Critical Factors: International Development Projects Essay

Question:

Discuss about the Critical Factors for International Development Projects.

Answer:

Introduction:

The project management can be referred to as the discipline that initiates, plan, execute, controls and closes the teamwork for achieving the specific goals and for meeting the specific factors of success. As stated by Ahmad and Cuenca (2013), the project is an endeavor, which is designed for producing the unique product, service and in meeting unique goals and objectives. The project management is the overall application of the knowledge, skills, techniques and tools that help in the conduction of the project activities for meeting the requirements of the project. It facilitates in coordination and implementation of the project activities, which helps in creating an environment for fostering interactions among the team members with the minimum amount of conflict, overlaps and disruptions. Alias et al. (2014) stated that in a project management, the requirements are identified along with the establishment of transparent and achievable objectives, which helps in balancing the demands of the various stakeholders. It is a scientific approach that facilitates in creating and managing the structure along with the commitments made to the project. If the managers don’t have a concrete plan of the project conduction, they are likely to face chaotic and unpredictable situations while conducting the project. These risks and hindrances are mitigated with the use of project management.

According to Bai and Sarkis (2013), the project management is a framework, which helps in providing concise and lucid practices those are to be followed by the team members for the successful accomplishment of a project. By creating a structure as well as managing a project, the commitments, time of completion and the project deliverables are ensured to the customers. The stages of project development and management are the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, control and closing. This assignment will be discussing the initiation of the project, and it's planning, implementation and execution. Along with this, it also discusses the closedown of a project and the management of multiple projects for their successful accomplishment.

Project Initiation

The project initiation is the first stage in the life cycle of a project management where it involves in starting up a fresh project. Banihashemi et al. (2017) opined that in the initiation stage, the business problems and opportunities are identified, solutions are defined, projects are formed, and a flexible and talented team is set up for delivering the solutions to the patrons in scheduled time. A business case has been created for detailing and identifying the most appropriate solutions to the problems those are likely to be faced while initializing the project. Several problems and opportunities along with the alternative solutions are made available in the business cases. In this stage, the business costs, risks associated, issues and benefits are analyzed. Along with this, the business requirements of the projects are jotted down in this stage. As mentioned by Chou and Pramudawardhani (2015), a vivid plan, which includes financial and scheduling analysis, are also present in this project initiation. Before initiating a project, the project manager has to prepare a team for the employees and workers those are best in conducting the specified project. The responsibilities are divided equally among the team members as per their positions in the organization and according to their talents, skills and capabilities in handling the responsibilities.

Costantino et al. (2015) opined that while initializing the project, the goals are clarified, competencies within the team are justified, and fixations of the time are done so that the different levels of the projects are completed within scheduled time. Before initializing the project, the feasibility of the project is analyzed. It shows the profitability of the project to the organization and the presence of the required resources those available in the organization. The success of the project lies on the experience and success level of the project managers’ and their team members. Moreover, the success of the project is also dependent on the accuracy and clarity of the project and the talents and skills of the employees. As opined by Drury-Grogan (2014), before beginning a project, the project manager needs to have a clear concept of the customers’ requirements and that is to be communicated to the team members. It prevents the occurrence of misunderstanding and tiffs between the project staff members and the patrons. Each of the staff members needs to have clear conceptions about the project objectives, and they should also have a mentality to achieve the goals combined as a team work.

As mentioned by Dwivedula et al. (2015), there are certain situations where the project fails to accomplish its objectives and providing adequate solutions to the customers. It may be due to the communication gap between the project employees and the customers or among the team members. Moreover, the other reasons for failure can be the inadequate presence of resources; skills and expertise in accomplish the project within scheduled time. With the initiation of the project, certain levels of commitment and dedication are required from the side of the team members. A team needs to make have strong decision-making capabilities like specifying and prioritizing the needs, evaluating and comparing the solutions and selecting the best solutions to the identified project problems (Gonzalez Aleu et al. 2016).

Project Planning

The second stage in the life cycle of a project is the planning phase. It is a stage, where the project solutions are developed with the usage of every details those are necessary for meeting the objectives of a project. Gudien? et al. (2014) stated that in this phase, the team identifies the work that is to be accomplished along with identifies the availability and usability of the resources. The strategies and an outline of the project are curbed that helps in planning the activities, dependencies, tasks and the time frames. Even more, the project manager also coordinates with the team members and the higher officials in preparing an approximate budget of the project. It contains the different cost estimates to the labor, material costs and the equipment. Moreover, the cost that will be incurred for monitoring and controlling the expenditure of project is also planned in this phase. As opined by Hasler (2016), after the project team identifies the working schedule, preparation of the schedule and estimating the costs, the planning process are complete. In this phase, the threats and risks those the project are likely to face are identified. It helps in understanding the threshold of the team members of the project and their planning of strategies for the different steps. The risks are segregated as per their importance and extent of causing danger in the completion of the project.

In this phase, the project manager documents the extensive planning, quality targets, control measures and makes an acceptance plan regarding the criteria provided by the customers for gaining their acceptance. According to Ihuah et al. (2014), in this phase, the various tasks as per their durations are segregated that helps in completion of the work. A detailed structure about the work breakdown is listed that helps the team members in understanding the prioritization of each of the tasks. A detailed project planning is necessary that helps in identifying and resolving the issues those are remaining and may prove problematic to the team members in accomplishing the goals. The commitment level of the stakeholders is refined and elaborated as per the consideration to the resources. Kerzner (2013) had an opinion that in this phase the documentation of the project plan is done. It helps in documenting and promoting the cooperation, coordination and constructive participation of all the team members. After the plan gets approved, a positive and highly spirited approach is expected from the team members. With the approval of the plan, the participants confront their responsibilities with the qualities, talents and skills that they possess and use at the time of providing subsequent deliverables.

Lehman (2016) commented that while breaking down the work, estimated time, costs and resources utilized for each of the activities are also allocated. The project scheduling is optimized that helps in maintaining a balance between the usage of the resources and the duration of completion of each of the activities. The progress will be measured at every step, which will help in understanding whether the project is going in the scheduled direction. In this phase, the requirements of the projects are kept handy among the team members, which help in moving on to the next phase of implementation and execution. A logical dependency between the tasks is defined that helps in enabling the identification of the shortest and effective paths that is to be followed for the successful accomplishment of the project (Lind and Culler, 2013).

Implementation and Execution

The 3rd step of the project lifecycle is the implementation and executive phase. In this phase, the project plan is executed or put into operation, and the project work is performed. According to Liu et al. (2014), the monitoring and controlling of the project activities are done, and the variances are recorded as per the original plan. It is one of the biggest and time-consuming steps in the project. In this step, the team members carry out the different tasks and the progress of the reports are often compared with the project plan. It is done for measuring the performance of the activities of the project and whether the project is operating correctly and moving in the correct direction. If certain variations between the original plan and practical operation of the project are seen, then a vivid and thorough checking of the plan is done. Ofori (2013) opined that the modifications and changes are published to the existing plan. The project manager is also responsible for checking the controlling limits, which helps in creating awareness of the baseline. The negative ideas circulated among the team members are removed, and the project manager motivates the team members towards success and completion of each of the activities of the project.

The PMIS (Project Management Information System) system has been installed in this phase, which helps in executing the project work successfully. As mentioned by Power (2016), it is a typical software application, which helps in methodical execution for collecting the project information. Through PMIS, the time, cost and performance parameters of different stages of the project are communicated to the higher authorizes and among the team members. Moreover, the risk monitoring of each of the activities is also conducted, which also helps in understanding the progression of the project. The performance reporting is done on the periodic basis and is documented for the future requirement in the project. According to Ram and Corkindale (2014), the relationships with the vendors are strengthened in this phase, and the project manager uses the contracts for resolving the issues faced while completing the project. It has been seen that the brainstorming phase has been carried out in this phase at periodic intervals to resolve any unwanted risks faced due to the dynamic business environment. In situations, when the poor decisions are taken, which are going unmatched with the present business scenario, steps are taken for modifying the changes. It, therefore, results in updating and publishing the plan on a periodic basis (Ram et al. 2013).

As stated by Ribeiro de Jesus et al. (2016), the status reports show the anticipating and expecting end points of the project regarding scheduling, quality and cost of the deliverables. These project deliverables are reviewed by the quality and are measured against the criteria of acceptance. After producing these deliverables, the project manager provides the customer with solutions, and this leads to the closure of the project from the project manager’s side. This step is followed by the closing phase and reviewing of the project, where the customers provide feedback to the team, and they have to modify and alter the changes as per the criteria of the customers (Santos-Vijande and S?nchez, 2016).

Project Closedown and Review

The project closedown and review is the last phase of the project life cycle, which involves dispensing over the deliverables to the respective patrons. The documentation of the business is done followed by releasing of the staff members, canceling the contracts with the suppliers and releasing the staff members from the project. As mentioned by Surlan et al. (2016), in this stage, a project closure report should be prepared. It should contain the activities those are necessary for closing the project along with ensuring the project closure is taken both effectively and smoothly. With the approval of the report, the reviewing and inspection of the project take place for the next one to three months. With the transfer of the deliverable goods, the projects remains under the risk of commercial, reputational, operational, environmental, economic and financial aspects. The period of reviewing and re-modification of the areas of changes are still under the employees’ requirements. Tafti et al. (2017) had opined that these risks are also combined with the probability of success, insurance and isolation of the activities. While accomplishing the project, the project managers have to take care of the entire environmental issues. It is to be noted that none of the projects should cause hamper to the environment while conducting the activities.


According to Tarhini et al. (2015), the quantitative approaches used for analyzing and reviewing the results is through PERT analysis, Monte Carlo Simulation and Sensitivity Analysis. The PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique) analysis is a project management statistical tool, which is designed for analyzing and representing the tasks those are involved in the successful accomplishment of the project. Through this process, the time required for completion of each of the activities is analyzed and the minimum time required for completing the project is identified through PERT. As stated by Turner (2014), in Monte Carlo Simulation, the same model is used where a random task us selected for each of the tasks and are also responsible for recording the values. With the help of this simulation, viable estimation of the project is done, and it also helps in understanding the risks of the project planning method. The sensitivity analysis in the project management is a study that helps in measuring the uncertainty in the mathematical model and system that can be allocated to the diverse sources. It facilitates identification of the key variables, which majorly influence the benefits and cost of the projects (Verburg et al. 2013).

Yamin and Sim (2016) stated that in the evaluation phase, unbiased opinions should be provided to the project team for making them understand their strengths, weaknesses and the benefits of the projects. It also helps them in understanding the objectives those are met with the allocated resources and budget. Any modifications made in the projects should be consulted with the project team. The problems and issues related to the occurrence of the problems are to be discussed. As stated by Yeoh and Popovi? (2016), through evaluation, the achievements, failures and the lessons are learned by the project team for their future reference. It helps them in not repeating the mistakes in future and carries these present mistakes for future references. Before complete closure of the project, the staff members of the project should be reassigned to the project duties till the time of complete satisfaction and review received from the client side. It is done so that if any changes occur, that is to be managed by the employees and the project team (Zou et al. 2014).

Managing Multiple Projects and Summary

The projects are prioritized as per their importance and timeline. The project managers are responsible for taking the responsibility of the projects that are in-line. According to Gudien? et al. (2014), based on the importance of the projects and the time of completion, the projects are undertaken by the project managers. Before taking each of the projects, the resources are checked by the projects. The experiences of the projects are also used in the future projects, if necessary. The people, time and resources are scheduled as per the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and according to the task interdependencies. The difference between the projects and sub-projects are clarified, and the team members are provided with ample clarification regarding the aims, objectives of the projects and the terminology variations used in diverse projects. Alias et al. (2014) stated that handling different projects means working in a dynamic environment, which is always changing. The sub-projects and projects have different life cycles of completion, and hence they are to be scheduled in such a way that they don’t create confusions and conflicts. The tasks are shared among the team members and based on the unique characteristics; certain activities are given to the specified ones. The joint responsibility and reporting of the multiple tasks are also handled in multiple projects handling situations. Moreover, the project manager is also responsible for updating the schedules at regular intervals (Lind and Culler, 2013).

The assignment deals with the overall project management of several businesses of any size. The project managers, entrepreneurs and the executives of the companies oversee the projects for successful completion of the project. The effective techniques are adopted by the organizations for carrying out of the activities of the project within specified time and limited resources. The overall assignment shows that the project manager and the team members should be aware of the entire project work and completion of the activities by following all the steps of completion of the project. The project management skills and timeline are important to follow to keep the project on track. In the initiation stage, the business strengths, opportunities and weaknesses are identified. It is followed by the planning stage where the documentation of the resources is done. The implementation phase is the stage where the planning is put into motion and activities are carried out. In the project closure and review stage, the overall deliverables and activities are provided to the customers. Any changes and modifications are effectively handled, which helps in successful completion of the project and also improves the satisfaction level of the customers extensively.

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