Project Scheduling and Budgeting

Assessment item 1

Project Scheduling and Budgeting

Submission method: Turnitin ( Only Soft copy and NO HARD COPY ACCEPTED )

Task

Background:

Tool Belt Store (TBS) is expanding its chain of hardware stores across the country. TBS has more than 5,000 full-time employees and more than 20,000 part-time employees. TBS recently updated its strategic plan, and key goals including reducing internal costs, increasing cross-selling of products and exploiting new Web-based technologies to help employees, customers, and suppliers work together to improve the procurement, delivery and sale of its wide ranges of products (e.g. tools, machinery, etc.) and services (e.g. paint matching & mixing, kitchen & bathroom renovation, etc.).
The Information Technology department is developing an idea for an intranet application to help support these strategic goals, a Tool Planet” Intranet. The purpose of this intranet application is to help all employees improve access to supply chain information, involvement in retail outcomes, education regarding products and services, including online tools for sharing with customers (e.g. paint colour charts) and an idea database where strategic change ideas can be suggested and rewarded, where implemented.
A recent study showed that TBS cost of goods sold (COGS) is typically 10% more than the industry average for the retail and wholesale distribution sector. The board believes that this application will help improve sales, improve employee product knowledge, ownership of outcomes and morale, reduce inventory holdings, shorten time-to-delivery and reduce COGS within one year of rollout. This is expected to result in lower costs, higher sales at higher margins and, where appropriate, lower retail sales prices, providing net savings of at least $30 / Full Time Equivalent employee / year over the next 2 years (assumes 4 casual employees = 1 FTE).
This application should include the following capabilities:
o Allow employees to register for company sponsored sales initiatives with resulting benefits, e.g. rewards;
o Allow employees to register for company sponsored classes and programs to help them manage a wide range of issues from product knowledge, sales & service skills, through to supervision and management;
o Track data on employee involvement in these programs;
o Offer incentives for people to join the programs and do well in them.
o Analyse the data to correlate involvement with these programs and improvements in workplace involvement, process improvement, cost reduction and sales growth and other potentially identified benefits.
o Possibly include online access to employee benefits including salary/expense claims, leave entitlements, etc. Inclusion of these options has been expressed as a “nice to have” option.

Your task as project manager is to develop the following:

1. Prepare a project charter for this project. Assume the project will take 6 months to complete and cost about $200,000. Use the project charter template and examples of project charters in Chapters 3 and 4 as guidelines.

2. A project scope statement for the project which should be as specific as possible in describing product deliverables and requirements as well as all of the project goals. It should also include testing and training as part of the project.

3. Identify critical milestones and describe each of them using the SMART criteria.

4. Develop a Level 3 work breakdown structure (WBS) for the project which is based on the project scope you develop in task 1.

5. Using the WBS developed in task 3 create a Gantt chart using MS Project 2010 (or earlier version).

6. Using the Gantt chart from task 4 identify and or update your Gantt chart with the critical milestones from task 2, summary tasks as appropriate and include task durations and dependencies. The schedule goal for this project is 6 months.

7. After your project plan is completed and the critical path identified, demonstrate your ability to expedite at least one milestone by scheduling or increasing resources to at least one task . This should result in tangible savings in time /money/resource allocation to the project plan. Produce documentation showing the overall change to time and cost. (Hint: The selected milestone has to be on the critical path.)

8. Produce a finance plan or cash flow, a communication plan, a quality plan, a risk management plan, and a training plan for the project.

Assumptions:

You can assume that TBS would not need to purchase any additional hardware or software for the project.
Any other assumptions that you make must be realistic and fully documented (explained in detail).
Keep your WBS realistic. There is no minimum or maximum lines required, but identifying key activities (summary tasks) and several critical tasks for each should provide a realistic picture. Remember that you have to be able to show and present your strategy to a time-constrained sponsor who wants to see what you can deliver.
This is not an assignment that can be done at the last minute. It will require some planning, time to master/use appropriate software and possibly to mail in the assignment. Students should prepare for this as extensions are not available for this oversight.

Rationale

This assessment has been designed to allow you to show your ability to:
Be able to demonstrate how a practicing project manager actually applies project management skills, methods, techniques and tools ;
Be able to use an industry standard project management software tool (typically Microsoft Project 2010 or earlier, but can be any project software you are otherwise familiar with – see note above regarding merlin software for mac users);
Apply project management skills, methods, techniques and tools to a real world problem typical of a project manager;
Be able to describe what exactly a quality system is and how it is achieved in project development; and
Be able to identify how the disciplined application of quality assurance can lead to significant productivity gains.
Be able to demonstrate how to expedite project tasks during project delivery

Marking criteria

Marks given will be dependent on the quality of the answers and the suitability and correctness of the proposed project as represented in Microsoft Office Project 2010, (or Merlin) or other appropriate project software.
The following areas will be examined: milestones identified using SMART criteria, scope management, realistic schedule, development of a suitable work breakdown structure (WBS), cost management, human resource management, strategies to correct project falling behind schedule, descriptions of project status, standards and risk management, quality planning and EASE OF UNDERSTANDING by the project sponsor (the marker).
It is the student’s responsibility to submit the full project plan. Incomplete assignments will be marked accordingly and may not be reconsidered for a remark. Files or data on CD or other format will not be accessed or considered for marking.
Although this assignment is submitted as a project plan, all referencing in the project material must be in accordance with the APA style guide. A guide to the APA style of referencing (the style now used by the Faculty of Business) is available at: http://www.csu.edu.au/division/studserv/learning/pdfs/apa.pdf

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