Question One: Project Cycle
Project Cycle is a well-organized number of activities that are crucial in the fulfillment of project objectives or goals. A project cycle has seven major phases. For a project to be effective, it should go through the seven stages although not in a given order. These stages include; identification, preparation, appraisal, presentation, implementation, Monitoring and evaluation (Walliman, 2011).
Identification is the first phase of the cycle. This phase entails choosing the best idea out among the available ones. The second phase is the preparation phase. The project leaders do a detailed research on the needs and impact of the project. These needs may include rough estimate of the amount of money required for the completion of the project. The next phase is appraisal. Here, the project is evaluated systematically and the team comes up with a budget, a plan stating the timelines and the expected results. At the end of this stage, the project is ready for submission to decision makers.
The fourth stage is the presentation. During this stage, the team managers must be able to communicate clearly the needs, goals, budget and the timeline of the project to facilitate approval of the project. The presentation can be done in various ways such as the use of charts, PowerPoint decks or by use of debates. The implementation phase is the next stage. This is the stage that takes the longest time in a project cycle. The project leader takes a team through the development processes in the previous stage to ensure efficiency when implementation starts.
The sixth stage is monitoring. Monitoring means assessing the project and comparing it with the plan. It focuses mostly on individual personnel and adjustments are done accordingly. The last phase is evaluation phase. In this phase, the project is reassessed. The strengths, weaknesses and possible improvements on the project are identified at this stage.
Question Two: Project Manager (Leadership & Organization)
Question 2 (i)
For a project to be successful, the project leaders or managers should possess certain skills that help them to ensure that they give the best results. Key among these skills is communication, risk management and leadership among others.
Communication is an essential skill for a project manager. Communication ensures that managers convey ideas, vision, and goals of a project effectively. A good project manager should be able to communicate clearly to his team members and other stakeholders. The communication can be either verbal or in written form. Effective communication leads to the success of a project.
Risk management is another important skill for a manager. Risk management means the prediction of issues in a project and creation of solutions for them before they arise. Good risk management eliminates the possibility of project failure.
Leadership is another important skill for any project manager. It is very important for a person to be able to set goals, guide a team in achieving these goals and lead effectively. If a person can lead effectively, it means they can deliver.
Question Two (ii)
Some projects are more complex than others. This may be due to either the client’s demands or due to technological needs of the project. In such projects, leadership is crucial. Leaders play a key role in maximizing and delivering individual and project performance. A project can underperform in relation to key competitors if the leaders are under qualified, have an inadequate level of training or perceived to be less competent. Therefore complex projects need competent leaders to avoid underperformance or entire failure (Paton & McCalman, 2008).
Question 3: Change Management
In most cases, changes in projects are inevitable. Some of the things that necessitate these changes are value-adding changes, poor planning and contingency plan implementation among others.
Value adding changes- These are changes that lead to improvement of the project or changes that make the project more effective. These changes include changes such as improvement in technology. This situation may lead to a change request and if implemented may lead to improvement in the whole project.
Poor planning- This is an error that may arise from wrong project scope or wrong estimates during the initial stages. These estimates could range from the time required for completion of the project to wrong cost estimates. Similarly, if stakeholders were not engaged in the planning of the project, the project may fail to meet the requirements of the stakeholders.
Contingency plan implementation- In case a risk is identified and the project manager discovers that if the risk occurs it will have a higher impact than a project change, then a project change can be considered.
Change in business needs or product needs. In case the business discovers a competitor in the product on which the project relates, the business may decide to change the product. Likewise, if there are changes in product needs the entire project may be changed.
Question 3 (ii)
Some of the major reasons that lead to project delay include; poor contractual management, the complexity of the project and scope change.
The complexity of the project means that the project is large and requires long processes to implement. Complex project has complex schedules, budget estimates, and complex plans. Complexity may cause delays in projects (Kendrick, 2009).
Poor contractual management systems- If contractual agreements are not clear, disputes can arise causing delays.
Finally, if there is a change in scope, it will mean change in most aspects of the project. These changes include things such as project plan and budget (Kendrick, 2009). Changing of these aspects will mean more time thus causing delays.