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Project management is the modern approach to manage and control the development process of new product, initiatives, or organizational changes from starting point to finishing stage. Every project goes through five basic stages that includes initiation, planning, executing, controlling, and closing. Project management procedures can be applied to almost any project; however, the process is primarily applied in the building construction, new product, development of new software, introduction of new tool in the machinery, or in the projects related to designing or launch of advertising campaigns.
Projects have a finite length and considered as temporary processes that are usually carried out one time. They consist of certain number of activities that have to be completed within a given time period and in a fixed range of budget. Simple and small projects usually does not require the contractor or manager to follow the rules of project management; however, the complex or large projects need planning, expert management team, and approach. The project manager needs to consider various points while planning for the project like identifying the actual need of the client, developing systems for communication process, devising appropriate time schedule, and change management. It is highly important to consider all these issues for the successful completion of the project .
Project Management Triangle
Project management has three main constraints that make up a triangle. These include, cost, time, and scope. This triangle is primarily used by the managers to understand or analyze the difficulties that arises because of the implementation and execution of project. However, apart from these three constraints, projects whether big or small come across several other constraints. It depends on the project manager, how well he/she manages and tackle these constraints and complete the project in time and within budget as according to the client’s requirements. If changes occur to any project or new tool is introduced then managers determine the impact of changes on these three constraints.
Time is the critical factor of any project, which is also uncontrollable. If the project manager fails to meet the deadline of project completion then it may create adverse effects. There can be number of factors that can delay the project like lack of resources, or natural disasters and others. However, it depends on the manager, how well he/she schedules the project activities .
Project managers must estimate the range of cost and prepare the budget that would incur on the project before undertaking. There are different methods used by the managers to allocate the budget to each activity of the project. Ratio method is the most common approach to cost management of the project in which budget is allocated to each activity.
Scope is the third important constraint of any project. It considers the project outcome undertaken. It consists of the deliverables, which must be addressed by the project team. A successful project manager manages both the scope and any change that can influence cost and time .
Quality is not included in the project management triangle; however, it is an ultimate requirement of every delivery or activity of the project. Quality of the project outcome is though dependent on the high cost or budget, but other factors also contributes in improvement of the deliverables. Therefore, the project manager must also emphasize on time management, resource management, and cost management .
Project Management Life Cycle Framework
The project management lifecycle consists of the five main stages that includes initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closure. In the initiation phase, the overall parameters of the project are defined. It includes in the project scope statement and project charter. The project scope statement must be based on SMART objectives that is the goal statement of the project should be specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic, and time-framed. They are first approved by the client and then the work on the project can be initiated. During the second phase that is planning, all resources required, stakeholder accountability, and project infrastructure is defined. Risks, controlling techniques, budget, scheduling, and work plan, all are decided during the same phase. The planning phase is based on the goal statement of the project. Project manager plans as according to the client requirements, allocated budget, and time duration. During the execution phase, all processes, plans, and procedures are implemented. The project manager monitor and control all resources and functions during the fourth phase. In the last phase, all resources and other formalities are winded up after the approval of the project deliverables by the client .
Engineering Laboratory Project Plan
UAE Federal Government is offering an aid program to improve the engineering education in third world countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Sudan, Laos, and Pakistan. The UAE Government is inviting submissions for the project proposals of engineering labs at third world countries engineering universities. This report is aimed at preparing the project management plan for the engineering lab in one of the Pakistan’s Engineering University. It will discuss the goal or scope statement of the project, procedure, resources, time schedule, budgeting, and the risks involved in carrying out this project plan.
The total estimated budget of the engineering lab project is $6,000,000. The UAE government would pay the amount in two installments of $3,000,000 each. First payment will be made at the start of the project and the second one will be made by the end of the 5th month. The total given time for this project is 10 months. A complete engineering lab would include all the required devices, tools, and equipment for the engineering staff and students. The lab will be constructed on 2000 sq. feet area. It will have separate portions for every student. In addition, the lab would have enough equipment for more than 40 students.
The project has to be completed within the timeframe of 10 months. The initiation phase will start by 1st January, 2015 and complete by 31 October 2015. The project manager would plan the following activities within the given timeframe.
Completing theoretical design of the Engineering Lab
Approval of funds, design, and plan through the UAE Government
Building and assembling the design of lab
Final quality and function testing of electrical devices and other equipment
Other requirements of the Engineering Lab are as follows:
It should be safe for staff and students
Proper external and internal wiring
Proper arrangement of substitute power supply for the engineering lab in case of failure
Computer machines should automatically switch to uninterruptible power supply if primary source of electricity is broken down.
Work Breakdown Structure
Work breakdown structure is the method of distributing project work, budget, deliverables, and time into minor and manageable modules. In Engineering Lab building project, bigger activities like information collection, construction, procurement, and testing will be distributed in to smaller modules. Each activity will be assigned with an appropriate time and budget. Distribution of these bigger activities into smaller modules help in successfully completing the project in time.
In addition, there are several other benefits of breaking down the work structure in to minor modules. First, the project is easier to manage. Second, each staff member and worker knows well about his/her own duties and responsibilities. Third, managers can easily adjust time and process through work breakdown structure. Moreover, they can better identify, how much time shall be allocated to each module .
Managers can use different methods for work breakdown structure. They can use low technology tools like note cards, white board, and so on. However, they do not provide as efficient designs; therefore, it is better to make use of latest technological software tools like mind mapping software packages, Gantt Charts, MS Project, and others .
For the Electrical Engineering Lab project, there are four main divisions, including collection of primary information, procurement, construction of engineering lab, and testing phase. These modules are further divided into sub modules. Information collection phase is divided into following sub activities,
Analysis of options, and
Procurement phase includes,
Collection of available resources and ordering
Designing of Engineering Lab phase includes,
Wood work, and
Arrangement of computer systems, equipment, and engineering tools
Testing phase includes,
Inspection of the entire lab functions,
Electrical wiring and equipment
Time Management and Project Schedule
Different tasks of the project are listed down along with their variable name.
Project team workers collect information about the location in University for the construction pf electrical engineering lab.
Team members would propose different ideas related the project design
Approval of appropriate design by the project team and drawing it theoretically
Purchase required equipment for the engineering lab from Pakistan and if it is not available then order it online.
Delivery of the needed material and equipment through online mediums
Installation of different equipment and electrical wiring in lab
Wood work in the engineering lab
Ordering of Electrical Engineering equipment, machines and tools used in experiments
Arrangement and delivery of machines for the engineering lab
Testing of electrical wiring and other functions in the engineering lab
The possible paths found are as follows;
1 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 9 – 10 = 147
1 – 4 – 5 – 7 – 9– 10 = 127
1 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 9 – 10 = 167
1 – 2 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 9 – 10 = 177
1 – 2 – 4 – 5 – 7 – 9 – 10 = 157
1 – 2 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 9 – 10 = 197
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 9 – 10 = 197
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 7 – 9 – 10 = 177
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 9 – 10 = 217
1 – 8 – 9 – 10 = 72
After summing up the duration of all activity paths, it was found that the longest path is
1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7– 9 –10 = 217
Therefore, it is the critical path.
Slack with zero shows those activities that are on critical path. The same critical path was found through the other method calculated earlier.
Arrow on Project Diagram
The resource management plan for the engineering lab project will document the following information;
Information related to the equipment, services, devices, and other machinery.
Materials required for building the lab structure will be recorded separately from the electrical engineering equipment, devices, and computer machines.
The project manager would follow the ratio method to allocate budget to each equipment, tool, and activity. Individual budgeting is given as follows.
Change management plan determines how changes would be proposed, monitored, controlled, and accepted. In case if the contractor or the client requires changing certain plan or requirements, then a proper procedure will be followed for every change. The project manager will evaluate the effect of change on the time, cost, or scope of the project. Corresponding changes will be determined and forwarded to the client. Upon acceptance of the change in plan, budgets, resources, and time will be adjusted. The plan and work will commence after the approval. Project manager will get the change order forms signed by the client or the contractor, so that proves can be maintained.
Risk Management Plan
Various risks that needs to be considered while planning the design of the project are as follows,
There is power crisis in Pakistan, therefore enough cost needs to be reserved for the backup power supplies
Air conditioners are also required in the engineering lab so that computer systems remain safe. However, the electricity costs are much higher in Pakistan; therefore, an alternative source should also be arranged.
There are certain electronic devices and software programs that are not easily available in Pakistan or cannot be locally purchased. Therefore, online orders will be placed for them. Therefore, orders must be placed enough time before the project deadline.
Bojan, Dragon & Dejan, 2014. Project Management: Cost, Time, and Quality. 8th International Quality Conference, 23 May.
Henderson, K. J., 2014. Project Cost Management Techniques. [Online] Available at: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/project-cost-management-techniques-3995.html
McCormick, M., 2008. Project Management Life Cycle Framework, s.l.: MPCS.
Naybour, P., 2010. What is Project Management Framework?. [Online] Available at: http://blog.parallelprojecttraining.com/project-management-articles/what-is-a-project-management-framework/?doing_wp_cron=1420205884.6919729709625244140625
Office of Systems Integration, n.d. Project Life Cycle Framework. [Online] Available at: http://www.bestpractices.osi.ca.gov/sysacq/projectlifecycle.shtml
Tutorials Point, 2013. Project Management Triangle. [Online] Available at: http://www.tutorialspoint.com/management_concepts/project_management_triangle.htm
UC Davis, 2013. Introduction to Project Management: Principles, Techniques, and Tools, s.l.: UC Davis.
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