The project, as requested by the manager; is to come up with the ways that my team can make more savings in the company for the company and for their own growth. This was because the company has not been making savings as they had targeted in the beginning of their business year and the savings are even less as compared to the other financial years yet the company still appears to be run under the same principals. The project is aimed at coming up with the research and recommendations for actions to be taken to manage and change the situation at the company and write a suitable report on this. The report written at the end of this research is going to benefit the company in generating more profits and the employees in self-development. It is also going to cultivate the culture of team work, innovation and entrepreneurial culture among the employees.
Simply put, the benefits derived from project management increase in proportion to how well project management processes are used. A well -executed project will be completed on time, within its approved budget. A well-executed project will deliver higher product quality by managing the time to design and test the new product. It will provide great satisfaction to its team, and it will meet (or exceed) the customers’ expectations. In today’s business environment, it is critical that each project is run in the most efficient manner possible. For a project-oriented business, it is equally imperative that all projects are managed consistently, so that the benefits of well -executed projects extend corporate wide. The data that was used in this research was collected from the employees, customers and other stakeholders in the company.
In preparation for the data collection, it is important to note that a diverse sample of the host company’s employees is required in order to address the breadth of the organizational structure and the full range of roles and responsibilities of participants. Input to the list of interview participants should be secured from the company sponsor, but it is the assessor’s function to challenge the sample to ensure it meets the needs of a balanced assessment.
The assessor should recognize a tendency of most sponsors to provide participants who already are highly rated and can demonstrate high performance. The participant pool needs to include these participants, but not be limited to them. All divisions of the corporate structure should be represented, including functional and supporting departments. In selecting the interview sample, the assessor should consider the population density of the host company’s divisions, revenue generated by the divisions, project count or cost, or several other attributes.
The total number of interviews to be conducted must be limited to a number that is appropriate for the size of the host company; it is organizational structure and the time period in which the study is required. These factors also drive the composition and size of the assessment team.
The methods used in the collection of data and information include; use of questionnaires, observation, collecting samples, taking pictures, oral interviews, reading on recorded materials. The process was not that easy since it was hard to get some confidential information especially on the accounts records of the company and some of the employees felt like they were being spied on and did not give the precisely correct information. Also collecting information from my seniors proved to be a bit hard, but all in all the information and data required for the research was successfully corrected.
In all the methods used face to face conversation proved to be the best way to obtain information. Some of it advantages include; A people -to-people tool within a people – oriented business Project management is ultimately a people -oriented business that requires personal interactions by and between all of the project team members. Face-to-face interviewing extends this principle to maturity assessments. Not only does the interview provide an interpersonal connection between the interviewer and the interview participant, it allows the interviewer to begin to assess the “people skills” of the personnel assigned to manage projects at the subject company.
Interview participants who display grace and condor during the interview are more likely to carry those traits into their project teams, and are more likely to be open to the recommendations for change or improvement that will flow from the assessment study. Conversely, interview subjects who are less cooperative or more belligerent during the interviews are less likely to readily adopt new suggestions. Reveals actual, as well as intended behaviours conducting face-to-face interviews allows the interviewer/assessor to discover how the project team members at the subject company conduct their project business on a day-to-day basis. It is the only tool in the assessor’s toolbox that provides a means to evaluate the validity of several of the other tools, such as a review of policy manuals, or a project document search.
Policy statements and procedures manuals provide guidance into how the subject company believes it should or wants to do work. By engaging project team members in open conversations, the interviewer can elicit comments that reveal, “What we really do” vs. “what we think we do” or “what we are supposed to do?” Additionally, by discussing different types of project reports with the people who write them, or use them, the assessor can gain insight into the value placed on each report. A simple document review, while important, can only indicate that a report exists, not that it is a valued tool, used by the project team to help control their projects, or by management to monitor progress. Provides opportunity to observe the corporate culture of the subject company.
Corporate culture creates different patterns of behaviour at different companies that can have a significant impact on the outcomes of projects. The degree of openness to hearing and dealing with project issues, demonstrating appreciation for project successes, and the amount of information sharing between functional groups working on a project all contribute to the ultimate success of a project. All companies probably would respond affirmatively to possessing these traits; not all companies truly demonstrate these traits positively. During one-on-one conversations with working- level project team members, the assessor can learn how well the subject company responds to project information, or how often it “shoots the messenger.
Difficulties associated with face-to-face interviews Need to establish credibility of assessors As an outsider, the assessment team will often encounter a “Who-are -you-and-why-should -I-give-you-any-of- my time?” reluctance to participate amongst the project management community at the subject company. This attitude can stem from two general sources: a general distrust of consultants and management’s motives for hiring them; or insufficient information about the assessors’ credentials. Neither of these difficulties is insurmountable, but neither can be ignored. And both can be addressed initially by a carefully worded introduction from the assessment’s sponsor within the host company.
The sponsor for the assessment necessarily must possess sufficient status within his/her own organization to approve, or be able to solicit approval for the funding needed to conduct the assessment study. This status can be leveraged to convey the credentials of the assessment team to the host organization. The assessors must be introduced to the project management community in terms that readily establish the expertise and experience of the assessment team with this type of work. This also implies that the assessment team must be comprised of, or, at the least, be led by experienced, senior project managers, whose personal credentials will inspire confidence in the interview participants. Need to secure cooperation of interview participants.
The assessor also needs to recognize that many people within the host company’s project management organization(s) will not view the assessment in an entirely positive light. Although the study is intended to be a continuous-improvement effort, it may still be perceived to stem from something being wrong, or judged to be not good enough. The outside assessor could be viewed as Management’s vigilante enforcer, coming in to identify and punish the under-achievers in project management. The assessor must defuse this impression, a task that can best be done if the assessor knows where the host company’s “sore spots” exist and why the host company has elected to conduct the assessment. Here again, the status of the assessment sponsor can be of great help in overcoming the reluctance of the interview participants.
The sponsor’s introduction of the assessment team can be used to share the rationale for the study and remove much of the apprehension that could surround it. Need to prepare thoroughly. During each interview, it will be beneficial to allow conversation to flow in a freewheeling manner, rather than following a rigid, checklist question and answer. For this to work, the assessor/interviewer must be adequately prepared to conduct the interview. The assessor must know the assessment model in great detail, and be able to detect different levels of maturity for each knowledge area, regard less of whether or not the interview respondent uses catch phrases and key words from the model in his/her comments. It is the assessor’s responsibility to be able to take appropriate notes during the interview without disrupting the flow of the interview by having to shuffle papers or stumble from one topic to the next.
The assessment team can help prepare for the interviews by constructing an easy -to-use interview form that guides them through the different areas, and offers reminders of key phrases to listen for. By creating the form, the team members will increase their familiarity with it, and find it more beneficial as a guide. Additionally, by constructing their own form, the assessment team members will afford themselves the opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the details of the assessment model.
Compiling, synthesizing, and evaluating the information from all interviews.
Specific data from individual interviews can be compiled if a set of common questions, with a short range of possible answers, is used for all interviews. In this circumstance, it is recommended that a set of standard analytical measures are identified prior to the interview phase, but it should not be assumed that these standard measures will adequately address the entire information content collected.
The synthesis of the information is a process that requires the individual assessors to subjectively analyse the comments they heard and recorded during the interviews and identify common themes and touch-points along the maturity continuum. The assessors must then collaborate to yield consistent interpretation of the interview and confirm that the data gathered is appropriate for further evaluation. The assessors must collectively review the compiled data, interrogate it for trends and errors, and determine whether trends identified warrant further analysis.
From the information gathered in data collection, many things can be realised; there is no transparent audit of the books of accounts in the company, the employees are taking bribes from the customers in return for unauthorised favours, the employees are very relaxed in their work and lack motivation, the board members are conduction the staffing process in a questionable manner, the employees were taking unnecessary and expensive trips at the expense of the company, the directors have very high unwarranted allowances, the taxes due to the government are not fully settled and the overall running of the firm is questionable.
The things that need to be done urgently to make sure that the company is saved from being bankrupt and that it gives some profits are; there should be an immediate external audit of all the books of accounts in the firm, the recruitment and staffing in the firm should be done on the basis of qualification and therefore there should be a vetting process to eliminate all those who are there illegally, all the directors should be vetted and those found to be corrupt should be retrenched, the company should have a new board of directors, all the employees should sign a performance contract which should be followed strictly.
Conclusions; the use of face-to-face interviews in Project Management Maturity Assessments has proven to contribute most and convey the project management actualities within any host organization. If executed correctly, the face-to- face interview will yield most insight into the host organization’s current maturity and point to pockets of excellence as well as areas requiring correction. Although it is not recommended that an assessment be conducted using only face-to-face interviews, it is strongly recommended that a face-to-face interview always be included in an assessment.
Dove, K. E. (2002). Conducting a successful development services program: A comprehensive guide and resource. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Fernald Environmental Management Project (U.S.), United States., United States., United States., Lippitt, J. M., & Kolthoff, K. (1995). Successful completion of a RCRA closure for the Fernald Environmental Management Project. Washington, D.C: United States. Dept. of Energy.
Thomsett, M. C. (2002). The little black book of project management. New York: AMACOM.
Tjahjana, L., Dwyer, P., & Habib, M. (2009). The program management office advantage: A powerful and centralized way for organizations to manage projects. New York: American Management Association.
Weir, J. R. (2009). Conducting prescribed fires: A comprehensive manual. College Station: Texas A & M University Press.
Wysocki, R. K., Beck, R., & Crane, D. B. (2000). Effective project management. New York: Wiley.