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    Bjorn Ericksen Project Strategy Analysis

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    Plan to Reduce Project Duration
    The initial cost of the current schedule will cost approximately $3.152 million and will take approximately 50 weeks to finish. The current project estimates are under budget, but the time frame is not acceptable. Bjorn needs to decide which activities need to be crashed, and understand the priorities of the project. The team must define the project's scope. "Defining the project scope sets the stage for developing a project plan. Project scope is a definition of the end result or mission of your project- a product or service for your client/customer. The primary purpose is to define as clearly as possible the deliverables for the end user and to focus projects plans." (Gray-Larson, 2005, p. 100) The project scope is based on independent critical paths, design and construction. The total time for completion of this project is 46 weeks; however, the race begins in 45 weeks. Bjorn, Karin and Trygve spent the first two weeks planning and estimating the cost of the project. This leaves 43 weeks before the vessel must leave for the United Kingdom. After reviewing the Activity Chart items A-S, the project plan is refined by developing a plan to see which cost estimates should be crashed to meet their current deadline. This critical plan runs activities A, B, C, G, R, S, and L, which will take approximately 50 weeks. This is taken in consideration comparing the maximum crash times, still does not reduce the time of the project enough to meet the time frame needed. It does however, increase the cost significantly. In order to reduce project, Bjorn must reduce the activities of the critical path. The goal is a reduction of seven weeks from 50 weeks to 43 weeks. To do so activities A, B, R, S and L must change, doing so will decrease the project time by eight weeks, activities C and G show no signs of change from either normal or crash times. Limiting activity L could save money, it has a crash cost of $250 per unit. "One of the primary jobs of a project manager is to manage the trade-offs among time, cost, and performance. To do so, project managers must define and understand the nature of the priorities of the project" (Gray-Larson, 2005, p. 103) this is done by using a project priority matrix.
    In the case of Whitbread Sailboat Race, time is a fixed factor. The delivery of a crew and vessel are pertinent to the race. The race has a fixed start time that cannot be missed, to do so would mean the project has failed. The cost is higher, the crew and vessel are of higher qualities, which is need for the performance needed to win the race. "Reducing quality is always an option, but it is rarely accepted or used. If quality is sacrificed, it may be possible to reduce the time of an activity on the critical path." (Gray-Larson, 2005, p. 287) A two week reduction in the hull design would compromise the performance of the vessel based on the quality used. This reduction could result in a defeat in the race, since the best design was not used and could always increase flaws in the construction of the vessel. To create crash time, the building of the hull should overlap the designs final stages. The overlapping of these activities would provide time for activities outside the critical path. The current team is already on hand to save money and avoid hiring other crew. Authorization of overtime would be the easiest way to maintain the time constraints and eliminates the need for personnel that are unfamiliar with the project to be hired. This would provide additional crash time. The project manager must maintain the critical path and crash times to achieve the success of the project.
    Project Closure Approach
    To begin the project closure a project audit must be performed. The project audit has three major tasks. 1) Evaluate if the project delivered the expected benefits to all stakeholders. Was the project managed well? Was the customer satisfied? 2) Assess what was done wrong and what contributed to successes. 3) Identify changes to improve the delivery of future projects. (Gray-Larson, 2005, p. 461) The two project audits are in-process project audits or post-project audits. The in-process project audit checks the project progress and performance, and then allows for any change that may be needed. The post-project audit consists of the completed project, making improvements for any future projects. Although these audits cost time and money they should be done quickly, to ensure that resources are not wasted. In-process audit can create friction within the project, so it should be performed carefully to maintain the project team morale. It should provide both positive and constructive feedback, and should be performed by an independent audit group to maintain it's not bias. After each audit, information has been collected and analyzed to see what needs to be changed and any improvements recommended.
    As the project comes to the close. The closing stages will begin. After the vessel has been built, the old vessel must be off-loaded. The crew will begin work on the new vessel. The old vessel must be sailed to the home port. After the construction has been completed the building crew can be downsized. Since several were specialist in their craft, their services are no longer needed.
    The implementation phase of the project, each member of the crew is encouraged to keep working journals. The journals will provide a record of the high and low of the project from beginning to the end. The journals may be used for future information and data for future projects. After the vessel is completed the old vessel must be returned. After the trials are complete, and celebration will be planned to cumulate the closure of the project for the crew and staff. The planned celebration is just the beginning before the crew sets sail to the United Kingdom for the Whitbread Sailboat Race.
    The new vessel and crew will sail to the Thames River in England. At this point in the project the project has reached completion. The journals have been collected and Bjorn will have to compile a final report with the help of the crew. This report will provide in detail the overall expense of the project. The time table it has taken to complete each step of the project. The report should document best practices and lessons learned by the crew for the duration of the project. These will provide a road map for future project managers to follow. The report should shed light on the time table, and show that the program must be started sooner, because 45 weeks is not enough time to launch the project successfully. Each report will provide pertinent information for future project manager, demonstrating from start to finish the best practice for the Whitbread Sailboat Race. From selecting a project manager, crew, design, to sailing to the end of the race. Project Closure consists of developing a plan, selection of a crew, communication of plan and plan implementation. The following questions should be answered. 1) What tasks are required to close the project? 2) Who will be responsible for these tasks? 3) When will closure begin and end? 4) How will the project be delivered? After these questions have been answered, implementation of the close down plan is the next step. The plan includes five activities, 1) Getting delivery acceptance from the customer. 2) Shutting down resources and releasing to new uses. 3) Reassigning project team members. 4) Closing accounts and seeing all bills are paid. 5) Evaluating the project team, project team members, and the project manager. These evaluations are essential to the successful closure of the project

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    This article discusses a project of Bjorn Ericksen concerning the Whitbread Sailboat Race. Specifically, the article discusses the need to reduce the project duration time (time is essential to success) through taking specific steps, such as having the team define the scope of the project in order to define the deliverables and to provide focus with the project plans, reviewing the Activity Chart items (A-S) to see how to reduce the time from 50 weeks to the allowed 43 weeks to complete the project on time. Whereas comparing only the crash time increases costs, a better way to reduce the time is by having the project manager manage the trade-offs among time, cost, and performance by defining and understanding the nature ...

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