Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Seasoned project managers will take the team through a project closure process. Once the project stakeholder, sponsor, and upper management are happy with the deliverables, there a - Writingforyou

Seasoned project managers will take the team through a project closure process. Once the project stakeholder, sponsor, and upper management are happy with the deliverables, there a

Seasoned project managers will take the team through a project closure process. Once the project stakeholder, sponsor, and upper management are happy with the deliverables, there are several tasks to be completed.

> What additional tasks are necessary before the project can be closed?
> What additional steps and documents will also be needed to ensure all financials are finalized and that future projects will have an accurate snapshot of what was encountered during the project.
> Also, outline how this can be used by future project teams during the planning stages.

Outline your plan addressing these issues and other issues.

Need 10-12 pages in APA format with introduction and conclusion. Need minimum on 9 peer-reviewed sources.

Please ensure the work has no plagiarism or AI work.


C H A P T E R 1 2

Managing Project Control and Closure

Opening Case: Poor Project Control Derailing Projects

Today, citizens and companies in various countries and regions can use self-service portals to interact with government agencies, allowing them to save significant amounts of time and money. In Australia, apprentices and companies providing training were hoping to be able to use the “Australian apprentice management system” (AAMS), a new self-service portal that would replace the existing system that— after being in operation for sixteen years—had reached the end of its useful life. Not only was the new AUS$20 million system expected to make the lives of apprentices and training companies easier; it was also expected to save government departments close to AUS$50 million, as the need to handle

paper-based forms would be eliminated. After the completion of a tender process in 2014,

Australia’s Department of Education and Training awarded the contract to NEC in May 2015, with a scheduled go-live date in July 2016. However, the system turned out to be highly complex due to the need to interface with various other governmental systems at the federal, state, and territory levels. After a series of significant delays, it was found that the new system would not meet current and future needs, and the Department of Education and Train- ing decided to terminate the project in mid-2018.

What went wrong? One of the main reasons the AAMS project failed was the lack of control during

Figure 12.1 Chapter 12 learning objectives

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execution. An independent audit by consulting firm PwC revealed a number of problems related to proj- ect governance and control, contract management, and stakeholder management. First, from the out- set, the project was doomed to fail, as there was no involvement of end users when the business case and request for tender were developed. This failure to review the requirements continued throughout the project, with project management failing to continu- ously review the objectives, the envisioned project benefits, and the end users’ needs. Whereas these issues had been raised in early 2017, there had been

no change in practices to effectively address the issues. Likewise, project management failed to thor- oughly review the impacts of various scope changes, which—in total—amounted to more than AUS$1 mil- lion in extra costs as well as significant delays. Other problems included insufficient vendor management and a lack of clear performance milestones. Whereas almost all of the project budget had already been spent, the new system was deemed beyond repair, and the various unresolved problems eventually con- tributed to the cancellation of the project.

Based on: Hendry (2017; 2018).

Introduction Throughout this textbook, we have discussed most of the concepts and techniques for initiating, planning, and executing a project successfully. Possibly the most important aspect to consider for ensuring project management success is project control, as indi- cated in the opening case. After all, how successful can a project be if once the planning is finished you sit back and wait for the tasks to be completed? What happens if a crit- ical task takes two weeks longer to complete than planned? How do you know if costs are running unexpectedly high? Could issues arise that affect the quality of the product you are producing or the risks associated with the project? Are you even aware of these potential problems? Project control is an important element in the overall success of a project because it allows managers to identify and deal with issues that arise and pro- motes flexibility within the plan to allow for inevitable difficulties.

Given the overarching role that project control plays in project management, project control techniques span all preceding project life cycle phases and overlap many of the project management knowledge areas already discussed in this book. We will explore how control can be exerted over the various project phases and describe specific tech- niques and tools that successful project managers use to control projects and ensure their successful completion (see Figure 12.2).

In addition to project control, another important concept that successful project managers embrace is project closure. Think back to your freshman year. After complet- ing your first classes, you undoubtedly had learned some lessons that you continue to use today in your academic career. Once your finals were over, that wasn’t technically the end of your classes. Your instructors “signed off ” on your completion of the courses by giving you a final grade. Just as you learned lessons and received confirmation that your efforts were sufficient to pass those classes, successful project managers seek verification from the project stakeholders that they have successfully completed all the deliverables. If problems arise, project managers document them to enable the project team to reflect on them and apply any lessons learned to reduce the likelihood of project failures in the future. We will present the elements and techniques of project closure that help ensure the success of the current project and provide valuable information for future projects.

What Is Project Control? Project control is the process of monitoring and measuring project progress and influ- encing the project plan to account for any discrepancies between planned progress and actual progress. Project control allows a project manager to keep tabs on the progress

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of the various tasks, identify problems, solve problems, and make changes to the plan based on any problems and their solutions.

For instance, consider a project manager who requires a series of weekly status reports from each project team member. In the course of reviewing these reports, the project manager realizes that one of the more critical project team members is repeat- edly late with deliverables. Considering the importance of that team member’s role in the project, the project manager now has valuable information for making deci- sions about this unproductive team member. Does the person need a different form of incentive or perhaps more task support? Should the person be replaced? Armed with sufficient information, the successful project manager can now make an appropriate decision. Sometimes, independent project audits are performed to provide independent assessment of the status of a project and its adherence to standards and plans.

What Is Project Closure? Project closure involves the final implementation and training related to the project, getting acceptance and signoff on it, and finally archiving the results of the project and lessons learned. For instance, your client has commissioned a new customer relationship management (CRM) software package from you, and you have developed the package to meet your client’s specifications. Now you must install the new package at your cli- ent’s location and train their personnel to use it. Next, you must gain approval from the stakeholders and clients that the delivered product meets their requirements and fulfills the contract. Finally, you archive the materials generated over the course of the project and write an end report that summarizes the project management methods used. This report allows you to document any lessons learned over the course of the project and to record any unresolved issues.

Closure occurs at the termination of a project or project phase and consists of care- ful and detailed documentation of the project’s results so that all related information reflects the most accurate account of the success or failure of the project. Projects and project activities can conclude with a natural or unnatural termination. A natural termi- nation occurs when the requirements of the project or phase have been met—the project or phase has been completed and is a success. An unnatural termination occurs when the project is stopped before completion. Several events can cause unnatural termination of a project or phase. For instance, it may be learned that some assumptions that were used to guide the project proved false, that the performance of the system or the development team was somehow inadequate, that the project requirements are no longer relevant or valid in the current business environment, or that the legal environment has changed. The most likely reasons for unnatural termination of a project relate to running out of time or money, or both. In order for future teams to learn from past projects, accurate and complete documentation is required. It is important to note that project closure activities occur throughout the duration of the project. Failure to comprehensively close each phase as it concludes will likely result in the loss of important information; espe- cially for projects that were terminated unnaturally, failure to document the knowledge gained and lessons learned would render the project a complete waste of time. In short, a project or project phase is not complete until it is closed.

Global Implications: Managing Project Control

One of the realities of offshoring is that you cannot just outsource a software development project. The company doing the outsourcing cannot assume

that an offshore development team will do better work than its in-house programmers. Software development is a creative and dynamic process

Project control The process of monitoring and measuring project progress and influencing the plan to account for any discrepancies between planned progress and actual progress.

Project audit A systematic and formal inquiry into a project’s expenditures, schedule, and quality of work.

Project closure Final implementation and training related to the project, acceptance and signoff on the project, and archiving of the project’s results and lessons learned.

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that requires constant attention. Throughout the project life cycle, growth plans, changing technology requirements, and differing customer requirements can alter project plans, and therefore, such changes must be managed and controlled properly. There has to be constant engagement between the outsourcing company and the offshore team.

Recently, far more tools have become available for managing offshore projects. The outsourcing company and the offshore company can use these tools for interpersonal collaboration and for sharing software artifacts. At the same time, these tools provide a measure of command and control to the outsourcing company. Most current groupware tools were designed primarily for in-house use, but now new tools are available to the open source software community that allow developers to coordinate and manage their disparate needs, making them partic- ularly suitable for use in offshore software develop- ment projects. These tools can be web-based or can be hosted by one of the parties in the outsourcing relationship.

Software-configuration management tools are also very useful in managing offshore projects. These tools keep track of software assets, such as source code, compiled binaries, documentation, and test results. They are very suitable for offshore soft- ware development because members of the develop- ment team can be widely dispersed and still receive the information, which can be accessed over the web or hosted by either the onshore company or the off- shore team. Such tools run on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux workstations.

The final category of tools that is particularly suitable for managing offshore projects includes quality assurance tools. These include static anal- ysis, load testing, and runtime debugging tools that the onshore company can use to verify all externally developed code. Also, the offshore team can use new automated error prevention tools when developing code. Such tools allow error-free code by enforcing coding standards and building testing into the devel- opment process.

Based on: Contorer (2017); Zeichick (2004).

The Importance and Philosophies of Project Control and Closure This section provides an overview of both project control and project closure. We first discuss the importance of project control and provide an example of project control issues. We follow this with a discussion of the philosophies of project control and the levers for exerting control over projects. We then discuss the importance of project closure and provide an example of successful project closure.

Why Is Project Control Important?

Controlling processes (PMBOK, 2017) are important factors in all project management knowledge areas: integration, scope, schedule, cost, quality, resource, communications, risk, procurement, and stakeholder management. Considering that control processes occur at every stage of a successful project’s life cycle, it is easy to see how important project control is. Again, think back over your college career up to this point. Surely you or a classmate has run into a situation where a course required in your major was already full or unavailable when you tried to register. To keep the status of your project (your degree) on track, you didn’t just allow the unavailability of that class to push back the attainment of your goals. Hopefully, you exerted control over your project by enrolling in an alternate class (to keep your number of credits above a certain level), or you approached the instructor of that course to arrange for enrollment under special circumstances, or you even made changes to your existing plan by deciding to take the class during the summer session. As you can see, successful outcomes of any project require control at every stage of the project.

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Example of Project Control Problems One specific example of a project that had problems as a result of ineffective control was the Denver International Airport (DIA) Computerized Baggage Handling Sys- tem (CBHS). In 1989, the construction of DIA had been through almost a decade of planning and was finally transitioning into the execution stage. During the construction of the airport, each airline was responsible for developing and building its own bag- gage-handling system. United Airlines had planned on making DIA its major hub, so it commissioned construction of a complex, technologically advanced baggage-handling system. Recognizing the utility of such an advanced baggage-handling system, the DIA project managers decided to mirror this effort and develop an airport-wide system sim- ilar to United’s. The problem was that when DIA made this decision, the other airlines had already begun to plan their own individual baggage-handling systems. In a sense, a change request had occurred at two levels: First, each airline was requested to change the specifics of its own baggage-handling project. In addition, DIA as a whole was now implementing a change for the baggage-handling capabilities of the entire airport. Both changes endangered the timely completion of the airport.

After developing specifications for an airport-wide CBHS and requesting bids from several companies for the new system, airport planners were surprised to find that only three bids were submitted and all three were insufficient. Even the company com- missioned by United (BAE Automated Systems Inc.) decided not to bid on the new airport-wide CBHS. Following the unsuccessful request for bids, airport planners and management pressured BAE to develop the airport-wide CBHS despite overwhelming evidence of the difficulties involved. In essence, these new plans were a dramatic change in project scope, and DIA’s change management and scope control processes were now threatening the potential success of the system.

Considering the difficulty of developing the system under such time pressure, BAE tried to implement its own scope-control processes. One of these was the use of freeze dates, meaning that changes could not be made to certain components of the bag- gage-handling system after a specified date. These control techniques, had they been followed, might have allowed BAE to complete the airport-wide CBHS, but several events over the next several months ensured the project’s failure. The chief airport engi- neer and main champion for the airport-wide system, Walter Slinger, died six months after the contract to build the system had been awarded to BAE. Prior to Slinger’s death, reasonably tight controls were being enforced to try to make the project a success. However, soon after Slinger’s passing, airlines began requesting changes to the system design, and these changes, which were frequently approved, caused delays that mounted until the opening of the airport was delayed. Rather than opening in October 1993, as originally planned, the airport finally opened in late February 1995, a delay of sixteen months. Worse, the airport was close to US$2 billion over budget. While many other factors contributed to the DIA CBHS failure, lack of project control on the part of both DIA and BAE can be seen as a major contributor to the cost overruns and delays.

A graphic example of problems with this project happened in April 1994. The City of Denver invited the press to observe BAE’s test of the system. The press watched as baggage was thrown from the telecars transporting it. Reporters saw clothing and personal items from some of the seven thousand bags lying on the ground under the telecar tracks. Clearly, initial tests conducted prior to the press event should have been part of the project control process.

BAE’s original contract with United Airlines had been frozen to allow BAE to work for DIA rather than only for United. The failure of the airport-wide system meant

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that United’s originally planned CBHS had been sacrificed as well, and United was forced to use a very scaled-down version of the CBHS and only for outgoing baggage. The remaining airlines went back to the labor-intensive motorized carts seen at most other airports (Mähring, Holmström, Keil, and Montealegre, 2004). All in all, changes to the DIA project were not managed effectively.

Philosophies of Controlling Projects Just as management styles differ, project managers also subscribe to different philos- ophies of project control. A philosophy of project control refers, in a sense, to the management style the manager employs in following a plan and dealing with problems or changes that arise. Two distinctly different approaches are the dogmatic philosophy and the laid-back philosophy. As the names imply, a manager who subscribes to a dogmatic philosophy has little or no tolerance for deviation from the original plan and may manage autocratically to maintain adherence to the plan. At the other end of the spectrum, a manager who subscribes to the laid-back philosophy may simply embrace the multiple changes or problems that arise. A more likely scenario is for a manager to embrace a philosophy somewhere between these two extremes, which might be thought of as a pragmatic philosophy.

Each of these philosophies might be appropriate in a given situation. One common determinant for the most appropriate project control philosophy is the size of the proj- ect. At the extreme end, consider studying for a pop quiz. It is likely that you engage in little formalized planning; rather than developing a work breakdown structure, pro- ducing a network diagram that sequences the tasks, and the like, you probably will look over the course notes and skim through the textbook. You probably do not track and document deviations from this very informal plan, nor will you identify these as poten- tial problem areas. Finally, you are unlikely to produce formal documents related to the closure of this project. This does not mean that this type of planning is inappropriate for this type of project. In this case, the team is small (one person), the project has very limited scope (reviewing one chapter), and the downside risks of not optimizing on the project may be limited (because the pop quiz is worth only a few points). For this rela- tively small project, the laid-back philosophy you have taken is more than adequate—in fact, preferred—because it allows you to focus on reviewing the material rather than planning how to review the material and so forth.

Contrast the student reviewing for the quiz with the DIA CBHS project. This was a very large project with high stakes, involving many large airlines and national stakeholders. From the beginning, the chief engineer adopted a dogmatic philosophy, and while he was sometimes controversial, he was also known as a project manager who ensured that projects were well controlled and successful. After his death, his replacement, Gail Edmond, managed using a more laid-back style. Whether a function of the authority vested in her by the City of Denver or of her personal style, following Slinger’s death, the airlines began requesting significant changes to the system that, under the original plan, should not have been allowed after the specified freeze dates (Mähring et al., 2004).

Levers for Controlling Projects In addition to the philosophy of project control employed, the project manager also needs to exert control. Before we discuss specific formalized project control techniques, let’s first examine several levers that successful managers use to exert control over proj- ects, including communication, participation, analysis and action, and commitment.

Philosophy of project control The management style the manager employs in following a plan and dealing with problems or changes in the plan.

Dogmatic philosophy A philosophy of project control that emphasizes strict adherence to the project plan, with little tolerance for deviations.

Laid-back philosophy A philosophy of project control that allows for project problems or change issues to be dealt with as they arise, on an ad hoc basis.

Pragmatic philosophy A compromise between the dogmatic and laid-back philosophies that sticks to a plan but is flexible enough to allow for changes.

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Communication Perhaps the most important aspect of successful project management is the efficient flow of information. In this respect, successful communication is required to successfully control a project. Consider the difficulty of controlling a project if you don’t implement your control techniques because your ability to communicate with team members is hampered or nonexistent. How will your software engineers know that they need to crash a task if you don’t have effective ways for communicating with them? Conversely, how will you know whether a task is on track or needs to be crashed if the team mem- bers responsible for that task do not communicate with you? Another communication issue is the quality of the communication. Even if project team members do communi- cate with you, what happens if their communications are ambiguous or are not focused on the appropriate issues? Communication for communication’s sake is not effective. Project communication must be timely, focused, directed at the correct person, and thorough enough to effectively accomplish the goal.

Ethical Dilemma: To Blow the Whistle or Not?

Performance reporting is an important tool in project control. It involves collecting and reviewing information about project status to take any corrective actions that might be needed to bring the project in conformance to the plan. However, evidence suggests that both employees and outside contractors sometimes withhold unwelcome but important information concerning projects and their status. Consequently, information about problems may never reach the higher levels of the organizational hierarchy, and decision makers who have the necessary authority cannot take any corrective actions to change the direction of the project.

Communicating bad news up the hierarchy, or “blowing the whistle,” can be extremely difficult in organizations. Employees often choose not to blow the whistle because of the personal risks involved. In most organizations, whistle blowing is seen as an “illegitimate” behavior, so these employees face the fear of being fired because they will be blamed for the negative consequences of unwelcome information.

Consequently, they withhold the information, a situ- ation known as the mum effect. Sometimes when employees do choose to blow the whistle, upper management ignores the information. This is known as the deaf effect, where there is reluctance to hear the whistle.

The conditions for effective whistle blowing vary across different organizations. Organizations should strive to become “healthy” by creating an environ- ment where employees are not afraid to commu- nicate bad news. At the same time, the feedback gathered from these employees should be used effectively to change the direction of the project, if necessary. Large organizations with established and legitimate audit staffs typically have a healthy climate for whistle blowing. Another way to promote a healthy climate is to outsource project audits, essentially having a third-party from outside the organization responsible for reporting on a project’s status—reducing the political consequences of whis- tle blowing.

Discussion Questions 1. What type of organizational culture might “inhibit” whistle blowing? 2. What should a project manager do to encourage his project team’s willingness to report project problems?

Based on: Keil and Robey (2001); McLannahan (2017).

Participation Obviously, you expect participation from your team members, and in some cases, you will encounter team members who excel and participate with energy and enthusiasm. However, you will also encounter team members who prefer to go with the flow and not offer suggestions or participate beyond the most basic requirements. These team

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members need to be encouraged to participate, to offer opinions, and to take responsi- bility when problems arise. The importance of project team participation, as well as the participation of all project stakeholders, is emphasized in the introductory chapters of this textbook, which are focused on managing project communications and managing project teams. Critical topics in these chapters related to the relationship between par- ticipation and project control include project team selection, motivation, and conflict management, to name a few.

Analysis and Action The ability to analyze situations is also an important lever for exerting control. After all, how effective will your controlling process be if you haven’t properly analyzed the prob- lem you happen to be dealing with? Analysis is important for taking the most appro- priate course of action to resolve the problem or, at the very least, for understanding the situation in such a way as to minimize further problems that may arise. If action is required, taking that action in a timely and decisive fashion is crucial. In fact, the longer a problem persists, the more costly and difficult it will be to resolve. For this reason, leadership—as well as the topics related to project-related decision-making—are also critically important. In a project where communication is encouraged and effective, par- ticipation is required and embraced, and analysis is conducted regularly and accurately, appropriate actions leading to project success should occur naturally.

Commitment A final lever that project managers use to assist with project control relates to gaining commitment from project stakeholders, including other project team members. By encouraging commitment to the goals of the project, schedule, and project management concepts, team members will feel more responsible for meeting such goals, following and keeping up with the schedule, and following project management concepts. Team members who are committed should feel a greater responsibility and accountability for their role in the project. The project manager’s ability to gain the commitment of team members and other stakeholders is related to leadership ability and communication style, and to the ability to influence project team members (topics covered in Chapters 3 and 4).

Now that we have discussed the importance of project control, project control philosophies, and levers for exerting project control, let us turn to the importance of project closure before we begin examining techniques for controlling and closing projects.

Why Is Project Closure Important? Project closure may seem to be a noncritical step, but successful project managers fully embrace the closure process when finishing a project. It may seem obvious that the handover of the project needs to occur for the project to end, but what might happen if the handover is inadequate? Part of the handover procedure includes training the end users and other organizational members on the use of the new product. If that step is glossed over, all of the project team’s hard work may be worthless. Hence, proper train- ing and adequate installation and support for an appropriate period of time following the handover are required to ensure that the client organization can adequa