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Project Management Problems

According to the following project plan overview paper I wrote, can you please help with the questions that follow it:

Project Plan Overview
Project management is all about managing one's tasks and goals with the optimum use of available resources within a finite frame of time. To achieve this, one would need the proper coordination of all possible inputs required to carry out the task successfully. It touches upon every possible area one can think of, ranging from software development to the latest space program, and including projects such as the coordination of one's wedding or taking proper measures to prepare one's house before a hurricane.
Projects are used today as a way of achieving a variety of different outcomes. These may include new product development, product improvement, process design, process improvement, utility installation, theory and technology development, and many more. Bringing a project to a successful conclusion requires the integration of numerous management functions like controlling, directing, team building, communication and others. It also requires cost and schedule management, technical and risk management, conflict and stakeholders' management, and life cycle management.
The organization that is of concern to myself, and which I am currently working for on a part-time basis, is a traditional family restaurant. The project in relation to this organization is to transform this family restaurant into a fine-dining restaurant. This transformation will resemble a complete reincarnation of an existing business. Quality is based on customer perception of a place. Therefore utilizing the dynamics of a survey, one should be able to discover what the customers' expectations are for a particular service. In turn, there should be an investigation conducted to discover what elements within a restaurant require more attention in order to achieve optimal customer satisfaction. Accordingly, this process may include transformation of menus, prices, ambience, staff dress code, and the general improvement of the restaurant. Simply, this is going to be a complete makeover of the existing restaurant.
The project manager's ultimate goal, staying in line with the organization's objectives, is to make a complete change of the restaurant. If this change is not done successfully, then it can result to a loss for the organization, as its competitors and new entrants will gain the market share. Thus the problem statement keeping in terms with the mission of the organization is to rejuvenate the restaurant according to the customers' needs and wants. In today's dynamic and fast-paced business world and especially in a service industry focused on hospitality, customers are increasingly becoming conscious of the quality of service being provided and the value proposition provided by the services they are paying for. Therefore, it becomes imperative for restaurant managers to pay attention to the minutest details in terms of its services and provide the utmost satisfaction to the customers. It is not only attractive rates and service that interests consumers nowadays. Today's informed consumers want something of value, which is not offered by other service providers.
The restaurant manager has to establish a broad team, which will include the following members: a project manager, change agents (project team members). The plan will be submitted to the restaurant manager for implementation. This particular action plan should meet all the changing customer needs. In addition, management will continue to measure success by measuring the increase of customer arrival. This should help in decisions regarding the deliverables of the project. However, the initial step will be to lay down the standards expected through the transformation project, and this will be assessed against the actual performances. The criteria or indicators of the performance will be both financial and non-financial.
In this case, the project management team can utilize the concept of the Balanced Scorecard. The balanced scorecard is one of many performance management measurement tools that have become very popular in recent years. The balanced scorecard originated during the early 1990s. Dr. Robert Kaplan and Dr. David Norton of the Harvard Business School are responsible for the discovery and development of this performance management measurement (Balanced Scorecard, 2006).
The balanced scorecard is a tool used to measure and provide feedback to organizations in order to assist in implementing strategies and objectives. Under the dogma of strategic management, feedback is critically important. Changes can easily occur that impact all strategic-management activities. Feedback allows the managers to identify these changes and make the appropriate adjustments. Feedback in the strategic-management process promotes the creation of a climate for effective two-way communication. It is through this type communication that esprit de corps can be achieved within the organization (Balanced Scorecard, 2006).
Furthermore, the balanced scorecard seeks to measure a business from the following perspectives:
· Financial perspective - "measures reflecting financial performance, for example number of debtors, cash flow or return on investment, net present value and internal rate of return" (Balanced Scorecard, 2006). Several different procedures are available to analyze potential business investments. Some concepts are better than others when it comes to reliability, but all provide enough information to get the general scope of the investment. The five procedures that provide useful information are the net present value (NPV), the payback rule, the average accounting return (AAR), the internal rate of return (IRR), and the profitability index (PX). These procedures will help rank the projects from the greatest investment to the worst.
Moreover, the most important concept for evaluating these investments is the NPV. NPV is a discounted cash flow technique, which explicitly recognizes the time value of money. NPV is defined as the difference between an investment's market value and its cost. An investment is only sound if it profits the company, therefore a positive NPV is absolutely required. The projects can be ranked from the most positive NPV to the lowest NPV to determine profitability. This quantitative ranking method is the best to use due to its consideration of the time value of money and its more accurate breakdown of value (Net Present Value, 2006).
· Customer perspective - "measures having a direct impact on customers, for example results of customers surveys, number of complaints or competitive rankings" (Balanced Scorecard, 2006).
· Business process perspective - "measures reflecting the performance of key business processes" (Balanced Scorecard 2006), for example the number of rejections or wastage in the food.
· Learning and growth perspective - "measures describing the companies learning curve" (Balanced Scorecard, 2006), for example number of employee suggestions or total hours spent on staff training.
As opposed to most previous measurement tools, the balanced scorecard does not just focus on the financial perspective. The main focus when using a balanced scorecard is to maintain a balance over the four areas, rather than simply focusing on one specific area. This is analogous to a manager who thinks more open-mindedly, therefore maintaining a more objective viewpoint on issues concerning an organization. In addition, the balanced scorecard also allows managers to view levels of performance all over the organization simultaneously.
Kaplan and Norton established that companies are using the scorecard for the following reasons:
· "Clarify and update strategy
· Communicate strategy throughout the company
· Align unit and individual goals with strategy
· Link strategic objectives to long term targets and annual budgets
· Identify and align strategic initiatives
· Conduct periodic performance review to learn about and improve strategy" (Balance Scorecard, 2006).
The above practices can best be seen under the product life cycle of an organization. This cycle includes the elements of scope, planning, and execution. In all managerial decisions it is imperative that the product life cycle is used in order to achieve a completed task. For example, many times during projects it may seem hasty and obvious that the manager was scrambling to meet a deadline. However, when the project was complete the manager put together a plan that would be executed and measured to assure customer satisfaction and milestones within the project plan.
Nevertheless, all decisions are built on the framework of the product life cycle to establish awareness of the problem, plan to prioritize deliverables, access requirements, maintain milestones, relay the plans to team members, and determine who will carry out the task. In some cases vendors will be needed in order to execute the project. In order to evaluate how each vendor is performing audits will be performed. Through the use of audits productivity will also be measured, and therefore there will be no surprises how each vendor is performing, allowing enough time for changes to take place during the project period. After the measures are determined the project should be tested to make sure it is satisfying the customer's needs, and upon completion the finished product must be released to the customer for questions and feedback.
During the project life cycle, monitoring and controlling of the project variables is pertinent in ensuring a sound process and result. Monitoring involves overseeing that each task of the project is carried on as per the standard. Controlling involves influencing the human behavior in order to achieve the deliverables of the project. Controlling is much broader as a category than monitoring. It involves laying down the standard, and using the techniques to influence the human behavior to achieve the standard. Following this, performance evaluation is accomplished, and corrective action is taken where required.
Two best practices in project management that could be applied to this restaurant transformation project to ensure its success are sound processes and common sense. However, managers require more than those to be successful in the end. The problem identified with this particular project does not deal directly with processes, but more with staffing and measuring their responsibilities to align with the milestones of the company. However, there has to be a check and balance to make sure all staff are adhering, completing, and are held accountable for not performing duties at an optimal level. It would also be helpful for the restaurant to do customer surveys to learn about customers' needs regarding the existing menus, décor, ambience, and any other novelty. Restaurant management should also consider running some type of loyalty program for its regular patrons and frequent customers, in order to seal the long-term relationship with these customers. Such loyalty programs could include surprise offers, gifts, complementary rooms, and other special offers for such loyal customers. Loyalty programs do a great deal in strengthening the relationship with customers.
This restaurant organization should also initiate a web-marketing program as most other corporate planners. Customers and even managers today browse the Internet to obtain information regarding various services. An extensive web-marketing program and professional web presence can enhance the visibility of the company at reasonable costs. Thus its mission will be to delight customers by providing excellent services and facilities to them.
From reviewing the project plan overview and reviewing the simulation it is obvious that the manager redefined his/her organizational strategy by revamping the restaurant. Otherwise, the restaurant is inevitably going to lose its market share and profitability targets. Much like in the simulation, management selected a committee to complete the job in order to achieve the goals of the company. In addition, it was evident throughout the simulation that decisions were based of who could or could not do the job to achieve the goal of the customer. Secondly, the manager used his/her resources similar to the simulation to make the best decision on how to resolve the issues quickly and appealing to the customer's needs. Last, the manager created milestones for the company to be more customer-oriented by providing certifications to the customers. The simulation created their milestones to by establishing how much revenue each service would generate against money invested. Overall, the project plan and simulation had similarities, because the common goal was to complete the task and continue to retain customer service.
In conclusion, the project plan overview demonstrated how most work places are handling internal and external issues, including changing marketing trends. Prioritization of project plans to resolve issues and better a company is key in meeting the objectives of an organization. Moreover, all decisions are built upon the product life cycle to establish knowledge about problems within the organization, and plan to execute a project to resolve and alleviate the company from current problems.

Balanced Scorecard. (2006). Wikipedia - The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved on June 16, 2006, from
Mocha, T. (2003). Project Management Tips and Techniques - Break Large Projects into Smaller Pieces. Pipeline Newsletter. Retrieved on June 17, 2006, from
Net Present Value - NPV. (2006). Investopedia. Retrieved on June 17, 2006, from


a. The specific tasks and milestones required for your project plan

b. Five specific project risks (including size of the project and context within the

organization) that could arise as the plan is implemented

c. An assessment of each risk's impact on project outcomes (in quantifiable terms)

d. Mitigation strategies for each risk

e. A change management plan

f. Three key learning points from the "Managing Project Risk" simulation that you can apply as you work on your Project Plan

Solution Preview


The specific tasks and milestones required for your project.

Appointing the contractor for redoing the décor, design and ambience of the restaurant. This includes the negotiation of the details with him like the doing the architectural accents like moldings and medallions, wall sculptures, logo, custom made fountain and waterfall, oil paintings, chandeliers and furniture. This requires you to examine his past record in building and furnishing restaurants. Getting a firm estimate on time and the cost. These estimates must be written in the form of a contract.

The second specific task is to recruit and train suitable personnel for the new upscale restaurant. This includes developing a spec for recruitment, for example the restaurant manager should have a degree in hotel management and about five years experience in a luxury restaurant. Similarly, every post including that of chefs and waiters should have specs, the date of commencement of the recruitment process and the date when the recruitment would be complete. In addition, the important factor of the cost of recruitment should be mentioned. These would be the milestones for recruitment.

The third specific task is that of setting up of a website that would be multipurpose in nature. The website would conduct a survey of customers, ascertaining their tastes, preferences and their dislikes. In addition, the website would encourage customers to enter their billing data and avail themselves of a loyalty discounts. Finally, the website would serve as a powerful marketing tool, the site would showcase the ambience and the décor of the hotel, the bouquet of exotic cuisines with regional delicacies, live performances at the restaurant, promotions, and the exceptional cooking by master chefs.


On five specific project risks:

The first specific project risk is that the contractor for refurbishing would not complete his task within the specified four months time.

The second specific project risk can be that the contract overshoots his cost over the estimates.

The third specific project risk is that the recruitment process cannot be completed within the stipulated period of time.

The fourth specific project risk is that the personnel recruitment cost far exceeds that of the estimates.

The fifth specific project risk is that the website is not launched in time when the restaurant reopens.


An assessment of first specific project risk that the contractor for refurbishing may not complete his task within the specified four months time can be calculated as follows. If there is ...

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