Project management encompasses monitoring of the activities of a project until its completion. The task of the project managers is to oversee the activities of the project until its completion. Unlike programs, projects have time limits that have to be attained as stipulated by terms and conditions of engagement. It would also be a process of generating ideas and implementing activities that lead to production of a unique product for a firm (Lewis 2006, p4).
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In the case of coming up with new products, completion of the project would make the work of the product manager easier. The task of the managers in this field involves laying strategies that would ensure success of projects that are satisfactory to the requirements (Frigenti & Comninos 2001, p18).
The techniques used in this field have been researched on by experts leading to substantial achievements regarding the subject.
An inclusive definition would encompass aspects of the project having a beginning and an end that are defined. It also applies various tools that would be used to evaluate the work done to monitor its progress. This is aimed at reducing risks associate with failure and increases chances of success (Lock 2007, p29).
Time saving is an aspect that is taken into much consideration by passengers and the firms that own planes by which passengers travel. Time saving is an issue that is required in the baggage section of the airports.
Customers would want their luggage presented to them in time so that they would proceed with other activities. Planning and managerial issues within the airports would involve issues such as gates, plane parking areas and taxiways (Young & Wells 2011, p7).
Hence, such a concern was looked into within the United States in the recent past. The player in this issue was Denver Airport that is found in the United States. Denver Airport proposed and set aside resources that were directed towards establishing Denver Airport Automated Baggage System (DAABS).
The project was aimed at management of the baggage in an efficient manner that would ease congestion within the airport and eliminate waiting time issues. This cost of this project was about $250 million after overshooting the estimated budget of about $150 million. Contrary to expectations of the Airport management expectations, the project failed. It was meant to eliminate baggage handlers and replace them with carts.
When this aspect failed, the management resulted to the use of baggage handlers. This ensured that about $1million was saved each day. In addition, congestion that was earlier created by the carts was eliminated from within the luggage bay. The project failed as a result, of congestion in the luggage bay; each luggage required its own cart.
This resulted in wastage of space leading to congestion and subsequent delays of aircrafts within the airport. The system failed even at experimental stages, and fake models were developed at final stages. The whole project was a failure and became a source of embarrassment to everyone who was involved in its activities.
Hence, this called for immediate removal of the system in the airport. The system remained within the airport for 10years and was confirmed inappropriate in 2005 and removed entirely from the airport (Calleam 2008, p1).
Analysis of the delays and cost increases
There exist various aspects that led to the failure of the Denver Airport Automated Baggage System. They include the following; ineffective cost estimation, inadequate estimating, inadequate planning, inadequate scheduling and conflicting priorities among those in managerial positions.
Planning involves putting don strategies and guidelines that would enable an individual attain goals and objectives. It would involve many aspects such as resource allocation and labor related issues. All these are aimed at achieving the goal of project management; completing projects on time.
This would result in appreciable relations between the contractors and clients. According to Camillus, planning is related to controlling and the two comprise the principal tenets of management. Planning is also viewed as being diverse within any organization and requires flexibility so as to fit in the dynamic world (Kerzner 2009, p412).
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Planning would also encompass issues relating to the environment. Hence, when planning, those involved should consider the way in which the surrounding would affect the outcome of the project.
This aspect would also include formulation of a budget for the purposes of project completion. Denver Airport Automated Baggage System project would have failed due to inadequate planning. This would be attributed to the project manager (Camillus 1986, p4).
Ineffective cost estimation
All projects require capital in terms of money to be completed in time. The money would be used to purchase equipment that would be used in the whole project and pay the workers. In this context, money would be used to buy equipment that would be used to make the carts used to handle luggage.
It would also be used to pay the workers providing labor within the project. Underestimating the costs related to these activities would result to failure of the project. For instance, this was the case in Denver Airport Automated Baggage system (DAABS). The actual cost was about $250 million while the estimated cost was $150. Therefore, there was a deficit of about $100 million in the budget.
This meant that some activities would not be implemented correctly and within the time allocated. It would also cause delays within the project itself or even’ kill’ the project itself.
Planning in a poor manner would result in inadequacies on the part of cost estimation. As a result, there is a failure of the project. This was the case of Denver Airport Automated Baggage System (DAABS). The project was a total failure and brought embarrassment to many individuals (Schwalbe 2011, p258).
Scheduling involves having a written down document that specifies what should be done at specified times. This would benefit those in managerial positions such as project managers. When this is not done, there results confusion within the process of project management. Usually, a schedule ensures that individuals work is done within the time allocated.
Time management would thus be achieved in work that is guided by a schedule. It would be possible for an individual without a schedule to fail in his or her work. Therefore, project managers are encouraged to have an adequate or effective schedule that they would be followed in carrying out their activities. Scheduling would also mean that the project is planned on the calendar dates.
It would also give various dates and time at which each activity is expected to be completed; it specifies the earliest time of completion and the latest time of completion. It entails all programs that have to be carried out within the project time frame and would be referred to as a time table. For instance, it would enable them consider all aspects of the project without forgetting others (Chitkara 1998, p45).
Estimation of all aspects concerned with project management is necessary for achievement of results. Usually, it would give an estimate of all resources needed for the whole process. It would also be possible to give estimates in terms of time required for the whole project, the total cost and time of completion. This aspect, when estimated, enables easy management of the whole project.
Managers would have an easier time in controlling and directing activities that are aimed at perfection of work as required by the client. Inadequate estimation would thus result in lacking resources abruptly and subsequent stoppage of the work on the project. This would lead to prolonged project time and extra costs (Wysocki 2012, p192).
These costs would not have been budgeted for and hence would initiate losses within the project. For instance, Denver Airport Automated Babbage System project was not properly estimated when it was started. This resulted to the extra cost towards it and subsequent failure that would be attributed poor quality work (Chin 2004, p126). Proper estimation would be achieved using an estimation model at initial stages.
This process is required at early stages before the project is started. In the case of Denver Airport Automated Baggage System, estimation was improperly done, and this resulted into under-estimation that would be solved by the addition of more capital (Jalote 2004, p52).
Holding the management responsible
The project manager would be liable for any work done by the finance manager or the accountant of the project. Requirements stipulate that the project manager should select his or her own staff members. This puts responsibility on managers for any action taken by their junior staff within the project. For instance, Denver Airport Automated Baggage System project was not adequately estimated in terms of time of completion.
This was evident when they were required to do an abrupt demonstration in the media. This resulted in many errors that reflected that the whole project would be a failure. Therefore, the project manager would employ a qualified person to do estimations relating to the project. He or she would have carried out interviews that would enable them select the best people for work within the firm.
This would have resulted into proper estimation that would not result into poor and inadequate estimations. A qualified individual would ensure that estimation is done correctly and happenings related to minimized or catered for in the plans. Thus, managers take up responsibility for failure of the project. This is indirectly linked to him because they must own the work of those they have employed.
When it comes to inadequate scheduling, planning of activities and time allocation are considered. These must be balanced to ensure that correct action plans are applied. This would involve the formulation of a timetable of activities that allocate time to these activities. This would ensure that all activities are considered. The failure of a project would result to the project manager being blamed for the same.
The scheduling manager is brought into the limelight as this would be his work. This affects other departments within the project and would lead to their failure. Project management involves integration of activities within the project to achieve results (Field & Keller 1998, p10).
All departments are equally valuable and supplement each other. For, instance, one departments’ products may be raw materials for another section. Therefore, failure in one department or section would adversely affect all departments that would be linked to it. This requires that each department watches over the other in the organization to attain organizational goal.
In regard to Denver Airport Automated Baggage System project, a number of departments failed in their work. Among them are the accounting department and the Scheduling departments. This led to the overall failure of the project and subsequent consequences thereafter.
This would imply that those at managerial positions in those departments were not competent in their work. Thus, it is justified to hold them accountable for the failure of the project (Verzuh 2012, p255).
Conflicting priories among those in managerial would also contribute to failure of the project. This would result in a situation whereby managers believe that their tasks are urgent and influential than those of others. This would bring confusions in resource allocation. Subsequently, differences may arise between those in managerial positions and the result would be a failure of the project.
This is because integration is crucial in projects and when ignored, failure occurs. This would have been the case in Denver Airport Automated Baggage System project. This led to the entire project failing and losses that affected all individuals that were involved in implementation of the project (Kloppenborg & Petrick 2002, p29).
Actions to be taken by the management
On the issue of conflicting priorities, certain actions would be taken by those in management positions. They would include evaluating the resources that are availed by the project, ensuring that there exist no interruptions within departments, delegating tasks together with responsibility and avoiding problems within the project premises.
The other action that would be taken would be tackling stress among the members and reducing it to the minimal levels. Those in managerial positions would come together and decide on activities that needed prioritization and those that would be done later. The use of a system to manage priorities would also solve problems related to the conflicting priorities.
This would ensure that human error is eliminated, and there is consistency in the priority assignment. Those in managerial positions would also be enlightened that managing conflicts would require them to manage themselves before managing other issues.
Inadequate scheduling would be solved by having qualified officer on the ground that would be concerned with timetable construction. This would ensure that all activities are looked into and given consideration when allocating time. This would ensure that all activities are carried out within the specified time.
This would ensure efficiency that would be as a result of proper monitoring. Having automated systems within the project that are dedicated to carrying out scheduling activities would deal with inadequacy in scheduling.
Inadequate estimation would be curbed by having qualified personnel within the project. This would ensure that proper estimations that would be realistic are put in place. For instance, the experts would employ the use of mathematical formulae and projection analysis. This would result to proper estimates that would ensure the success of the project (Jones 2007, p101).
Difficulties associated with cost would be solved by having qualified accounts and auditors for the whole project, this would ensure that the work done by the accountant is audited and mistakes corrected by the auditor. The estimates by the accountant should also be realistic and within range; what is affordable for the client.
Inadequate planning would be solved by having trained experts. For instance, the project manager would come up with a team that would be given the responsibility of planning for the activities of the project. These activities should be achievable within stated time limits.
The likelihood of success should also be determined before the project kicks off. Such precautions would ensure that the project becomes a success (Gibbs 2007, p163).
Key lessons for the project management practices
Project management is an activity that requires cooperation for its success. Usually, it requires that individuals should relate well and organize themselves. This would lead to the organization of their departments. This would also lead to the overall completion of projects on time and successfully. When it comes to the issue of priorities, those in management should work as a team.
For instance, they would agree on a mode or system of setting priorities. This would solve their differences on what has to be done first and what to be done later. This would be achieved by having a system that would run activities. Issues of scheduling would also be tackled using the system to enhance adequate time allocation for activities.
On the issue of cost estimation, a qualified accountant would be assigned that work. He would be required to formulate realistic estimates and create provisions that would cater for deficits when the project would kick off. This would be ascertained by an auditor within the project premises to ensure accountability. The project should be implemented within the allocated budget (Chemuturi & Cagley 2010, p58).
Scheduling should also be taken seriously in regard to project management. This would serve to allocate individuals tasks that would be efficiently done. It would also entail assigning people and equipment in their area of specialization.
Planning is also necessary for the success of projects that are aimed at achieving goals and objectives. Plans should be done on what can be achieved and should be reviewed by several individuals before they are started. Difficulties that would be associated with the project should be critically reviewed. Chances of failure and success should be determined and decisions made on these issues.
This might have been the factor that led to the failure in implementing the Denver Airport Automated Baggage System (DAABS) project. Hence, projects should be started when everything concerning them has been confirmed to be successful (Hendrickson & Au 1989, p06).
Having qualified and motivated employees to carry out activities would be a step to the success of the project. Therefore, having dedicated employees who are working towards achieving objectives would be of significance to completion of projects.
Team work is necessary for achievement of project goals (Frigenti & Comninos 2001, p159). An organization needs a strong dedicated team who are working to achieve goals to promote success of their set policies. A strong organization is defined by the workers who strive to ensure goal achievement (Heerkens 2007, p38).
List of References
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Camillus, C, 1986, Strategic planning and management control: Systems for survival and success, Mass Lexington Books, Lexington.
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Comninos, D & Frigenti, E, 2001, The practice of project management: A guide to the business-focused approach, Kogan Page, London.
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