Essays on Pre-Contract Planning of Sydney Water IT Project Case Study

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The paper 'Pre-Contract Planning of Sydney Water IT Project' is a wonderful example of a business assignment. There is a quantifiable positive relationship between efforts consumed during the pre-contract planning phase of a project and the project’ s ultimate success. The key objective of this phase is to ascertain accurate estimates. This then helps the board of directors or the management to decide on whether or not to implement the project. Pre-contract planning with regards to management can thus be summed up as the process of acquiring information prior to reaching the final decision on implementing the project.

Pre-contract planning on a project is not only significant but also helps the board of directors and the management to have a grip on the entire process (Krahmer & Strausz, 2010, p 1). Based on the Auditor General report with regards to the Sydney Water IT project, several issues come to the fore. The report reveals that not only were the various specifications to this particular project inadequate, but the project planning was also insufficient - this consequently led to several modification requests on the project and ultimately project failure.

Notably, Sydney Water believed that IT projects of this form and complexity would inevitably delay and go beyond budget, hence the apparently inferior mentality (Auditor-General Report, 2003, p. 13). The extent of issues that came to the fore as well as the rate of scope changes during the project’ s entire course culminated in the constant emergence of new change requests. This report emphasizes that was a result of poor specifications of the necessary elements prior to implementing the project. It is also desirable to note that based on the report, business requirements were changing as the project progressed.

This implies that problems were bound to surface during the course of the project. This is because even the business requirements specified prior to implementing the project would not have been effective and as such requirements did not project change with regards to business requirements (Auditor-General Report, 2003, p 19). Key issues also surface with regard to functional requirements. The DMR report of February 2001 highlighted concerns with regard to the time spent on the analysis. The report revealed that insufficient time was spent on analysis prior to implementing the project.

This according to the DMR report significantly contributed to the functional requirements being overlooked. Incidentally, in February 2002, the Customer Information Billing System project director indicated that elements of inadequacy were present with regards to the analysis phase. He stated that comprehensive decision making and functionality design was postponed to subsequent project stages as opposed to carrying this out prior to implementing the project. That is, the analysis phase ought to have been comprehensive. Essentially, this phase was supposed to have involved active user commitment and involvement prior to implementing the project or in the early phases of the project (Auditor-General Report, 2003, p 20). The Auditor-General Report (2003, p.

21) indicated that the Customer Information and Billing System project appeared not to have been constantly supported by a strong business case. The report stated that Sydney Water failed to provide the business case version that was approved by the Board. Additionally, evidence supporting the selection of the Customer Information and Billing System project over other project options was insufficient.

For instance, the draft business case estimated the upgrading costs of the existing system at between 9 and 14 million dollars compared to the budgeted costs of the Customer Information and Billing System option estimated at 38.2 million dollars. Sydney Water was unable to show how much consideration was given to costs against potential benefits in selecting the Customer Information and Billing System option.

References

Auditor General Report, 2003, “Review of Sydney Water’s Customer Information and Billing System,” Auditor-General’s Report to Parliament, Vol. 1.

Carmichael, D. 2006, Project planning, and control, Taylor & Francis, New York.

Goodpasture, J. 2004, Quantitative methods in project management, J. Ross Publishing, Boca Raton, Florida.

Harris, P. 2010, Project Planning and Control Using Primavera P6: For All Industries Including Versions 4 To 7, Page 6, Eastwood Harris Pty Ltd, Victoria, Australia

Haugan, G. 2002, Project planning and scheduling, Kogan Page, London.

Krahmer, D. & Strausz, R. 2010, “Optimal Procurement Contracts with Pre–Project Planning,” available from www.wiwi.uni-bonn.de/kraehmer/DK-RS-ppp.pdf (5 May 2011).

Phillips, D. 2004, The software project manager's handbook: Principles that work at work, Wiley-IEEE, Hoboken, New Jersey.

Rad, P. & Antatmula, V. 2005, Project Planning Techniques: Management Concepts, Kogan Page, London.

Schwalbe, K, 2009, Information Technology Project Management, Cengage Learning, Boston, MA

Tomczyk, C. 2005, Project Manager's Spotlight on Planning, John Wiley and Sons, Parkway, Alameda.

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