This paper is aimed at examining several questions related to project management. In the first section, such a concept as stakeholder is examined. Furthermore, this section includes a strategy for communicating with different stakeholders. Additionally, this paper highlights the differences between agile management and PMBoK.
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Furthermore, it is important to evaluate their applicability to a specific project such as the construction of Wembley Stadium. Moreover, much attention is paid to project scope, especially the need to make a list of items that have be excluded. Finally, this report throws light on the problems associated with the management of multi-cultural teams and outlines the methods of addressing them.
Within the context of project management, the word stakeholder can be defined as any individual or “organisation that is actively involved in a project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by execution or completion of the project” (Pries & Quigley 2012, p. 84).
This definition is more beneficial because it helps managers consider the interests of different people and agencies. It should be noted that sometimes, scholars focus only on those people who are involved in the completion of a project (Hill 2014; Gunsteren 2011).
In other words, they can be viewed as the main beneficiaries of a certain business activity. Nevertheless, this interpretation does not enable people to consider a wide range of impacts produced by a certain project. A more inclusive definition of this term is important for identifying the main risks associated with the activities of businesses and governmental agencies. This is one of the details that should be taken account.
Overall, stakeholder management is critical for effective implementation of various projects. For instance, by interacting with different managers, business administrators can identify the problems or weaknesses of a project. Additionally, these people can offer valuable recommendations regarding its implementation.
One should keep in mind that sometimes, people may object to a project. For example, one can speak about infrastructural projects that may require the use of eminent domain. So, it is critical to consider the concerns of these people and find ways of reconciling conflicts. This is why this element of project management should not be overlooked.
Managers need to develop the strategy for communicating with different stakeholders. In particular, these people should be divided into two large groups, namely internal and external stakeholders. Some of them have a vested interest in the execution of a project. For example, one can speak about investors. In turn, other people may want to know whether a specific project can infringe on their interests in any way.
This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about the use of land belonging to the residents of the community. Additionally, one should identify their information needs and develop communication methods that can satisfy these needs (Sanghera 2007). Furthermore, the communication strategy should distinguish different types of documents that can be shared with external and internal stakeholders.
For instance, investors or customers may want to learn about the way in which capital is used. Additionally, it is important to single out communication channels that are necessary for the interactions between stakeholders. For example, managers and employees can communicate with the help of such tools as emails, phone, Intranet sites, video chats, and so forth.
Moreover, the management can interact with external stakeholders with the help of press releases such as Internet publications. Apart from that, it is necessary to show how different stakeholders can get in contract with the main decision-makers. Overall, one should adopt the so-called open door policy which implies that different workers can communicate with managers and senior executives without facing any bureaucratic difficulties (Ward 2011, p. 291).
These people may need to express concerns about the implementation of a project. These are the main elements of this communication approach. Overall, this strategy is designed for a project that can influence various members of the community. Thus, it may potentially produce negative externalities on other people.
It is possible to identify several strengths and weaknesses of this strategy. The main advantage is that it shows how stakeholders and managers can interact with each other. In particular, it does not exclude external stakeholders who may want to know about various impacts of the project.
It is critical to ensure that the interests of these people are not disregarded; since this neglect can lead to significant problems such as lawsuits. Additionally, this strategy can eliminate bureaucratic barriers through the adoption of open-door policy. This principle is important for identifying possible risks at the early stages (Ward 2011, p. 291).
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Admittedly, there are some weaknesses that should be considered. In particular, project managers are the main agents guiding communication process. This strategy does not support the interaction between community members and employees working on the project.
However, managers have to coordinate the interactions between different stakeholders. This is why they play the most prominent role. Furthermore, the restrictions included in this strategy are necessary to preserve confidential information. So, these limitations have to be accepted. These are the main details that can be singled out.
There are several popular approaches to implementing projects; among them, one can distinguish such techniques as agile management and PMBoK (Project Management Body of Knowledge). They represent different perceptions of the way in which different tasks can be performed.
It should be mentioned that PMBoK describes project implementation as a linear process incorporating such stages as “initiating, planning, execution, controlling, and closure” (Sobh 2008, p. 378). These parts can be viewed as sequential stages, and in most cases, their order cannot be reversed or rearranged in any way. In contrast, agile management lays stress on the importance of change as an inseparable part of project management (Cobb 2011).
This model implies that the initial requirements can evolve considerably in the course of project implementation (Sobh 2008, p. 378). In many cases, clients need to see the prototype in order to identify requirements and describe functionality (Nicholas, & Steyn 2012). These are the main distinctions between these methods.
It is possible to illustrate the way in which project managers can evaluate the appropriateness of these approaches. This case can be better examined by looking at such a project as the construction of Wembley Stadium. One can say that agile management was not fully appropriate for the needs for constructors.
Instead, they applied the techniques which were more compatible with PMBoK approach1. At first, one should mention that the construction of stadiums represents the area that has been well examined. In this case, researchers and engineers have already identified a set of best practices (John, Sheard & Vickery 2007).
Thus, clients can understand the attributes of the final product almost at the begining. In contrast, agile methodology implies that initial requirements may not coincide with the attributes of the final product (John et al 2007). In most cases, this approach is applied to the design of software, rather than infrastructural development (Sobh 2008). This is one of the details that should be considered.
Additionally, one keep in mind that in this case, planners were able to identify the main uses of the stadium. For example, it had to host football or rugby matches. Furthermore, it was expected that Wembley would become one of the largest concert venues in London.
Additionally, construction projects are highly regulated by various governmental agencies. These organisations want to make sure that safety requirements are met. Thus, many of the design and construction decisions are often standardised. This is another reason why the main functional requirements could be identified at the stage of planning.
Apart from that, one should bear in mind that the modification of construction projects can be very expensive and time-consuming. These difficulties are particularly dangerous if an organisation has to meet stringent deadlines and budget restraints (Fish 2012). Attempts to bring changes at the stage of execution can be particularly challenging because many of the resources have already been used.
Furthermore, one can speak about the conflicts between clients and contractors. As a rule, such disputes occur due to increasing costs of the project. In many cases, these disagreements may result in legal conflicts. This is why the use of agile management is not fully suitable. Certainly, there were some difficulties which emerged during the implementation of the projects. In particular, one should speak about delays during construction.
Nevertheless, such difficulties are widespread, and they can be mitigated with the help of effective scheduling and time management. Furthermore, one should bear in mind that there were some technical problems and it was necessary to change one of subcontractors.
Moreover, changes were made in the scope of the project and some functional attributes had to be removed. Yet, the scope was modified at the early stages. However, at the very beginning, the planners could clearly the main project requirements. Overall, the selection of PMBoK was quite appropriate for the needs of this project.
One should not suppose that the principles of agile management are completely inapplicable to this case. For example, one can speak about the need to involve users in project implementation. These people can identify possible problems at the early stages.
However, in this case, it is impossible to ensure frequent delivery of products that are parts of this project. This is one of the details that should be taken into account. On the whole, this case illustrate that the choice of the project management technique depends on various criteria such ability of customers to identify the attributes of the final product, costs, time restraints, and so forth.
The scope of the project can be defined in different ways. In particular, this term can be described as the main tasks that team members should do in order to create a certain product which has certain attributes (Vargas 2007). Apart from that, this notion is used to refer to the main functional characteristics of the final product (Vargas 2007).
The second definition is usually more useful because it can be applied to measure that progress that a team has made during a certain period. In turn, the first interpretation is not closely related to the results that should be attained. This is one of the limitations that should be distinguished. Additionally, researchers note that managers should draw a distinct line between deliverables and activities involved in the project at the very beginning (Greer 2002). This is one of the issues that should not be overlooked.
On the whole, scoping decisions have significant implications for the costs of a project and its duration (Schwalbe 2008). It is important to identify those features that have been excluded from the scope. Although many project managers focus on the items or functional characteristics that should be delivered, but it is also vital to pinpoint those deliverables that will not be included.
At first, this step can be important for reducing the costs of a project. If designers and construction companies can clearly understand customers’ expectations, they will be able to work more efficiently and minimise delays (Schwalbe 2008). More importantly, in this way, one can avoid conflicts between clients and organisations that are responsible for the implementation of a project (Shephard 2006).
Sometimes, customers may assume that their expectations are self-evident. Furthermore, they can ask why a certain deliverable was not included in the project (Schwalbe 2008; Greer 2002). Thus, they can blame contractors or designers. As a result, there is a significant risk of legal conflicts that can hinder the implementation of a project or even completely undermine it.
This risk becomes particularly dangerous at the time when the project has already reached the stage of execution. Furthermore, the reputation of both clients and constructing companies can be damaged significantly. As a rule, planners have to exclude certain deliverables at the point when certain technical and financial problems arise. These issues should be clarified at the initial stages. These are some of the issues that should be addressed as quickly as possible.
This argument is relevant if one speaks about the construction of Wembley Stadium. Initially, it was expected that this venue could host athletic competitions that are a critical part of the Olympic Games. Nevertheless, later it became clear that a single venue could not adequately accommodate for rugby, football, and athletic competitions (Virginov, 2013, p. 52).
At the stage of design, it became obvious that this goal could not be achieved due to time constraints and lack of space. Additionally, the designers and constructors clearly stated that Wembley Stadium could not accommodate a hotel (Lowe 2013). One should bear in mind that some constructing companies strive to make sure that a stadium can incorporate a hotel in its structure (Lowe 2013). This design choice can be important for increasing returns on a project and attracting a greater number of tourists.
Thirdly, one should mention that the project planners decided to limit the expansion of hospitality suits. These choices were made by governmental agencies when it became clear that the project would too expensive. Furthermore, the construction process could become too time-consuming. These are the main rationales underlying these decisions.
Thus, the scoping exclusions were necessary to avoid the failure of the project which was critical for the Olympic Games. This case demonstrates the construction projects can lead to different complexities that can take origins in technical or budgetary limitations. Finally, time constraints can be viewed as another important barrier that should be taken into account.
Overall, this discussion indicates that scoping decisions can have profound implications for the implementation of any project. They can be critical for avoiding such pitfalls as excessive costs, delays, and legal disputes that can produce disastrous effects.
In many cases, scoping exclusions have to be made at the time when designers and planners identify potential barriers to the implementation of a project. At this point, they need to identify the objectives that will not be attained. These are the main details that can be distinguished since they have profound implications for the work of large organisations and vital projects.
A project manager, who works in a multi-cultural environment, may have to deal with several challenges. At first, one should consider the problems resulting from the differences in values and attitudes. For example, in some countries, the power distance between managers and employers is rather short (Ting-Toomey 2012; Binder 2012).
Therefore, workers may be reluctant to take initiatives without asking the permission of senior executives. This argument is partly relevant if one speaks about some Asian countries such as China. In contrast, in Europe or North America, this power distance is much shorter, and workers are usually more encouraged to take independent initiatives.
Under such circumstances, employees may be more willing to act as decision-makers. These differences can lead to delays or conflicts between executives and managers. In order to avoid such problems, one should clearly identify the rules of communication. In particular, a project manager should develop a communication strategy that enables team members to get in contact with one another as quickly as possible.
This issue is important for the discussion of possible changes, recommendations, difficulties, and so forth. Furthermore, a project manager should identify those cases when a person can act independently. By empowering workers, one can make sure that minor problems can be addressed as quickly as possible. Thus, the efficiency of cooperation can be significantly increased.
It is also important to mention that people representing different cultures may have different attitudes towards conflicts. For example, some employees may believe that a conflict or a disagreement can be beneficial in many cases, since very often it can help people understand the strengths and weaknesses of the current business practices.
However, in some cultures, people prefer to avoid conflicts since they are mostly associated with rudeness and disrespect (Witoszek & Trägårdh 2002). This difference can lead to significant problems such as groupthink or unwillingness to critique the opinions of the majority (Hetzel 2013). In order to overcome this difficulty, the manager should implement the so-called open-door policy which encourages people to discuss the most urgent issues as quickly as possible.
Secondly, the manger may ask team members to offer their suggestions or critique via email, if they do not want to enter into a direct conflict with their colleagues. Certainly, managers should not assume that existing theoretical frameworks can always predict the behavior of people representing different cultures. One should keep in mind that cultures can change significantly in the course of their interactions with one another (Jais 2007).
Thus, a manager should avoid stereotypes while working in multicultural teams. These are some of the main suggestions that should be considered. Additionally, one should bear in mind that cultures can differ in term of gender relations. This issue becomes particularly acute if one speaks about the role of women and their status in the workplace.
Furthermore, there is a risk of hostilities between the representatives of different religious or ethnic groups. In order to minimise the risk of such problems, the manager must clearly state that any discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion, or any other criteria is utterly inadmissible. Furthermore, it can immediately result in the termination of contract.
Although such measures may seem to be rather harsh, they are very useful for reducing the risk of discrimination in the workplace. Furthermore, possible difficulties can arise at the time when team members are located in different countries or even continents. For example, these people can be located in different time zones, and their cooperation can be significantly impaired.
This problem can be addressed in different ways. To some degree, this problem can be resolved through careful planning and allocation of duties. Additionally, one should make sure that workers are able to work autonomously. If this goal is achieved, the risks of delays will be significantly reduced. Furthermore, one should apply various communication technologies such as Intranet sites, emails, VoIP (voice over IP) technologies, and so forth.
These are some of the technical problems that project managers should not overlook. Yet, the impact of these challenges can be mitigated. Overall, these examples show a project managers should be skilled in cross-cultural management. These professionals should understand how the values and worldviews of people can influence their workplace behaviors.
This person should bear in mind that cultural difference should not be confused with incompetence, carelessness, or rudeness. Such an assumption can produce disastrous effects on the work of teams and hinder the implementation of any project.
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1 Please refer to the Appendix to see the decision tree.