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Vis-Hawal Motorcycles is a leading manufacturer of medium-sized motorcycle cruisers. The machines produced by the company fall under the middleweight category. The size of the engines ranges from 500cc to 1000cc. The company intends to diversify its production line to include motorcycles with large motors. The proposed machines are in the touring class with engine sizes that are larger than 1100cc. The following report details the project plan whose objectives are expected to be realized within the next five years.
According to the Project Management Institute [PMI] (2004), organization refers to a group of people that come together to realize common objectives. The individuals need to coordinate their activities. For this to occur, effective communication is needed. In addition, an understanding of the various relationships and interdependencies between these parties is required.
The project for Vis-Hawal’s touring class motorcycles requires an organizational structure that will sustain production and help in the realization of the long-term objectives of the firm. The pure product (projectized) organization is the selected approach for Vis-Hawal motorcycles project. According to PMI (2004), the strategy is developed as a division of another entity. The structure is suitable in situations where a continuous flow of project exists. It is ideal for the five year duration of the projected production of touring class motorcycles. The figure below indicates the structure of a pure product organization:
The motorcycle development project will involve various activities and phases to attain the final product. According to White and Fortune (2002), a project undergoes five ‘groups’ of processes. They include initiation and planning. The others involve project execution, monitoring and control, and closure (Kerzner & Saladis, 2013). The five process groups should be adopted by Vis-Hawal for the production of the touring class motorcycles.
Project initiation involves appraisal of the undertaking, staffing, and preparation of various documents sanctioning the proposed development. Planning, on its part, involves defining work requirements, as well as the quantity and quality of labor. In addition, definition of required resources, scheduling of activities, and evaluation of risks is carried out in the planning phase. Project execution entails getting the team members to work and directing and managing their activities (Miller & Floricel, 2004). Monitoring and controlling the project includes tracking progress and comparing the actual outcomes with the predicted results. In case of any variances, adjustments are made at this phase of the project (Kerzner, 2013).
The final step involves the closure of the project. With regards to the production of Vis-Hawal touring class motorcycles, this will take place after five years. The process will involve making the production of the new motorcycles part of the company’s daily operations. It will include making sure that all the activities that had been planned for have been achieved. In addition, administrative closure regarding paperwork and finances will be undertaken (Lok & Crawford, 2004).
The selection of the organizational structure and process model for the project is based on a number of merits. The objectives of the company are long term. The situation calls for an organizational structure with minimal disruptions to normal operations of the company. The entire team involved in the undertaking will be required to report to one project manager. As such, communication will be very effective (Kerzner, 2013). In addition, reaction time for the project will be enhanced. The structure also ensures that the team is dedicated to the attainment of the objectives (Hillson, 2003).
The only major shortcoming of the structure adopted for the project is the fact that the organization’s maintenance costs will increase (Miller & Floricel, 2004). The individuals working on the project cannot be used to carry out other activities. On the contrary, the team members will be completely dedicated to this particular project.
Strategy for the Touring Class Motorcycles Project
The stage process will be used as the preferred strategy for executing Vis-Hawal’s development project. According to PMI (2004), the process is made up of various stages and gates. Stages constitute the activities that can be undertaken either in parallel or in series. Carrying out these tasks depends on the level of risks that the project team can endure (White & Fortune, 2002). Cross-functional teams manage these stages.
Gates, on the other hand, involve structured decision points. The points occur at the termination of each stage (White & Fortune, 2002). Using this strategy helps the management to strike a balance between short and long term objectives of the company. The project manager at Vis-Hawal will require a set of crucial resources to achieve the envisaged objectives. The resources include manpower, money, and other facilities. In addition, equipment, materials, as well as information technology will play a vital role in the development of the motorcycles.
Project Management and Leadership Styles
Effective leadership is an essential component of every project. The leadership behavior has significant impacts on the success of project management. According to Limsila and Ogunlana (2008), many projects face problems that can be traced back to the managers. There are three main leadership styles that can be used in project management. They include laissez-faire (non-leadership), transactional, and transformational styles (Lok & Crawford, 2004).
Under laissez-faire, the leader avoids the subordinates (Limsila & Ogunlana, 2008). In addition, they may completely abstain from the responsibilities of a conventional superior. They may even avoid building relationships with their employees. The approach is associated with high levels of dissatisfaction. It is also known to be ineffective and quite unproductive (Kerzner & Saladis, 2013).
The transactional style is different from the one mentioned above. For example, it pays attention to the security and other aspects of the employees’ welfare (Limsila & Ogunlana, 2008). A unique connection exists between the leadership and the team members. The link is based on a reward scheme. Under transformational leadership style, the leader encourages team members to make extra effort and move beyond their previous expectations (Limsila & Ogunlana, 2008; Lok & Crawford, 2004). Team members operating under transformational leaders exhibit trust, loyalty, admiration, and respect for their superiors. Consequently, they are motivated to undertake extra roles in the project.
Vis-Hawal should adopt a transformational leadership style to manage the proposed project. The project is a long-term endeavor. As such, the manager should strive to build working relationships with the team members given the duration they are going to be together.
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Risk Mitigation Strategies
According to Besner and Hobbs (2012), risk management involves identification of the threats facing the project. It also involves analyzing and planning for a response mechanism to deal with the risks. Monitoring and control of possible threats is another element of this undertaking. Responses to the various risks and opportunities likely to affect the realization of the envisaged goals are also addressed.
One of the strategies that can be used to manage threats in the proposed project is the risk breakdown structure (RBS). The approach is derived from the work breakdown structure [WBS] (Hillson, 2003). The WBS groups project elements in a deliverables-oriented manner. It defines the scope of work in the venture (Besner & Hobbs, 2012).
RBS adopts the same approach as WBS. It also structures problems in relation to risk management and adopts the full hierarchical approach of WBS (Hillson, 2003). Numerous levels of threats are identified to enhance their effective management. According to Besner and Hobbs (2012), this risk management strategy enhances communication between the team members and the organization. Key members are updated on matters pertaining to the project.
The organization should put in place tracking systems that are accessible to the relevant team members. In this system, the overall project plan and the associated risks are documented. Consequently, tracking milestones are provided. They indicate the occurrence and passage of significant events. In addition, continuous risk assessment is made possible. Individuals can identify major threats at any point of the project lifecycle (PMI, 2004).
A flexible planning strategy can also be used to mitigate the risks associated with Vis-Hawal touring class motorcycles’ project. It is not desirable for a project manager to alter the plan indiscriminately. However, changing approaches is essential in cases where new information is made available (Hillson, 2003). Hillson (2003) postulates that evolutionary prototyping and the spiral model of system development can be used in flexible planning. The use of these methods enables team members to develop initial prototypes in a timely manner. In addition, implementation of ‘best understood’ components of the system is made possible.
The methods highlighted above also facilitate the development of ‘succeeding’ versions of a new product. It is a response to the increasing complexity of problems that the venture attempts to address. The project tracking strategy will also help team members to learn from their past mistakes. In addition, the proposed risk mitigation strategies complement each other. The combination of the various mitigation approaches addresses all aspects of the envisaged project (Hillson, 2003). Team members are able to borrow from solutions used to address risks identified in the past.
Project management is a tedious undertaking that involves massive inputs and high expectations in relation to outputs. Managers face many challenges as they work to realize the objectives. Some of the challenges include limited timelines, poor management of team members, and inadequate resources. Realization of the objectives set out for Vis-Hawal’s project is a major challenge to the company. However, proper planning and effective management of risks and resources will make it possible to achieve these goals.
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