Joseph (2003) highlights that project management is a complex activity requiring numerous scopes. A project is a transient application that is carried out by an organization or on the individual level with the aim of achieving a particular objective. A project should be therefore deliverable and achievable within a certain time scale, cost, or quality constraint, as highlighted by Harold (2003). This report describes the current situation pertaining how project management is applied in the Ingersoll Offshore Development Project. Besides, it explores the reasons behind the current situation with regard to the implementation of the principles of project management. Moreover, the concluding ideas of what Monocorp as the major partner can do now to bring the project to a completion are presented. On the other hand, recommendations for bringing the project under control and lead the company towards achieving its objectives are recorded.
2.0. The Current Situation
2.1. Commercial and Contractual Challenges and Concerns
To begin with, the project is awarded to an incompetent company, namely Sonoros, with a poor project management record. The choice is based on political preference for using a French contractor rather than merit and clear previous record of success in the past. It is prudent to note that at this point, the project could face numerous challenges due to the ineptitude of the contactor chosen to execute the project (Harold 2003).
The significant delays observed, irrespective of cost over-runs, affect the fundamental economics and financial viability of the entire project. This is because the project will not be completed within the schedule planned or earlier, hence hindering the revenue generating function it was meant to perform.
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A well-coordinated offshore installation and project completion are overly mired because of the complexity of the project, because it involves different countries and company cultures. This has an adverse effect on project schedules, completion, and ultimate success of the whole project. The contractual problems arise due to the different project management policies held by Monocarp and French oil company Sonoros. Under these circumstances, the problem of different agendas obscures the value of overall goals of the project, which face delays, and a possibility of incompletion.
2.2. Compare and Contrast the Critical Path on the Nemo Project Plan
The case highlights that the construction of the D platform at the Nemo site got off to a slow start - caused mostly by poor coordination between Nemo, GSM, and Nemo’s main sub-contractors. This indicates that time schedules planned by both Monocarp and Sonoros were overlooked from the beginning. Worse still, the workers wasted much time moving to the site and adjusting to the new project. This caused further delay, hence intensifying the possibility of high costs. The contractors do not care about the fact that the project is to be executed within a specific period. These factors and constraints create the need for change of time plans and costs. On the other hand, the Monocorp project engineers, who were accustomed to changing location at very short notice, were at the site on time.
It is also disastrous that the Sonoros team fails to take responsibility for lagging the project behind. It is incredible that after conferring in private with their project manager, they declined to accept any blame whatsoever, but offered a concession with an immediate effect; Monocorp could assume full executive responsibility for the Nemo contract and site representation. Monocorp and Prince Petroleum accepted this somewhat reluctantly because in good faith, they intend to accomplish whatever they had started.
2.3. Personal Relationships
It is notable that Schmidt has a scratchy personality and soon falls out with Thierry Dubois, Nemo’s contract manager at its yard. Following a stormy meeting, they hardly speak and communicate from then on, only via formal letters and emails. Due to the poor communication links, the project faces holdups.
It is factual that strategy must be directly linked to implementation through the constant review of the development process as well as procedures concerning the way the project is instigated. Steps involved in linking strategy to implementation include creation of relevant structure for the supply of the right requirements to the project, establishment of communication strategies to present project parameters, development of project information technology that will determine project key performance, and generation of potential project regulations and control systems. All the parameters are impossible to achieve in a situation whereby the key regulators do not converse adequately (Harold 2003).
The situation is out of hand because the work on the D platform fell further behind schedule, although the full extent of this was concealed from the Monocorp project team and the other partners, by some creative progress reports emailed weekly by Schmidt to the Sonoros team in Paris. This is worse because something could be done early enough to save the project from complete failure. Although the secret comes to light, still no quick action is taken, since communication is supported through mail. Notably, the directors of Monocorp and Prince Petroleum exchange some unpleasant words with their Sonoros counterparts during a meeting supposed to seek for ways of salvaging the solution at hand (Joseph 2003).
Probably, the case highlights the fact that workers are demotivated and are not willing to offer their best for the project in progress. They are looking for greener pastures due to job dissatisfaction and insecurity created by poor project management. Clearly, the poor personal relationships add to project incompletion or even total failure as intercessions do not take place instantly. The concerns raised that exterminate the employees motivation encompasses lack of consideration of human sociology, psychology, communication patterns and management policies, and how these elements harmonise the organisation theories and human resource management. Therefore, the organisations fail to observe project strategic management regarding how organisations adapt to structures and guidelines that control them. This leads to mistrust and insecurity among the employees, who are unsure of their fate depending on the outcome of the project at hand (Scotto 1998).
3.0. A Critical Review of the Situation
According to Paul (2005), the paradigm element of organisation culture entails the definition of an organisation regarding what it does, its mission statement, values, and goals. Any organisation must have control systems, which monitor whatever is going on as well as designing rulebooks. This leads to the presence of an organisational structure that shows the hierarchy through which work flows in the organisation. Therefore, it is notable that it is impossible for an organisation to manage projects without a conventional culture. In references to the case study presented, the Monocorp project team and the Sonoros team have divergent organisation cultures hindering them from merging harmoniously. The Sonoros team exhibits a bungling culture, which lacks effective control systems, hence shows absolute failure in project management. Monocarp, on the other hand, has the mandate to accomplish the set goals and guides its interpretation and behavioural actions through defining correct actions and behaviours for different situations (Scotto 1998).
In reference to Smith and Mraz (2001), the aspects of poor interpersonal relationships arise due to the lack of a working culture that values people and their contribution to the organisation. Project management usually relates to the art of increasing productivity through nurturing people’s talents while also giving them opportunities for advancement and self-enrichment. This can be understood through an organisation’s culture. For instance, an organisation that values teamwork discourages high incentives in individual-oriented projects that can demotivate people from working in teams and vice versa. They create more effective teams with regard to task completion, not only because they perform better than individuals, but also because in groups there is diversity in skills, judgments, and work experience (Paul, 2005). The Sonoros team fails to encourage the employees withdrawing from the project despite the high level of technical competence. This affects the fundamental economics and financial viability of the project.
According to Dornier et al (1998), managing projects require “consistent application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities” geared towards attaining the best results or meeting the project requirements. Project management is considered a day-to-day activity because projects are presented in phases. This calls for day-to-day scheduling, instigation, and implementation of project requirements until the goals are effectively achieved. The companies involved in the project presented in the case study to manage the project from far, something that causes communication drifts that paralyze the project activities. They do not consider the fact that project management entails a series of processes ranging from monitoring to controlling of costs, time, quality, risks, and the scope of the project. It is a hands-on daily activity, which requires a set of tools, techniques and skills. It is notable that projects that are installed successfully depend on day-to-day sound management practices. For this reason the Monocarp team is unaware of the lack of progress on the project site because they do not monitor and assess progress on a daily basis. The Sonoros team takes advantage of the situation and brings the entire project down secretly (Joseph 2003).
Joseph (2003) further argues that any project management should consider the main aspects of a project. For the two companies, planning is the main aspect of successful project implementation, and that is why they fail to achieve the goals set during planning. It is prudent to determine the success results of a project. A successful project should consider a diverse pool of techniques and strategies. Nevertheless, a good working relationship should be maintained between the workers and the companies involved to allow idea sharing and harmonious decision making (Smith & Mraz 2001).
The choice of the contractor for the Ingersoll Offshore Development Project is influenced politically, hence ignoring the high level of competency required for effective project management. Being an ongoing learning process, it helps an organisation to analyse the significant past projects and the value they added to the organisation as a whole. By comparing the result of past projects, it is easier for strategic planners to share advantages, make sure that the deadlines are met, money saved and how challenges were eliminated or handled as indicated by Dennis (2007). Sonoros lacks a past to look up to and are used to not meeting the objectives, and thus, the mistakes that were done before, recur. On the other hand, Monocarp is well established and has a meaningful past, hence they strive to achieve the best because they have to maintain their illustrious standards. This is a great attribute that ensures proper project management, and hence achievement of set goals (Scotto 1998).
The nature of project management, control and analysis could be of great significance to an organisation by informing impact project selection in the organisation. Strategy and implementation determines the control systems needed to manage costs, risks, quality, communication, change, time, procurement processes and human resource involvement. It is evident that there are numerous benefits accrued to an organisation, which practices efficient project management. The company benefits a great deal from the advanced industrial productivity, which increases its general value. They enjoy the flexibility and convenience of completing the tasks on time as per the project timelines and reduce risks that may increase the costs incurred in executing the project.
Dornier et al (1998) note that that organisations with a culture have excellent result when considering project management strategies. This is because they can develop specific project goals, which provide members within that organisation a sense of direction because they offer rules and procedures to be followed. Task specialisation within an organisation ensures that an efficient way to perform one’s duties is followed. Duties are designed through a hierarchical structure, which is meant to ensure adequate control and coordination in specific projects. Unity towards achievement of the set goals is therefore easy to achieve.
It can be illustrious that noble project management is beyond technical and academic prowess. Leaders should realise that management is also about relationships built on organisational strengths and behavioural characteristics. Effective leaders are expected to address people’s needs and challenges rather than just giving directions and instructions. Collaboration and cooperation entails working with others towards shared goals. To achieve this, they should have the intelligence to integrate different views, accepting diversity and respecting decisions and the views of others. Change is inevitable and adapting new tactics enhances productivity especially in projects.
The investigation has revealed a series of challenges that interfere with effective project execution by the companies presented. Therefore, actions to be taken to improve the situation are identified; and thus recommend the following actions to improve the situation in support of a more cohesive and successful project management strategy. These recommendations are as follows:
5.1. Establishment of a Monitoring and Controlling Process Team
The project requires a review process to track and regulate the continuous performance of the project and manage everything on the site. This could help the contractor and the company in charge to detect any changes that need to be sorted and then initiate any necessary modifications for the improvement of the project’s outcome. In project management, as the contractor works through the enactment process, it is important to monitor constantly and induct control processes that will ensure that the project results match those of the stakeholder’s prospects. It will definitely influence the results and obviously attain victory (Dornier et al 1998)
According to Harold (2003), an event manager should not enjoy any luxury because they have to be prepared always for unanticipated situations that may arise. Nevertheless, I think the contractors should have skills and the knowledge required in controlling the various stages of a project. The control loop should be continuous and momentous depending on the situations handled by the supervisors.
5.2. Identification of Constraints
For the project to become efficient, the Monocarp company leader should begin by identifying the constraints, devise ways of handling the constraint and finally elevate the constraint by breaking it down into manageable bits. Elimination of the constraint slowly until the system is realigned as desired will be made easier. Nevertheless, the move may seem simple, but it requires pure concepts, especially for this company that needs to establish right measures to solve the current operational constraints. This will allow a well-coordinated offshore installation and project completion that was intended initially (Buckingham & Clifton 2001).
Each system or section within an organisation has different aspects and elements. The characteristics endow the sections with specific capacities and efficiency to perform the various functions it is designed for. When the systems are well coordinated, they produce the best and maximum results. Failure of one aspect may make the entire element a constraint to the production process. All the elements are equally important and they collectively determine the efficiency of the operation system. Review of the system often allows for the identification of problems that need to be realigned to ensure that a system bears greater levels of efficiency.
5.3. Participative Leadership
Decision making should be decentralised such that better ideas and strategies may be disseminated to both the companies’ managerial bodies. In addition, to enhance the positive impact of diversity, roles should be classified into interpersonal, decisional and informational categories and then subdivided among all departments in the project management system. Freedom of speech and expression should be encouraged through healthy open forums, which may allow workers to air their grievances and sentiments regarding the management system and its aftermath (Bing 1994).
It is prudent to share the outcome of team efforts as a group. This will satisfy the whole team because each member will feel that their efforts have been acknowledged and they are valued. Self-evaluation of the organization will lead to better communication strategies. The project managers need to assign its members communicative duties such that it can maintain good relationships. Individual communicative roles may include controlling, defining issues, seeking for basic information and analysing feedbacks. In addition, other roles include motivation for participation, expressing audience feelings and assumptions and setting the organisation’s standards. All this is done with a major aim of attaining the set objectives.
Estimates are significant in any project management system. Costs, timescales, changes and risks should be approximated to allow for proper prior planning of the project at hand. The entire process of project development should be looked into and estimates made to improve the quality of the final product. This may help recognise problems before hand, so they are addressed in timely manner before they become complex. For organisations that are networked highly, assessment of estimates can determine the use of critical resources. According to Bjarne (2007), estimates can be made through a variety of methods. The basic rule is to begin by estimating the time needed for each task within the project rather than the whole project. The extent and complexity of the time details depend on the circumstances around the project (Martin 2002).
5.5. Practice Operative Communication
According to Bing (1994), a good communication system advocates for collaboration and cooperation. This entails working with others toward shared goals. To achieve this, one has to be morally and socially intelligent to integrate different views, accepting diversity and respecting decisions and the views of others. Smith and Mraz (2001) note that building bonds will cultivate instrumental relationships that will lead to success in project execution. A socially and emotionally skilled supervisor understands the kind of people or groups he is dealing with and identifies ways of establishing relationships, which are healthy in the sense that such relationships are meant for mutual benefits. Communication makes it possible and the two companies involved in the Ingersoll Offshore Development Project should apply this to gain the employees’ trust and work agreeably with each other. This will help to revive the project at hand (Harold 2003).
There should be a continual process of evaluating employee performance in order to define their role and direct their attention towards the expected performance. Every department has its goals and objectives, while respective managers set performance targets that their taskforce should conform to. This program can be enhanced by encouraging employees to be productive by motivating them through various tactics.
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