The assessment of scope, time, cost, quality and risk are the five variables needed to consider when planning out this project of the hardware replacement for the CRM application. “Project management refers to the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to achieve specific targets within specific budgets” (Laudon & Laudon, 2011, P. 397). The project managers’ position is to align the project to meet the necessary target in which they must estimate resources required for the work (materials and people), plan the work, assign and direct the work, report progress, analyze the results, acquire materials, and assesses the risk.
In implementing the CRM project we see that the project scope is to have all hardware replaced. Hardware that would be replaced are desktops, servers and possibly handheld devices. Prior to installation of hardware to the corporate offices there will be installation of the software which includes operating systems, standard company applications and the new CRM application, testing of the applications and hardware in the test environment prior to testing on the production network and just before replace of the hardware to the offices there will be education training and then a small department rollout to verify and finalize any risks.
We need to figure a realistic time to achieve our target on the CRM project as time. What will be needed is to break down each component into separate tasks and activities so each team has time to accomplish their tasks. Remember that each task given is dependent for the next task to succeed. This give a schedule of when the project may be completed. “Costs are based on the time to complete a project multiplied by the daily cost of human resources required to complete the project” (Laudon & Laudon, 2011, P. 399). Costs also include the hardware, software and real estate of where someone sits when doing the work.
The project manager is responsible for developing the budget as well as monitoring the expenses of the ongoing project attempting not to go over their projected budget. Quality is the indication of how well the project is going and also how well the end result satisfies the objects requested by management. Quality defines the workmanship, accuracy and the timelines of the information produced by the new system being implemented. Quality grants a more positive outcome within the project team as well as management. Risk are something that happens with all projects as they are potential problems that threaten the success of a project.
The problems that could arise can prevent a project from meeting it’s timelines by increasing time and costs, lowering the quality of the output or possibly preventing the project altogether. When given the project timeline it is normally given some of the risks involved with each tasks and within the project there is the attempt to give buffer time should those risks appear. Considerations that must be applied when selecting projects that deliver the best business value are benefits and costs. In the long or possibly short are the benefits that can regain costs and possibly or will increase financial gains for the business.
The company needs to realize the CRM application; if it will indeed benefit from this application and that the application covers all aspects of what the required objectives. Obviously if the company purchases the CRM application and doesn’t meet the requirements then the project will not reap the benefits or costs. Other considerations are training and maintenance of the hardware, software and application. Without training of the application how would one know how to use it to its full potential? Training is planned and designed for the various users and departments.
With the CRM application each department will have their specific requirements as to what they will use it for and what they can and cannot access. The IT group will be trained on how to support the application and how to maintain and upgrade when needed. This leads into maintenance which is never cost effective but normally mandatory for reasons of fixing application bugs or hardware upgrades and even operating system updates. Factors or levels that may influence project risk are size of the project, structure of the project and the level of technical expertise (SME – Subject Matter Experts) of the IT staff and project team.
Other considerations are consultants if the IT staff is does not have the technical expertise although proper training or shadowing will need to be involved of the consultant to an IT staff. Other factors such as not clear or straightforward requirements or even new technology that the project team does not know the technology can influence the project risk. Even user acceptance of the application is a major factor as some don’t like change or fear new products. There are many factors that can influence the risk of the project.
Strategies that I would use to minimize the project risk would be to recruit people whom are SME with products that we are looking to implement, recruit project managers that are expertise in information technology and use the correct tools to manage the project and the deliverables. Implement the proper changes management in advance to have the changes documented in case need to revert back and make sure everything is tested in a test environment prior to placing into a production environment. Train the staff and end-users to make sure everyone is comfortable with the new system.
People fear change and to have an in-depth training program will allow the end-users more comfort with the product and in themselves. The number strategy I would use to minimize project risk is communication. Making sure that everyone is on the same page with the deadlines and deliverables. Understanding the timeframe and what need to be done to accomplish the project. The project team needs to see the possible risks that are involved and how they could avoid these risks and make sure they are all documented.
I believe that the best practices for managing this project are hiring project managers that have managed successful project in the IT field and have them communicate with the leads of the IT teams to set realistic timeframes to measure the progress of the tasks to overall meet the deliverables and the end date of the project. Communication to the company executives to make sure they understand the timeframe of the project and the implantation of each task and what dates they will be accomplished as well as verifying what are the requirements of management for the project.
With regards to all this the project manager will put a project plan with timeframes and risks to hand out to all the project team and management so everyone understands what is involved and what deadlines each team needs to make. Make such dates will show quality to management and the company allowing a much smoother transition to the new CRM application and hardware.
Laudon, K. P. , & Laudon, J. P. (2011). Essentials of MIS (9th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.