper communication channel with the customer meant the project engineers would have to go through the product design department, and then the sales department, reach the customer for any queries. The same path would be reversed for obtaining the answers. This was a lengthy procedure and the multiple ‘hops’ of communication meant a high probability of information getting degraded.
Such long, cumbersome communication gave rise to teams resorting to taking their own decisions based on their own data, which may not be the updated one. For instance, the sales department directly promised the customer that it would be possible to hand over product samples to customers within two weeks. But the team was not aware of the fact that the products were being modified by the design team and it would almost be impossible to deliver within the promised period of two weeks.
This led to a ‘wrong expectation’ being set for the customers. And in order to somehow meet this promise, the design and engineering teams worked overtime, and ended up delivering a set of products that could not be thoroughly tested for conformance with the specifications set by the customer. Finally, the result was not just a delayed delivery of the products but also the realization that the products delivered did not meet the specifications agreed with the customer too.
All in all, due to poor communication and non-uniform priorities, National Corporation ended up losing what could have been a project worth R320 million.
Recommendations for National Corporation
Considering the failure of project, National Corporation should adopt Project management processes in order to reach the objectives and gain competitive advantage. Initially National Corporation should understand the nature and scope of the project so as to know what the requirements are for present new project .The necessity was one machine which cost R160000 and which could yield a profit around R320 million per year, as given by investment analysis and cost benefit analysis team.
The best part was here to understand the benefits of undertaking this project. After initiating the project it should be planned and designed. Project manager should be appointed along with a group of trained and skilled team members. Depending upon their knowledge and skills the tasks and authority should be delegated.
Each department like sales, production, finance and distribution should be headed by its own line manager who can give a continuous ongoing update of the particular product to the corresponding project managers. There should be clear communication between different departments and the right that any department can communicate with their project manager or higher authority for any queries regarding the project.
National Corporation should understand adhering to project management methods and strategies reduces their risks of failure, cut down the costs and improves overall success rates which are all vital to survival. Involving project management leads to diversification of products as we can see here National Corporation was focusing less on specials but now due to incorporation of new required machines would increase their turnover.
A project manager needs knowledge in nine general areas in order to make project management successful. These nine areas of knowledge are:
1. Integration management: Project integration management ensures that the project is properly planned, executed, and controlled.
2. Scope management: Changes to project scope are often the factors that kill a project. Developing a scope statement that defines the boundaries of the project, subdividing the work into manageable components with deliverables, verifying that scope planned has been achieved, and implementing scope change control procedures.
3. Time management: For projects, this amounts to developing a schedule that can be met within specified time.
4. Cost management: It involves estimating the cost of resources, including people, equipment, materials, and items such as travel and other support details. After this is done, costs are budgeted and tracked to keep the project within that budget.
5. Quality management: one cause of project failure is the tendency to overlook or sacrifice quality in order to meet a tight deadline. It is not very helpful to complete a project on time, only to discover that the thing delivered won't work properly! Quality management includes both quality assurance planning to meet quality requirements and quality control steps taken to monitor results to see whether they conform to requirements.
6. Human resource management: Managing human resources is often overlooked in projects. It involves identifying the people needed to do the job; defining their roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships; acquiring those people; and then managing them as the project is executed.
7. Communications management: It involves planning, executing, and controlling the acquisition and dissemination of all information relevant to the needs of all project stakeholders. This information includes project status, accomplishments, events that may affect other stakeholders or project.
8. Risk management: Risk management is the systematic process of identifying, analyzing, and responding to project risk. It includes maximizing the probability and consequences of positive events and minimizing the probability and consequences of adverse events to project objectives.
9. Procurement management: Procurement of necessary goods and services for the project is the logistics aspect of managing a job. It involves deciding what must be procured, issuing requests for bids or quotations, selecting vendors. (Lewis, 2002).
Roadmap for National Corporation towards becoming a full-fledged Project Oriented Organization (POO)
As part of becoming a fully-fledged Project Oriented Organization (POO), National Corporation should incorporate several hard-hitting changes.
The changes could be in terms of its basic organization compared to how it is organized today. There could be changes in terms of the hierarchical structure, the frequency and quality of communication between the various departments & personnel, etc. However, the biggest change needed in National Corporation is a change in the organizational culture, to encourage every individual to be more open, transparent, and accountable.
National Corporation should strive to achieve a climate in which clear, unambiguous communication between all levels & all verticals is encouraged. All the departments should act like members of a single team, with the team itself being National Corporation. This would avoid any later embarrassments due to miscommunication on the part of one team and the ensuing dissatisfaction to the customers when they realize that the claims of 1 team (say, Sales) cannot be fulfilled within the promised constraints of time/money/resources by another team (say, Development/Manufacturing).
Also, the management of National Corporation should ensure that there is clear demarcation of the roles and responsibilities of one team or department and another. Facilitating easy approachability of key personnel across the strata of the organization should reduce the huge turn-around time for any type of communication across different departments. The same should hold good for individuals in a team too, no matter what their position and skills.
Members who strive to gain extra knowledge or skills should be encouraged to do so. In fact, the organization should ensure that such efforts are not wasted, and take care to appreciate, reward, and acknowledge such accomplishments.
National Corporation also needs to bring in a special group of individuals whose specialty is Project Management, rather than burden the current employees to take up additional cross-functional roles & responsibilities. Project Managers must be properly trained in all aspects of a project, like time & cost management, risk management, quality management, etc. The presence of well-trained, experienced project managers will ensure that there is always a clear picture of the objectives of any team, and also that the goals of that team are aligned with those of the entire organization.
Departments like engineering, product design, marketing and sales need to work in a close-knit fashion with better co-ordination & communication, so that there is no misunderstanding amongst themselves, and worse, with the customers.
There should be a clear set of guidelines and processes to manage product requirements. The product requirements should be properly documented, communicated to the relevant teams & team members, and also tracked for any last minute changes. The landscape of requirements is ever changing, a fact that has to be accepted, and National Corporation should work towards becoming flexible to adapt to such changes, and yet deliver its products and services to meet the customers’ expectations.
Such business agility would provide National Corporation an edge over its competitors, and also gain it the trust and loyalty of its customers who see the repeatedly consistent delivery of quality deliverables matching their requirements.
Another area where National Corporation needs to change is to employ clear, unambiguous communication in understanding, documenting and specifying the customers’ requirements to the various teams like design, engineering, sales, etc. Once a product is completed, it should be subjected to a proper round of internal testing to ensure that it meets the requirements specifications.
Any defects or shortcomings should be immediately brought to the notice of the product development team so that they can be addressed as promptly as possible. National Corporation may have to invest in some tools like issue management systems in order to implement this process.
National Corporation must learn to come out of the old traditional ways of working, and embrace and invest in instruments and tools of modern technology wherever it helps in improving the efficiency, transparency, effectiveness, and reliability of communication. For example, instead of physically traveling to & fro the client locations, National Corporation could adopt online meetings where the proceedings of the meetings can also be recorded.
These can serve as self-documenting meetings that can later be retrieved, played back and used for understanding and validation of the customers’ requirements agreed upon to be delivered.
Change should be welcomed and embraced in all spheres of work, and a change in attitudes of all employees toward a more positive, win-win disposition should be strongly encouraged. There should also be a process designed and put in place for change management, since change is the only constant in today’s world.
Changing requirements, changing designs, changing prices, and all other kinds of critical changes must be faithfully recorded and communicated to the right audience in a regular manner. Change management is thus a crucial part of project management that must be adopted at National Corporation.
The strengths of this project is its cost efficiency as well as its required need in the present era which is well anticipated and also innovative. Recruitment shall be done through advertisements in job pages of the newspaper. Number of employees will be increased with time. Initially, it will start with eight employees President, Supervisor, VP Sales, Sales representative, VP operations, Accounts Manager, Admin officer, Delivery Manager. They will be reporting directly to the government officials and this enables them to implement the project in an effective manner. This helps ensure that the project is feasible and it would be possible to make this happen.
Man power need to be idle due to lack of available materials. Improper budgeting does not only cause increase in cost but also delays the time lime of the project. Understanding the regulations before starting the project is critical. If the regulations are not understood and interpreted then the planning has to be taken back to the drawing board.
The entire plan needs to be modified to meet the regulatory requirement. In the current project the entire man power planning needed to be revisited and modified. Man power budget had to be significantly changed as the no. of people required for the job was entirely different. It also needed to revise the compensation plan. Other regulatory change of being eco friendly also needed to revisit the material procurement plan.
Identifying risks in budgeting process is key for any project to be successful. It becomes vital to identify risks and means to mitigate budgetary risks by hedging, insurance, using economic order quantity (EOQ) method, using substitutes etc. Budget is one of the key components of planning in any project. If the budgeting goes right the major part of planning is on track. Not complying with the regulatory requirement is a critical risk. If the regulatory requirement is not complied, chances of mitigating the risk are very minimal. It is of utmost important that before starting the project information about all the regulatory needs are obtained. The task does not end only by knowing the regulations, but interpreting it in the right form is far more important.
Modes of communication
The various modes of communication used include a final report depicting the tasks allocated to each of the teams and what was to be achieved. The communication tool place in the form of meetings and communication processes as well as through following of a common plan or structure.
Team development and stages
The team developed through the stages of forming and norming based on the expertise and previous experiences as well as their position and job roles in the organization (Griffin R.W., Moorhead G, 2009). Managers at the strategic level were given the role of supervision.
Barriers to team effectiveness and mitigation
The major barriers to team effectiveness was the competition that had set in among different departments. They were not willing to share their ideas and were wanting to prove superiority in each of the final decisions. This had to be mitigated through the intervention of the HR manager who took charge of displaying ideas and the credentials by forming a committee.
The effort of the project manager in keeping the team working to achieve the project objectives
The project manager had to focus on bringing together teams and efforts for the purpose of ensuring that the project was a success. It is extremely important that the manager not only understood the final objective but focused on creation of unity among the team members.
The project required a lot of effort in the direction of bringing the resources and the people together for the purpose of completion of the project and achieving the desired objective. Communication played a very important role apart from team effectiveness and conflict management.
The recommended project management tools for this project includes Work Breakdown Structure (WBS). WBS would be of great use in this project as there are multiple set of activities involved in it. This project aims at ensuring that there be effective implementation of a turnkey information systems project in the organization.
The choice of vendor is based on a set of factors that can help choose the best based on the quotations, capabilities and technologies. All of these factors can help them cater to the success of the this project. It is possible for them to then create a strong level of compliance and this is essential in order to create an effective information systems in the organization.
Project Management Methodologies help in establishing and managing projects according to the integrated and defined process tailored from organizational standard process. It also helps in controlling project parameters such as scope, schedule, budget, effort etc. within planned limit. Project management ensures that the relevant stake holders perform their tasks in a coordinated and timely manner.
This also helps to meet the project schedule and adhere to the plan. In this way the usage of these project management tools help in creating an effective level of balance between various activities in managing the project. In this way these tools can help the firm reach an effective level of control and balance which can in turn help in forming an essential level of effectiveness in the operations related to the project.
The communications plan include reporting to the strategic managers and directors of the company and the project. Among the team the engineers would be guiding and supervising each of the groups and controlling based on the approved designs. The quality plan is to include quality checks at different points of the WBS and the supervision and surveillance helps ensure quality in different aspects including material and final product. It includes creating standards and then comparing and controlling.
Managing compatibility is also an important part of risk management in this project. It is essential in case of risk management to focus on balancing resources with requirements. It is extremely important that the firm considers human resource aspects while designing and using information systems and prioritizes it over the compliance element as human resources are a very important function in every business. This should be an important element of risk management and communication processes in the organization.
It is clear that National Corporation can benefit hugely from incorporating Project Management fundamentals throughout all of its departments & workforce. The recent failure in bagging one of the biggest potential projects has set the alarm bells ringing and showcased the shortcomings of National Corporation in the areas of clear organization & planning, which are cornerstones of any basic Project Management framework.
Hence, the management of National Corporation has shown interest in trying out Project Firecracker. But Project Firecracker should not just be a simple ‘trial’ in terms of improving the processes at National Corporation. Instead, it should become an integral part of the organization, its culture and its processes (Project fundamentals student guide. 2013).
Project Firecracker will bring about several simple yet radical changes in the organization and working of National Corporation. And these changes will definitely result in a much more streamlined organization that functions like a well-oiled machine, yielding better throughput as well as better quality in lesser time.
National Corporation is already a big, powerful organization with many talented individuals. All it needs is a bit of re-structuring in the way it works in order to gain the appreciation (and more importantly repetitive business) from its clientele. And adopting Project Firecracker across the length & breadth of National Corporation can bring about that re-structuring, which is crucial for its future.
Implementing a project requires effective usage of technology and infrastructure as well as the usage of appropriate project management tools that enable the implementation of the project in an effective manner. The various aspects relevant to the features of service marketing have been explained in the process of critically evaluating the services required by the people and teams that manage this project.
In terms of system reliability of a product usage of a high reliability sub-systems with high cost in series configuration since distribution is essential. The SCM is involved in the provision for product and services that are required by the customers include all activities related to procurement of the goods and delivering them to the point of purchase or consumption. The supply chain management includes the movement of various goods and their forms such as raw materials, work in process, final inventory and its management and also the finished goods from the origin point to the point where they will be consumed (Griffin R.W., Moorhead G, 2009).
Lewis, J. P. 2002. Fundamentals of project management. New York: AMACOM.
Pinto, J. K. and Morris, P. 2013. The Wiley guide to project, program, and portfolio management. Hoboken, N.J : Wiley
Griffin R.W., Moorhead G. (2009), Organizational Behaviour: Managing People and Organizations, USA, Routledge
Project fundamentals student guide. 2013 - Report Georgia Technology Authority, USA
Douglas Hubbard, 2009, The Failure of Risk Management: Why It's Broken and How to Fix It, USA, John Wiley & Sons
CAR, Morano R, 2003,. Application of Risk Analysis Techniques in Construction Projects. 2003. 206 f. Dissertation (Master in Civil Engineering)
Chapman RJ , 2001. The controlling influences on effective risk identification and assessment for construction design management. Int. J. Project Management
You will select an organization to analyze using the conceptual tools provided in this course. It can be a company, a public sector organization, an NGO (nongovernmental organization such as Oxfam), or even an MIT laboratory. The only constraint on your choice is the size of the organization (it should have more than a dozen people). The individual assignment will be your analysis of that organization: you will develop an initial analysis, receive feedback from the instructors on your draft, and then revise and expand it in response to the feedback to produce the final draft. Papers should be 10-15 pages in length.
The relevant due dates are:
- Ses #7: Submit a paragraph identifying the organization you have chosen and briefly stating why you are interested in it.
- Ses #15: First draft of individual assignment due.
- Ses #24: Final copy of individual assignment due.
Selecting an Organization
Pick an organization in which you have a strong personal interest. For example, select an organization in which you might be interested in working after graduation, or an organization that is a very significant player in a sector in which you plan to work (e.g. a regulatory agency or a dominant firm). If you have ambitions to become an entrepreneur, you might want to select a growing entrepreneurial organization. If you choose to analyze a very large organization, pick one department or an office (some sub-unit of the organization) on which to focus your analysis.
Because one requirement for the assignment is to interview at least one member of the organization, it can be convenient to select an organization in the area, but it is not essential. Interviews can be conducted by phone.
Analyzing the Organization
You should use publicly available information to begin your analysis: the organization's Web site is often the best starting point. Remember, however, that you are using the Web site as a source of data for the analysis; do not simply copy material off the Web site. Your assignment is an analysis, not a data-dump. In addition, the Lexis-Nexis database provides useful material on many organizations.
You will need to interview at least one member of the organization (either a current member or one who has recently left it). It can be very useful to make an initial contact with your informant early in the research process, to ensure that the person is indeed willing to talk with you. You will find the informant most useful, however, after you have done the preliminary work with the publicly available materials.
The purpose of the assignment is to develop your ability to use the conceptual frameworks and tools from the course. Your analysis should use the "three lenses" to provide insight into the strategic design, the political system, and the culture of the organization you have chosen. Take the perspective of someone who is about to join this organization: what should they know about the organization to act effectively in an entry-level position, with aspirations to succeed in the organization.
Individual Paper Example
Student work is courtesy of the MIT student, and is used with permission.
Camp Kesem MIT: A Three Lens Analysis (PDF)
Your table team is responsible for writing a 10-15 page assessment of an organizational response to some specific "crisis" or critical challenge facing the organization that requires the organization to either change from past practices or take on a new set of responsibilities. The organization could be MIT (e.g., how has MIT organized its response to the Haitian earthquake and recovery efforts) or some other organization. As in the individual paper, you are to apply the conceptual frameworks and tools from the course to:
- Provide a three-lens analysis of how your chosen organization has responded to the crisis;
- Assess the processes used to date to lead, manage, and communicate its response and the changes it plans to make to address the challenges at hand;
- Use the Sloan Leadership Model to analyze how the organization's leaders responded to the crisis;
- Offer recommendations for how to manage the on-going change process to ensure its success.
You will need to collect data from both the individuals/leaders working on the problem and those you believe have a significant stake in the issue.
The relevant due dates are:
- Ses #14: Submit a paragraph describing the change you will study.
- Ses #24: Team in-class reports due.
- Ses #25: Team paper due.