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Considerations in Project Management

Introduction

  • Application of knowledge, skills, processes, methods
  • Achievement of objectives
  • Timescale, deliverables, and budget
  • Factors to consider
  • Ethics
  • International factors
  • Cross-cultural considerations
  • Time, cost, and quality

Project management is defined as the application of knowledge, skills, methods, and key processes in the attainment of specific goals. It is an important aspect in any organization’s attainment of goals and objectives. Its main features include deliverables, a budget, a team, and a timeline. There are several factors that managers should consider when managing projects. These include ethics, international factors, and cross-cultural influences. The success of a project is highly dependent on how well managers approach the aforementioned factors, which is influenced by their knowledge, skills, and experiences. The major components of project management include risk management, budget management, provider management, communication maintenance with involved stakeholders, and the monitoring of progress based on the plan.

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Ethics

  • Ethical values: integrity, openness, fairness
  • A code of conduct (Flyvbjerg, 2017)
  • Making appropriate decisions
  • People, resources, environment
  • Ethical decisions:
    • Reduce risk
    • Promote positive outcomes
    • Enhance trust

Ethics is an important aspect that guarantees success when managing projects. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), ethics entails making appropriate decisions that cater to people’s welfare, the environment, and the right allocation of resources (Flyvbjerg, 2017). There are several benefits of observing proper ethics in project management: risk reduction, the promotion of positive results, and the enhancement of success. In addition, it builds reputation and increases trust among stakeholders and the public. In project management, managers maintain observe codes of ethics by writing and presenting the correct reports, looking out for the interests of stakeholders, seeking the right authority level, and following the right process (Flyvbjerg, 2017). Moreover, they need to apply several ethical values, including fairness, honesty, transparency, integrity, and openness.

Conflicts of interest

  • Health and safety standards (Flyvbjerg, 2017)
  • Responsibility and accountability
  • Key considerations:
  • Correct reports
  • Stakeholder’s interests
  • Right authority level
  • Right process

Project managers are faced by many challenges that could hamper the attainment of objectives. One of the scenarios that the team will face is conflict of interest. It is unethical for stakeholders to try to influence the outcome of certain decisions because of their relationship with a contractor. This can happen for many reasons, including gifts and monetary rewards. In any project, it is important for the organization to guarantee the safety and health of employees (Flyvbjerg, 2017). moreover, team members are required to abide by the safety standards outlined by the government in order to avoid fines and lawsuits that could be costly.

Adherence to project procedures is important in the successful completion of projects. Responsibility and accountability are key aspects of ethical behavior that are important in project management. Managers and team members should take responsibility for their decisions and mistakes (Flyvbjerg, 2017). In addition, they should complete their tasks without deferring them to others. Considerations for ethical behavior including presenting the correct reports, looking out for the interests of stakeholders, seeking the right authority before commencing a project, and following the right process in completing a project.

Applicable Scenario

  • Environmentalism/sustainability
  • Public health concerns
  • Motivations: economic or brand-related
  • Revenue enhancement
  • The dilemma:
  • Disregard for conservation
  • Additional costs: training

One of the most common ethical scenarios that project managers encounter is the protection of the environment. It is necessary for organizations to address public concerns reading the effect of their projects on the environment and on public health. the motivations can be either economic or the promotion of the brand’s value. Project managers will be faced with a dilemma that will involve either disregarding environmental protection in order to increase profits or incurring extra costs in order to protect the environment. The project management will be required to develop a plan to mitigate the impact of their project on the environment. In many countries, organizations are required to ensured that their activities have minimal impact on the environment. This would include additional expenses on activities such as training, re-engineering, and reprogramming of certain project components to promote adherence to environmental conservation laws.

International Factors

  • Accounting standards
  • Time zone differences/changes (Binder, 2016)
  • Language differences
  • Cultural variations (Binder, 2016)
  • Economic conditions
  • Quality standards and unit of measure

Globalization has led to the integration of the world economy, thus giving rise to numerous international projects. These projects reach beyond regional and national boundaries, and involve the participation of many different stakeholders and an intersection of varied cultures, economies, and time zones (Binder, 2016). Managers leading international projects should embrace international views with regard to legal, economic, and political environments in order to mitigate the effects of unforeseen challenges. The cultural differences that exist among members of international teams are critical to the success of a project.

Managers should understand different culture and devise ways of creating harmony among members (Binder, 2016). In addition, they should be well conversant with the legal requirements of working in foreign countries. Understanding time zone differences is important because of project activities such as meetings and teambuilding activities (Binder, 2016). Accounting and quality standards differ from country to country. Therefore, managers should get acquainted with the standards applicable in the country that the project takes place in order to avoid braking the law.

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Applicable Scenario

  • Scenario: time zone differences
  • Overlooked aspect
  • Teams dispersed globally
  • Different time zones
  • Stellar planning and coordination

Time zone differences is one of the most overlooked aspect of project management. When managing projects, teams are often dispersed in different countries around the world. This means that they are in different time zones. In that regard, it is necessary for project managers to conduct a different level of coordination and planning. Teams will encounter challenges regarding meeting times and deadlines. At certain times, some members will be unavailable while others will be absent. In one location, it could be daytime while in another, it could be night time. Therefore, teams will have to plan their activities in ways that are convenient to everyone. For example, team members could be expected to attend a meeting at a particular time, when they are expected to give feedback on a particular issue. The success of that meeting needs proper planning, taking into consideration the time zone differences.

Cross-cultural Factors

  • Differences in culture
  • Beliefs
  • Business customs
  • Communications: verbal and nonverbal (Binder, 2016)
  • Negotiations
  • Decision-making
  • Important factors to consider:
  • Positive communication
  • Visual aids
  • Written communication

There are three main components of cultural difference that determine the success of a project depending on how they are handled. These include communications, negotiations, and decision making. Different cultures have varied ways of communicating, making decisions, and negotiating (Binder, 2016). It is important for managers to learn about these aspects of cultures within which they work. People from different cultures possess diverse perspectives and viewpoints regarding many matters.

However, these variations in viewpoints are what make multi-cultural teams invaluable. Studies have shown that cultural diversity in project management leads to innovation and encourages creativity (Binder, 2016). The main downside of cultural diversity is the confusion and miscommunication that arises if the differences are poorly managed. Cross-cultural project management is challenging and a deep understanding of how cultures communicate. The ability to communicate clearly is a key factor in promoting the success of a project. Managers should promote positive communication and written communication in order to avoid misunderstandings (Flyvbjerg, 2017). In addition, they should encourage the use of visual aids.

Applicable Scenario

  • Scenario: nonverbal communication
  • Differences in utilization
  • The use of nonverbal cues:
  • Gestures
  • Eye contact
  • Miscommunication and misunderstanding

One of the scenarios that project management teams encounter is the proper navigation of nonverbal communication. gestures and eye contact are the most common forms of nonverbal communication that are used differently across cultures. In that regard, organizations should train employees on how to use nonverbal cues properly in order to avoid misunderstandings. In addition, training should include how to respond appropriately. For instance, in the United States, waving and using a finger to give directions is common. However, in other cultures, the extreme use of gestures is inappropriate as it is considered rude. In Japan, pointing at a person is rude while it is appropriate in the US. These differences could pose serious challenges that managers need to address. In the US, eye contact is a sign of transparency and honesty. However, in certain Middle eastern cultures, sustained eye contact is considered as a sign of aggression. In others, it is viewed as a sign of sexual interest.

Challenges/pitfalls

  • Time, cost, and quality
  • Unclear goals
  • Lack of project milestones (Binder, 2016)
  • Inadequate communication
  • Risk management
  • Misestimating expenses/poor budgeting

The major challenge that project managers encounter is ensuring that a project is completed within the set deadline, cost, and agreed quality. It is important for organizations to balance these factors and link them to the project’s scope in order to attain success. Many projects fail to attain their objectives because of a lack of clearly defined goals and milestones to monitor progress. It is important to set both short-term and long-term goals.

Milestones are also needed to measure the team’s progress (Binder, 2016). Inadequate communication is one of the major barriers to successful project management. miscommunication or lack of communication causes confusion within teams and hampers effective collaboration. Communication should be timely, transparent, and clear. A common challenge that project managers face is poor budgeting. Failure to correctly estimate expenses causes financial complications that affect the development of a project’s lifecycle (Flyvbjerg, 2017). It is necessary for managers to budget for both expected and unexpected costs.

The success of a project mainly depends on effective risk management. Therefore, it is of utmost importance for project managers to monitor their projects for the presence of risks that could sabotage their progress. Moreover, they should implement measures to mitigate their impacts. Effective risk management allows organizations to have a significant level of control over their projects. Finally, meeting deadlines is another challenge faced in project management. Complications in the achievement of key milestones can lead to delays in the timely completion of projects (Binder, 2016). Close monitoring of projects prevents them from going off track as changes are made in a timely manner to counter the emergence of unforeseen hitches and delays.

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Challenges

  • Lack of accountability
  • Limited engagement of stakeholders (Flyvbjerg, 2017)
  • Lack of regular updates
  • Lack of feedback
  • Inadequate skills (Flyvbjerg, 2017)
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Delays
  • Failure to deliver

The success of a project is based on how responsible each member of the team is. The manager should make each member feel valued in order to motivate them to fulfill their assigned roles. When individuals are responsible, the objectives are easily attained and making changes to ineffective processes is faster (Flyvbjerg, 2017). In organizations that lack transparency, the limited engagement of project stakeholders is one of the challenges encountered. Uninvolved clients could cause delays in the completion of projects because of unfulfilled promises or unaddressed interests.

Therefore, they should be involved during all stages of project and the manager should update them on the progress regularly. The output of a project is based on the input pf individual team members. Consequently, individual performance is dependent on the possession of the skills needed for the completion of a project (Flyvbjerg, 2017). Unqualified members should undergo training in order to ensure that they are a perfect fit for the project. Finally, it is important for the team to set realistic deadlines, that should be informed by the complexity of the project (Flyvbjerg, 2017). Unrealistic deadlines affect the quality of the product and create misunderstandings between the organization and other stakeholders.

Opportunities for Growth

  • Project management tools:
  • Process
  • Budgeting,
  • Monitoring
  • Innovative solutions (Flyvbjerg, 2017)
  • Advanced technologies
  • Key features

There are several opportunities for growth and improvement that can be applied in project management. An example is the use of project management tools to aid individuals and teams in the organization and management of tasks. In many cases, they comprise software that have important features and functions that make processes faster and more effective (Flyvbjerg, 2017). They can be used for functions such as process initiation, budgeting, and monitoring. Research has led to the development of innovative solutions to problems that project managers face. For instance, the development of Scoro, Jira, and Notion improved project management because of increased efficiency in key areas, including reporting, monitoring, billing, and team collaboration. The incorporation of advanced technologies in project management can be critical in mitigating the common challenges that lead to failure or delayed projects.

Opportunities for Growth

  • Project management techniques
  • Increase effectiveness
  • Simplify processes
  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) (Flyvbjerg, 2017)
  • Gantt chart
  • PERT
  • Critical Path Method (CPM)

An important aspect of project management is the types of techniques that managers use to attain goals and objectives. Several techniques that increase effectiveness and simplify processes have been developed and it is important for managers to adopt them. Common examples include Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Gantt Chart, PERT, and Critical Path Methods (CPM). A WBS helps managers to breakdown goals into smaller and more manageable tasks (Flyvbjerg, 2017). A Gantt chart is a visual aid that can be sued to create a timeline across a project’s lifecycle, showing the start and end dates as well as the timeline for each task or milestone. The Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is important for time estimates in order to help mangers set and meet deadlines. The CPM helps in estimating a project’s completion date.

Opportunities for Improvement

  • Planning/scheduling
  • Folders
  • Templates
  • Collaboration
  • Effective communication
  • Documentation
  • Editing
  • Storage
  • Evaluation: track and assess productivity

Project management tools offer various features that offer opportunities for development in order to improve the attainment of goals and objectives. Better planning tools are needed for enhanced planning and delegation of tasks throughout the project’s lifecycle. Goals can be broken down into tasks, subtasks, templates, and workflows. Collaboration cab ne improved by adopting better means of communication other than email. These tools can be sued to assign tasks, conduct appraisals, adding comments, and organizing dashboards. Advanced documentation tools are needed in order to improve the security of documents in storage. Finally, tracking and assessing productivity and growth are difficult tasks. However, advanced technologies can be used to improve efficiency through proper reporting and resource management.

Solutions for Dealing with Challenges

  • Clear goals and milestones
  • Proper budgeting (Lock & Scott, 2016)
  • Effective communication
  • Risk management (Lock & Scott, 2016)
  • Ethical decision making

It is important for a project manager and team members to set clearly defined goals and objectives for the project. in addition, they should set milestones that will be sued to evaluate their progress. Failure comes from a lack of understanding on what is expected of the different stakeholders. Clear objectives and a plan are necessary for the success of an project. misestimating costs is a common cause of project failure. Therefore, organizations should adopt project management tools that can accurately project and calculate the costs of different projects (Lock & Scott, 2016). Moreover, the tools should have the capability to track costs throughout the lifecycle of the project (Lock & Scott, 2016). The success of a project depends on the timely, transparent, and accurate dissemination of information.

Managers should ensure that all team members are on the same page regarding the completion of tasks. Effective communication is characterized by clear and open communication from leaders (Lock & Scott, 2016). Projects do not always go as planned because of uncertainties that emerge. In that regard, team leaders should identify and assess risks that could affect the project and implement measures to mitigate their impact and enhance the attainment of success (Lock & Scott, 2016). Ethical decision making is an important aspect in promoting the success of a project. The leadership team should ensure that they follow a code of ethics and engage all stakeholders in the decision-making process.

Solutions

  • Enhanced accountability
  • Realistic deadlines
  • Project complexity
  • Employee qualifications
  • Employee training
  • Key skills
  • Required knowledge
  • Stakeholders engagement (Lock & Scott, 2016)

Successful managers mitigate the lack of accountability by assigning responsibilities to team members and directing them on how to execute them properly. In addition, they lead give them the freedom to making decisions without micromanaging them. Set deadlines should be set based on the proficiency levels of team members and the complexity of the project. Better results are attained if all stakeholders are involved in the process of setting timelines (Lock & Scott, 2016). The incorporation of input from various divisions ensures that the most creative and innovation ideas are implemented.

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The challenged of inadequate skills of team members can be solved by conduct a thorough evaluation of employees before being assigned to any project. Moreover, inadequate qualifications can be mitigated through additional training that is aimed at imparting the knowledge and skills necessary for the successful completion of a project (Lock & Scott, 2016). The challenge of inadequate stakeholder engagement can be addressed incorporating clients into the project management tool in order to ensure that they receive updates regarding the team’s progress. Moreover, they are able to give feedback and influence the decision-making process.

Conclusion

  • Key considerations
  • Ethical, international factors , cross-cultural considerations
  • Challenges
  • Unclear goals and objectives
  • Poor budgeting
  • Ineffective communication
  • Inadequate skills
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Solutions
  • Clear goals
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Adherence to a code of ethics

Project management is defined as the application of knowledge, skills, and processes in the attainment of objectives. It involves several functions, including ethics, international factors, and cross-cultural considerations. Ethics is concerned with the fair, honest, and transparent dissemination of information and decision making. International factors include aspects of project management that arise due to differences in geography.

Examples include cultural differences and time zone variations. Cross-cultural variations include differences in how various cultures communicate, make decisions, and negotiate. Challenges encountered in project management include unclear goals and objectives, poor budgeting, inadequate skills of team members, unrealistic deadlines, and ineffective communication. these problems can be solved by setting clear goals and milestones, engaging all stakeholders in decision making, using a project management tool for budgeting, and promoting the use of written communication and visual aids to avoid misunderstandings.

References

Binder, J. (2016). Global project management: Communication, collaboration, and management across borders. Routledge.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2017). The Oxford handbook of megaproject management. Oxford University Press.

Lock, D., & Scott, L. (2016). Gower handbook of people in project management. Routledge.

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