Project managers make plans for the completion of a project based on specific assumptions of things that will occur during the project. Life does notalways follow the path one thinks, neither do projects. A lot of adjustments and decision that have serious implication for the successful completion of a project are made. Project managers must be prepared to handle the different situation that surge. This paper analyzes a project involving the transportation of elephants from one place to another. It discusses different project management concepts such as risk management, work breakdown structures, mitigation plans and scheduling constraints. The Achieving Project Goals Simulation involved a non-profit organization named Huduma Foundation.
The mission of the organization is to preserve wild life in the country of Kandivar. The project studied involved moving elephants from a park with overpopulation to a park with low population of these animals to create balanced habitats for the species. The first phase of the project involved creating a work breakdown structures (WBS) for the all the tasks involved throughout the project. A WBS is a great planning tool which allows project managers to divide a project into smaller individual work tasks.
The different tasks within the work breakdown structures have the characteristics of being manageable, independent, integratable and measurable (Kerzner, 2004). The Work Breakdown structures provide a simplified process which helps project manager create schedules, budgets and time management forecasts for the project. Performing WBS in this simulation help me understand how this technique can help a project manager. The project manager can create different scenarios for specific sequences within the project after it’s broken down into different parts by performing WBS.
The Huduma elephant project was broken down into four phases. Within each phase there were different challenges the project manager confronted. I noticed that in order for the project management to make decisions he needed to study the different reports his team provided him with. Communication was very important and recommendations from top management influenced the decisions the project manager made. Two of the most important variables the project manager considered in every decision were time and risks. Implementing sound time managing techniques allow project managers to extract the best possible results in the shortest amount of time (Pavlina, 2007).
The decisions made by the project manager also had to be aligned within the overall scope of the project. Integrated logistics played a key role in the project since there were a lot of contractors and different transportation mediums utilize to move the animals. The simulation proved that the utilization of work breakdown structures has great advantages. WBS allow project managers to prepare themselves for future events since they are able to visualize in graphic format the different events within the project.
Constraints that limited the solutions for different situations that surged were time and project scope objectives. Specific tasks were influenced by time due to the schedules of the different vendors such as the airport and trucking services. The objective of protecting the health of the animals at all times influenced many decision since the manager realize that different alternative endangered the short and long term health of the elephants. Risk management is the tool project managers use to anticipate possible bottlenecks for a project. Risk can be defined as the cumulative probability of uncertain occurrences that may positively or negatively affect project objectives (Kaliprasad, 2006).
Applying risk management techniques allows managers to identify possible problems. Once identified the project manager can create different alternative solutions to deal with these problems if they occur. The simulation showed me that the project team was prepared to deal with the different problems. Problems such as bad weather, animal sickness, transportation malfunction are the types of risk that can predicted by a project manager working in a similar type of project.
The project manager is responsible for choosing which alternative to choose to solve a problem. When a project manager is faced with a decision in which he has to choose between time and risk his decision will vary depending on the circumstance. Risk is a very dangerous variable which can cause immediate project failure and consequences beyond project investment for a company. In certain circumstances delays can be accepted and a project may continue its course. This is not always the case and a critical time error can destroy a project as well.
For example if a project requires an artist to perform at 8:00 P. M. and the person does not show up, the customers will be unhappy and dissatisfied. On the Huduma elephant project my priority would be to minimize risk over time since in this project we are dealing with live creatures. In general I also would emphasize more in risk factors than in time because time extension can be negotiated a lot of times, but risk factors can destroy a project and your professional reputation as a project manager. Project managers can facilitate their duties by creating work breakdown structures.
This tool provides a good basis to identify risk factors and implement sound time management in different stages of the project. The simulation studied provided great insight on how project managers deal with different problems as they arise. References Kaliprasad, M. (2006). Proactive Risk Management. Cost Engineering, 48(12), 27. Kerzner, (2004). Project Management, a System Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling (9th ed. ). New York-Wiley. 414. Pavlina, S. (2007). Time Management. Retrieved June 23, 2007 from http: //www. stevepavlina. com/articles/time-management. htm