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Project Management Assignment: A Literature Review

Question

Task: You are the Organisational Development Officer for a large project-based organisation and have been tasked by your senior executive team to research some specific topics of interest to the company, for use as mini-case studies in their training materials for university interns and newly hired project engineers.

The project management assignment involves the creation of a logically structured whitepaper, which will examine the significance of your chosen topics to project management and discuss how they can be applied in projects from a practical perspective. It is expected that the whitepaper would be of a quality that could be presented to senior executives, namely the Chief Operating and Human Resources Manager, and from all papers received; they will choose the best one for each of the topics covered. The whitepaper is expected to show a thorough understanding of the concepts associated with the chosen topics based on a robust summary of any previous research in a valid but concise literature review.

Answer

Introductionto Project Management Assignment
The field of project management is dynamic and entails a number of critical factors. Project management refers to the overall process of applying various tools, skills, methods and knowledge for ensuring that the deliverables of the projects are according to the expected standards and requirements of the client of the project. The scope of project management is wide and often the scope is very specific to the particular project itself. Hence, project management is a malleable domain and hence it requires the correct application of the tools and knowledge. Learning culture is especially important in the overall scope of business. A learning culture is enhanced by the promotion of communication in the workplace. Moreover, the environment of the firm should be conducive of it. The project scope should be well defined and hence the project management team must work according to the scope that has been defined. Moreover, the project team is the most important stakeholder of the project and hence the project work is very significant to them. The team must work diligently and ensure that the project work is being carried out properly and this can be ensured by monitoring the project activities properly.

Topic 1: The value, if any, of developing and maintaining a learning-culture in a project environment.
A learning culture may be referred to as a collection of a set of conventions, practices, methods and values that are at the core of an organisation. These collectively promote a sense of growth of knowledge and competency among the task force of the establishment. The organisation thus supports continuous learning. Such organisations work with a common belief that systems have a way of influencing the other systems prevalent in the firm. Hence, the firms believe in enriching these systems and that is done by ongoing learning and improvement (Matic&Maksimovic, 2020). It has been observed that the professionals who in an environment that is conducive of constant learning and improvement are much better at fulfilling their job duties and responsibilities. Thus, they are much elevated as personnel and a person. The personnel in a learning culture are much more open to new challenges and thus they can utilise the new opportunities that they are provided with in a much more fruitful manner.

Project management is a multi-dimensional domain; it requires the specific attention to the scope of the particular project since every project is unique. The culture of the firm is especially pertinent in this case. The culture of the frim, especially the learning culture of the firm is very important as it is able to differentiate one firm with another. The learning culture of an organisation enables the organisation to create specific project culture that can help the proceedings and operations of the project. Similarly, the work norms and corporate conventions of the project are determined by the dominance of the learning culture within the project. Hence, it is very important for the project team to establish a culture of learning and improvement that in inclusive of feedback and suggestions that can help better the scope of the project (Srirama, Iyer& Reddy,2020). Moreover, it can be seen that success of the project is often influenced by the culture that is prevalent in the project.

The implementation of learning culture within a project is very necessary for the eventual success of the project. The identification of the goals and objectives of the project is very necessary for the project to be completed successfully. The learning culture must be integrated into the project as one of the major goals of the project. Thus, the project would be in alignment of the learning culture establishment in the firm. The firm must set clear objectives that have ample transparency and the stakeholders must be aware of; this can smoothen the processes involved in the project (Pantouvakis&Bouranta, 2017). The gaps in the knowledge and skills of the workers can be identified consequently, they can work on filling those gaps. This process can be enhanced by the promotion of a learning culture within the firm. This would benefit the firm in delivering the project with the best possible quality and maintain the standard that is required by the client for the project.

Several methodologies and recommendations can be given for the suitable adoption of the learning culture within the project management team and firm. The plan for the proceedings of the project and consequent development and programs for training must be formalised for the team of the project. Learning through informal and formal means must be recognised within the firm. Feedbacks are very important in a learning culture and hence feedbacks must be made a part of the weekly schedule of the works of the project. All the members of the project management team must provide and be given feedback on the proceedings of the project (Newtonet al., 2015). Thus, the discrepancies and gaps can be identified easily and work can be done on filling those gaps and improving the quality of the project. The sharing of knowledge and information can be shaped into a formal process within the firms. The development of learning culture within the organisation must be internalised and thus promoted from within.

Question 1: What can be done to improve the training and development initiatives within the firm and how can the sharing of knowledge among the workforce be formalised on an organisational level?
Question 2: How can the process for receiving and giving feedback be improved?
Topic 2: Establishing optimal project interpersonal communication.

Interpersonal communication refers to the process that is concerned with the sharing of thoughts, ideas and information by verbal and non-verbal means. The interactions between the personnel in a work setting is mostly carried on with interpersonal communication. It helps them to understand each other and pass on different information in their personal and work lives. The employees with a high level of proficiency in interpersonal communication skills are often seen to be better at their work. They can deliver better results that can aid in the overall performance of the organisation.Interpersonal communication skills consist of a number of attributes such as active listening, effective and clear communication method, empathy, friendliness and volume of speaking, etc. Interpersonal communication can also help in resolving issues in the workplace and this can increase the overall efficiency of the people working in the workplace (Butt, Naaranoja&Savolainen, 2016). Written communication is also apart of the overall scope of the interpersonal communication.

Interpersonal communication is very important in case of project management. As it has been previously mentioned, the scope of every project is unique. Hence, the project managers and the team must work in close coordination with each other so that the operations of the project can be carried on smoothly and without any major disruptions (Kamalirad&Kermanshachi, 2018). It has been reported by authors thatproject risks can be mitigated to a large extent by the implementation of practices that facilitate the communication among the project managers, project team members and the stakeholders of the project. Moreover, stakeholders are very important in the project. It has been observed that the engagement of the stakeholders can be improved with the project with the help of effective communication in relation to the project. This is turn can increase the chances of the success of the project. Consequently, the clients may provide more projects to the firm and this would be beneficial for the firm.

The scope of interpersonal communication is very wide in case of managing and completing projects. The transfer of information is an important aspect of the major operations of the project. This transfer of information must be carried out in a timely fashion and with clarity and transparency (Pelikan, 2019). Interpersonal communication in a project setting can enhance the mechanism of relay of information from one personnel to another and this is one of the very basic processes of the project. The receival of information can be helped with the support of interpersonal communication with the project stakeholders. This is especially relevant to the information regarding changes that may arise in the course of the project. The problems that may arise during the project would also need effective communication among the stakeholders so that they can be addressed efficiently. Moreover, the language barrier can be overcome with proper communication techniques and this is a massive step towards the success of the project.

The proper implementation of optimal interpersonal communication in a project is conducive of the project success. There are certain key recommendations that can be made in relation to this. The means of formal and informal interpersonal communication must be established during the inception of the project. The distribution of the duties and responsibilities of the project is carried on during the initial phases, consequent to this, the pathways and channels of reporting must be defined (Yap, Abdul-Rahman & Wang, 2018). The project stakeholders should know the contacts who they can communicate with in case of any issues. E-mails, phone calls and written text messages can be used conveniently by the project stakeholders for ensuring timely interpersonal communication. In addition to this, newsletters, bulletins, etc. can be used to convey information to more than one stakeholder in a short period of time. Project meetings can also provide pathways for ensuring optimal communication in a project.

Question 1: How can the communication among the stakeholders of the project be improved for facilitating the project?
Question 2: how can technology be utilised for improving the interpersonal communication among the project team members?
Topic 3: Developing effective project monitoring and control across both hard and soft key result areas.

The hard and soft key result areas encompass the different areas within the scope of the project. The hard result areas include the areas that require deductive reasoning approaches and quantitative methodologies. The soft result areas include those areas that need inductive reasoning and exploratory and qualitative processes for their functioning (Haz?r, 2019). Learning and participation in the projects is inclusive of the soft key result areas of the project. The quality of the project is an important deliverable of the overall scope of the project. It must beensured by the project team that the project is delivered according to the expected quality and standards as instructed by the client. The project quality is often defined with respect to certain standards as prescribed by the pertinent authorities such as International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The compliance of the project quality with the set standards must be checked regularly and this can be done with the help of project monitoring and control mechanisms.

Project monitoring and control activities help in ensuring that the project is being executed according to the prescribed standard of quality. This is an important part of the overall scope of the project as it ensures that the project would be able to meet the expectations and requirements of the client. This would mean that the project would be successful according to all the parameters. This could imply that the client would be satisfied with the service received and hence the firm may get other projects from the client in question (Siju& Patel, 2017). This would be beneficial for the firm; hence, project monitoring and control activities are very important in the project. The project monitoring and control processes are carried on parallelly along with the scheduled activities for the execution of the project. This is done to ensure that the project work is in struct adherence to the defined guidelines and rules, which is ultimately beneficial for the project stakeholders.

The monitoring and control activities of a particular project depends upon the specific scope of the project. The project rules and guidelines are established during the inception phase of the project. Consequently, the standards expected are clearly established and communicated to the project managers and the project team members (Zhang, Shi & Diaz, 2015). As a result, the project team members can carry out the monitoring and control related activities simultaneously. The project quality monitoring activities are carried out and that can indicate the gaps in the project quality. The control activities can be carried on after that to ensure that those previous issues are addressed and the gaps in the quality have been filled up by the project management team and other stakeholders. Moreover, the project quality monitoring and control activities can give an overview of the overall proceedings of the project. This would be beneficial for the whole team of project management for completing the project within the stipulated time and in accordance with the expected quality of the project.

The implementation of the project monitoring and control activities can be done with the help of certain recommendations. The activities may include certain forecasts that may indicate the expected course of the project. Moreover, the quality monitoring activities may involve the recommendation of preventive or corrective actions that can improve the project quality (Haz?r, 2015). They may also suggest one or more changes within the project and repairing of the defects that have been reported. The integrated change control mechanisms can be utilised for managing and improving the project. Consequently, the scope verification and related control activities can be carried out. The control activities can also be aimed at the schedule and budget of the project. Moreover, the performance of the project team and stakeholders can be mapped with the help of these activities and they can improve the project. The findings of these activities can be communicated to the clients to ensure their engagement in the project.

Question 1: What can be done to improve the mechanisms of project monitoring and control activities?
Question 2: How can the reporting of the project monitoring and control activities be done in an efficient way?

Conclusion
Project management encompasses various aspects of dealing with the execution of the project. The project is often defined on certain parameters. The success of the project on the basis of these parameters indicate the success of the project. Moreover, the success of the project is also dependent on several critical factors that can severely impact the proceedings and ultimately the successful completion of the project. The culture of the project management firm and team directly influences the proceedings of the project. The firm must ensure that the culture in the project team is a learning culture that in inclusive of growth and improvement in the capabilities and skills of the project team personnel. Moreover, it must be ensured that there is optimal interpersonal communication between the team members of the project, the clients and other stakeholders of the project. The quality that has been achieved by the project must meet the expected standards as described by the project client. This must be carried on with the help of appropriate project monitoring and control activities to ensure access to the hard and soft result areas of the project.

References
Butt, A., Naaranoja, M., &Savolainen, J. (2016). Project change stakeholder communication. International Journal of Project Management, 34(8), 1579-1595.

Haz?r, Ö. (2015). A review of analytical models, approaches and decision support tools in project monitoring and control. International Journal of Project Management, 33(4), 808-815.

Hazir, Ö. (2019). A Review of Analytical Models, Approaches and Decision Support Tools in Project Monitoring and Control. Defense AR Journal, 26(1), 84-88. Kamalirad, S., &Kermanshachi, S. (2018, April). Development of project communication network: A new approach to information flow modeling. In Proceedings of Construction Research Congress, ASCE, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Matic, R. M., &Maksimovic, N. (2020). Characteristics of Organizational Learning Culture in Serbian Elite Team Sports. Journal of Anthropology of Sport and Physical Education, 4(4), 3-7.

Newton, J. M., Henderson, A., Jolly, B., & Greaves, J. (2015). A contemporary examination of workplace learning culture: an ethnomethodology study. Nurse Education Today, 35(1), 91-96.

Pantouvakis, A., &Bouranta, N. (2017). Agility, organisational learning culture and relationship quality in the port sector. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 28(3-4), 366-378.

Pelikan, K. (2019). Enhancing and analysing project communication (Vol. 151). Frank &Timme GmbH.

Siju, H. L., & Patel, P. (2017). Survey of Models and Tools for Project Monitoring and Control. International Journal of Science Technology & Engineering, (3), 10.

Srirama, M. V., Iyer, P. P., & Reddy, H. (2020). Dimensions of social capital and learning culture: a case of an IT organization. The Learning Organization.

Yap, J. B. H., Abdul-Rahman, H., & Wang, C. (2018). Preventive mitigation of overruns with project communication management and continuous learning: PLS-SEM approach. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 144(5), 04018025.

Zhang, J., Shi, R., & Diaz, E. (2015). Dynamic monitoring and control of software project effort based on an effort buffer. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 66(9), 1555-1565.

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