A project can be described as a temporary endeavor that is undertaken by an organisation with an aim of providing it with a new products or services (Lock 2007, p. 5). Projects are characterised by new features, which serve the role of creating a distinction between the new and the old functions carried out by a firm on a daily basis. Thus, a project can be carried out by functional-based organisation or a project-based organisation.
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However, different projects call for different necessities in achieving projects’ objectives; these necessities are often termed as project’s resources. This paper will focus on project management of a bakery firm known as CME, which is a functional firm that has introduced health and fitness project to improve the performance of its employees.
I will provide an informed report on the team’s project management by reflecting on critical issues, including group achievement, lesson learnt from working in a group, course elements, individual contribution to the project, and individual learning on project management.
To start with, this project was aimed at improving the performance of the employees. The primary objective of this project was to manage the weight of the employees, and consequently reduce their levels of stress. In this regard, the specialist came up with a target of reducing the weight of all employees to below 130 kg in order to enable the firm get the best out of them.
To achieve this end, the project came up with recreational programs, including bowling game, lawn tennis, and soccer, among other sports. In addition to this, the project aimed at facilitating a financial benefit for the firm though saving $ 50 from each employee. And with about 500 employees in the firm, the total savings expected were $ 2500 per year, which were to be realised after the firm negotiates lower insurance premium.
To measure these targets against the actual, the project management collected data on improvement of employees’ weight, as this helped to determine whether the project was viable in achieving the organisation’s objectives.
However, even though the project did not attain the set target of ensuring that every employee was below the weight of 130 kg, I am contended with the specialist report since it managed to improve the health status of the employees, and this turned to be beneficial to their morale towards work performance. Thus, the project does not fall short of its expectation even though it did not fully achieve its objectives.
In addition to this, the management products achieved by the project team proved to be of paramount importance in revealing the success of the project, given that the main objective of this project was to have a workforce that is motivated through recreation activities away from their functional duties.
More so, the management products were based on a coordinated group that was able to work as a single unit that reflected the attitudes of every employee, and as such, they were able to establish that not all employees would fit in one type of recreation. I am therefore contented with the management products since they provided a number of recreational facilities aimed at ensuring that every employee is accommodated into the project.
One of the factors that helped in planning and delivering of the project is the fact that these employees embrace informal activities that facilitate motivation and increase their levels of morale as they carry out their functional duties.
However, the planning process was hindered by the fact that the project managers were not able to comprehend the overall responsibility of the functional managers with regard to the human resource management, as well as the degree to which they could be consulted on a particular issue in the project management (Lager 2010, p. 136).
Lesson Learnt From Working in a Group
Initiating a project in this organisation helped me learn to substantiate the notion that planning and delivering a project is not only limited to time and financial constrains but also to allocation of human resources (Rosenau & Githens 2005, p. 196). This emanates from the fact that many projects are faced with the challenges of teamwork, especially between the project team managers and the functional team managers due to poor definition of responsibilities.
Such misunderstanding has necessitated the need for assessing whether project work should be prioritised over functional work. For this reason, I felt that working in a group should entail a clear definition of human resource allocation, which should be facilitated by coming up with a list indicating the functional and the project activities to be undertaken alongside the every undertaker; this should be established through a Work Breakdown Structure (Norman, Brotherton, & Fried 2008, p. 5).
However, the impact of other people in the group helped me establish that a matrix organisation is bound to experience challenges when it comes to making commitments to management of projects in cases where functional tasks offer greater advantages than the project tasks (Kerzner & Saladis 2009, p. 123).
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However, the most successful part of the experience is that the project adopted a balanced project matrix, which facilitated a framework that was integrated in a manner that enabled the organisation to work as one team (Gottlieb 2007, p. 63). In this regard, the project managers had full control of the project, while the functional managers determined and allocated the workers’ schedule.
On the other hand, the least successful part was the fact that the employees were subjected to reporting to both the project manager as well as the functional managers, and this violated the fayol’s principle, which ensures employees effectiveness in an organisation through one, clear line of command (Miller 2008, p. 18).
But one thing that I would do in future is to encourage teamwork because the presence of active members within a team has the capacity of prompting other members’ desires to be equipped with the challenging tasks of the project.
Reflection on Course Elements
The principles to planning documents and approach were effective in the sense that they encompassed both the core processes as well as facilitating processes of the project implementation. While the facilitating process entailed obtaining knowledge on different types of recreation preferred by the workers, the core processes defined the cost of the activities intended to be undertaken, the project’s resources planning, and the judgment of duration of time for the recreational activities (Cleland 2004, p. 342).
An effective budgeting plan of the project’s costs and returns facilitated the planning process. This approach was adopted in order to ascertain that the success of the project entailed ensuring that the project tasks are completed within the time specified, as this holds promise in ensuring sustainability of the firm
However, it came to my attention that a number of course inputs were necessary in enabling future students to understand project management, and these include finding ways and means of solutions to capital resources and, most importantly, to human resource management.
But even though the planning process was not able to determine all the human resource requirements, the planning documents and approach for the project can be termed as appropriate owing to the fact that it was able to determine the capital resources requirements.
In addition to this, the equipments that were selected were not only based on availability basis, but were closely associated with the subject matter. Thus, the initial process was to define the resource requirements, and this called for listing the roles and responsibilities of the project. More so, the resource gaps were identified primarily for gaining a clear view on how this project can achieve its goals using the available resources (Kendrick 2009, p. 76).
Reflection on Individual Contribution to the Project
The maintenance roles played a critical role in facilitating effectiveness of the group (Lussier 2009, p. 149). This was clearly portrayed during group meetings as well as during the brainstorming sessions aimed at improving the project goals. The brainstorming sessions attracted active participation from all workers regardless of their attitude towards the project.
In this case, I am contented with my contribution, which entailed establishing how the functional and project managers would achieve trust and loyalty amongst themselves. I did this by brainstorming on the role of the project matrix organisation. This issue helped to highlight how the project tasks can be effectively achieved without interfering with the functional tasks of the organisation.
The initial stages of the project were marked with an increase in technological skills as well as an increase in expertise from all individuals since the project tasks and functional tasks were perfomed within the same vicinity, and this created room for close ties between both functions (Gottlieb 2007, p.76).
However, I was least successful at poiting out the person who should bear the full responsibility of ensuring that the project achieves its objectives. I was hindered by the fact that the project encompased a number of commands, thereby creating little knowledge on the overall leader of the project management. With this in mind, it came to my atention that the other members of the team eventually lacked project ownership as the project advanced, pehaps due to low levels of motivation with regard to work recognition.
What I would do diffrently in the meeting is to brainstorm on the need of adopting a strong Project matrix , which is aimed at ensuring that the project manager oversees the effective implementation of the overall project (Gottlieb 2007, p. 89). In turn, this would help the team reap all the project’s benefits from its onset to its final stages.
Reflection on Individual Learning
Being a member of the project, I gained diverse skills in project management tools aimed at attaining the project’s accountability. These tools include the Work breakdown Structure (WBS) and the responsibility matrix. In this case, I was able to learn that a WBS is a project management tool that is normally employed by project managers in defining and organising the whole scope of a project (Norman, Brotherton & Fried 2008, p. 30).
It does this by breaking down the complex parts of the project into smaller, achievable, and convenient pieces of tasks. This structure helps to illustrate crucial group activities that constitute the main segment of the project. The responsibility matrix, on the other hand, takes into account a large number of variables and participants, and therefore, it plays a major role in ascertaining that the entire project is running efficiently.
In addition to this, I learnt that a resource leveling is paramount in project management since it is a project management tool used to examine unbalanced use of resources within a project. Thus, I gained knowledge of how a project can use the resource leveling to establish ways of finishing the project using the readily accessible resources (Norman, Brotherton & Fried 2008, p. 124).
More over, I was in aposition of obtaining group working skills since I was able to establish that groupwork entails sharing of available resources between the functional and the project tasks.
This helped me realise that managers should facilitate flexibility between the functional tasks and the project tasks by holding meetings aimed at helping to define the role of the projects, time allocated for the project, effective scheduling of the project’s task, defination of targets for the functional and project tasks, as well as good interpersonal skills between the employees, as well as between the managers of the project team and functional teams (Heagney 2012, p. 38).
More over, I learn that the project should ensure that it carries out a performance appraisal process that links the project tasks with the functional tasks. For case in point, the management should be able to define whether extending time in the project’s tasks would amount to overtime payment as it is in the case of functional tasks.
More so, the managers should elaborate on how promotion through work recognition can be achieved from the projects tasks. In doing so, the team will be in a position of achieving its goals through a holistic approach (Heagney 2012, p. 39).
I would update my resume to show my skills, abilities, and knowledge by stating the following: I have an enormous interest in the field of project management. I am thrilled by the idea of how a project’s tasks can be effectively integrated into a functional firm, and this is exactly why I decided to major as a management student in my university studies. My choice for this career did not only emanate from information received from the faculty, but it is also attributed to my personality, which is of great use to project management skills.
I have strived throughout my university education trying to master all the skills applicable in project management and found out that projects are not only faced with the time constraints and limitation of capital resources, but human resource management plays the most critical role in managing these projects.
As such, I have gained knowledge that the workers of functional teams cannot reap any benefit from projects if the tasks are not linked with motivating factors. More so, a good interpersonal relationship between the project managers and the functional managers is called for. This knowledge enables me to be of paramount importance in managing projects through a viable project management framework.
List of References
Cleland, D 2004, Field guide to project management, JohnWiley, Hoboken, N.J.
Gottlieb, M 2007, The matrix organization reloaded: Adventures in team and project management, Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT.
Heagney, J 2012, Fundamentals of project management, American Management Association, New York.
Kendrick, T 2009, Identifying and managing project risk: Essential tools for failure-proofing your project, AMACON, New York.
Kerzner, H & Saladis, F 2009, What functional managers need to know about project management, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J.
Lager, T 2010, Managing process innovation: From idea generation to implementation, Imperial College Press, London.
Lock, D 2007, Project management, Gower Press, Farnborough.
Lussier, R 2009, Management fundamentals: Concepts, applications, skill development, South-Western, Mason, OH.
Miller, K 2008, Organizational communication: Approaches and processes, Thomson/Wadsworth, Belmont, CA.
Norman, E, Brotherton, S, & Fried, R 2008, Work breakdown structures: The foundation for project management excellence, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J.
Rosenau, M & Githens, G 2005, Successful project management: A step-by-step approach with practical examples, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, N.J.