1 (a) You are a Project Manager for Ace Construction Services (ACS) who are contracted to undertake the construction of a tunnel across a river in the west of Ireland as part of a major road by-pass project. When planning the project you have engaged with your team and experts in the field and you have concerns in relation to the time estimates you have received with regard to the duration of activities for Phase 1 of the project. You have decided to use PERT to try and firm up on these estimates. The following chart represents the optimistic, pessimistic and most likely times you have been given for Phase 1 for activities A to O. You have also determined the resources needed on the project using historical information from previous similar projects and the order by which activities are to be undertaken. The project is resource constrained in relation to project workers and you have a maximum of 32 resources (workers) available to you for any single day of the project. All resources have been full cross-trained to undertake these activities. Table 1 outlines details of estimates, resources and dependencies:
Activity Optimistic Most Likely Pessimistic Resources Required Predecessors
A 58 61 67 12 –
B 37 38 43 12 –
C 60 62 66 12 –
D 59 60 64 9 A
E 24 26 29 6 A,B
F 45 51 53 12 B,C
G 35 38 44 9 D
H 21 22 26 9 D,E
I 28 30 32 9 E,F
J 17 18 20 8 G,H
K 24 26 32 9 H,I
L 30 32 38 13 J
M 25 28 29 10 J,K
N 21 22 27 8 I
O 4 5 6 4 L,M,N
Table 1 – Tunnel Project – ACS – Phase 1
As Project Manager of the Project you are required to complete the following:
(i) Using Programme Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) calculate in days the Time Expected (Te) for each of the activities of the project and the variance for each activity. Justify the use of PERT as a technique for determining such estimates.
(ii) Convert the activity times into weeks (5 working days in a week)and generate an Activity on Node (AON) diagram for the project using the early start times for activities, then analyse the network. (round values to the nearest week).
(iii) Construct a GANTT chart and resource histogram using the early start times for each activity outlining activity durations, resource usage, dependencies and indicating the float for each activity. Comment on your findings.
(iv) Perform Resource Constrained Levelling to utilise the resources most effectively. Remember there are a maximum of 32 resources available at any one time on the project. Comment on your findings.
(v) Justify the use of AON’s, GANTT Charts and Resource Levelling to your Director on the project.
1.(b) The following chart depicts the performance of a 75 week environmental clean-up project following an oil spillage off the coast of Portugal at week 15 of the project -Project Review Timeline 1 (PRT1). Your organisation, Environmental Project Solutions Inc. (EPSI), has been contracted to limit the environmental damage caused by the spill and has been tasked with the clean-up operation. The overall budget for the project is €1.85m, the project started well but ran into some difficulties that affected its performance up to week 15. Your manager has asked you to report on the project performance at week 15 (PRT1) as a lessons-learnt exercise to analyse how effective the first stage of execution of the project was. Following is the information (Table 2) on the major tasks involved:
Task Information €’s €’s
Tasks % complete PV AC
1 1.00 35,000 36,000
2 1.00 25,000 25,000
3 0.90 54,000 51,000
4 0.80 25,000 26,000
5 0.70 16,000 28,000
6 0.70 22,000 21,000
7 0.70 60,000 65,000
8 0.50 15,000 15,000
8 0.70 40,000 39,000
10 0.50 5,000 40,000
11 0.50 21,000 22,000
12 0.40 6,000 7,000
13 0.30 10,000 8,000
14 0.30 7,000 6,000
Table 2 – Environmental Clean-up–Op (EPSI) (PRT1)
Note: 1.00 on the table = 100% complete etc.
1. (c) Your Financial Director has found your analysis very useful in trying to pin down the project performance in Period 1 but would now like to know the performance of the project right through its lifecycle as the organisation is intending to undertake similar projects in the years ahead as the need arises. He has provided you with the following information for each Project Timeline Review for the remainder of the lifecycle of the project:
Week Wk 30 Wk 45 Wk 60 Wk 75
Timeline review PRT-2 PRT-3 PRT-4 PRT-5
PV (Cum) 810,000 1,300,000 1,500,000 1,850,000
EV (Cum 700,000 1,100,000 1,300,000 1,800,000
AC (Cum) 1,000,000 1,500,000 1,480,000 1,870,000
(i) Using the above information calculate and plot the Earned Value (EV), Planned Value (PV) and Actual Cost (AC) for the entire project and analyse the progress of the project for its full lifecycle.
(ii) Using the project review timelines (PRT’s) calculate the Cost Variance (CV), Schedule Variance (SV), Cost Performance Index (CPI), Schedule Performance Index (SPI) and Cost Ratio (CR) for the Project discussing how these tools are used in project management.
(iii) Generate a Quad Plot for the project and discuss the use of this tool in project management.
(iv) Discuss the principles of the Earned Value Method (EVM)in relation to how performance on a project is managed, clearly outlining any advantages and/or disadvantages of using such methods.
‘From a Project Management quality perspective a project is considered to be successful when it delivers value to the owner, sponsor, customer and other key stakeholders as necessary. It should also meet its intended purpose, perform the required functions and meet its specifications whether the project output is either a service and/or a product’.
Prepare an essay on Project Quality Management as a guideline for newly appointed project managers on how the above objectives could be achieved for projects within a typical matrix type organisational structure. Feel free to make assumptions and select examples of organisations or cases as appropriate to support your arguments and content.
Word-count – less than 1000 words
(b) ‘In relation to Project Management the way risk is managed on a project can determine the success or failure of the project’.
Using the Residential Care Services case study provided below discuss how you would propose to manage risk as Project Manager on the Residential Care Services Project.
Circa 2,000 words
Residential Care Services Project
This case study describes a project involving the setting up of a specific residential service for young adults (between the ages of 13 and 18) who need special care as opposed to being held in custodial institutions. The project was conceived in Jan. 2013 and the service needs to be in place by June 2014. The case (which is fictitious), describes many of the challenges the project faces including the need to develop the various processes and procedures, constructing the facilities required, ensuring that all related supporting infrastructure is put in place and ensuring the organisation of the project and the various aspects of managing the project are completed successfully.
In the case study, the author presents the communication and authority challenges faced by a project manager when dealing with powerful and independent stakeholders such as child care professionals, the wider community, the Department of Health and Children and the various senior functional staff in a typical health service.
Residential Care Services – A Case Study
1.0 Introduction and Context of the Project
Following the introduction of legislative measures the newly formed HSE South Western Health Team have been tasked with setting up residential care services for youths up to eighteen years who need supervisory care but not in a custodial environment. The relevant authorities were formally told of the ‘initiative’ at a departmental briefing; this was followed by a press briefing, where the key elements of the nation-wide programme was outlined to the press.
The initiative, which was a response to the absence of satisfactory care facilities for this group, is critical in the south western region as there are currently up to 6 individuals being held in various institutions, which are deemed by the courts as ‘highly unsuitable’. Indeed, in the past, the court has held a number of government departments in contempt on the basis of their poor co-ordination and absence of policy in this area. However, now that this legislative path has been taken, the rights of these individuals to be cared for in a suitable environment will be constitutional from July 1st 2014.
The department has published a series of guidelines outlining the services that this group are entitled to, thus ensuring that those that need to be accommodated through the scheme do not, in future, end up in jail or other unsuitable venues.
The Department has used budgetary estimates and a sum of 1.3 million Euro has been set aside for the set-up of the service in the region. Whilst this budgetary number is not set in stone, there is an expectation that after a more detailed plan emerges, that the estimate will not be exceeded.
The board and indeed the general public were generally aware for some time that this legislation was imminent and that the obligation to cater for this group was now clearly a Department of Health and Children concern. Some preliminary work, in respect of the facilities required, has already been carried out by the Technical Services Department of the authority. Two suitable sites (both owned by the authority) have been identified; these sites have outline planning permission.
Finally one of the health service managers, who specialises in child care services, has been identified as the project manager and a formal announcement of this will be made at a special meeting set up to discuss the project which is scheduled for Jan 30th 2013.
2.0 Current Perspectives of some selective stakeholders
2.1 Department of Health and Children:
After years of criticism from the public, the judiciary and politicians, the department sees this milestone as the fruits of their efforts over the previous two years. Pulling together the various parties to agree the framework of the new residential care services for this target group was not without its difficulties.
Despite their best efforts, it is with a sense of relief that the prime responsibility now rests with the HSE and the South Western Team to implement the scheme. They do however, still see themselves as the custodian of the services nationally and expect to receive data on the scheme, as per the guidelines, periodically. Moreover, they would like to exert as much control on the way that the scheme is implemented regionally to ensure consistency.
Their immediate concerns relate to the budget that was set aside for the scheme (both capital & expenditure), as the HSE Regional Team have already expressed their concerns, particularly on the capital side. No contingency was built into these figures and additionally, the Minister has not signed off on the incremental staff that is required to run the service as he does not wish this headcount & associated expenses to kick in until January 2014.
Finally, the Department of Justice were reluctant participants in setting up the scheme as they expected that the services would be operated under their auspices. The occasional veiled criticism of some aspects of the scheme has undermined it a little in recent months.
2.2 Regional Health Teams:
In general, other regional health team recently set up are neutral with respect to the project. On the positive side, they are reasonably satisfied with the guidelines because of the inclusive nature of the approach adopted by the Department.
On the other hand, they do have concerns on the drop-dead date of June 1st 2014 in particular to get the required staff with the specialised skills, given the current difficulties in recruiting this grade of staff. This may present a challenge. Moreover, the ambiguity around when staff can actually be recruited for the scheme and how the local sub-project teams responsible for the implementation will be funded has yet to be answered by the Department.
Finally, a number of the regional health teams have undertaken some analysis on the initial capital costs involved in setting up the required facilities. There is a general feeling that the budgets are a little on the low side as no estimates were included on a number of areas, such as an IT system and associated infrastructure to support the scheme. However, as the Department usually builds in 10 – 20 percent contingency so they expect that revised budgets will redress this shortfall.
2.3 HSE South Western Health Team (SWHT):
The South Western Health Team, while they share some of the general concerns of the regional teams, is more positive towards the scheme and incumbent services.
This attitude stems from the fact that they were very strongly represented on the various planning committees for the scheme and the implementation of the service in the region will be fast-tracked in a ‘pilot’ manner. This is expected to help iron out any problems that might emerge so that learning’s and amendments / adjustments can be made which the other health teams can benefit from.
A couple of specific points relating to this stakeholder are also noteworthy. The fact that this is a fast-track implementation means that there is an expectation that the service will be operational from the 1st of January 2014 (note – this is not explicitly stated in any documentation). Moreover, while senior management support for the scheme exists, there are some subtle issues involved. The program manager involved (Ms. Mary McLaughlin) is strongly behind the project, however, because of the positive publicity that she has accumulated in promoting the scheme there is some tension on the management team. The Finance Director and to a lesser extent the C.E.O. are somewhat cynical on the ‘empire building’ that Ms. McLaughlin is pursuing (in their eyes). In truth the programme manager views this opportunity as career enhancing – if the project is successful.
2.4 Child care specialist staff (SWHT):
While the various ‘community care’ disciplines have been involved during the development of the scheme, this was selective and involved senior staff only. Some junior staff have had little knowledge of the scheme and in fact in a number of cases the official announcement to the press was how some of the staff were informed.
Additionally, there are ‘professional’ concerns between some of the disciplines involved:
No child psychiatrists were represented on any committee to date; support therefore in implementing the service from this group may be a little more difficult, given this oversight.
Social workers are seen by some as having an overly influential say, in both the development of the scheme and indeed in implementing the scheme. Certain ambivalence to the implementation of the services can be detected in some of the other disciplines.
The Project Manager (Michael Judge) that is earmarked for this key role was handed the job by the programme manager without going through any formal interview procedures. This has alienated some staff and indeed at least one individual has approached MEDPRO (one of the unions) on the issue. Moreover, while in general, the consensus is that Michael is a good ‘people manager’ there are some concerns on his ability to manage the technical aspects of the project (such as the facilities and infrastructural requirements).
3.0 Notes from the initial project kick off session
The following are the key points noted at the special project briefing session of Jan 15th, 2013.
All key staff were represented at the session (with the exception of the Finance Officer, Child Psychiatry – though apologies were noted). Ms McLaughlin chaired the session following a brief introduction by the CEO (who subsequently had to leave for another session).
3.1 Project Structure
The following project structure outlined how the project team fitted into the wider organisational structure.
3.2 Actions & decisions arising:
A number of points to note from the meeting included:
1. A steering committee of the IT Director, the Technical Services Director, the Finance Director and the Programme Manager for special services was agreed. This group would meet every two weeks to review progress and provide support to the project manager and the team.
2. In addition to the wider child care staff, who would be tasked with setting up the residential care services in the region, (a group of 10 specialists was agreed), Technical services was tasked with getting the building and physical infrastructure in place. IT were tasked with getting the systems and related infrastructure in place, Finance were tasked with supporting the project by managing all budgetary issues while reporting to the project manager (sign –off on items above 10,000 Euro is a matter for the steering committee)
3. A representative of the Department of Health and Children will be on the advisory board to ensure that the developed processes and procedures etc. are in line with the guidelines.
4. Key milestones were agreed as follows:
Initial Meeting – end Jan 2013
Decision on location of the services – end March 2013
Definite budget in place – mid April 2013
Physical fitted out facility in place – mid Dec 2013
IT systems in place – end Dec 2013
1st draft of required processes and procedures – end May 2013
Recruitment of 12 specialised staff – end Dec 2013
Final draft of processes signed off – end Jan 2014
Service Start date – end Jun 2014
5. It was made clear at the meeting that the union representing the care workers would be approaching the board and the Department of Health and Children to discuss
i) the appointment of the Project Manager (some were vocally opposed)
ii) additional remuneration for their members, given the additional workload and responsibilities that they would now face
6. A report by the Technical Services Director on the two sites shortlisted was circulated to the group. This is attached as an appendix and a decision in this matter is the first critical task for the project. Discussions on these options were inconclusive but site B was probably favoured by the group with the exception of Finance and the IT department as it would ensure that the service has its own identity from day 1. A sub committee was asked to review the options in more detail.
7. Formal approval for the twelve specialist staff needed to run the facility is to be addressed immediately by the project manager.
8. Given the previous links and involvement with the department of Justice a local representative is to be invited onto the steering committee to ensure that this interface is addressed.
Appendix A – Report on the suitability of the two shortlisted sites
The first site is located on the grounds of one of the regional hospitals and is a two-storey facility, which has not been used for a number of years. In terms of size the building is 25,000 sq. meters, which is more than adequate for the facilities required.
It would need to be substantially refurbished, including rewiring for both electrical, data and voice infrastructure. This might prove to be a little difficult as the outside walls are up to a meter thick as are some of the internal walls in the facility. On the other hand, there is capacity in both the PABX in the hospital and indeed on the data infrastructure into the main site.
Preliminary work suggests the presence of asbestos, which would have to be addressed as part of the refurbishment and there is some evidence that dry rot might be present in one part of the structure.
Some of the hospital staff have expressed concern about locating the residential facility on the hospital grounds because of the related security issues that might arise because of the nature of the type of client that would be catered for.
From a financial perspective, despite the obvious issues, this option would certainly be the cheaper option.
The second site is a plot of land bequeathed to the Health Service Executive (HSE) in a recent will. It is located in a more rural setting and while outline planning permission is in place formal planning approval would be required once detailed plans were drawn up.
The main concern for this option is the time needed to get detailed planning approval and thereafter to build the structure in effectively a 9 months period. Additionally, it is possible that objections to the facility might be raised by neighbours, which could delay or indeed scupper the planning process altogether.
On the plus side, this option is the best opportunity to get a state of the art facility constructed and given the spotlight that is on the authority (particularly given that this service is to be piloted in the region), this is a consideration in any decision.
Financially this would of course be more expensive both from in terms facilities and supporting infrastructure requirements.
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