Along with having the skill, knowledge, tools, and techniques required to manage projects effectively, project managers should be effective managers and leaders. Think about the managers and leaders that you have interacted with throughout your life. Reflect on what made those people “good” or “poor” managers and leaders.
Describe a leader you have encountered in life who was particularly effective. What made them more than just a manager? What qualities did they possess that stood out as particularly effective to you?
When responding to your peers, think about how their experiences are similar to experiences in your life. What qualities did the leaders they have described share with particularly effective leaders in your life? How were the leaders they described different from your experiences?
II. Assignment Details
The manner in which an organization or project team is structured can have a great impact on determining a project’s success or failure. Likewise, the culture of an organization can either help or hinder project success. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of different project management structures, how organizational culture affects those structures, and selecting the right structure for the project help the project manager start with a solid foundation for project success.
The project management structures examined in this unit are the following:
The matrix structure is further divided into the weak, balanced, and strong.
Describe your current or former work organization. Does the organization operate under 1 of the project management structures? Discuss how well-suited this structure was for what the organization was trying to achieve.
III. Assignment Details
Projects are chosen to be part of an organizational portfolio based on their ability to help the organization achieve its goals. Once chosen, it is important that projects are successful, or an organization may not meet those goals. Research shows that the leading cause of failed projects is poorly defined scope (Larson & Gray, 2021). Clearly defining the complete scope of the project is the first step toward project success.
Reflect on a time in your life or within your workplace when you or your organization took on a project. Discuss what criteria were applied in deciding whether or not to proceed with the project and what role having a clear understanding of the scope of the project had in its success or failure.
IV. Assignment Details
Gantt charts and earned value management (EVM) are frequently used in project management. When properly used, they can provide project managers with information about how the project is progressing. Early warning signs provide project managers with a means to help get their projects back on track. Although Gantt charts and earned value calculations can be created and performed in Microsoft Excel, many project management software suites can provide users with enhanced tools for simplifying these tasks. Some of the most popular project management software suites are as follows:
• Microsoft Project
Select 1 of the software suites from the list above or choose your favorite (if not listed). Describe and discuss the following points about the software:
• Cost, features, and rating
• Strengths and weaknesses
• Your impression
Project Management Discussion
Being an effective manager and leader is a desirable consideration and a must have requirement for effective project management. I have interacted with several leaders and managers in my lifetime. Different factor contributed to them being effective managers and leaders. For instance, during my job placement session, I interacted with a manager whom I considered as an effective leader. Different factors made him a good manager and an effective leader. The manager always focused on becoming an effective leader as he could inspire, motivate and coach everyone to be constructive and successful while in the workplace. Additionally, he always considered the best interest of his subordinates and guaranteed transparency in the business’s operations. Mea and Sims (2019) state that desirable managers always show empathy while in leadership. This is a clear feature demonstrated by the manager in that he was always emotionally close to the subordinates and showed his empathy to their feelings. This is an aspect that positively influenced the experience of the people, thus decreasing their retention rates.
The manager also proved to be effective when it comes to delegating duties and ensuring that all the tasks were split accordingly. The effective delegation skills were effective in assisting the employees in achieving maximum productivity that further enhanced their performance in the workplace (Piotrowski, 2017). Another feature, which made the leader effective, that stood out included his effective emotional intelligence rate. This was a feature that mainly stood out when it comes to him resolving conflicts since he could easily understand and relate to the emotions of the others. The manager understood the emotions in the surrounding and could easily manage his to ensure that troubling situations were better managed. As a result, he could easily resolve internal conflicts in the workplace with a lot of ease (Piotrowski, 2017).
My former work organization relied on a functional structure of management. The functional structure is regarded as the most common organizational structure. In this case, the business was divided into smaller groups depending on the prevailing functional areas in the workplace. In the case of my former place of work, the workplace was divided into finance, Information Technology, sales and marketing, and the customer care departments. It is also a fact that the hierarchy levels common with the structure was composed of different designated leaders who played the role of guaranteeing that all the people in the group were working to meet the goals of the department.
Sayilar (2016) states that the functional structure is effective since it promotes operational efficiency since the employee with the shared skills and knowledge are categorized based on their function in the business. Despite this, the functional structure is associated with the challenge that different functional groups may find it hard to communicate with each other, thus putting a limit on the level of innovation and flexibility recorded in the workplace. Although the management focused on addressing this challenge by encouraging the staff to work in teams, communication was still not considered as highly effective while in the firm.
The functional structure evident in my previous workplace was suitable for what the business was focused on achieving. Notably, the firm sought on achieving an increased productivity. Sayilar (2016) indicates that the people operating within a functional structure setting are provided with specialized skills that enable them to function faster and more effectively in comparison to those with unfamiliar knowledge. The outcome is improved productivity. In addition, the structure was desirable in promoting the productivity of the workers since it provided them with confidence to accomplish their workplace tasks under minimal supervision. Henk and Fallmyr (2019) report that employees available under the functional structure record high productivity levels and receive promotions to fit other high-level positions in the workplace.
The scope of a project refers to a detailed outline of all the project’s aspects. This includes the associated resource, deliverables, timeliness and project’s boundaries. Sometime last year, I collaborated with a close friend and decided to work on a business project involving the sale of bottled water to a local market. Before making the decision to proceed with the project, we relied on a criterion focused on establishing different aspects to achieve this factor. The first criteria entailed exploring if the management was going to back up the project (Ajmal, Khan & Al-Yafei, 2019). Being the managers we were sure that we were going to back up the project to ensure its success. The second criterion involved establishing if the project was appropriately timed and if it is worth a commitment of resources. At this stage, we established that committing resources to the project was an effective consideration since the project was effectively timed. The third consideration entailed exploring if executing the project was going to drive the business towards ascertaining its goals (James, 2020). In this case, it is evident that venturing in the bottled water business was going to be effective in driving profits, which was also the goal of the business. The fourth criterion entailed unveiling the practicality and importance of the project in comparison to other possible ones. It was derived that the project is practical and important in comparison to alternative project which we considered such as engaging in a fast food business project. With these findings, we made a decision to proceed with the project. The scope of the project played an effective role is guaranteeing its success. Notably, the scope of the project was effective in relaying all the aspects required to gauge if it was going to be successful and practical when it comes to resources allocation and the projected goals.
Microsoft Project is one of my effective software suites. Microsoft project is a designed application focused on assisting project managers in assigning resources to the prevailing project tasks. The application is also effective in the development of plans, tracking progress, analyzing workloads, and managing the budgets (Morpus, 2021). MS project is desirable in the creation of a critical path schedule despite the fact that it requires a critical chain third-party add-on to function as required. The add-on is obtained from Spherical Angle and ProChain. The fact that a third party add on is required is one of the weaknesses associated with the MS Project application.
MS Project is a bit costly and not suitable for small enterprises. Notably, to offer on-premise solutions, a user can choose a project standard, a project server, or a project professional that is charged differently. The standard version entails a one-time payment of $620, the application will be installed as a desktop application, and cover features such as tasks completion, reporting, project schedule management, and business intelligence (Morpus, 2021). The professional package entails a one-month payment of $1,030 while the server version prices are negotiated with the client. The software has an average overall rating of 4.35 out of 5 stars (Software Advice, 2021). This includes an ease of use, the provision of the value for money, functionality and customer support, and hence highly recommended.
MS Project has several features such as management and planning features, documentation features, collaboration features, security features, and budgeting features (Morpus, 2021). The primary benefit of the application is the fact that it highly integrates with a wide range of products and applications such as the office suite to produce visual representations such as graphs. The application has also proven to be effective in tracking and managing a project. Despite this, it falls short when it comes to collaboration. With the positive reviews and personal experience, I have a positive impression for this software and I am very likely to recommend its usage.
A project audit is the process of examination established with an aim of determining the primary status of the tasks accomplished on a project to show its conformance to the prevailing statement of work, inclusive of budget constraints and schedule (Hiwase, Raman & Hajare, 2018). The audit entails structured and independent assessment of the project activities to guarantee that it is on the right path. Lefley (2016) states that the fundamental purpose of a project audit is to outline the learned lessons which can be effective in improving the project’s performance, now and in the future, through the completion of a forensic review with an aim of unveiling the concerns to be avoided.
The project audit experience can be visualized as positive in that it results to desirable outcomes. For instance, the project audit improves on the general performance of the project. This is founded on the fact that the project members will be keen on preventing the occurrences of mistakes likely to hinder the project from achieving its set objectives. The audit will also be desirable in the reduction of costs. Notably, through audits, it is easy to identify the factors that may inhibit the success of the project, hence making it possible to make revisions early enough before wasting time and resources (Hiwase, Raman & Hajare, 2018). The project audit should also be visualized positively since it is effective in promoting an effective focus and clarity among the project team members. Notably, the members will be focused on ensuring that their actions conform to the requirements to avoid errors (Lefley, 2016). The audits also functions positively by enhancing the prevailing relationship with the client. A positive client relationship is good for business now and the future. Furthermore, the project audit will also be effective in the collection of fundamental information that offers the executive team with desirable information that further improves on the project outcomes and its prevailing feasibility.
Ajmal, M., Khan, M., & Al-Yafei, H. (2019). Exploring factors behind project scope creep – stakeholders’ perspective. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, 12(3), 483-504. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-10-2018-0228
Henk, A., & Fallmyr, T. (2019). Navigating through institutional complexity: Adoption of a process view in functional organizations. Business Process Management Journal, 26(2), 593-612. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/BPMJ-01-2019-0038
Hiwase, P. D., Raman, N. S., & Hajare, H. V. (2018). Critical factor of large township building and its relevance in environmental audit: A critical evaluation. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 20(1), 433-449. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10668-016-9890-8
James, K. A. (2020). The moderating influence of project scope on leadership skills, stakeholder management, and execution of fiber optic infrastructure. Advances in Civil Engineering, 2020 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2020/5648394
Lefley, F. (2016). An exploratory study of the post-audit practices of large UK organizations: The way forward. Management Decision, 54(5), 1140-1159. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/MD-10-2015-0482