Critical Thinking

Student Name: Ciaran Walshe Student number: C12459032 Project

Student Name: Ciaran Walshe

 

Student number: C12459032

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Project Management

PRJM4000

 

Course code:

DT111-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Task No.2

 

“What Successful Project
Managers Do.”

 

 

 

 

 

Submission date: 30/11/2017

 

Word Count: 3,455

 

 

 

Dublin Institute of
Technology

 

 

 

 

 

           

Table of Contents
Questions
Details: 2
How is the management of large complex projects
changing?.. 2
Do you agree with the three key findings; 2
Discuss the four roles of the Project Manager role in
more detail; 2
Bibliography/ References. 2
Appendices. 2
 

 

Questions Details:

1.   
How
is the management of large complex projects changing?

A.  
Relate the article to the Irish construction
sector and give some practical examples with appropriately referenced material.

 

2.   
Do
you agree with the three key findings;

A.  
Today’s successful project managers often
combine elements of traditional and agile approaches to Project management.

B.  
They cope with uncertainty by developing both
detailed short-term plans with firm commitments and tentative longer-term plans.

C.  
Project Managers are designing project review
processes that foster learning.

 

3.   
Discuss
the four roles of the Project Manager role in more detail;

A.  
Develop collaboration.

B.  
Integrate planning and review with learning.

C.  
Prevent major disruptions.

D.   Maintain
forward momentum.

 

How is the management of large complex projects changing?

–      
Relate the article to the Irish construction
sector and give some practical examples with appropriately referenced material.

The management of projects within
the construction industry has always assume to be that of a traditional
approach but this method has proved to be sometimes ineffective in large,
complex projects where difficult and expensive elements within the project are
essential to the finished facility. In traditional approach to managing such
projects would be to re-design the project or to exclude the element in the design
stage. A more suitable approach to management of such projects has been the use
of an agile project management which has developed and proved beneficial
through the information technology companies, allowing agility and flexibility
to react to change in a project.

The traditional approach to a
project is broken into three distinctive stages; planning, design and
construction. This which involves very disciplined and deliberate planning and
control methods. With this approach, distinct project life cycle phases are
easily recognizable. Tasks are completed one after another in an orderly
sequence, requiring a significant part of the project to be planned up front.
For example, in a construction project, “the
team needs to determine requirements, design and plan for the entire building,
and not just incremental components, in order to understand the full scope of
the effort.” (Hass,
2007)

The approach to large, complex
projects has now develop to incorporate elements of agile project management
along with the traditional three stage traditional process. Agile approach is
not the silver bullet to all construction project problems but it allows for
change throughout the project duration and flexibility which will help save on
the project developing major variations. Incorporating agile management techniques into projects fosters a focus
on the benefits of each feature. In traditional project management, the teams
strive to finish the project on time and under budget and often lose sight of
the overall benefits the entire effort is intended to bring the organization.
It’s important to remember the strategy the project is expected to advance as
well as the total cost of ownership and not just the project costs. In this
way, the benefits of the project will be obvious, whether the team is
constructing a building or developing a new business solution.

 

 

In general project teams now on
large complex developments in the construction industry are more team focused
in order for the project to be delivered on time avoiding any major
disruptions. This means that the parties to the project may be teams that
already know each other or have previous experience working together. This will
ensure an element of trust between the group allowing the project developments
to flow more smoothly and constant communication and teamwork to an effective
standard.

Project’s success is largely
based on the effectiveness of constant communication between members of the
project team. This can be done by placing the project team in the same location
in order for them to work as a team to the best of their ability, solving
problems as a team as some members may be of more expertise than others.

The agile approach also allows
for more of a flexiable approach in the development of a project where when
issues arise that a solution may be found in good time ensuring that the
project doesn’t run over time and have major cost implications on the project.
An example of this regarding the irish construction industry is a development
of a large apartment complex being constructed in Rathgar, Dublin by Cairn
Homes PLC. The development was constructed up as far as the basement and first
floor. They came across an issue regarding the possibility of dampness in the
basement due to the land and its ability to drain heavy rain fall. The solution
which didn’t have any major cost implications on the project was to leave gaps
in the walls to allow a natural airflow through the basement carpark.

In Agile development, all the key
team members are co-located, including the customers preferably in a work room.
This approach greatly increases the quality of coordination and communication.
However, this may represent a significant cultural change for IT developers. In
traditional development methods, the developers typically work independently,
and rarely interact with the customer until the solution is fully developed.
Since project managers are responsible for building a high performing team,
they need to ensure everyone is working well together and that they have been
assigned developers who truly can work in this collaborative manner.

 

Do you
agree with the three key findings;

A.   Today’s
successful project managers often combine elements of traditional and agile
approaches to Project management.

In today’s construction industry
on large complex projects it is agreeable that project managers combine both
elements of traditional project management and that of elements of the agile
project management in order to deliver projects on time and to the client’s aim
and budget. As projects in the modern world become more complex and include the
potential risk of more disruptions and challenges.

Traditional project management
involves very disciplined and deliberate planning and control methods. With this
approach, distinct project life cycle phases are easily recognizable. Tasks are
completed one after another in an orderly sequence, requiring a significant
part of the project to be planned up front. For example, in a construction
project, the team needs to determine requirements, design and plan for the
entire building, and not just incremental components, in order to understand
the full scope of the effort.

The Agile approach consists of
many rapid iterative planning and development cycles, allowing a project team
to constantly evaluate the evolving product and obtain immediate feedback from
users or stakeholders. The team learns and improves the product, as well as
their working methods, from each successive cycle. After a streamlined
planning, requirements definition and solution design phase is completed to get
the project underway, iterations of more detailed planning, requirements,
design, build and test take place in waves. This approach allows for immediate
modifications of the product as requirements come into view. Agile management
requires a dedicated full-time project team that includes a customer or end
user, where team members work from the same location. (Hass, 2007)

 

B.   They
cope with uncertainty by developing both detailed short-term plans with firm
commitments and tentative longer-term plans.

I agree that this is the best method for the project team to
act against uncertainty is to develop the project using short term plans which
can be broken down into individual packages or milestones that when are given
the best degree of focus and attention can be achieved to the best of ability,which
in turn contributes to the end goal and larger plan of the project.

This practise greatly reduces complexity, because it allows
the team to focus on one feature and only one feature at a time. For example, one
team is working on a certain and that’s the team’s only focus. They don’t
concern themselves about any of the other features. It is the business analyst
and project manager who ensure the next feature in the backlog is truly the
next priority, based on business value and risk. Typically, high-risk
components or core infrastructure pieces are built first, and then everything
else is prioritized based on business value.

 The goal is to build
the feature driven components with only a one-way dependency to the core
system; therefore, specialized components are independent of each other and can
be created in any order or even in parallel.

C.   Project
Managers are designing project review processes that foster learning.

The idea that projects managers are designing a review
process for post contract reviewing is also a definite procedure that is taking
place on large complex projects. In order to review what they achieve to a
satisfactory degree ad what elements araise that they could have done better on
in the course of the project.

This review processes will allow project teams to learn from
there experience and give them the upper hand when it comes the next project. After
each cycle, the team holds a lessons learned session to determine what they can
do better on the next iteration. As the team learns, it adapts how the members
are working together to continuously improve team performance.

Evidence that this process that has been effective on
project teams is that on these large complex project, the project manager will
do the best of their ability to use the same project team as before as not only
do they know that the team work together but also that the team have past
experience and will recognise risks and matters in good time.

An example of this in regards to the construction industry
is the use of Mercury Engineering on all developments and projects that have
been undertook in Intel.

Discuss the
four roles of the Project Manager role in more detail;

A.  
Develop collaboration.

“Projects success relies on collaboration among all team
members to deliver the results, capture candid feedback and implement learnings
on the next iteration of the solution.” (Hass, 2007) This is one of the
strengths of agile project management is constant feedback and improvement.  It is this constant collaboration among the
project team and with the customer that promotes project success.

It is the role of the project manager to ensure that the
team tasked with this project have the capability and desire to work together
and achieve the same goals. It is vital that this team are willing to work
together or the project has no chance of success as this can be seen in the
example of the three mars exploration missions, where the out of the three
projects that had the same guiding principles and of comparable scope only one
project “Pathfinder” was a success due to the teams openness and trust that had
been developed. (Laufer, et al., 2015)

Ensuring that all parties to the project are communicating
efficiently and that they are kept up-to-date by each other throughout the
course of the project. The project manager must organise frequent on-going
meetings and constant methods of communication. Such as in the article “WIRE failed because could not or would not
communicate well with each other…individuals… simply were uncomfortable
allowing others to see their work” (Laufer, et
al., 2015).

It is also the role of the project manager to create the
right environment for all parties of the project team to work together and
develop the project. The most efficient way for this to work is to place all
parties of the project team in the same office or environment so that working
together is easier as people can discuss matters face-to-face on an on-going
basis, an aspect that may be described as “wisdom of words” as a group viewing
a problem is more effective than just an individual, cutting out time wasting
and also improving trust and practicality as matters are dealt with there and
then and solutions found quickly. This may be as simple as creating an office
facility on-site for a sub-contractor on a large construction project. (Lester, 2014)

 

B.  
Integrate planning and review with learning.

The project manager’s role
regarding planning and reviewing stages of the project is one of more detailed
and needs more attention on large complex projects as planning for unexpected
events needs to be taken board. So planning is done on a short term basis with
long term end goals being set also.

“Project managers faced with unexpected events employ a “rolling wave”
approach to planning.” (Laufer, et al., 2015)

So this means  that the project manager has to plan the
project to a more precise degree and giving themselves more flexability to work
with disruptions , firm commitments cannot be made on the basis of volatile
information. Details of the project and matters cannot be taken for as accurate
and they must allow for the worst case scenario.

“They develop plans in waves as the project unfolds and information
becomes more reliable” (Laufer, et al., 2015)

The project manager also can use
this rolling wave approach to review the previous project or stage and see as
to what they can improve their methods of management and construction process. After
each cycle, the team holds a lessons learned session to determine what they can
do better on the next iteration. As the team learns, it adapts how the members
are working together to continuously improve team performance. It is the project
manager’s responsibility to plan out a timeline of the overall project, giving
them a deadline or completion date which must be met in order for the project
to be achieved within budget. Using an agile approach to this is to plan short
deadlines that must be met in order for the project to be on-track.

 

C.   Prevent
major disruptions.

It is the project manager’s
responsibility to plan out a timeline of the overall project, giving them a
deadline or completion date which must be met in order for the project to be
achieved within budget. Using an agile approach to this is to plan short
deadlines that must be met in order for the project to be on-track. Examples of
instruments that can be used by the project manager are the critical path
programme and earned value.

The critical path is a timeline
of the events of a project and the order that they run in, giving the project
manager the deadlines of each interim stage and the most days they can afford
to focus on each stage. The critical path also outlines which projects sections
are vital to be completed on time in order for the project to proceed.

 The project manager must all take
responsibility to plan the day-to-day development of a project and plan around
any major disruptions that may cause a delay in the construction process. This may
mean the implementation of changes to allow the project to stay on track.

One example of a project where
disruptions were caused that could have been avoided had the project manager
had a greater outlook on the current events and surroundings is that of the
Susquehanna International Headquarter which is located in the IFSC in Dublin
city centre. The disruption here was that on two occasions when the site had
organised for a crane to set up and lift on-site had to be cancelled due to the
disruptions to the road outside of the site due to the visiting of the Queen of
Great Britain and also on a later occasion the visiting of US president Barack
Obama. These two disruptions could have been avoided with a more precise effort
in planning. (McCarthy, 2017)

D.  
Maintain forward momentum.

“In working to maintain a foreword momentum,
the manager seeks to avoid stalemate” (Laufer, et al., 2015)

It is vital
to a construction project and to other industry projects that forward momentum
is maintained at all times in order for the project to be a success. Although
problems will arise during the course of a project, the most important factor
is how quickly they are dealt with and progression can continue.

As regards
to the role of the project manager in the situation of maintaining forward
momentum it is important that they show leadership and initiative to find
solutions and maintain progress, creating a team environment that can act fast
and find a solution.  The project
manager’s role in this situation is to always be aware to what is the current
situation and daily procedures on site. Being aware of what is currently going
on on-site is crucial in order to maintain momentum as they should be able to
see the potential risks and factors that may cause a delay.

The project
manager needs to be available and approachable on a construction project as to
any issues or queries the personnel or sub-contractors have, being approachable
will cut out the majority of issues that may arise due to uncertainty. The most
vital element that will ensure the continuous forward momentum is the communication.
It is good practise for a project manager to liase with all members of a
project team on a daily basis in order to consult any problems that they may be
having along with clarifying any instructions from the client. The benefits of
this not only being the avoidance of mistakes but also the effect it has on the
team regards bonding and efficiency. As discussed in matt’s situation regard
the ten minute tool box meetings,

 “As a
result, these meetings turned out very valuable for sustaining teamwork”. (Laufer, et al., 2015)

Bibliography/ References

Bibliography

Baker, B., Murphy, D. & Fisher, D., 1983.
Factors Affecting Project Success. In: Project Management Handbook. New
York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, pp. 669-685.
Hass, K. B., 2007. The
Blending of Traditional and Agile Project Management. Online
Available at: chelsoftusa.com/upload/3/4/1/3/34136265/agile_well_explained.pdf
Accessed 26 November 2017.
Laufer, A., Hoffman,
E., Russell, J. S. & Cameron, W. S., 2015. What Successful Project
Managers Do. MIT Sloan- Management Review, Issue Spring 2015, p. 45.
Lester, A., 2014. Project
Management, Planning and Control. 6th ed. London: Elsevier.
McCarthy, A., 2017. Cogent
Associates- Class guest speaker Interview (November 2017).
Moran, J. &
Brightman, B., 2001. Leading organisational change. In: Career Development
international. s.l.:s.n., pp. 111-118.
Tuman, G., 1983.
Development and Implementation of Effective Project Management Information
and Control Systems. In: V. Nostrand, ed. Project Management Handbook. New
York: Reinhold Co., pp. 495-532.
 

 

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