QUESTION 1: BasicsDiscuss the following: what is a project, what is project management, and the main phases of a project life cycle? What is a project? A project refers to a collaborative enterprise, which often involve design, or research that is planned carefully in order to achieve a specific goal. Projects are mostly termed as short-term social systems, which are constituted by teams in, or across firms so as to complete specific activities under time, deliverables and financial constraints. A project is not part of the usual business operations, but it is created once, it is specific, and temporary (Westland, 2007, pp.
1-202). What is project management? Project management entails a discipline of organizing, planning, securing, and managing resources so as to attain particular goals. It is the art and science of organizing parts of a project. Sen (2009, pp. 4-21) maintains that a project could be a launch of a service, new product’s development, wedding, or a marketing campaign. The basic challenge involved in project management is to realize entire project objectives and goals while honoring predetermined constraints. Some of the typical constraints include time, scope, budget and time.
The minor, but more pushy, challenge lies in the optimizing the allocation and integration of inputs essential in order achieve the preconceived objectives (Dinsmore & Cabanis-Brewin, 2011, pp. 475-480). Main phases of a project life cycleHeldman (2009, pp. 15-20) notes that regardless of the kind of project, project management takes a similar pattern of definition (initiation), planning, execution, control, and closure. A project cycle begins with definition or initiation stage in which a project manager defines the project details, and what the project users expect to attain by carrying out the project.
It also entails an outline of project deliverables, and the results of the particular set of tasks. Here, the project manager works with firm’s manager or sponsor who desires to have the projected enforced and other stakeholders; those individuals who have considerable interest in the project’s result. Moreover, it entails documentation of business case, feasibility study, and terms of reference, and establishment of project office. According to Lock (2007, pp. 347-350), the second phase of project management is planning of the project in which all the activities involved are defined.
Here, the project manager outlines all tasks or activities; how they are connected; how long each of the tasks will take; and how every activity involved is tied to a particular deadline. This stage also enables the project manager to establish the links between activities so that, for instance, if a certain activity is five days late, the project tasks connected to it will reflect the same delay. Similarly, the project manager may set milestones; dates by which significant project aspects should be met.
Moreover, Westland (2007, pp. 1-10) maintains that the second phase includes the definition of the requirements for the completion of the project. Here, the project manager establishes the number of people or resources required in project implementation; costs or expenses incurred in the project and other necessities in the implementation of the project. Kerzner (2010, pp. 172-180) says that a project manager is also required to manage risks and assumptions regarding the project, as well as identifying possible project constraints. Normally, constraints are associated with schedule, budget, resources, and scope.
An alteration of one constraint will naturally affect other constraints. For instance, a budget constraint can influence the number of individuals who can work on the project; hence causing a resource constraint. Similarly, if extra aspects are added to the project scope, resources, scheduling, and budget constraints will be affected (Kerzner, 2009, pp. 1-30).