Project Management

Project Management Case Study

New Project Planning Approach at The WiseBuild Company

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(A fictitious case study for learning purposes)

Project Overview

Your role in this case study is that of the new Chief Project Planning Manager (Senior Project Officer) responsible for project planning methods for all projects at The WiseBuild Company. You are reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). You are tasked to find out how a new project planning approach can lead to better cost plan and improved project performance. When you told your best friend about your new job he gave you the book of Harvey Maylor about “Project Management” as a gift.

The WiseBuild Company is a leading company delivering projects and consultancy in the field of construction of large buildings and infrastructure. Customers are both from the public and private sector. It is located in the capital and has a proven history of successful projects for international customers. It has more than 250,000 employees.

The WiseBuild Company has decided to advertise the position of Chief Project Planning Manager for which you have applied successfully. Your first task is to write a study focusing on cost evaluation and an introduction of a new project planning approach. This report is expected to serve as an input for the discussions at the board of directors. This has become a critical issue as several key suppliers of the company have required to coordinate their planning activities with those of your company.

For The WiseBuild Company, the stated objectives of your report are:

Explain how the different approaches to costing can benefit cost planning in a project;

Suggest several specific project planning techniques for improved project performance;

Evaluation several risk management approaches in project planning for improved project performance; and

Explain the relationship between project planning and the controlling of budgets and time schedules in project management.

The implementation of the New Project Planning Approach

Timescale and Activities

The implementation of the new Project Planning approach is time critical for a 4-month (80 working days) duration before presenting in front of the board of directors of The WiseBuild Company.

Work for your report should start on Monday 01 February 2021. All days quoted are actual working days and do not include weekends (5 days = 1 week, 8 hours per day). Similarly a week implies 5 working days. Please discuss the following issues:

Analysis of cost planning (20 days) which needs to be discussed with project managers. This should include information about current projects, measures to control cost, and current project planning techniques.

This should be followed by Detailed analysis of the effectiveness of project planning (5 days) and Improvement of project planning processes (15 days) – these activities can run at the same time and can run roughly in parallel.

As soon as both of these activities are completed, you can start Detailed description of the project planning metrics (5 days), followed by Selection of project planning software solution (20 days) and Proposal of project planning changes (10 days) – these activities can be done in parallel.

Then, the following activities will follow in order:

*Meetings with suppliers

*Discussion of report with Managing Director

*Writing-up of final report

[Durations of these three activities with asterisk (*) have not be fixed, as the Senior Project Officer you are expected to decide the duration of each of these three activities. Your decision should be made based on overall duration of the project; costs of recourses sign up with each activity and the total project budget.]

Finally, Presentation of final report will take 1 day; followed by Presentation Completion as the final milestone.

Please check for public holidays during the project duration.

Cost

A total project budget of £850,000 is considered appropriate and sufficient by the CFO. This sum is intended to cover all costs to finish your report including personnel allocated for your study (two secretaries and two consultants), all travel costs, and new hardware and software for the project planning software solution.

The only costs this budget would not cover would be the salaries of any project or product managers of The WiseBuild Company who are seconded full or part-time to support you. They would draw their salaries exactly as usual from their unit which does not impact on your budget.

Staffing

Personnel allocated for your study are: two secretaries with a salary at £3,250 p.c.m. (per current month) per person, and two consultants at £1,600 per day per person.

When asked about who works on what tasks the following information was handed over to you (the letters in brackets stand for: S1 and S2 = Secretaries, C1 and C2 = Consultants).

Please note that durations of those three activities with asterisk (*) have not be fixed, as the Senior Project Officer (SPO) you are expected to decide the duration of each of these three activities. Your decision should be made based on overall duration of the project; costs of recourses sign up with each activity and the total project budget.

Analysis of cost planning (20 days) (SPO, C1, C2, S1)

Detailed analysis of the effectiveness of project planning (5 days) (SPO, C1, C2)

Improvement of project planning processes (15 days) (SPO, C1, C2)

Detailed description of the project planning metrics (5 days) (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)

Selection of project planning software solution (20 days) (SPO, C1, C2)

Proposal of project planning changes (10 days) (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)

*Meetings with suppliers (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)

*Discussion of report with Managing Director (SPO, C1, C2)

*Writing-up of final report (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)

Presentation of final report (1 day) (SPO)

Presentation Completion (final milestone)

Assignment Questions

In the role of the Chief Project Planning Manager you are required to develop a report (including academic references), structured along the following lines:

Part A – General Overview (60%) – approx. 1,600 words [LO1; LO2; LO4]

Critically evaluate how a new project planning approach can lead to better cost plan and improved project performance (including academic references), specifically:

Explain how the different approaches to costing can benefit cost planning in a project;

Suggest several specific project planning techniques for improved project performance;

Evaluation several risk management approaches in project planning for improved project performance; and

Explain the relationship between project planning and the controlling of budgets and time schedules in project management.

Part B – Project Planning Gantt Chart Report (20%) – approx. 200 words of added explanation [LO1; LO3]

Given the importance of your report, develop a one-page project plan in Gantt chart. The chart should clearly indicate the start date, the critical tasks, milestones and the planned end date. Include the Gantt chart in the content of your report.

Part C – Budget Creation (20%) – approx. 200 words of added explanation [LO1; LO 2; LO3]

Assuming that the project will run perfectly to the schedule outlined by you in Part B with all contract personnel working as defined on the tasks indicated, generate an overall budget planning for your report, including:

Your own salary at £5,250 p.c.m. (per current month), the 2 secretaries and 2 consultants, and accommodation costs £150 per day per person;

All new PC hardware (total fixed cost: £35,000) and project planning software (total fixed cost: £27,000), and total miscellaneous fixed costs of £25,000;

Create budget positions for meetings, travel costs and other activities at your discretion within the overall budget limit; and

You also need to include the cost for the roll-out of the new project planning approach for 200 project teams at a cost of 1,000 pounds for each project team (this includes production of a training video, a train-the-trainer programme and a web site for training of the teams with the new planning techniques).

Show all calculations and totals via suitable report formats.

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