Strategic Pathways to Project Completion

Question 1
Activity-on-node diagram
Activity-on-node diagram
Critical path in the project and project duration

The critical path of the project refers to the longest sequence of activities from the project start to finish that must be completed for ensuring the project is finished by a certain time. The activities of the critical path must be managed and reviewed closely for achieving the project success and meeting its objectives. The critical path mainly determines the end date of the project schedule. In this particular project, as per the activity-on-node diagram, there is certain break down of the project activities which are starting from A to I. as per the diagram, total time schedule is allocated in weeks from A that needs 3 weeks. Activities B and C are preceded by A and B needs 7 weeks and C needs 9 week to complete the allocated tasks. D is formed from C and its needs 3 weeks. E is preceded by B and D where the allocated time is 11 weeks. F and G are preceded by E and F respectably. F needs 3 weeks and there is 2 weeks allocated time for G in the project. Additionally, H is preceded by C and F and it is for 3 weeks where the staff can complete the tasks. Lastly, it is preceded by H and G and the allocated time period is 5 weeks. Hence, the critical path of the project is important to be developed before starting the project efficiently, where it is possible for the project manager to share the vision and value of the project, the activities in each stage of progressing in the projects as well as allocated time schedule, so that the employees can follow and complete their tasks within efficient time of 46 weeks starting from the activity A to the last task I.

Duration of task B amended to 14 weeks

If the duration of Task B must be amended due to the failure of the team to complete within the specified time period, the overall project activities are getting hampered and delayed in the long run. The estimated total time period allocated for the project is 46 weeks but if the employees fail to complete task B in the specified time period, it becomes difficult for them to start the task C in the project. Hence, it is mandatory to extend the deadline of the task B and as per the new deadline; Task B in the project is extended to 14 weeks, which is 7 weeks initially. Hence, there would be the issue of project delay and it is the responsibility of the project manager to convince the organisational leader as well as the stakeholders with valid reason of such project delay, so that it would be accepted and the project manager would be able to guide the employees for successful completion of the project within allocated period of time as per the activity-on-node diagram.

Question 2
‘Management of Risk is a key to successful Project Management’

Project Management is the process of leading the work of the team to achieve the goals and meet the success criteria within a specified time period. Risk management is one of the main success factors of the project where the organisational leader and management team try to conduct risk analysis for identifying the existing issues in conducting the project efficiently. Risk management includes risk identification, probability of occurrence, potential impact and proposed actions (Papke-Shields and Boyer-Wright, 2017). Through this risk management practice, the project managers can acknowledge the existing risk factors and develop alternative solutions for conducting the project activities efficiently. For example, in the recent years, the organisations like Nike focuses on handling their business through online activities and e-commerce as the physical stores are closed due to this pandemic situation across the international markets. For implementing the technology and developing integrated software system, the whole operational system must be changed and updated and hence the managers try to lead the projects proficiently by involving the employees. Risk management in this regard plays an important role to meet the strategic objective of Nike and complete the project successfully (Tereso et al., 2019). Through risk management, the managers can analyse the risk factors which are resistance to change of the employees, lack of technical skill set of the staff, poor time management an expertise, the managers them would like to develop strategic planning to minimise the existing risks and complete the project proficiently where the risk mitigation strategies would be arranging technical training program, developing shared workspace for guiding the staff to handle the online activities. Hence, risk analysis is a key to achieve the project success through analysing the existing risk factors and developing alternative and creative solutions.

Types of project closure

Project closures the last phase in the project life cycle that involves in handing over the deliverables to the customers and assessing the documents to the business, counselling the supplier’s contract, releasing the staff and additional requirements and informing the stakeholders about the closure of the project. The different types of project closure are normal, premature, perpetual and failed project as well as changed priority. Normal project closure is conducted where the manager and employees are successful to fulfil the project and provide ultimate deliverables. Perpetual refers to life of their own, which never seem to end. Premature project closure is where the project manager and employees fail to meet the project deliverables within effective time period due to the existing issues of lack of budget and timing and inefficient staff members (Bjorvatn and Wald, 2018). In the above case study of Nike, for example, the project manager and employed are skilled and proficient to meet the project deliverables by working efficiently and utilising the latest technology and thus the project can be closed through normal project closure technique. Nike would be successful to provide project deliverables to the customers by providing good customer’s relationship management and services through online activities as well as contributing in the organisation through maximising the online sales volume and profitability of Nike in long run.

Question 3
“Project Management involves a Socio-Technical Approach”

Sociotechnical systems (STS) in organizational development refer to the approach to complete organisational working design that recognizes the interaction between the people and technology in the workplace. Interrelatedness of social and technical aspects of an organization or the society as a whole further help the company to manage their projects by technical advancement and involving the people for their skill set so that it would be possible to meet the project success and deliverables. Project management is hereby a socio technical approach, where the project manager interlinks the technical innovation with employee’s creativity to achieve the project success (Armenia et al., 2019). The interrelationship between the people and technology is mandatory to conduct the project innovatively. For example, the famous technical organisation Apple manage their projects of product diversification by designing and introducing new gadgets in the market where the project is considered as socio technological aspects as it involves the latest technology and employees for meeting the strategic objective of the company. Technical advancement help the employees to work creatively and develop innovative solutions for the project, and this the project management is a socio technological approach to lead the project, utilise latest techniques and employees expertise for successful project closure.

Project management skills

Project management skills are important for the project managers in managing the project activities and developing creative solutions for successful project closure. Leadership skill is mandatory for the project manager to lead the project team members towards achieving the strategic objectives. Communication skill and cooperative working practice are also important to improve performance and share the information related to the project for further guidance and support to the team. The skill of critical analysis and problem solving provide a scope to the project manager to evaluate the existing issues and identify risk factors so that they can conduct their tasks carefully through alternative strategic options (Picciotto, 2020). Additionally, decision making skill and risk management skill step are effective for running the project activities and meeting its objectives critically through technological innovation and creativity. Tasks and time management skill provide the scope to the project manager to develop the project planning as well as negotiation skill is also important for the project manager to develop strong team for achieving the project success.

Core traits to become a successful project manager

The core traits of the project manager are such as,

Effective interactive personality

Emotional intelligence

Leadership skill

Strong personality and problem solver

Team building activities and providing guidance

Supporter and motivator

Interpersonal communication skill

Inspire with shared vision

Technical expertise

Good decision maker

These are the core traits of the project manager, where it is possible for the project manager to lead the team members towards achieving the project success through developing creative decision, scheduling the project activities, utilising organisation resources and arranging training programs as well as developing training program for the staff to guide and support them continuously (Radujković and Sjekavica, 2017).

Question 4
Resource scheduling reduce the flexibility in managing projects

Resource scheduling refer to the set of actions and methodology utilised by the organisations to efficiently assign the resources they have to jobs, tasks or project activities that they will be able to complete as per the schedule. The project manager focuses on developing project schedule, where there are suitable data and information about the project activities with required time period. Hence, project scheduling is beneficial for better organisational activities, project performance, smart task distribution, real time data and analysis as well as completes the project activities with pre-specified time (Banihashemi et al., 2017). On the other hand, project flexibility indicates that the employees can work as per their convenience to mete their job role and contribute positively in achieving the project. Hence, there is negative relationship between the project scheduling and flexibility of the employees in the projects. For example, Nike develops proper scheduling before starting the project of online transformation of the business, where the employees must follow the scheduling for identifying individual job role and responsibilities as well as working as per the specified time. Hence, the staff members involved with the project is bound to follow the guidelines and time period as per the project schedule leading to lack off flexibility in managing the project activities in the workplace. Hence, it can be stated that, resource scheduling reduces the flexibility in managing the projects in the organisation where the employees and technicians in the project mist follow the guidelines to complete their task within allocated time.

Distinguishing a project from business as usual
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The project mainly introduces the new products or services through changes in the organisation and daily business activities is the practice of conducting the operations in the same way of the same basket of goods and services through reproduction. Hence, there are differences between new project developmental and continuous business activities (Chawla et al., 2018). For example, the projects are such as introducing new technology, upgrading the existing techniques, introducing new product in the market, service innovation etc., and on the other hand, the usual business activities refer to the practice of continuing the process of serving the customers through reproduction and operation management. For example, Tesco as a famous retail brand in the UK focuses on expanding their business in the market through reproduction and maintaining availability of the food items. This is a usual business activity that helps the firm to sustain in the market and manage the strong customer base in the retail industry. On the other hand, Tesco aims at managing sustainability in future where the major strategies are organic farming, organic food products development and storing as well as utilising electric cars for reducing greenhouse gas emission. Hence, these are the new creative solutions of the business, and these are considered as project to run their business innovatively. The new strategies are effective for the business of Tesco to expand their operations creatively with new products range of organic acre as well as utilising electric cars for sullying and distributing the products.

Reference List

Armenia, S., Dangelico, R.M., Nonino, F. and Pompei, A., 2019. Sustainable project management: A conceptualization-oriented review and a framework proposal for future studies. Sustainability, 11(9), p.2664.

Banihashemi, S., Hosseini, M.R., Golizadeh, H. and Sankaran, S., 2017. Critical success factors (CSFs) for integration of sustainability into construction project management practices in developing countries. International Journal of Project Management, 35(6), pp.1103-1119.

Bjorvatn, T. and Wald, A., 2018. Project complexity and team-level absorptive capacity as drivers of project management performance. International Journal of Project Management, 36(6), pp.876-888.

Chawla, V., Chanda, A., Angra, S. and Chawla, G., 2018. The sustainable project management: A review and future possibilities. Journal of Project Management, 3(3), pp.157-170.

Papke-Shields, K.E. and Boyer-Wright, K.M., 2017. Strategic planning characteristics applied to project management. International Journal of Project Management, 35(2), pp.169-179.

Picciotto, R., 2020. Towards a ‘New Project Management’movement? An international development perspective. International Journal of Project Management, 38(8), pp.474-485.

Radujković, M. and Sjekavica, M., 2017. Project management success factors. Procedia engineering, 196, pp.607-615.

Tereso, A., Ribeiro, P., Fernandes, G., Loureiro, I. and Ferreira, M., 2019. Project management practices in private organizations. Project Management Journal, 50(1), pp.6-22.

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