Project management analysis and implementation plan for a new product
Task: For this assessment, use a set of project management concepts to critically analyse and evaluate the management of a project.Based on your analysis and evaluation, you are required to provide appropriate recommendations and guideline for the successful implementation of the project. Provide a brief overview of the project's purpose, objectives, strategic context, and organisational setting. Select and justify any two topic areas that you think as most important for the success of your project. Critically analyse and evaluate of the two topic areas you have selected in line with selected project.
1.1 Project Overview
XYZ Company operates in the fashion industry that produces and sells clothing lines and items in the market. The company has a strong customer base and a fair share of the market and enjoys good amount of revenue. However, due to the recent pandemic and other factors like emergence of new brands, the revenue of the company has fallen. The company has also lost a significant share of the market and is lagging behind the competitors. Hence, the owners of the company have decided to approve a project that would see development of new strategic directions, innovation of new products and their sales. The company expects that if these go according to the plan, then the revenue margin will again start to increase and the company can gain back the share of the market it used to enjoy.
1.2 Project Purpose and Objectives
The primary purpose of the project is to bring a turnaround of the company’s situation in the market and regrow its presence and influence in the fashion industry. In order to achieve this purpose, the following objectives will be followed.
? To develop new strategic directions for internal and external operations
? To design and innovate new product line
? To conduct marketing of the new product line
? To make sales on the new product line and gain recognition from customers
? To develop a strong brand with differentiating products in the market
1.3 Strategic Context
The company has been losing revenue mainly due to the impacts of the recent pandemic and other issues. These “other issues” mainly include strategic issues – the company’s business and marketing strategies have failed and they are now paying the price for the same. Even though there are newer competitors constantly growing and operating in the market, XYZ’s strategic issues have also contributed to the set back. The company needs to come back from this slump and regain its position in the market. However, this will require major changes in the strategic direction and the management should determine how the changes will be brought in the company.
1.4 Organisational Setting
XYZ is a fairly reputed company that is operating in the highly competitive fashion industry. It produces and sells fashion items of different types. However, several external factors like high competition in the market as well as pandemic have had significant impact on the organisation in a negative way. A project is essentially necessary to make some major overhaul and changes and the company should be ready to invest some funds for the same.
2 Project Topic Areas Discussion and Analysis
2.1 Project Risk Management Plan
Risk management essentially involves identifying possible risks in a project and then preparing a plan that would help to counter those risks and avoid their negative aspects(Willumsen et al., 2019). Risk is a factor that can cause significant amount of negative impact on a project on varied degrees depending on the type and nature of the risk as well as the project. In general, any project, big or small, comes with certain degrees of risks. It is extremely important for the project team to identify the risks early so that proper actions can be taken to either minimise the chances of the risks or reduce their possible impact on the project. Small scale projects come with comparatively lower amount of risks but some of their impacts can be devastating especially if it involves huge amount of funds and resources(George, 2020). Small scale organisations or individuals executing a minor project are less likely to have sufficient financial backup, working in a limited budget environment, and as a result, financial losses can be devastating. For example, a small scale company implementing a new website for their business can afford limited amount of funds but if due to a major cybersecurity threat, they lose the entire developed website, the entire budget will be wasted and the organisation can face massive losses that they may not recover from easily. On the other hand, large scale organisations executing massive scale projects are more likely to have strong financial backing to recover from any financial losses but there are some other major risks that can complete destroy the project(Dandage, Mantha&Rane, 2019). For example, a large scale construction company, building a large structure, can have significantly major consequences if by an accident, the structure breaks down after considerable amount of work done causing not only damage of resources and waste of work but also possible injuries and loss of life for workers. Hence, viewing the aspect of risks from different aspects, it can be seen that some risks can truly damage the organisation itself completely by having extreme negative impacts on the project.
Despite all the negative aspects, there also exist some risks that open new windows of opportunity for the organisation. While identifying the risk and determining the origin, the project team may actually find a better way to execute the project that not only helps to avoid the risk but at the same time, it enhances the final outcome of the project.These risks are called positive risks and they need to be explored properly in order to determine whether there are better and more efficient ways to conduct the project.
Risk management is a set of processes that is used to do the following:
Identify the risks
Determine the probability of occurrence of each risk
Determine the probable impact of each risk on the project
Rank the risks in order of their overall score (product of occurrence and impact)
Develop risk mitigation plan
Develop contingency plan
Prioritisation of the risks is essentially important to determine which risks have the most possible impact and chances of occurrence so that they can be treated earlier. Mitigation plan is developed in order to identify ways that could be used to mitigate the risks if they occur(Testorelli, Ferreira de Araujo Lima &Verbano, 2022). However, risks can still occur and cause negative impact on the project but the contingency plan ensures the organisation is able to absorb the effects and still proceed further on the project.
Coming to the context of this project, there are also some major risks that may arise considering the project goals and objectives. Since the XYZ company is already facing strong competition in the market and diminished revenue from previous year, the company has to take a high risk approach to get ahead in the competition curve and increase revenue margin. The first goal of the company – to enter the market with new product – is a high risk approach as the product may fail entirely in the market and the company loses considerable amount of funds on research, development, production and sales. Attempts of achieve other goals like innovation implementation and focus on customer satisfaction can also have some significant amount of risks that can harm the company in the long run(Rishnyak et al., 2020). This is mainly because the market is very unstable and dominated by big brands and any new products from a relatively unknown company like XYZ may not be acceptable to the target customers. Additionally, forced marketing like targeted ads, personal mails and others can anger potential customers instead of interesting them and the company will keep losing money without gaining anything.
It is extremely important for XYZ company to understand these risks early and take controlled steps instead of forcing innovation and new product on the market and the customers. The company has to thorough research on the market, identify customer likings, purchase trends, trending styles and other factors before they set out to achieve their goals. A proper risk management approach will help them identify the possible risks and mitigate them while also identifying new windows of opportunities that can include finding out new trends, positive changes in the market, positive changes among customers regarding purchase and other factors. Hence, risk management plays an essentially important role in the project that XYZ has set out to execute and will actually help them enhance the quality of the project.
2.2 Project Performance Monitoring Plan
Project performance is the measure of how well the project is being executed and the output generated from it. This is especially important when the output parameters and other factors like quality are specified. As such, while the project team is executing the project at regular pace, it is also important to monitor the entire execution process. There are a few benefits of monitoring the project performance that are discussed as follows.
Cost Control – Even after the budget is allocated to the project team, there is no guarantee that it will be spent exactly according to the plan. Some expenses can be unnecessary while some are spent on unforeseen requirements. Monitoring project performance ensures every bit of expense is being monitored so that any extra expenses can be stopped before they are justified with valid reasons(Kerzner, 2022). One efficient method of doing this is the earned value management (EVM) method that helps the project manager to determine current actual costs and compare them to the projected costs as well as make predictions about the final costs of the project.
Project Progress – Whenever a project is approved, it is provided with a specific set of timeline that needs to be fulfilled. However, like the expenses discussed above, there is also no complete assurance that the project team will be able to fulfill the deadlines and work along the given timeline. Here, project performance monitoring is essentially important to determine whether there is a major delay in the project and whether some urgent attention is required to speed up the same.
Individual Performances – Individual performances of the team members are reflected significantly on the project performance. If all the team members are working with high performance, the project is also expected to produce high performance whereas if the team members are not working sufficient amount of performance, the impact will be reflected on the project performance too(Votto, Ho&Berssaneti, 2020). Hence, monitoring the project performance will also help identify whether the team is working with maximum efficiency or not.
Scope Creep – Scope creep occurs when the project execution moves out of scope and the team members work on unnecessary activities that are not required at all. Project performance monitoring helps to determine whether scope creep has occurred or not and if it did, then appropriate actions can be taken to bring the project back on track.
However, on the other hand, there are some disadvantages as well that may have adverse effects on the project. These are also discussed as follows.
Too Much Control – Excessive monitoring on daily basis can have negative impact on the project as too much control will actually distract the team members. They will not be able to work freely as per their expertise as they will be under constant limelight and pressure from the management. This will be reflected on the project performance and output.
Unnecessary Changes–One thing is quite clearly known that the project performance at a specific point of time does not always reflect the final output with 100% accuracy. For example, the project may be running behind schedule at a specific point of time but there is ample opportunity to speed up later and the project is actually completed on time(Mangla et al., 2021). However, the management may panic after reviewing the project performance report and immediately force new changes into the project to speed it up and instead of doing good, it hampers the overall quality and outcome of the project.
Despite these negative impacts and disadvantages, it is still very important to monitor the project performance. A certain bit of control is always needed to ensure the project is always on the right track. However, the higher management should not always get too involved in the process. The project manager assigned should have the responsibility to control and monitor the project and send feedbacks to the higher management.
The project in focus, implementation of new product for XYZ company, should also have a proper performance monitoring framework. It is essentially important for this project due to the following reasons.
Market Risk – As stated earlier in this report, this project is an extremely risky venture for the company. The company has come to a level of desperation to regain its position in the market and improve the revenue stream and hence, the decision to design and launch a new product is significantly risky(Votto, Lee Ho&Berssaneti, 2020). As a result, the project itself needs to be under control and the performance should be monitored at regular basis. At one point of time, the aborting the project midway might be a more financially correct decision instead of proceeding further with the project and losing more funds. Continuous market analysis and sales monitoring are the keys to monitor the project performance.
Understanding the Customers–The project itself relies very much on customer satisfaction and it is one of the goals of the project to improve customer relations and ensure satisfaction. Hence, according to the plan, the project involves continuous interaction with customers to understand their needs and requirements and cater them accordingly. It should be reflected on the project performance that would show positive outcome(Tsui et al., 2020). Hence, performance monitoring will be necessary to determine whether these positive outcomes are reflected or certain changes are necessary to improve the outcomes.
The discussion above shows how XYZ company can ensure positive outcome from the project by performance monitoring and control. However, keeping in mind the negative impacts of performance monitoring, they have to make sure that there is not too much control over the team and the team members should be allowed to work freely as per their experience and expertise. Despite this, it will be very important to hire and appoint an experienced project manager who will be capable enough to measure the performance of the project from all viewpoints and should be able to take critical decisions regarding the project. The project manager should also be able to communicate with the higher management on regular basis in order to provide feedbacks and progress reports.
Based on the analysis and findings, it can be concluded that risk management is the process that involves indentifying possible risks in a project and then preparing a plan that would help to mitigate those risks and also minimising the chances of their occurrences. The findings from the study above essentially implies that it is extremely important for the project team to identify the risks early so that proper actions can be taken to either minimise the chances of the risks or reduce their possible impact on the project instead of waiting for them to happen and taking actions after that. Risk impacts vary widely - small scale projects come with comparatively lower amount and impact of risks whereas large scale organisations executing massive scale projects are more likely to encounter major risks that can complete destroy the project. After determining the possible risks, it is also important to prioritise the risks in order to determine which risks have the most possible impact and chances of occurrence so that they can be treated earlier. Mitigation plans are generally developed after risk prioritisation in order to identify ways that could be used to mitigate the risks and contingency plans are developed to figure out how to survive the project after a risk event has occurred. On the other hand, project performance is a metric that is used to define of how well the project is being executed and the quality of the output generated from it. Performance monitoring is necessary especially in the projects that have strict parameters and quality requirements developed for the ultimate output of the project. One main important function of monitoring project performance is to monitor the expenses encountered in the project and determine whether the expenses are according to plan or not. Again, project performance monitoring is also very important to determine any delays in the project and if speeding up of the project is absolutely necessary or not. Monitoring the project performance will also help identify whether the team is working with maximum efficiency or not and also determine whether any scope creep has occurred. Hence, both risk management and project performance monitoring are critical aspects of any project and XYZ company must be aware of the same.
Based on the conclusions drawn from the analysis and findings, a number of recommendations can be made to XYZ company as follows.
Risk Management– The company should conduct a thorough risk management process that would help them identify the risks early and take strategic actions. The project itself is already a risky venture and it will not be wise to ignore the risks and head on straightaway with the project. Thus, the company has to take the risk management practice seriously and make efforts to minimise the chances of the risk from occurring. Additionally, the company should also develop suitable contingency plan that will help them recover after a risk has already occurred.
Performance Monitoring – The company should also monitor the project performance from time to time and determine whether their expectations are fulfilled or not. As discussed in the report earlier, it is crucial to monitor the performance and use a variety of techniques like EVM method and others to project future performance outcomes. This would help the company very much to determine the endgame of the project and take appropriate actions during the project if necessary.
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