Table of contents Contents page number Executive summary Introduction Problem identification Case analysis Question 1 Question 2 Question 3 Question 4 Conclusion and Recommendations Bibliography EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Polk County is a scarcely populated County in the state. The roads are in a very poor condition and the Transportation Department supervisor, JR has been tasked to manage all the three projects: * The entrance to the Big John’s superstore ELK Mountain road * Bridge on County road 1045 The writer will analyse the case, evaluate the alternatives and propose a solution for the case that would benefit the Polk County Transportation Department to execute their projects effectively. Various models and literature will be used to motivate the assertions. INTRODUCTION Polk County is the largest county in the state it is governed by three-member Board of commissioners: Harold, Richardson and Thomas.
The state faces a challenge of delivering critical projects which involve improvements to the local roads which at the current state have put the local residents as well as tourists at risk because they are dilapidated, worn out and inadequate for purpose generally being unsafe for use. This challenge is due to many projects competing over limited resources. The three projects are: * The entrance to Big John’s Superstore * Elk Mountain road Crockett Creek bridge on the country road 1045 near prison The reasecher will analyse the case evaluate it, systematically prioritise the steps to be taken on the approach to successfully propose a solution which will benefit the Transportation Department, Polk municipality and ultimately the community at large. Various shortfalls are evident in the current Polk county municipality. The researcher will discuss them in depth with reference to various models and literatures as well as assumptions to back up the recommendations, below are the identified shortfalls: * No poor project office Funds are very limited to kick start projects that would add value to the community and improve their safety. * The tax is minimal to sustain the developments * Insuffient or no fundraising initiatives * High rate of crime As depicted on the case, there are three projects at hand and below is the gathered information on each project. Body governing the county The following individuals comprise the Polk County administration team NAME | DESTINATION/ STATUS| Thomas| Commissioner retired| Herald| Commissioner retired|
Richardson| commissioner| JR| Supervisor- Transport Department| Joe| Former head of Transport Department| Unnamed | Current Senator| Zachary | Transport Department intern (civil engineering)| PROJECT 1 THE ENTRANCE TO THE BIG JOHN’s SUPERSTORE * It is off a two lane high at the base of the hill * It is difficult for cars travelling in the opposite direction until they come over the crest * This makes it difficult for the cars turning left into the store and those pulling out of the parking lot. * A number of accidents have occurred The number of cars travelling on the road has increased over the last three years since the store opened * Several residents have raised concerns at the commissioners meetings in the past * JR had approached the store manager about helping to pay for road improvements to widen the roads to add a turning lane or install a traffic light. * The manager replied that they are barely making any profit and if they do not make profit corporate headquarters will close it down and a lot of people will lose their jobs therefore they cannot afford to assist * Many people go to the store because there are no other shopping malls in the county
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PROJECT 2 WIDENING AND REPAIR OF ELK MOUNTAIN ROAD IN THE NORTHWESTERN PART OF THE COUNTY * The winters have taken their toll on the road and left it with large deep potholes * The increase in unemployment in the county has led to an increase in independent loggers using the road to bring logs from Elk Mountain to several saw mills, including Ye Olde Saw mill in the adjacent county. The lack of repair over the years and the heavy trucks are causing the road to deteriorate even faster Both commissioners, Thomas and Richardson have seen the worsening condition of the road: they use it frequently to go hunting and fishing on ELK Mountain. * Each has received an earful of complaints from friends who use the road. * Zachary also knows how bad the road is from personal experience as he was nearly sideswiped by the logging truck and was forced off the resulting in his car’s low hanging tail pipe and muffler ripped off as he hit a large pothole.
PROJECT 3 CROCKETT CREEK BRIDGE ON COUNTY ROAD 1045 NEAR THE PRISON * It is the main road to the state correctional Institution in the south western past of the county. * The bridge barely passed the last state inspection four years ago. * Each spring during the winter thaw Crockett Creek threatens to wash the bridge. * If the bridge is washed out or closed, the detour would be nearly 15 miles for people who work at the prison. * The largest employer in the county is the state correctional institution for female offenders located in the south western part of the county.
A project is an endeavour to accomplish a specific objective through a unique set of interrelated tasks and the effective utilisation of resources (Clement and Gido, 2012; 4) It has a clear objective of what is to be accomplished and this is usually defined in the form of deliverable, schedule and budget. A project utilises various resources to carry out interdependent task that need to be accomplished in a certain sequence in order to achieve a project objective within a specific time frame. A project has a sponsor who provides the funds necessary to accomplish the project.
A project usually has challenges because it is constrained by many factors including scope, quality budget and risks. 1. SITUATION ANALYSIS 1. 1. NO PROPER PROJECT OFFICE Polk County is the largest county in the state with a shallow structure of Authority. This is evident as the line of command is very short from the top, senator, commissioner to bottom lower management this could be of advantage as there is rapid communication hence close interactions and therefore easy delivery of organisational / municipality goals strategy. JR is the supervisor for the county Transportation Department.
The case states that county roads have progressively deteriorated and several critical projects need to be done. He works with his summer intern Zachary and is concerned that if the does not present a good case for the at least one of the project, then the commissioners probably would not fund any of the project. It is evident that JR is struggling as he cannot apply himself explicitly on the tasks at hand as he lack the skills, methodologies that would easily aid to address the projects smoothly, this therefore calls for the introduction of project management office in the municipality 1. 2PROJECT MANAGEMENT OFFICE
Project management is defined by the PMBOK as…. ’the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques in order to meet stakeholder’s needs and expectation from a project. ’ (Burke, 2011; 18) 1. 3GENERIC ROLES OF A PROJECT MANAGEMENT OFFICE 1. 3. 1The project management office’s aim is to link individual project to the organisation’s dynamic strategic intent through a focused discipline of project management. 1. 3. 2The project management office is established to act as support and reporting channel between projects and senior management without removing the accountability or authority of project managers. . 3. 4The project management office provides top management with a consolidated view on all projects within the organisation and thus assists top management in ensuring that all projects are aligned with the strategic direction of the organisation. 1. 3. 5The project management office will provide value-added assistance to all its identified customers in the organisation. 1. 3. 6The project management office will enable support and facilitate project disciplines with a: * A project life cycle Programme/project management * Project management training * Prioritisation support * Project start-up workshops and project administration ‘With the budget situation JR is worried that none of the projects may get done’, the case reads, this emphasises how the department is financially constrained and several projects are competing over this limited funds. The project management office is equipped with tools and techniques which provide a systematic approach on every project. The PMBOK states ‘….
Because projects are unique and involve a certain degree of risk, companies performing projects will generally subdivide their project into several project phases to provide better management control. Collectively these project phases are called the project lifecycle’. (Burke, 2011; 40) The general project life cycle has four phases: * Concept or initiation phase * Design or planning phase * Implementation or performing phase * Commissioning and handover or closing phase In the initiating phase, projects are identified and selected. They are then authorised using a document referred to as a project charter.
The planning phase includes defining the project scope, identifying resources developing a schedule and budget and identifying risks all of which makes up a baseline plan for doing the project work. In the performing phase the plan is executed and work tasks are carried out to produce all the project deliverables and to accomplish the project objective. During this phase the project progress is monitored and controlled to assure the work remains on schedule and within budget, the scope is fully completed according to specifications and all the deliverables meet the acceptance criteria.
Also any changes need to be documented, approved and incorporated into an updated baseline plan if necessary. In the closing phase the project evaluations are conducted lessons learned are identified and documented to help improve performance on future projects and project document are organised and archived. (Clement and Gido, 2012; 9) Phases in a project lifecycle are interrelated which means the previous phase should be successfully completed before progressing to the next phase.
In this particular case, JR, the supervisor at a Transportation Department is struggling to make a selection on a project to perform first since there are limited funds. The main focus of this case is based on the initiation phase of the project lifecycle and because of the interrelation of the phases; it has to be successfully completed to move forward to the next phase of project. The initiation phase of the project lifecycle starts with recognising a need, problem or opportunity for which the project or projects are identified to address.
Projects are identified in various ways: during an organisation strategic planning, as part of its normal operations, in a response to unexpected events or as a group of individuals deciding to organise a project to address a particular need. It is important to try to quantify the need to help evaluate whether the expected benefits from implementing a project outweigh the costs or consequences of conducting the project. Once the magnitude and the expected benefit or improvement has been estimated the cost for a project to implement the improvement. The transportation epartment of Polk County identified several needs but have limited funds and people available to pursue the projects to address those identified needs. In this case the department must go through a decision making process to prioritise and select the project that will result in the greatest overall benefit. Project selection is making a commitment for the future. The execution of a project will tie up the company resources and as an opportunity cost, the selection of one project may preclude your company from pursuing another (perhaps more profitable) project.
We live in a world of finite resources and so cannot carry out all the projects we may want or need. Therefore a process is required to select and rank projects on the basis of their beneficial change to a company. (Burke, 2011: 66). The steps in the project selection process include: * develop a set of criteria against which the project will be evaluated * list assumptions that will be used on the basis of each project * Gather data and information for each project to help ensure an intelligent decision regarding project selection.
Methods of gathering this information could include surveys, focus groups, interviews or analysis of available reports * Evaluate each project against criteria. Once all the data and information have been collected analysed and summarised for each potential project it should be given to all the people responsible for performing the evaluation. It is beneficial to the have several individuals in the evaluation and selection process in order to get various viewpoints.
Each person on the evaluation and selection committee should have a different background and experience to bring to the decision making process, (Clement and Gido, 2012:35) emphasises that although it may take longer and be more stressful to gain group consensus on projects priorities and selections it will most likely be a better quality decision than if the decision is made by just one individual. The committee may develop a set of evaluation criteria with some type of rating system (such as Low-Medium-High, 1 to 5) against which to rate each potential project against each criterion.
Various models can be used in project selection. The main purpose of these models is to aid decision making leading to project selection. The models include: * Numeric models * Non- numeric models A numeric model is usually financially focused and quantifies the project in terms of time to repay the investment or return on investment while non-numeric models look at a much wider view of the project considering items such as market share, relocation or environmental issues. Most importantly the models must evaluate projects by how well they meet the company’s strategic goals and corporate mission. 2.
NUMERIC MODELS The numeric selection models may be subdivided into financial models and scoring models. The financial models are: * Payback period * Return on investment * Net present value * Internal rate of return Companies tend to prefer financial models and often select solely on profitability. 2. 1SCORING MODELS The numeric models mostly have common limitation, they only look at the financial element of the project. In an attempt to broaden the selection criteria, (Burke, 2011:79) suggest ‘a scoring model called the factor model, which uses multiple criteria to evaluate the project will be introduced’.
The factor model simply lists a number of desirable factors on a project selection pro-forma along with columns to show the rating of each factor. A weighted column can be added to increase the score of important factors while reducing the scoring of the less important. The advantages of using a scoring model are; * It encourages objectivity in decision making * It uses multiple selection criteria to widen the range of evaluation * It uses the simple structure therefore easy to use It uses selection factors structured by senior management, this implies that they reflect the company’s goal and objectives * It makes it easy to change factors. * It uses weighted scoring to reflect the factor’s differential importance * It is not biased towards short run projects favoured by financial models. * It is a weighted model which can also be used as a flag to improve projects by identifying the variance between the factor score and the maximum possible score The disadvantages of using a scoring model are: If the factors are not weighted they will all equal importance * A simple model may encourage the developments of long lists that could introduce trivia factors and therefore waste management time. Assuming that the county Transportation Department has a budget of hundred million pula (P100 000) to allocate over the three project the researcher has used a scoring model to score some desirable factors on each project. This analysis and evaluation determines which project is critical and assist the project manager to prioritise effectively on which project to perform first followed by others.
The figure below shows the factor scoring model for a county Transportation Department. SCORING FACTOR MODEL - PROPOSED SOLUTION| | FACTORS| PROJECT 1| PROJECT 2| PROJECT 3| 1. BENEFITS| 8| 9| 9| alignment to organisation strategy, mission, visions, values| | 4| 4| 4| impact (organisational Department County)| | 4| 5| 5| | | | | 2. COSTS| 4| 6| 8| budget (impact on budget)| 2| 3| 4| expenditure| 2| 3| 4| | | | | 3. TIME| 7| 6| 7| delivery(how long will it take to deliver value to the community| 4| 3| 3| start- up (when can the project start)| 3| 3| 4| | | | 4. RISKS| 5| 7| 9| safety and health (stakeholder and community| 3| 4| 5| environment| 2| 3| 4| | | | | 5 RESOURCES| 7| 7| 8| capacity (at your disposal)| 4| 4| 4| availability| 3| 3| 4| | | | | 6. STAKEHOLDERS| 5| 6| 9| commitment| 2| 3| 4| reputation| 3| 3| 5| TOTAL| 36| 41| 50| PERCENTAGE| 60| 68. 33| 83. 33| Key 5= very good weighting 4= good 0-40% low priority 3=fair 41-60% average priority 2= poor 61- 80% high priority 1= very poor 81- 100%very high priority
A priority list of projects from the model depicts Crockett Creek Bridge on road 1045 will progress under the current budget, if enough funds will be secured. ELK mountain road will follow then lastly the entrance to the Big John’s superstore. Therefore the researcher recommends that the county Transport Department should adopt the project management approach by introducing a project management office. The project management office will be merged into the current county municipality opening structure to undertake all the projects across all departments with expertise.
A project will be allocated a project manager and through his knowledge and skills. A methodological approach of project management will be applied. From project initiation phase are identified and selected through planning phase which involves defining the project scope, identifying resources, developing a schedule and budget and identifying resources development risks to the performing phase whereby the plan is execute and finally the closing phase/ project handover where the project lifecycle terminates.
This methodological approach would be suitable for Polk County Transportation Department as projects would be executed effectively and effectively. To generate funds for the county, the commissioners can come up with initiatives like introducing road levy, introducing toll gates as well as adjusting tax higher so as to acquire funds for local developments. The crime rate is also igh as the case states that the largest employer is the state correctional institution for female offender, therefore prison as an offenders rehabilitation centre with skills they acquire during their serving period, prisoners can produce goods that can be sold to the local community to generate funds which could assist with the developments. CONCLUSION Polk County faces a problem of under development or road improvement because of limited funds. Multiple projects have been identified to address the current situation, besides the limited funds inadequate skills and lack of proper facilities have been identified.
The writer analysed the case, quantified case data, evaluated it and suggests that introduction of project management office in the Polk county municipality would highly benefit the organisation as a proper systematic methodology of project management will be used to tackle and manage all projects effectively and also various fund raising initiatives will be implemented to raise money for the local government for developments. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Burke, R. 2011, Project Management Techniques, ( College Edition), China, Burke Publishing 2. Clements, J. P. and Gido J. 2012 Effective Project Management Fifth Edition, Canada. Joe Sabatino
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