Project Management

Project management case study – The Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project

GENERAL PROJECT INFORMATION

Below is an example of questions when you are enrolling in a Diploma of Project management or some type of other Project management course -  https://www.edna.edu.au/online-courses/diploma-of-project-management you can expect that you will be reviewing Project that have been completed in the past and identify how the project could have been improved. Thi section will focus on the initiation and planning stage of the project. If you are looking for other great PM resources have a look at this article. The Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project was introduced by Gautam Adani, who is the founder of the Adani Mining Pty Ltd and is known as the Australian subordinate of the Adani association. The Adani Corporation was established in Ahmedabad, India and is interested in worldwide trading, power generation, coal mining and trading, oil refining, gas distribution, logistics, and management of ports. Adani is offering to reinforce a 27.5 million tons per annum thermal coal mine (Adani Mining, page 11), costing $16.5 billion to take place in the northern Galilee Basin. The project will bring benefits towards the community such as, 1,500 direct jobs, thousands of indirect jobs and many other businesses. It is approximately 300km away from the Queensland coastline and 160 kilometers of Clermont, Central Queensland. The production will begin by gathering coal that is delivered by the new Northern Galilee Basin connected to the Goonyella railway and shipped to Abbot Point Port. The project consists of two crucial elements,
  1. Coal Mine; Greenfield coal including, an open cut and underground mining.
  2. Railway Line; Greenfield Rail Network; supported by rail facilities to export coal via the existing Goonyella railway and delivered to the Port Abbott Point.
During the approval process, the project is required to get an assessment by the Environment Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS is a declaration to determine any environmental impacts made to the area and to remove any activity that will potentially affect the natural, social and economic surroundings. In 2011, Adani has embarked formal meetings with key stakeholders and the community. All materials used within the meetings are recorded to assist in maintaining a flow of information and obtaining feedback. Some of the key issues involved,
  • Climate Change
  • Traffic and Transport
  • Air Quality
  • Hazard and Risk
  • Waste Management
  • Social Impacts etc.
Many people such as the Wangan & Jagalingou family have opposed the project from going ahead. Mentioning the rights for their land and that, we are determined to prevent our land being taken without our consent and to protect our country and sacred places from destruction, (Wanagan & Jagalingou Family Council, 2018). Statements that have approved the Adani corporation are,
  • According to State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld), the project has been proclaimed to be a ‘significant Project’ requiring a (EIS). (State Development, 2014)
  • According to (DSEWP), The Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project has been proclaimed to be a ‘controlled action’ by EIS under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. (State Development, 2014)
 

By user23395, ago
Project Management

Project Management Theory and Practice

Project Management Theory and Practice Below is a summary of a critical Project Managment document in Australia – The document Project Management Theory and Practice –  the focus of the review will be on the initiation and planning stages of the document. It outlines some of the major documents required - Love reading and learning about Project Management - visit the website for more information. Background In 2010, the first edition of this book was released, with the current edition, the third edition recently published in 2018. The third edition, written for students, gives them a broad idea of project management and it is not particularly focused on any one industry. The publication takes an in-depth look at the Work Breakdown Structures (WBS), Earned Value Management (EVM), Portfolio Management (PPM), enterprise project management, professional responsibility an ethics, and agile life cycle. The text also includes a section written by industry experts sharing their insights and expertise on the challenges and changes facing the industry (Richardson & Jackson 2018, pp. xxi-xxii). The reason I have chosen to include this book in my assignment is because of the authors’ motivation to help simply the language used in project management materials. One of the authors was teaching project management at the University of Houston and found that there were not many texts available then that students could easily understand. The authors went on with the objective to create a resource that supports the PMBOK Guide so that it can help students who are studying for the various project management certifications (Richardson & Jackson 2018, p. xxi). As a student with no project management experience, I heavily rely on this resource to help me understand the project management processes and concepts and have found the simple language used to be very beneficial in helping me grasp the complex project management concepts. Summary on the initiation and planning stage This text explains that the reason why the initiation stage is important is because the primary goal of this stage is to have an idea dissected and investigated before determining if it is one worth pursuing and is in line with organisational goals. It enjoins that this is the phase where stakeholders are first consulted, the business case is developed and reviewed, and the Project Charter is signed off (Richarson & Jackson 2018, p. 96). The publication also writes that the initiation stage plays a critical part in the project management process as it ensures there is a clear understanding of what the project is and what its requirements and goals are (Richardson & Jackson 2018, p. 103). The book further outlines that in the initiation process of the project, the preliminary scope statement is developed – this statement turned the vision into quantitative specifications that gives a better understanding of the technical requirements of the project (Richardson & Jackson 2018, p. 102). The reason why the planning stage is important as this is the stage where each knowledge area is identified and addressed during this stage (Richardson & Jackson 2018, p. 106). The planning stage of a project commences once the initiation stage is approved and the book describes in great detail that this stage is about figuring out what is required and how it is going to be achieved. The text also explains that this stage is the opportunity to look at what potential hazard may arise and prepare for them to give the project the best chance of success (Richardson & Jackson 2018, pp. 105-110).  Read Review on Project Management for dummies here. Documents are created to address the knowledge areas. The documents vary depending on the project but the following are some of the common artefacts included in a project plan:

  • Approved scope definition
  • Work Break Down Structure
  • Baseline performance testing and user acceptance plans
  • Estimate of materials and time
  • Sequence of work order
  • Risk and stakeholder and Commnications management plans (Richardson & Jackson 2018, p. 109)

By user23395, ago
Project Management

Cost Management Plan | Project management

Cost Management Plan

1.1 Purpose

The reason a cost management plan has been put in place is to ensure that projects finances are managed to the best ability of our team. Having a cost management plan in place will allow the project team to successfully complete Mr Jones’s shed within the allocated budget constraints. There are multiple cost components associated with this project as well as many metrics, cost variance considerations, and reporting which this plan will detail. For this project to be considered a success, all key project team members and stakeholders must follow the guidelines stated in this plan.

1.2 Scope

  The cost management plan for the building Mr Jones’s shed includes many internal and external cost components.  All metrics and variance analysis must be applied to these cost components throughout the project lifecycle.  These components include: Internal
  • Shed assembly
  • Equipment Hire
  • Labour
  • Materials
External
  • Insurance
  • Concrete installation costs
  • Council worker costs

2.0 Cost Management Roles and Responsibilities

Dylan will be responsible for managing the project. Along with Fred, Eddie, Bob, Gary, And Tony, Dylan will be ensuring that the chosen budget adheres too. Fund allocation has been set out for various sections of the project and has been overcompensated for to ensure any price rise of materials, equipment hire, or council assistance will not affect the project in a negative way. All tradesmen on this project have been designated a selection of materials to use and will not be requiring anything other than what has been detailed in the WBS and the project budget. Project management course information available at  https://www.edna.edu.au/online-courses/diploma-of-project-management/

2.1 Project Sponsor

The Project Sponsor for building Mr Jones’s shed is Fred. Fred will be responsible for approving the projects cost management plan and the budget developed by Karen and Dylan. Fred will also be responsible for potential approval of additional funding that Dylan may need to complete the project. Fred will report project budget and funding status directly to the customer to keep him involved in the project

2.2 Project Manager

The project manager for Mr Jones’s shed project is Dylan. Dylan is responsible for managing the day to day funding for the project. Also, Dylan will be creating a Work Breakdown Structure which will detail all work that will be performed by Fred’s employees. Dylan will have the authority to allocate project funding and expenditure as detailed in the cost management plan. For further funding of this project, Dylan will need to seek the approval from the project sponsor. Dylan will need to develop metrics and variance analysis tools to provide weekly status updates to the project sponsor throughout the three-week project.

2.3 Project Team

The project team is responsible for completing the assigned work in agreement with the cost management plan. The project team will also be required to forward on all metrics to allow Dylan to create a detailed and accurate variance analysis, so he can ensure that the project is staying within the allocated budget.

2.4 Contractor Support

The contractors providing cement installation and council land checks for the project will be responsible for providing initial project cost estimates, which will include all the costs required to complete the task. The contractor will also need to provide a Work Breakdown structure detailing the designated tasks and their associated costs. The contractors will be responsible for completing the work within the funding requirements.

3.0 Cost Management Approach

The approach that will be taken for this project to be managed correctly and allow a successful completion will include cost planning/estimating, cost tracking, cost reporting/metrics, and cost variance. The cost planning/estimating process was used for two budgets. Fred requested that Dylan will need to estimate the total costs of a shed that was built using high grade materials and equipment, as well as a budget detailing a shed being built by using industry standard equipment. To do the estimations Dylan is tasked with researching commercial databases as well as contacting vendors that Fred currently uses to gather all pricing information. Dylan will be able to utilise information and lessons learned from Fred’s Shed’s companies previous shed projects to assist with the cost planning/estimating process. Earned Value management techniques will be utilised to track project costing performance and directly compare with the budget baseline. Using this technique will help Dylan assess and measure the performance and progress of the project to ensure Mr Jones’s shed is completed within the requested $40,000 budget. Reporting will be provided by a detailed profit and loss statement to allow Fred to see if this project is making a profit or is making a loss on Fred’s business. Due to the small size of the project, the profit and loss statement will be updated weekly allowing Fred to keep up to date on how the project is progressing. Using variance analysis will allow Dylan to manage and identify cost variance throughout the project life cycle. Variance analysis will be used to compare the real-world progress with the planned cost performance of the project. To ensure all facets of the project are covered, a trend analysis will also be used to track how the project is trending from start to finish. Good resource available here.

3.1 Cost Planning and Estimating

Once the resources that will be needed to complete Mr Jones’s shed have been determined, Dylan and Fred will work out the staffing and resource requirements required to complete the project by using past experiences/lessons learned, researching commercial databases as well as contacting selected vendors. The project manager and contractors will develop internal and external WBS’s for the project which will detail the labour costs and estimated duration of each activity. Once the WBS has been developed, an estimation will now occur by utilising the detailed information now available. Once the total costs have been added up a request for funding will then be completed. Once the project budget is proven to be within the requested budget and has been approved, a project cost baseline will now be determined after a comparison of each WBS element to ensure the estimated work complies with the project budget. Any adjustments that will be required for the cost baseline will only be done once the project manager has gained authorisation from the project sponsor.

3.2 Cost Tracking

Project team members and contractors who will be contributing to the successful completion of Mr Jones’s shed project will be instructed to record their work on the correct time sheets that will be for each labour category of the WBS cost accounts. The final working day of the week will be the time when the project manager will gather all of this information, and utilise the Earned Value management technique to track the progress of the project on a weekly basis. This comparison will allow the project manager to develop metrics as to how the project is performing compared to the cost baseline, which will also assist with the development of variance analysis, trend analysis and relevant reports

3.3 Cost Metrics and Reporting

Earned value management will be used to measure project cost and schedule performance. The following metrics will be compiled and reported by the Project Manager:  
  • Cost Performance Index (CPI) will be reported weekly and is the project’s EV/AC
  • Schedule Performance Index (SPI) will be reported weekly and is the project’s EV/PV
  • Control thresholds for CPI and SPI are:
    • Yellow: within +/- 20% must be reported to the Project Sponsor. If it is determined that there is no effect on the project’s cost baseline, then there may be no further action required.
    • Red: greater than +/- 20% must be reported to the Project Sponsor. Corrective measures must be taken to move the project back to an acceptable performance level (process detail in paragraph 3.3).
Earned Value Metric Frequency of Reporting Yellow Red
CPI Weekly 0.8≤CPI≤1.2 CPI<0.8 or CPI>1.2
SPI Weekly 0.8≤SPI≤1.2 SPI<0.8 or SPI>1.2
 
  • Cost Variance (CV) will be reported weekly and is the project’s AC subtracted from EV
  • Schedule Variance (SV) will be reported weekly and is the project’s PV subtracted from EV
A chart will be created for each of the above metrics and will be presented to the project sponsor at the end of each working week until project completion.  

3.4 Cost Control Measures

If the unlikely event of exceeding the thresholds of CPI or SPI which are stated above, corrective measures must be considered and taken to allow the project to fall back into the acceptable threshold of performance. The project manager will consider all control measures that will aid in the efforts of bring the project back within control. An informative analysis will of the chosen control measure will then be provided for the project sponsor. The analysis will consist of:
  • Description of the selected control measure
  • Staff involved with implementing the control measure
  • A timeline detailing how long it will take to implement
  • Risks or concerns with the implementation
  • Estimated effect on the project performance
All control measures will be reviewed by the project sponsor and the project manager will complete all necessary change request forms required by the projects change control procedures. If the control measure is approved, the project manager will then be in charge of implementing the change. In worst case scenarios, it may be a last resort option to re baseline all costings required to complete the project. This action is one that should be avoided, but if necessary the project sponsor can authorise this action to take effect.  

4.0 Approvals

As mentioned earlier on in the cost management plan (3.0), two budgets were to be developed detailing two different approaches as to how the project will be completed. Both budgets came within the requested $40,000 limit and both have different levels of build quality. The high-quality build consisted of higher quality materials which have the benefit of longer warranties, have longer life expectancies, higher capacity for electrical outlets, larger restroom, more storage opportunities, and also have a more appealing appearance throughout the whole shed. As well as the higher-grade materials budgeted, selecting plant and equipment that was to be hired for job completion also were of a higher quality standard which in many cases could potentially speed up the build process. The other budget consisted of standard industry materials and equipment to be used. The materials used in this proposal represent a quality product, but the warranty length is less and may have a selected taste in regard to product appearance. But all materials perform the same duties and have the same purpose as the ones proposed in the higher priced project budget. This budget was designed to fit the customers needs and nothing more. Unlike the other proposal, which was to provide the best possible experience whilst staying within the required budget.   The signatures of the people below indicate an understanding in the purpose and content of this document by those signing it.  By signing this document you agree to this as the formal Cost Management Plan for the Mr Jones’s Shed Project.
Approver Name Title Signature Date
Fred Project Sponsor
Dylan Project Manager
   

By user23395, ago
Project Management

What are the five stages of project management?

The five phases of a project

There are five phases in the life cycle of a project. These being initiation, planning, execution, controlling and closure phases. The initiation phase involves definition of the project at a broad level. Project feasibility is determined and investigation of if the project should be undertaken. Project planning involves developing a plan for the project that is robust enough to give guidance on resourcing, finance, procurements and can give a team direction for producing quality outputs, handling risk and communicating benefits to stakeholders. It will also outlay the costs, scope and timeframe of the project. Project execution phase is the phase that ties most closely to project management. Execution phase is all about the deliverables. The executions phase is about implementing the plan developed in the planning phase. If you want to study a Diploma of Project management click here. Project control and monitoring is often done at the same time as the execution phase. As the teams execute the project plan, constant monitoring of progress, risk, resources and progress is required. Monitoring of the scope to prevent creep, identifying key performance indicators and reviewing milestones against baselines is important. Closure phase is the final phase of the life cycle of project management. This phase is the completion of the project, communicating completion to stakeholders and often demobilisation and reallocation of resources to other projects. A strong review is often required in this stage to evaluate performance and allow the team to develop stronger processes and develop skills and know how.  

Decomposition

Decomposition is a very important in the creation of a work breakdown structure as it involves dividing a large piece into simpler and smaller pieces of tasks and activities. Decomposition determines the project components, identifies milestones and creates packages that can be individually targeted. It is important to realise how much time spent in decomposition is correct for the project, as it is possible to do excessive decomposition which may lead to more work without much value in the time spent and decreased work efficiency. A correct decomposition will generate an individual task which can be effectively programmed and resources allowing effective planning. Decomposition is required in many applications as even simple projects require clear definition of activities from a work breakdown structure. The outcome of decomposition should be task that are able to be individually resourced and programmed for duration and effort.  

Creating and monitoring schedules

Creation of a schedule begins with understanding the project and the tasks and activities that are required to be completed in order to complete the project. Once the tasks are established, the activities that are required to complete the tasks can be listed and then resourced as required for duration and effort. Each activity and task will be listed with a predecessor and successor in order to establish a timeline and also identify the critical path. It is important to identify the critical path so that these tasks can be adequately resources as delays on these items will affect the progress of the project as they do not havea float for a delay. Monitoring of this schedule can be done in several ways individually or indeed combined. Monitoring of documents including procurement information, minutes created on site progress and in planning and developments need to be absorbed and often incorporated into programming. For instanc,e a progress on site is often a common header for minutes, if the certain tasks are running behind or ahead the appropriate changes can be introduced into the program and a comparison Gantt chart can be used to compare the impact on the program. Procurement of contractors can also be used to monitor the schedule as often timelines may need to be adjusted once expert advice is received. Many projects will also require regular attendance from the project manager or his staff and information from these inspections can be incorporated into the project. Such things as delays in getting the plant to a site can be identified this way and the impact monitored in the schedule.  

Work breakdown schedules

Work breakdown structures (WBS) are the high level overview which are composed of activities. A work breakdown structure is oriented towards deliverables so they are able to be read as manageable sections of the project that can be further broken down to smaller activities that can be achieved. They will form essentially the bones of the project. The top level of the work breakdown structure is the project deliverable, these are defined further into smaller sections or portions of the project. Once all of these summary activities are completed the relevant summary task will be complete. The work breakdown structure is essential as they provide a structure of work where the project can be reduced to a series of task that can be easily completed. The WBS can also be used in estimation and project maintenance purposes as they allow the project to be assessed in smaller portions. Creation of relevant work breakdown structures can also be useful in identifying risks in the projects as if the activities are not able to be correctly defined or planned it will flag an area that may need additional planning or development. Whilst not all work breakdown structures will not have the same amount of detail under them, it is important for them to be able to be completed once all of the relevant activities are finished. Learn about cash flow from project managers by reading this article   

By user23395, ago
Project Management

Project management Evolution

Evolution of Project management

Project management is an increasingly important topic of discussion today because all organizations have encountered problems in implementing a new business process, product, service, or other initiative. When we examine how organizations pursue changes, invariably it involves organizing a team of people with chosen skills to do the job. Management of the activities to complete this class of task is what project management is about(course information here). We are indeed living in interesting times in regard to the project topic. On the one hand, it is now generally recognized that a disciplined approach to managing projects yields positive value in the resulting cost, schedule, and functionality. However, there remains great conflict over exactly what discipline is to be used in this process. In addition to this philosophical discord, technology itself continues to bring new challenges to the organization such that it is often difficult to replicate a successful approach multiple times. Managing a project the same way may well produce different outcomes based on the subtle complex relationships inherent in the process. Also, new tools, techniques, and products continue to enter the marketplace making even five-year-old project management strategies look dated. Therefore, the challenge in navigating this mine-strewn environment is to explore the subject and distill nuggets of information that have stood the test of time and then attempt to pave a pathway that can survive the next wave of technical discontinuity. In order to understand how the current situation got to its present state let us take a quick look at some of the not too distant evolutionary stages that the approach to project management has moved through. History offers subtle insights into broadscale phenomenon such as this. The stages outlined below are somewhat arbitrarily grouped, but are designed to highlight the more obvious driving factors that have changed the approach to managing high-technology projects. By scanning any library or bookstore today, you will find shelves stocked with volumes of books explaining in varying detail methods useful for successful completion of projects. Each author has their own guaranteed project management strategy designed to ensure a triumphant conclusion; yet real-world statistics still show marginal results for most projects. This section does not intend to attempt to trace all the historic trodden paths related to this topic, but does attempt to look back at the people and concepts in history that have formed the foundations of project management on which modern day approaches are based.

Early History of Project Management

The basic principles related to the science of project management have evolved over many decades. This body of knowledge mostly evolved since the early 1900s and accelerated after the 1950s. Some very early projects were quite impressive in their scale, but these did not follow what we would call the modern project management style or organizational culture. Incubation of the modern thought procatalyst cess can be traced to the industrial age during the latter 1880s, which provided much of the ­ the application of a more scientific approach to the management of project and manufacturing profor cesses. Studies and experiments conducted by pioneers in the field during the early part of the twentieth century further paved the way for the understanding of project management as it is known today. One has to look only at the historical structures and monuments left behind in past centuries to conclude that some form of managing a project was in place at that time. It is unfathomable to imagine that the Great Pyramid of Giza, Great Wall of China, or any of the ancient Greek or Roman projects could have been completed without some type of project management that basically guided the work process and managed the variables involved. Each of these undertakings was constructed with nothing more than simple tools and manpower, often slave labor. The early project managers (PMs) were technicians or engineers, generally multi-skilled generalists who could deal with many situations (Kozak-Holland, 2007). The manager in these endeavors was most likely the architect/designer of the project who understood how it needed to be constructed and they were given the authority for allocating sufficient resources to that goal. This style of the multi-skilled technical generalist overseeing projects was the norm throughout the early period.

Success management

The first step in success management is to understand the factors that lead to that conclusion. The basic management model outlined in this text offers a reasonably clear set of processes to achieve that goal. However, the organizational environment in which a project exists may contain factors that still make success unlikely. In some cases, a PM is assigned Project Titanic (i.e., a good ship may still sink because of other external circumstances). When this happens, it is important to realize that evidence now indicates decisions made by the crew of the Titanic actually caused it to sink faster than it would have if left on the iceberg. Of course, the best decision was to stay away from the iceberg in the first place. Therefore, in both situations a catastrophe could have been mitigated with the right management decisions. Here we see that a bad management decision can make a complex situation disastrous. The same conclusion is valid for the project environment. A good PM certainly has if they can find the right pathway through the project icebergs. So, success management requires a series of strategies and related decisions. First, understand where success (or failure) comes from and mitigate as many of the problem factors as possible. Second, through the course of the project, the PM role is to influence the right set of actions to correct deviations that threaten to become a major problem. Third, when a threat surfaces take quick action using all the management skills at hand. Finally, if the boat is in fact sinking, you also have the role of communicating status and recommendations to all participants regarding how to handle the situation. Management will have been informed of status and forecasts along the way. In all of these modes, the PM must be both a leader and an honest broker of information . One might ask “If we follow all these prescriptions, will every project be successful?” Probably not! There are too many uncontrollable variables to expect that, but proper use of the tools and techniques described here should significantly improve the outcome. If we continue to look at what went wrong with the last project and try to ensure that the previous item does not recur, the next project should progress better. Experience from the Japanese quality programs has taught the world how continuous improvement actions over a long period can take a country from a crude tool maker to the Toyota/Lexus manufacturer in slightly over 60 years. Likewise, we must realize that project management is not a short-term band-aid event; it is a process. Organizations must strategically focus on it and individuals must study it in order to achieve the desired results.

By user23395, ago
Project Management

The Science of Project Management

Application of Analytical Science

As organizational processes became more complex, many underlying aspects of getting work accomplished began to change. Most noticeably, the manufacturing process moved out of the craftsman’s homes into formal factory settings where the products could be mass produced. This necessitated a tighter coupling of work processes and more refined versions of them. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, new technologies using electricity and internal combustion brought a further expansion of manufacturing complexity. Suddenly, employee (non-owner) managers found themselves faced with the daunting task of organizing the manual labor of thousands of workers related to the manufacture and assembly of unprecedented quantities of raw material (Sisk, n.d.). This phase basically marked the beginning point for the application of analytical science to the workplace. If one could point to a birth date for modern ­ project management - click here for PM course details, it would likely be in the two initial decades of the twentieth century and the names summarized in the next section made the subject more visible to the masses.

Frederick Taylor and Scientific Management

Frederick Taylor is called the father of Scientific Management and his influence can be traced through much of the early evolution of project management thought. Taylor came from what was considered a privileged background, but entered into employment with the Midvale Steel Company of Philadelphia as a common laborer in the late nineteenth century. The prevailing wage system in place at the time was called piece work. That is, employees were compensated based on their production rate; more production meant more pay. One common practice for management was to monitor the payroll and as soon as workers began earning “too much,” they would cut the piece rate to try to entice the workers to do more for less. In reaction to this, employees scaled back their output to keep the quota lower. This practice was called “soldiering” (Gabor, 1999, p. 13). Years later, this concept would be called peer pressure and became added to the behavior theory of management. Taylor saw this practice and even participated. Sometime later, he was promoted to gang boss at the mill and became determined to stop the soldiering. Being an engineer, his method of doing this was to find a way to define “scientifically” what a fair pay-for-performance formula would be. In order to do that, he had to research the best method for the job. This would be called process re-engineering in modern terms. Taylor’s application of systematic studies for various jobs and the time required to complete each task represented the roots of project management theory circa 1910. He conducted time studies of various jobs using a stopwatch. This later became a common activity in manufacturing organizations under the title Time and Motion study (Gabor, 1999, p. 17). By standardizing the work processes and understanding the needed times to complete tasks within those processes, Taylor was able to increase the output at the steel company. Taylor was recruited to Bethlehem Steel Works, where he conducted what is his most famous experiment, based on the loading of pig iron (NetMBA, n.d.). The impetus for the experiment was a rise in price for pig iron caused by an increased demand for the product. Using his knowledge of work process and time studies, Taylor set about to increase the productivity of pig iron loading. This task required backbreaking labor, but over the course of time trained workers with the proper skills were put in place. The initial average daily load of pig iron per worker was 13 tons. By conducting time and motion experiments to determine the proper timing of lifting and resting the workers could increase the production to 47.5 tons per day (NetMBA, n.d.). What is not so readily defined in history is that the workers did not readily adopt Taylor’s method, even though he showed that it was more productive. It took several more years before the concept of group behavior was better understood. As is the case with most improvements in management thought, each small step forward leaves behind other unanswered questions. In this case, why would the workers not want to produce more if they did not have to work harder (even with the inticement for more wages)? Taylor became famous after testifying before the U.S. Congress on ways in which the U.S. railway system could be made more productive. This testimony was published in the New York Times describing how utilizing his theory would save the railroads one million dollars per day. One could argue that this was the first of the management “silver bullet” ideas that represented all you needed to know to solve basically any problem. Many of the historians we examine were not afraid to tout their solutions in this way. Taylor left his mark on the industry with his 1911 publication of The Principles of Scientific Management . The four key Taylor management principles were (Ivancevich et al., 2008, p. 143):
  1. Develop a science for each element of a man’s work that replaces the old rule-of-thumb method.
  2. Scientifically select and then train, teach, and develop the workman. In the past he trained himself as best as he could.
  3. Heartily cooperate with the men so as to ensure that all the work is done in accordance with the principles of the science that has been developed.
  4. There is almost an equal division of the work and the responsibility between management and workmen. Management takes over all work for which it is better fitted than workmen, while in the past almost all of the work and the greater part of the responsibility were placed on the workmen. These early foundation concepts provided the framework from which modern project management evolution can be traced today.

By user23395, ago
Project Management

Managing Project Time

Managing Project Time

Project managers know that the iron triangle of project management are constrained by three elements – time, cost and scope. Each project is given a set timeframe for the project deliverables or goals to be achieved and many struggle to meet this timeframe.  

Estimation techniques

Expert judgment is often used to assess task durations and efforts. Expert judgment is gained often through experience allowing comparison to previously completed work in order to allow a prediction of future work. An example of this would be in estimating duration for a task such as laying bricks. An expert in the field would be able to assess the duration of such a task by utilizing a rule of thumb quantity per day per bricklayer. Assessing how many bricklayers would be expected to be operating in the space available and therefore be able to ascertain a time length and effort involved in the task. Expert judgment may also extend to specialists in the field, consultants and sub-contractors are often consulted to determine task durations and efforts in-fact many sub-contractors or specialist consultants may drive task and/or project duration. It is important during the use of expert judgment that schedules are produced that are neither too conservative or optimistic and that they can constantly change as required when new information is presented. View course details for the Diploma of Project Management.   Published estimating data is also frequently used. Books such as Rawlingsons are published and sold to construction companies the world over. These books go into quite a significant amount of detail in how they should be used and read. They have a very large range of material and labour quantities and costs through many facets of construction. Often the data can be used independently or with alterations. For instance, data may publish a rate which you may discover is old or outdated, particularly with items that are subject to large price increases. Therefore, the costs may be able to be adjusted, or the labour component used to determine time and the material costs discovered from another source. Publications such as these can be very helpful but certainly cannot be used in isolation as there are dangers in relying solely on works such as these. There is always a gap between existing and new construction techniques as often newer construction techniques do not make their way into these publications until they have proven themselves in the market.  

How do you identify a project’s critical path?

The critical path is determined by following the path generated by the longest durations. It is the sequence of all activities that must be completed for the entire project to be completed. If there are multiple tasks occurring at one time, the task that will form the critical path will be the task with the longest duration. For this to be successful all tasks must have at least one predecessor and one successor except for the first and last tasks. If a task is deemed to on the critical path and it is delayed by one day, then the project will have delayed by one day.   Critical paths have either zero or negative float, if a task can be delayed without an impact on the project than it will not be on the critical path. Units covered by Diploma of Project management.    A manual way of determining the critical path is via the use of a schedule network diagram. Once this is plotted you can determine all possible paths available and calculate the duration for each individual path. If the schedule has been plotted on a software system such as Microsoft Project, the critical path can be determined by the software. It is important however, for this to be reviewed and sometimes adjustment may need to be made, as the programmed critical path line may not go where you would like. Adjustments would be made to other tasks in this case to reduce float.  

How to manage project baselines, establishment and variance

Once a schedule has been fully developed, a schedule baseline is created and accepted by the project managing team. This schedule provides the project start and finish dates, identifies the critical path and provides a fixed point on which the project performance can be measured against. The critical path established may change throughout the project due to tasks completing early or running late. Often multiple baselines can be created dependant on the scope of the works or unknown or latent conditions which could drastically alter the original schedule baseline where it becomes unpractical to measure changes. Schedule control is required to ensure that the project schedule is updated when events require it. Often such a review period would occur at major milestones, change of personnel that impact the program such as key staff, completion of deliverables and finalisation of the project. The project manager works with the stakeholders and clients to ensure that changes are agreed upon, the project manager examines the results and conditions on site to determine if such changes have occurred. The project manager will also implement these changes into the program.   A schedule control system could be used for managing the mentioned changes and facilitates the tracking of changes, approval processes and does this considering the conditions of the change requests, reasons, costs and risks of these changes. Alterations to the schedule can also be driven by poor performance, this is needed to be monitored using performance review which considers actual start and finish dates, percentage complete and remaining durations. Part of the project management process is identifying when corrective action could be required dependant on the overall impact of poor performance on an activity. Performance of this analysis is key in controlling the schedule, the comparisons can be often viewed in a comparison bar chart where the baseline and the schedule changes can be reviewed side by side and slippage can be visually identified. At these points the schedule can be reviewed for potential forecasting changes that could be implemented into bringing the schedule back towards the baseline. What if scenarios, resource levelling and adjusting leads and lags can be used to identify the changes that would be required to reduce delay to the project.   Schedule variance and schedule performance index values for the WBS components are documented and presented to stakeholders, schedule variance analysis and progress reports may have impacts to other components of the project management plan. Learn how to mangage project budget by clicking here.   The importance of discovering the root problem of the delay or schedule variance cannot be overlooked. This can often be tracked using document and records such as site diaries, incident records and occurrence reports, scheduling charts, evaluation of options, variances, records of analysis and review of work breakdown structure. A big part of managing a project is ensuring you will learn how to manage cash flow.  

By user23395, ago
Project Management

Project Management Quality, Theory and Planning

Manage project quality

When managing the quality of a project, all of the processes and activities needed to determine and achieve project quality is determined prior to the project management plan being drawn up. The quality of the deliverables will vary from project to project but the three quality management concepts that need to be covered is customer satisfaction, prevention over inspection and continuous improvement.

Project management theory

Project management theory contains many techniques, tools, and methodologies pertaining to project quality. In a sense, the quality of the project is what drives all of project management theory. The theory is based on correct and proper planning, implementation of techniques, use of tools and methodologies to produce a project that is of a sufficient and correct quality. Tools and techniques are various and are applied throughout a project to both define set criteria and also measure the set criteria against the performance of the project. The development of the project scope management is essential to the project quality. This includes planning the relevant standards and legislation that are applicable to the project, performing quality assurance which is applying the planning techniques to the project and performing quality control, which is monitoring the project to assure that it complies with the relevant requirements.

Quality planning

Quality planning includes processes such as cost-benefit analysis, benchmarking, the design of experiments and cost of quality analysis. These can be performed to the required level dependent on the project. Adequate planning will also include establishing project metrics or measuring tools, project checklists to ensure all aspects of the project can be reviewed and checked off, an improvement plan and establishment of a baseline.  

Quality assurance

Quality assurance is completed throughout a project to maintain the project quality. The process used are the development of the quality management plan, the establishment of quality metrics, a process improvement plan and work performance implementation. Introduction of approve change requests need to be considered in the quality assurance process as well as implementing defect repair and implementing preventive actions to reduce project risks. Quality audits should be completed to review the project.  

Quality control

Quality control involves monitoring project results to ensure that they comply with the relevant quality standards. The quality management plans describe how the quality control will be performed within the project. Many processes can be used to show the effects of project performance including control charts, cause and effect diagrams and histograms. These and others are used for different visual aids to highlight project deviance and cause of problems.  

Legislation, codes and national standards to be applied to project quality management

Quality planning includes many quality standards and determines how they are to be satisfied. Standards include Australian and International standards, industry standards and organisations policy, systems and procedures. Quality assurance standards include testing laboratory certification standards, code of good manufacturing practice and quality systems. These processes interact with each other and with the processes in other knowledge areas. Quality management is designed to be compatible with ISO standards. Codes and standards that could apply directly to project quality management include standards governing WHS, environment and industry standards.  

What quality management methods, tools or techniques can be used to resolve quality issues?

Undertaking regular quality assurance audit for compliance is the primary way to ensure that quality issues are resolved. Constant review of correct plans, specifications and quality metrics, by undertaking remedial action and recording data are all key aspects of resolving quality issues. It is essential to prevent defects or variances to the agreed specifications early, as it will always cost more to redo work than to prevent poor work, to begin with. Quality assurance is the application of planned quality activities to ensure that the project will meet requirements. Tools used during the quality assurance process includes quality planning tools and techniques, quality audits, quality control tools, and techniques and process analysis. The primary results of these techniques are requested changes, to reduce risk, and recommended corrective actions. Learn about Project management budgets and cash flow by going to this website.  

By user23395, ago
Project Management

Planning stage of the project management

PLANNING STAGE

Planning within project management is the process of predetermining all objectives and goals of a project and then developing strategies, outlining the procedures and programs required to attain them. This structured course of events typically defines the time and cost inputs of involved undertakings by collating relevant facts and perspectives (Kerzner, 2013). The planning stage (specifically the risk management analyses) is arguably the most pivotal part of a construction project such as the Carmichael mega-mine and railway. The sheer enormity of everything that needs to be planned is evident, and project managers much ensure that all options are weighed up and the best ones are followed through with. This project exemplifies exactly why planning is so important from the moment initiation is brought about, in regards to developing a clear line of action to properly deal with any changes to the project’s circumstances. This stage in construction extends to the likes of the environment, the community and even the positive and negative outcomes, beyond just the resourcing and budgeting for the venture. Learning about the planning stage and other areas of project management by visiting this website.

Planning Process

The initiation phase for the mine and railway that began in 2010, finally transformed into a reality in May 2014, when Queensland’s Coordinator-General approved the proposal’s advancement. With the project being green lit, the goals of the following, had all their courses of action developed and Scheduled in preparation:
  • Pit and underground mines
  • A coal handling and processing plant
  • A heavy industrial area • 189km of rail line
  • Off-site infrastructure (including workers’ accommodation and airport)
Likewise, aims of expanding the Port of Abbot Point to increase its capacity were planned. The primary goal of the project is to provide Indian power plants with enough coal to create electricity for up to 100 million people. The mine project has a reduced timeline of 60 years (down from 150) and 2.3 billion tonnes of coal (as opposed to 8.3 billion). Job prospects were also a largely planned agenda for this operation, and one of the key reasons (aside from $16.5 billion to the Australian economy) that it was permitted by the government. Adani project managers approximated that the project will generate 10,000 jobs in total. However, an Adani economic consultant told a court that a realistic number would be closer to 1464 jobs. In July 2014, approval was granted to Adani by the Federal Government to create the mine following 36 conditions. These conditions required management to re-plan certain schemes that were not in accordance. In August 2015, the plans for the mine were halted when a dispute about vulnerable species arose and the approval was set aside. The Adani group went about resolving this issue for themselves by recording the levels of species in the mine’s proposed location and announcing they would dedicate funds and surrounding areas to “moving” them. As planned, the coal mine was re-approved a few months later. This was in Adani’s favour because they spent little effort in planning for these species, and did not have to alter project plans at all. In February and April 2016, the coal mine was permitted final state government environmental approval and mining leases respectively. In October 2016, the government of Queensland granted critical status to prioritise all remaining approvals so that the project can begin. In accordance with this announcement, the rail line and construction camp were secured in a step to begin the process officially. What remained as of then were, ratifications for water licensing, power and road access before construction could get underway. With that in place, Adani had generated a finalised plan for the entire creation of the project and had outlined an intent to begin work on the mine before mid-2017.

Summary of Planning

Activities that were planned, controlled, and monitored by Adani’s project managers were as follows: Adani planned the creation of up to 10,000 jobs, covering all kinds of roles from engineers, project management, labourers and contractors in order to successfully create the mine and railway. A total budget for the project was estimated; monitoring of financial changes is crucial to ensure these values remain correct. A whole project schedule was in place, to ensure that all goals were achieved in a manner that followed a clear line of action. The mine and railway layout and civil engineering was planned and created in the early part of this stage to set a guiding basis for the project. Lastly, environmental impacts were heavily controlled and monitored since the conception of the project. The original intent to dump dredging spoils on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) was quickly forced to be controlled and changed, and species affected by the project had to be monitored and managed to ensure as small impact as possible.

Outcome of Planning

The outcomes of this planning stage had prevalent positives and negatives involved. The planning was typically positive, with a clear focus on its goals while simultaneously offered an increased GDP and employment opportunities for the state government. Negatives also arose, largely surrounding the provision of misleading information. Inadequate planning regarding species with habitat on the site combined with grossly underestimating numbers, as well as planning to dump spoils on the GBR were notable negatives that received fierce backlash. Since the initiation of the project in 2010, many important environmental changes have occurred in the world. The world “carbon budget” is a factor here, and the burning of the coal from this mine will produce 0.6% of the world’s limit. Similarly, India recently announced a plan to step away from coal fired energy, which all but eliminates the project’s output. Such factors were clearly never planned for which exemplifies why it must be done for all possibilities regardless of whether they are good or bad for the company. Another reason why project management costs need to be considered before on all project prior to moving forward with the project.    

By user23395, ago
Project Management

Gantt Chart in Project Management

Henry Gantt impact on project management

No discussion on the beginnings of project management would be complete without mentioning the contribution to the field by Henry Gantt. Gantt himself was an associate of Frederick Taylor in the late 1890s and he first documented the idea that work could be envisioned as a defined series of smaller tasks. Gantt was influenced in his view through involvement in Navy ship construction during World War I. A concise explanation of Gantt’s contribution comes from the Gantt Group’s document “Who was Henry Gantt?” (Gantt Group, 2003). It states, “He broke down all the tasks in the ship construction process and diagrammed them using the now familiar grid, bars and milestones.” This familiar time grid is now called the Gantt chart. It remains today the most used planning and control document in industry after more than 100years. Note that the Gantt chart defines tasks and times through the use of horizontal bars. The completed chart provides an overall view of the timeline and tasks needed to complete the project. The appearance and use of this format chart has many variants, but the basic idea has changed little since its conception. We will see more of this chart later in a modern context. Learn more about project Managment by clicking here.

Mary Parker Follett impact on project management

With the increased study of work processes and methodologies, industries began looking more at how to do the work than who was doing the work. Mary Parker Follett stepped out from behind scientific management theory and changed the focus more on the human element. She opposed Taylor’s lack of specific attention to human needs and relationships in the work place (Ivancevich et al., 2008, p. 13). From this action, Follett takes the honour for spawning the behavioural side of management and was one of the first management theorists to take this view. Follett focused on the divisions between management and workers: more specifically, the role of management instructing workers on what was to be done and how it was to be done. Follett believed that each worker had something to contribute and the amount of knowledge held by workers was not being tapped. She believed that it would benefit the workplace and all of society if instead of working as individuals or separate groups that these groups or individuals worked as a whole, so the modern view of teams was now part of the equation, although without an operational theory to support it. Treating workers as something other than a means to get the task done was a concept that was counter to the Taylor school of thought. Gabor in her book The Capitalist Philosophers states that Follett’s ideas came to be embraced by the most forward-looking management thinkers of her time, many of them also admirers of scientific management. Ironically, Follett’s views of focusing on the worker would be accidentally validated in the future from the classic scientific management oriented Hawthorne experiment.

Elton Mayo influence on project management

The evolution of scientific management principles continued into the mid-1920s, following the concepts laid down by Taylor and his disciples. This area of study had attracted its share of detractors, such as Mary Parker Follett, but the visible quantification related to the scientific approach also attracted many to that school of thought. The Taylorites saw the factory as a complex set of processes that needed to be optimized and taught to the worker. Eldon Mayo and his research team followed that general principle in believing that one of the keys to improving productivity lay in improving the physiological environment of the worker. Looking back, we see elements from both the Taylor and Follett schools of thought in this view. At any rate, this premise led to what is known as the famous Hawthorne experiments (Gabor, 1999, p. 85). The Hawthorne experiments were conducted by Mayo and his team from around 1927 to 1932 in Cicero, Illinois at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works. These experiments were designed to examine physical and environmental influences (e.g., brightness of lights, humidity, etc.) on worker productivity. Later versions of this effort moved into the more psychological aspects to include work breaks, group pressure, working hours, and managerial leadership (Envison, n.d.). The initial studies focused on the effect that changing light intensity might have on productivity. The results of this experiment were initially very confusing to the cause-and-effect-oriented researchers. They observed that an increase in light intensity corresponded to an increase in worker output; however, as the lighting decreased, productivity continued to show an increase. The puzzled researchers wondered what outside variables had not been considered and set about laying out a second cause-and-effect experiment in the relay assembly process. The relay assembly control test room was set up to measure the productivity of workers under a myriad of changing conditions. Despite varying worker environmental conditions regarding work break durations and length of the work day, output continued to rise regardless of the change. This simply did not fit the Scientific Management principles of cause and effect. Eventually, analysis of this set of experiments would open the door wide in understanding some initial concepts related to worker motivation. In these experiments, essentially none of the chosen test variables were responsible for the worker behavior. It took more analysis before a cause-and-effect relationship was determined and this changed the field of modern management. In the aftermath of the Hawthorne experiments, interviews were held with the test subjects. The results showed that the participants had formed their own social network that was different from the norm on the factory floor. Later analysis concluded that the test subjects felt as though they belonged to something special by being a part of the experiments. They were special because someone was paying attention to them. As a result of this new feeling, they wanted to produce like special workers should. In actuality, the group was purposefully randomly selected and was no more special than the hundreds of other workers outside of the control room. The conclusion now known as the Hawthorne Effect is described in the article “The Hawthorne Effect—Mayo Studies Motivation” (Envison, n.d.). The results of these studies formed the basis for the foundation of what is the modern-day behavior school of management.

By user23395, ago