Accounting

Accounting Bookkeeping BAS agents

Which course meets the requirements for me to register as a BAS Agent with the TPB?

Do I need to undertake a course with an Australian institution or will my overseas qualifications suffice? What level of education do I need? Will my qualification be accepted? There are many accounting and bookkeeping courses out there on the market, but how do you know which course is accepted by the Taxation Practitioners Board for registration as a BAS Agent?  

What qualification is accepted by the Taxation Practitioners Board?

  According to the Taxation Practitioners Board’s website, an applicant must hold at least a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping (or any of the Certificate IV in Accounting or the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping – both of which have now been superseded) to meet the primary qualification requirement if you want to register as a BAS Agent. Visit website here - www.edna.edu.au/online-courses/certificate-iv-in-bookkeeping/ 

Who offers the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping course?

The institutions approved to deliver the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping program include registered training organisations and TAFEs offer these courses and you can look them up here. Generally, the courses cost more at TAFE than they do at a private registered training organization. You will find that the core units are all the same – as they have been set by the Department of Education and Training, but the elective units will vary from institution to institution.   These education institutions are registered and regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority or its relevant state authority such as the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority or the Department of Training and Workforce Development Apprenticeship Office. If you want to learn more about accounting and bookkeeping you can find out more about studying a diploma of accounting.   The courses they offer are nationally recognised and the outcomes of these qualifications are reported to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research in an effort to monitor quality and data on student satisfaction.  

What are the requirements for me to register as a BAS Agent?

  To register as a BAS Agent as an individual, you must be able to meet the following requirements:  
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must be a fit and proper
  • You must satisfy the qualification and experience
  • You must maintain, or will be able to maintain, professional indemnity insurance cover that meets the TPB’s requirements.
  • You must complete an online application, provide the required supporting documents and pay the required application fee of $135.
  Important: This information is correct as at the 19thof September 2018 and as available on the TPB website.  

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
Accounting

Study Accounting or Bookkeeping

10 Reasons Why You Should Study Accounting

According to our visitors, accounting is the most popular course over the years. Asan accountant, you are required to give information about the financial position and status of an organisation and it’s a very important job. An organization would not be able to handle financial decisions without them. Accountants are responsible for the financial situation of the company so you’ll have to make sure that money is flowing! Let’s find out why it’s so popular and why you should study it. View more details here for Bookkeeping and accounting course. If you have already completed a certificate IV course in account or bookkeeping you may qualify to study the Diploma of accounting, information available here on how to enrol in that accounting diploma.
  1. You need basic math skills

Accounting, these days is fully computerised. You don’t need to use complex formulas to calculate big numbers. Computers and specialised software do that for you. You still need to be good with numbers. Accountants now need to be able to have strong communication skills to be able to communicate with clients from various industries. If you still like the idea of completing bank reconciliation manually view this article. 
  1. Every industry needs an accountant

Think about it. In a business, they need someone to handle the money and accounts, deal with banks and taxes and so on. They need you if you are a professional with the right qualifications. It is not enough to just be able to have the skills to complete subsidiary accounts and ledgers
  1. You can start your own business or accountancy firm

You can be an entrepreneur if you are an accountant because it simply enables you to know the ins and outs of various industries and markets. If you are a highly qualified and professional accountant with the right skills and qualifications, you can be an independent accountant, have your own firm, and employ others.
  1. You can work abroad

With qualifications like ACCA, you can work in more than 120 countries. You might be attached to big firms that would want to send you to different countries. So, it is kind of a professional passport.
  1. More consultation, less number crunching

Accountants are not mathematicians, but they are advisors and bookkeepers for clients and a communicator. Having said that you still need to ensure you are aware of the latest technology when it comes to accounting or bookkeeping. 
  1. Seasons to make big money

During a financial year, you will be needed for auditing and assessment quarterly or at the end of the financial year. You will have to deal with taxation, speculation/predictions, and financial planning for the following season. This is a very busy time for accountants.
  1. Grow your connection with volunteer work
A lot of big organisations like (WHO, WFO, WWF, UN, Amnesty, and many others) need professionals to help and volunteer to do some work for them because they are always short on funds and get much of their work done through volunteers. You, as a qualified accountant volunteer, will meet high calibre individuals that can help you go far. They can write you a recommendation letter, connect you to other professionals, or even get a job with these organisations.
  1. A degree is not necessary

Accountancy is all about skills and professional qualifications. You can study on your own or enrol at an institution that offers the right qualifications. ACCA is a great way to get a job at a young age. It pays you well, and it is accepted in many countries around the world. One can even start studying accountancy right after SPM.
  1. Your skills are always in demand

Money is a basic requirement so jobs in finance like accountancy is always in demand. A finance professional is always needed by businesses and various industries. Where money is involved, an accountant is needed.
  1. Accounting is your Parachute

When hard times hit, companies tend to cut costs and lay off employees. Usually, the layoff process hits marketing, sales, and other departments. The accounting department is one that cannot afford to lose a member of their staff unless the qualifications are not there. Political changes also don’t impact much. If there is a change in policy, government or regulations, an accountant can always catch up with these changes. In fact, they might be the first to learn about the changes and adapt to them. However, nothing is guaranteed 100%, nothing is full-proof 100%; and in many cases, change might be necessary. If you don't want to study an accredited qualification, consider doing certain accounting and bookkeeping subjects.

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
business

Business telecommunications

Is telecommuting dead?

From IBM Australia to Yahoo!, are we seeing a growing trend in organizations restricting their telecommuting policies? Last week, IT News reported that IBM Australia has sent out a memo to all of its employees about changes to its telecommuting policy. Their HR team will be reviewing each employee’s case and budget to make a decision as to whether it is still appropriate for them to be working remotely from home. To find out information about business statitiosn in Australia click here. Both IBM Australia and Yahoo! have cited that they’re moving towards regrouping their teams in-house so that they can better connect with each other and synergise their operations. I’m sure many of their employees are huffing and puffing, I mean who wants to have to commute back and forth to and from work when you’ve had the privilege of working from home, with no distractions, no hours spent on public transport or in traffic. Some industry leaders have even predicted that it won't be long before many other organisations restrict their employees from the same arrangements. Especially in the wake of weak trading conditions resulting in falling profits and revenues. From an organisation’s point of view, the management team has a duty to make hard decisions – even if it is unpopular with their employees, to ensure the viability of the company. To ensure industry can be successful it needs to ensure staff members are qualified and a popular study option is the accredited business administration course www.edna.edu.au/online-courses/certificate-iv-in-business-administration can give you the edge you are looking for in the business world.

Benefits of telecommuting for a business

  1. Save time commuting to and from work each day – traffic and public transport delays can really take a toll on a person.
  2. Fewer sick days – employees who telecommute are more likely to have a healthier lifestyle, with many saying the time they save commuting to and from work, they spend outdoors instead.
  3. No geographical restrictions when hiring.

Disadvantages of working remotely for Businesses

  1. Can be isolating – employees not knowing each other or working in a team environment can really be mentally challenging in trying to bring a team working cohesively together.
  2. Poor communication channels – many have reported that communication is their greatest challenge. For Managers, many who are there to manage their team at times do not know what their team is up to as they are not physically there.
  3. Security concerns – many employees deal with a lot of sensitive data and are privy to secrets of an organisation’s operations. Telecommuting opens an organisation up to possible leaks and accidental breaches.

Future of Business telecommuting

Over the next few years, we can expect to find more and more organisations pulling back their telecommuting arrangements with their employees, especially in the wake of tougher market conditions. Companies will be trying anything they can to reinvigorate their workforce and to reinspire them to help the companies reach their goals. This Article is a good read about how woman are treated in business. More and more companies are also on the hunt for skilled and knowledgeable employees. Those that have strong analytic skills are able to steer the company towards the right direction and help pull the company out of a storm. That is why it is important that you learn as much as you can, put yourself in situations that will push you to practice what you learn, and get qualified! Find out more here about the business diploma  available or look at some of the other online diplomas and certificates

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

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