Share
Explore BrainMass

Rick Auto Enterprises (RAE): Project Planning, Execution and Closure

Your company, Rick Auto Enterprises (RAE), is upgrading its legacy billing system. The system was installed originally over ten years ago, and has been upgraded according to the vendor's schedule, each one taking 9-12 weeks in duration with a team of 2 full time employees (FTE's).

RAE will be doing a major upgrade now for the new web-based version of the system, in addition to the mainframe legacy system update. It is anticipated that this upgrade will take 16-20 weeks in duration; however, everyone has agreed that a more formal scheduling process should be completed which may change the duration estimate. The project will involve significant changes to existing business processes, changes to existing jobs, as well as the creation of several new positions. Customers as well as auto brokers will be able to view and pay their bills on-line, accessing a billing customer service agent when needed. This change, which will affect the billing, sales, and customer service departments, is expected to reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and reduce the number of days for outstanding accounts receivable. The existing customer service staff has some proficiency with web applications, but the billing and sales staff does not.

To date, the Billing Department has owned the applications, and the director of the department has been the sponsor for all upgrade projects. For this upgrade, however, the chief operations officer has indicated that the Customer Service Department also needs to play a major role. It will be up to you to determine the project sponsor and steering committee structure and participants. You will do this during the initiation phase.

Congratulations, you have been chosen to be the project manager; you will be on the project 30 hours a week and your rate is $150 per hour. You have significant experience with the system and have managed previous upgrade projects. You have acted as a business analyst, developer, and tester for projects on this package in the past. You will select your team, which will consist of several IT staff, supplemented by staff from the vendor. You have been told you can have up to 2.5 RAE FTEs, in addition to yourself, for the duration of the project. (The list of available people is described in the Phase Two task.)

The vendor's role is to be determined by you; their consultants cost $165 an hour for business analysts, $135 an hour for technical architects, $110 an hour for programmers or testers, and $100 an hour for instructional designers, trainers, or technical writers. You have a budget of $125000.00 for vendor resources. You may supplement your team with vendors based on the holes in your RAE team. For example, you may choose to have the vendor provide programmers if you choose not to have any of the internal staff provide programming resources, if your budget permits.

You will follow your organization's standard methodology for a package upgrade. Part of that process includes the development and delivery of documentation and training materials--a responsibility generally filled by the RAE IT training group. You have access to .5 FTE for the duration of the project to develop and deliver the materials. The person with the most experience on the package and current training/documentation will be unavailable to the project due to other projects; however, the vendor has adequate materials that can be purchased for an additional $8,500. You will need to determine the training needs, analyze the costs associated with each option, and determine the project's scope.

With this version, the vendor also has another software add-on that supports the integration of your existing customer service system with the billing system's customer service functions. There is not a decision yet as to which customer service system will be used, whether or not they will be integrated, and the extent to which customer databases will be integrated (if at all). According to the vendor, the installation of the add-on will cost $45,000 and take an additional four weeks.

Assignment memo

Details: It's time to think about the customer service add-on the vendor offered while still in negotiations for this project. The add-on will cost $45,000 and take an additional four weeks to install. Your manager has asked for your opinion. The project is tracking along according to schedule and budget.

What do you need to consider before saying "yes" or "no"? Prepare a memo for your manager outlining how either decision would affect the project, and factors which need to be discussed and agreed to by various parties involved in the project. Provide the manager with a clearly defined recommendation of accept or reject the optional add-on.

What are the risks involved? What are the questions we need to ask and what are the answers we can expect?

Please list references:

Solution Preview

The response addresses the queries posted in 1758 words with references.

//Before preparing memorandum it is necessary to analyze and understand the scenario. In order to write on this topic, information should be gathered on customer Service Add- on the vendor and clarity of concept is also required. Based on the understanding and detailed research I am providing memorandum, which is as follows: //

Memorandum

Date: September 18, 2xxx

To: Rick Auto Enterprises

From: Project Manager

Subject: Decision on Customer Service Add-on provided by the vendor

The vendor has offered a software add-on that helps in the consolidation of the existing customer service system and the billing system's customer service functions of Rick Auto Enterprise. This would help the company to upgrade its legacy billing system. A decision has to be taken to determine whether to use this add on system or not.

Scenario

Rick Auto Enterprises is upgrading the company's legacy billing system. This legacy billing system was set up ten years ago. The system has been upgraded as per the vendor's schedule. Each upgradation took nine to twelve weeks to complete. This upgradation employed a team of 2 full time employees of Rick Auto Enterprise. The company is now going for a major upgradation. In this Upgradation, the company will develop a new web-based version of the system. In addition, the company would be updating its mainframe legacy system.

The entire upgradation process is expected to take 16-20 weeks to complete. But this duration can be altered with the help of a more formal scheduling process. The project would bring momentous changes to the company's existing business processes. This upgradation would involve a major overhaul in the company's present jobs. Moreover, it would help in the creation of several new jobs. The system is expected to help the company in providing better services to the customers. This system will enable the customers and the auto brokers to view and pay bills through the on-line mode. Simultaneously, this system would provide an easy access to a billing customer service agent as per the customer's requirements.

This change will have a significant impact on the billing, sales and the customer service department. This upgradation will help in lowering the costs, improving customer satisfaction, and reducing the time for the outstanding accounts receivable. The present customer service staff is comfortable with the web applications. But the billing and sales staff is not proficient in web applications. Till now, the legacy billing system applications belonged to the billing department and it was sponsoring the upgradation of the projects. But since this upgradation is on a large scale and would affect the customer service ...

Solution Summary

The memorandum-style solution summarizes the scenario describing the selection of the team and software proposals, discusses factors to consider for this proposal, the departments involves, the effect of the decision on the project, factors needed to be discussed and agreed by parties involved and overall recommendation. This solution is 1551 words with two APA references.

$2.19