In the project, there is uneven in resource usage for people that have multiple responsibilities. (Me) is allocated 7 tasks to be in charge of and these are running throughout the lifecycle of a project. Mary has three tasks to be in charge of while Kelvin is in charge of only two. The distribution of these resources is uneven and this is seen in the number of hours that each is allowed per given week in the progress of this project. Besides, the total number of activities that are supposed to be performed per week is also quite uneven where for example in the weeks between 7/10/13 and 11/11/13, there were only 0.8 hours that were performed for each week. Week 21/01/13 had 88.4hourswhile week 14/01/13 had 92.8 hours of work that were needed for the tasks to be performed.
On individual basis Kelvin has the most number of hours that are needed in various tasks, at 156 hours while New Engineer from UK will only be involved for 120 hours. Mary and Kelvin are involved almost equal hours at 109.43 and156 respectively. The total hours needed for this project to be complete as per the schedule are 533.23 hours.
The is need for the resources to be levelled such that some of the people are not overallocated tasks while others are underallocated, especially when they are all available and capable of performing the tasks. The engineer from is not a resident and the services were limited to that respective task. Some of the tasks could be allocated to Mary and Kelvin that are almost 100 hours shy of what (me) is allocated. Some of tasks could also be moved to start earlier or later so as to have resources balanced throughout the project as long as preceding activities were not affected.
Budgeted baseline cost
This was not significantly affected except for the fact that the delay in delivery of the system affected the supervision and the supplier that had to work for an hour for five days in weekends that were selected but within the budgeted time. This overtime needed more resources which were estimated at $3.75 an hour for the 4 weekend days they had to work.
Regarding the difference between the baseline and actual cost, there was a significant difference between actual cost and baseline costs especially for site construction and supervise rides supplier to install. The latter took 4 extra days due to delay in delivery of system from UK, which meant that the slack 4 hours had to be done during the weekend. In each day worked during the weekend there was a 3.75/hr charge for all the 8 hours worked. This meant that 32 hours were needed that needed $120000 in addition to the $90000 that was budgeted for. Thus, this needed $210000 in total for this specific task.
The other differences are minimal they arose in the process of balancing individual costs that were allocated to different resources. The resource types were work and not cost, which helped was necessary to adjust specific costings such as overtime. Assigning costs to individual people that were also supervising a number of tasks was done and in so doing, percentages of each task were assigned as per the individual costs. MS Project rounded off the figures to the nearest while number as this caused differences from the actual costs that were allocated.
Budgeted cash flow
Cash flow was affected slightly due the issues mentioned in the previous section but then the outstanding issue in this was amount of resources that were needed in various tasks. The second week had the highest expense at 883.44 that were distributed among purchasing and delivery of the roller coaster system from UK, site construction and advertisement of “Borneo Ride”. Planning in this case helped in perceiving individual costs needed in each so that prior arrangements can be made before the services are due. Early planning was especially needed when most tasks needed to be completed as soon as possible so that delay cases were minimal. The total cost for all the tasks needed was $1238.54. There is uneven cash flow throughout the progress of the project and this needed to be known in advance. For instance, week 21/01/13 needed only $4.05 for site construction. This is low compared to the immediate previous week where $883.44 was needed. Such disparities, if not anticipated might cause the whole project to fail in time aspect as tasks are delayed.
Network diagram and critical path
The critical path has the above captured items and these have a total of 65 days. These are tasks which must be completed on time and they determine how long the project will last.Ant delay in any of these activities will cause the whole project to delay, hence need to plan carefully for al resources needed to complete these tasks. Supervision of the supplier and site construction that has total resources adjusted were the main resources that were affected but were complete as required such that the whole project was completed as expected. To ensure that the “Borneo Ride” was open for service on 2 April 2013, some of the resources had to be summoned to work after delivery of the system was delayed and which subsequently affected other projects. It means that additional cost as was this cause had to be used to achieve this goal.
These were activities that were supposed to be planned for in advance so as not delay the progress of the rest of other activities or affect the completion date. This meant also that it was necessary to plan for activities that were necessary. Tasks like purchase and delivery of the system needed a lot of coordination and hence had to be organised for earlier. Tasks in the critical path were given top priority in this regard as they needed to be organised and prepared earlier in advance.
There is only one slipping task, site construction that succeeds ‘supervise rise supplier install’. Activities that were starting soon were updated and schedule depended on the dates specified by the user. There was a slack of four days which was solved by scheduling some work to be performed on weekends that were specified.
This is useful in scheduling tasks to different dates when they will be performed. The specific tasks are organised in order of start date, duration and finish date. MS offers an additional column that indicatesthe resources associated with the specific task. Gantt chart helped in rescheduling of tasks and slack such that all tasks were performed optimally. In the case of Borneo Ride, order of tasks was prepared in a manner that allowed easy tracking of all tasks. By including baseline for duration and costs, it was possible to track performance of the project and this was especially in checking the amount of slack in the project and how that could be adjusted to fast-track those activities that were critical.
The challenge was assigning tasks to different work resources the total cost for those specific tasks. While it was possible to classify the resources as “cost”, such that for each task, there was a specific cost assigned to it. This could not be adjusted to suit changing needs of the project; additional costs due to overtime could not be adjusted and also the increment of actual cost was difficult to change. The strategy that was used was to sum all costs assigned to specific work resources for the whole project.For each resource, there were tasks and respective costs that were assigned to them; these were apportioned in ratios of the total resource to all tasks. For example, (Me) was assigned a total of $855, which was supposed to be distributed to all tasks depending on how much they cost. Following these ‘consultancy service by visiting staff from UK Head Office’ that cost $3 was represented by 0.2339% of the total budget for that specific resource. The challenge was getting exact figure as this percentage was recognised in MS Project as 0, implying that there were no resources expended in accomplishing this task. At the same time, were it to be named as cost resource, issues such as overtime and additional costs that were actually expended could not be modified.
There are certain problems that are anticipated in this kind of project that may cause it to delay or cause it to delay significantly. Site construction is a difficult and involving task that needs a lot of preparation for to succeed and this needed to be broken down to single elements or subtasks. This is useful in understanding which tasks to be handled by who. Assigning such as huge to a person that has other responsibilities might obscure little issues that could be demanding. It is not only site construction but also other complex tasks such as purchase and delivery of the system. While (I) was involved in this role, there are other issues that cannot be foreseen and would be very complex without knowledge. It is quite complex to manage this and many other issues, hence the need to have a different specialised person do the job.
There are risks that can be seen in this project and some of them will affect project completion time, quality and cost. Delivery of equipment from UK involves financial risk where the transportation cost can be increased anytime, policies between countries can change and exchange rates also do differ among countries such that, the planned costs are higher or even lower. In this regard, there ought to be allowed some funds to cater for unexpected rise in of the machine. An alternative source can be searched such that in case the plan does not go as usual, a fallback position will be found handy (Kendrick, 2009). Effective risk management requires a project manager to identify risks at an earliest opportunity and its monitoring should continue throughout the lifecycle of a project (Cooper, Grey, Raymond, & Walker, 2005). A product that is procured from UK is cause for risk in case it fails in part of full due to wrong participation. Thorough due diligence is necessary in this case to ensure the machine is used as expected. Due diligence will involve assessing right suppliers, the price variations, quality of the machines and its suitability for the current situation, political and financial risks, taxes that are due and government regulations on the products. This will enable the management to identify the risks involved and how they can be solved in advance. This is being proactive as opposed to reactive. It enables chances of the risk impacting the project to be minimal.
Site construction is detailed and requires professional skills of wide ranges. The supervisor for this, Kelvin needs to be aware of various skills and people that are able to perform specific tasks to supervision. Site preparation is volatile on close assessment; it is possible that on that day, severe weather variations can cause the project to delay. Some materials may also lack due to changes in prices or failure to coordinate effectively. Experienced personnel in construction can anticipate these scenarios and offer a wide decision on how to go about them to cause minimal variations. Besides, research is needed to make a wise estimation of correct materials. This is also a risk where products that are procured are substandard and may fail completely or at the time of delivery of the project.
There was a slack of four days due to the delay in delivery of the items. It caused a delay in the start of that task “Supervise ride supplier to install”. Since it needed extra hours of four days’work, it was solved by assigning the work on weekends. Four weekends were needed in this case but at an additional cost that made costing for this particular exercise to increase. Some of the tasks that needed could be overlapped to shorten the duration such as task “Engineer trained UK to operate system”. This could be performed along site construction as the two were not linked, meaning they could run concurrently.
Uneven task allocations were levelled to have a case where resources did not perform too many duties while others did not have as many. This caused a situation where resources were unevenly distributed. Levelling of resources was done automatically such that work was shared evenly for remaining hours. This was done by moving some tasks to remove slack hours of the project. For example, in Quarter 1, there was 1 over allocated day, and Quarter 2 had 5.
Most of the tasks were performed with the budgeted resources although a few needed a lot more to bring them to completion. Using the overbudget resources report, it can be seen two main resources, I or Me and Kelvin used more resources that were planned for them although this was necessary to make the project to succeed. The baseline cost for Kelvinwas HK$ 190 but it escalated to HK$309. The budget for me was HK$863.55 but it also increased to HK$855. Thus, there was a variance of $127000, as per the overbudgeted resorce report. From the budget report, the total cost was $1247.55 against the baseline of $1100, creating a variance of $147.55.
Earned Value was also calculated automatically and the report indicated efficiency of each activity in the process of managing this project.
CPI = Earned Value (EV) /Actual Cost (AC) or BCWP/ACWP
Cost variance is useful in assessing how good themonies or cost of the project were used to achieve a given goal.
Cost Variance (CV) = Earned Value (EV) - Actual Cost (AC)
Cost Variance (CV) = BCWP – ACWP
With a negative variance, the indication is that the project was overbudgeted.
Earned Value-EV (BCWP) =1107.10
AC (ACWP) = 1245.45
By using CPI, the total cost needed for the project can be estimated (Schwalbe, 2012). This can tell efficiency of the project or how this can be used to help in guiding manager plan for more resources to complete the project.
This index can also be used compare various projects in cases where a decision is to be made on them and in this case, one that is deemed has a favourable CPI is chosen. A project that has a CPI value of more than one is considered favourable while those whose CPI is less that are one considered unfavourable and this would prompt decision makers to either plan for more resources or adjust the duration as per project needs. However, the performance index is just a figure that is devoid of any direction or implication to the manager. While it can tell efficiency of projects, it cannot be used to tell how far a project is failing of going the way as planned(Aartsengel & Kurtoglu, 2013).
The planned value remained the same over the entire period of three quarters that the project was being implemented. Earned value was a little bit lower that accumulated cost, showing the efficiency of this project. Quarter 2 had the highest rise in the cost difference between Earned Value and Planned Value and this was possibly due to differences in the cost of the two projects whose cost wasadjusted to reflect changes in the flow of activities that did not go as planned. The chart does not however show increment or reduction over time, it simply presents the cost of each category against time that it was incurred. This helps in visualising how the three variables relate throughout the project. Earned value is especially useful in project management in visualising how the project is performing with respect to cost utilisation (Schwalbe, 2009). The author further advised on using percentages of earned value to represent progress of tasks and their Earned Value to better visualise the relationships.
Aartsengel, A. v., & Kurtoglu, S. (2013). Handbook on Continuous Improvement Transformation: The Lean Six Sigma. New York: Springer.
Cooper, D. F., Grey, S., Raymond, G., & Walker, P. (2005). Project Risk Management Guidelines: Managing Risk in Large Projects and Complex Procurements. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Kendrick, T. (2009). Identifying and Managing Project Risk: Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing. New York: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.
Schwalbe, K. (2009). Information Technology in Project Management. New York: 6th.
Schwalbe, K. (2012). Information Technology Project Management (with Microsoft Project 2010 60. New York: Cengage Learning.