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Virtual project management

Section 1: Literature Survey

Introduction: The virtual project management concept is gaining its importance due to globalization of industries. The report mainly focuses on the evolution of project management and changes in approach of project management methodologies. It also highlights the aspects of traditional project management and modern project management. The difference between classical project management approach, contemporary project management approach and virtual project management approach is also discussed with their advantages and disadvantages in this report. The drawbacks of virtual project management are discussed and their existing solutions are also highlighted along with the features of virtual teams.

Project Management Institute has defined Project Management is application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques applied to project activities in order to achieve the goal.(PMI,2004)

Evolution of Project Management: Project Management has been practiced for hundreds of years dating back to the Egyptian epoch. However in the min 1950’s many organizations has started applying formal project management tools and techniques to various projects. Author Azzopadri has divided development of project management in four periods.

[1] Prior to 1958: this period is known as ‘craft system to human relation’ due to evolution of technologies. During this time evolution of technologies such as automobile and telecommunication helped for minimizing project timings, because automobile contributed in resources allocation and mobility. Telecommunication system increased speed of communication. In addition to this Henry Gantt invented Gantt chart which helped for effective planning of project.

[2]1959 to 1979: this period is known as ‘Application of Management Services’ because of significant development of technologies. The core project management tools like Critical Path Method (CPM) and Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) were introduced. However this period was characterized by rapid development of computer technology. In 1970 effective project management tool Material Requirement Planning (MRP) was introduced.

[3]1980 to 1994 :this period is characterized by revolutionary development in the information management sector with introduction of Personal Computer (PC) and associated computer communication network facilities. This development resulted in managing and controlling complex project schedules. Furthermore project management techniques were more accessible due to low cost project management software for PC.

[4]1995 to present: this period is dominated by development related to internet, which changed business processes dramatically in mid-1990. The internet has provided fast interactive and customized new medium that resulted in making firms more productive, more efficient and more client oriented. Furthermore the development in softwares and internet facilities lead to various approaches of project management. (Azzopadri, 2006)

Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) defines the traditional project management as set of tools and techniques that can be used together to an activity that seeks an end product, outcome, or a service. (PMBOK, 2004). As per Frame (2002) the reasons for the fall of traditional Project Management are success and failure is assessed against achieving scheduled, specifications and budget but not assessed against customer satisfaction. Another problem in traditional Project Management is it single minded approach for tools like scheduling, costing and resource allocation. This is fixed set of tools which involves CPM (Critical Path Method), PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique), Gantt charts, S-shape budget curves. (Frame, 2002)

Modern Project management: Modern project management is well understood discipline that can give predictable and repeatable results. The methods used in modern project management are highly analytical, automated tools and developed project management softwares to support large projects.(Howes, 2001). In traditional project management, planning and control methods are very specific and controlled, once a phase is over the next stage will start and it will continue in decided sequence. However it is difficult to carry out perfect sequence in perfect time because of some factors as the world is not perfect. However in modern project management much more flexibility is built in system. It focuses on features of the project instead of focusing on every specific task. The sequence of the project can be adjusted to meet with environmental, business, material and other changes. This results in beneficial project management.(Rose, 2011)

The rise of internet and development of collaborating softwares have introduced new aspect to Project Management. The success of project is recognised on the profit-loss status. Therefore, there is heightened pressure to assure that projects are successful in terms of deliverable results, cost, and delivery date. Global projects with virtual teams have developed a way by which the cost and duration of projects can be cut down while maintaining a sound control on quality and scope of projects. (Rad et al, 2003). The globalization of business has resulted in greater interest in more comprehensive suit of the best practices of project management.

Virtual Project Management: Virtual Project Management is the system by which virtual teams work together for determinate period of time for specific goal.(Rolfs, 2006). Virtual teams are the merger of the Information Technology (IT) and organisational behaviour domains (Bissoonauth, 2002) and it is defined by Gignag (2005) as “a group of workers who are geographically dispersed but not distributed across expansive geographic locations. They are working together towards a common goal and using electronic communication as their primary medium”. The main difference of virtual teams from traditional teams is “separation by time and distance” (Cascio et al, 2003)

Table 1 summarises huge changes in the area of project management. Actually it focuses on two particular periods classical and contemporary, considering that these boundaries differ from industry to industry.

Classical Project Management

Contemporary Project Management

Virtual Project Management

Aim/ Focus

To Completing project on time in given budget

To deliver good quality under budget and in time

To achieve the best quality in least possible time and cost

How to Manage

Managing by walking

Managing by tele-communication

Managing by clarity of communication. Understanding on methodologies, goals and processes.

Practice

What was the last best in our company

What is currently best in the world

Best in the world but improvised to suit local environment.

Standards

Local

National

Global standards

IS for supporting PM

Outsourced

Integrated in companies Information System /Information Technology (IS/IT)

Part of company’s Information System /Information Technology with dependency on outsourcing service providers

Project Managers

Selected ad-hoc from senior managers who are experienced in that area.

Project Management professional requirements with special training

Certified Project Management professional managers and multicultural exposure

Manager

Manages single Project

Manages multiple projects with IS/IT support

Manages multiple, multi-vendor, cross pole projects affecting multiple cultures

Team Member

Assigned to one project only

Assigned to more than one project with support of IS/IT

Afford to utilize specialized skill set available at any corner of the world with lowest cost possible

Critical Resources

Money, time, people

Money, time, people, knowledge, IT support

Money, time, people, knowledge, IT support and Global Outsource service providers

Who is applying PM

all sort of endeavours with engineering background

In all business organizations and by individual entrepreneurs

Spreading in organizations and individuals encompassing areas that were unheard before like teaching, vendor negotiation, media, healthcare, office secretarial work.

(Desai et al, 2006)

The rise of Virtual project management: Due to changes and fluctuations of current global economy the pressure on enterprises has been increased. The management and organizations of various design, construction, production services and other projects has become more decentralized due to development of information technology, e-commerce and globalization. A virtual team involves project manager and certain virtual teams depending on company. In recent years virtual project teams has become first choice to many enterprises because it helps in reducing time and cost, sharing knowledge, making full use of capabilities of the staff, improving working environment, increasing the enthusiasm of the staff, carrying out cross cultural activities and enhancing the quality of product.

The given figure shows major attributes of virtual project management. Virtual project management mainly involves controlling and leading of virtual teams.

Virtual Teams are defined here as group of workers of geographically and organizationally dispersed knowledge works brought together across time and space through information and communication technologies in order to specific customer needs or to complete unique projects.(Krill et al, 1997). However, Peterson and Storh has defines virtual teams as a “group of individuals who work across time space and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology. They have complementary skills and are committed to a common purpose, have independent performance goals, and share an approach to work for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”. Along with definition Peterson and Storh has introduced seven types of different virtual teams. The basic types of virtual teams are as follows

Networked teams: group of individuals who act as a team to achieve common goal, membership is fluid and diffuse.

Parallel teams: work in short term to develop solutions for improvement in process; membership is distinct

Project teams: conduct projects for clients for a specific period of time, team has decision taking authority

Production teams: perform regular work, clearly defined membership

Service teams: support consumers in typical service role around the clock

Management teams: work collaboratively on a daily basis within functional division

Action teams: gives quick response and activated in emergency

The significant advantage of virtual team is that the resources of virtual project organization can be arrange quickly and cost effectively (Rad et al, 2002). In addition to this Rad has stated that virtual projects allow organization to form joint ventures for short and specific time of period for significant purpose. Juhre (2001) notes, at a time skilled technical resources are required then virtual project becomes a success factor organization.

Comparison of Virtual teams and traditional teams: The major difference in virtual teams and traditional teams is the diversity and different locations of team members as well as organizations.

Features of virtual teams:

Many sectors like construction industries, engineering (manufacturing, chemical and production), software development industries, customer services and call centre industries are using virtual project management for efficient outcome. The International Technology Association (2004) defines engineering as involving “the knowledge of the mathematical and natural sciences gained by study, experience, and practices that are applied with judgement and creativity to develop ways to utilize the materials and forces of nature for the befit of human being”.(Joseph, 2005)

Each step requires the skills and expertise of an engineer in different ways such to operate, teach the operation, or to sell the product.(Simpson, 2004)

Offshore outsourcing is the generic term when companies are using virtual teams for the completion of project.(Lieberman, 2004)

In software development industry virtual project management is widely used. Requirements of clients in software development industry changes time to time. And to find appropriate talent to give satisfied service to customer virtual project management is very essential in software development industry. Now a days many firms and companies are using Virtual project management for better performance.

With the advent of latest internet technologies all the communication between the client, project manager and virtual teams is carried out through VOIP, email, Instant messages, online screen sharing etc. this enables the client to access the data regardless of the position of the virtual teams. The required data/source code is stored in repositories which are managed by the project manager. Hence project manager acts as an interface between the virtual teams and the client.

Issues in Virtual Project management:

The issues in Virtual project management are depending on areas of virtual world and factors which can impact on project management. The main areas of virtual world are

Physical variable

Culture

Organization

Depending on these three areas Virtual project management model (VPModel) has been developed.

1. Physical variables: This is the area of space and time. The issues raised in this area because of distance between project members.

Geographical distance:

By using software tools for (EPM) project team member communicate with project manager. But EMP decreases performance in poorly skilled teams which is expensive (Kanawattanachai et al, 2002). And creates stress rises ethical questions (Keyzermann, 2003)

Different Time zones:

Due to different time zones work can be done on continuous basis (Lau, 2004). In case where real meeting are essential, time and cost for travelling are expensive and due to jet lag efficiency of work can be reduced (Kayworth et al, 2002) and such disadvantages can decrease commitment towards project (Godar et al, 2004)

Conflicts:Conflicts cab be raised by cultural difference, diversity and misunderstanding.

Cooperation: It includes every issue that allows people to work together (Rehinhard et al, 1994) Cooperation includes virtual meetings, sharing of information etc. however cooperation is depend on communication style.

2. Culture:

In the virtual project management all project members used to have different background culture and these people brought together to achieve common goal, so many fundamental issues arises in project management. Due to different culture virtual team differs in language, working methodology, which leads to lack of trust and misunderstanding between project members.(Kyzerman, 2003)

One more disadvantage in working cross culture is use of technology. When modular and simple technology is used for minimizing the gap, then the possibility of error in executing project increases. (Dafermos, 2001)

3. Organization

Organisational scattering refers to “the degree to which a virtual team consists of individual who work across organizational boundaries”(Shin, 2005). In organizational area the main issues are Electronic security, hackers are valid threat for virtual projects. And other major issue in this area is sharing of information in various organizations which are working on same project.

4. Other than above mentioned issues other issues are leadership quality and effective communication. This issue can be resolved by using multicultural exposed personnel as project manager who has optimum qualification.

Summary:

Project and innovation management

Project Management Assignment Help Project And Innovation Management With An It Focus

Abstract:

Today’s technology has focused on the senses of sight, sound and touch. To enhance the sensibility of technology we have introduced our innovative project “Digital Olfactory System”. This is the area of virtual reality which also have very vast applications e.g. entertainment (games, movies etc), Internet and e-commerce. On successful implementation of this technology a videogame player or a viewer watching movie could feel the scent of the scenes of the game or movie. And an online buyer would be able to smell products online before buying them.

Concept Generation And Selection

This chapter gives a brief introduction of our innovation and defines how it will bring a change in the world of e-commerce and virtual reality and give competitive advantage to our company in the market.

Introduction

Every human being is granted with five senses i.e. sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Our nose is the one that has more relegated in our sensitive surroundings. The sense of smell brings us into harmony with nature. It warns us of dangers and sharpens our awareness of other people, places and things. It helps us to respond the people we meet, can influence our mood. Our nose allows us to make sense out of scents about what’s going on in the world around us. Right on the roof of the nasal cavity is the olfactory epithelium, contains special receptors which are sensitive to scent molecules that travel through the air. These receptors are microscopic and there are at about 10 million of them in human nose.

By the time all the technology in the world has worked mostly on vision and the voice, similarly sufficient work has been done in technology to sense touch. We found that very fewer efforts are done to approach the sense of smell. So far, computers today can work with only 3 out of 5 senses.

Innovation Description

Scent is one of the most attractive phenomena of life. Use of the scent in environment has become an issue in society. Most companies today want to market their products though direct marketing, though which there is a desire to have an advertising ability which appeals to all five senses.

To detect odours of different things we have the ability to smell. We have a special portion in our brain called Olfactory Lobe which senses smell. Human could only smell seven basic odours and their combination it is similar like four basic colours make all the colours. Smell has a great impact on how we perceive our surroundings or a new thing. It is the sense of human being which never turns off as a person smells with each of his breath and an adult person breath as often as 20,000 times a day. There are about 400000 different odours in the world, as human we can distinguish 10,000 different smells.

Our aim is to develop a digital system which have the ability sense, capture and reproduce the most common smells. The sense of smell is closely related to memory and emotion which makes odour a powerful way to reinforce ideas.

Product Description

Digital Olfactory System will be a combination of both hardware and software. The hardware will capture and regenerate the smell while software evaluate the smell equation (e-smell equation) and generate bits (electrical signal) for a specific type of smell and finally the smell will be regenerated on the other receiving end. The hardware of the system will be comprised of two parts, i.e. one to sniff the smell and other is to regenerate the smell. The device will be connected with a computer system. The software part of this system will be a driver for this device which will analyse the sniffed smell and generate a digital equation to reproduce a specific odour. The software will also be able to convert the smell in to digital signals and broadcast on the web.

The coded odour would be downloadable to the computer like images and sound files. Users will be able to modify, regenerate their own smells and post on internet. This technology will be able to produce scented emails, scented websites. In future it could also be possible that these devices play a vital role in our life like in movie theatre, TV and internet etc.

Our product will not only be sold as a separate peripheral device for computer but it will also be integrated in Apple laptops, digital cams and cell phones.

Implementing The Idea

As discussed earlier that Digital Olfactory System will be a combination of both hardware and software. The hardware of the system will be comprised of two parts, i.e. one to sniff the smell and other is to regenerate the smell. To capture smell a device like smell detector could be used. As discussed above that there are seven basic smells which are minty, floral, ethereal, musky, resinous, foul, and acrid. These basic smells combine together to make 400000 smells in the world.

Prototype

The device to sniff odour have the special circuitry to detect each of the individual smell from a sniffed smell and pass its signals to the device driver which have the built-in capability to calculate the equation of the sniffed aroma on the basis of the intensity of each basic smell. While on the regenerating side this scent will be reproduces by reversing the e-smell equation. The smell reproducing device will have the cartridge filled with seven basic scents. The device driver software will send the e-smell equation to the micro controller of the smell generator. The microcontroller will than mix the appropriate quantity (as per equation) of each of the basic smell to reproduce the sniffed smell.

Applications of Digital Olfactory System

Digital olfactory system aims to manufacture the hardware for smelling device (recording the smell), storing the smell (in the shape of digital signals) and regenerating device to regenerate the smell as output. It develops the software and the hardware for the entire process. Digital olfactory system would with a driver package that could be installed on any computer to make the system compatible with the computer. The idea is to make all these devices function independently ,which means that the regenerating device can be installed independently on any computer and can act as a receiver which has its own advantages especially in future when the laptops , computers and televisions could be manufactured with built in digital olfactory receiver system. Similarly by manufacturing the receiver or the smell sensor separately, it can be used in digital cameras as an additional feature and the pictures can give a real time feel if viewed on a television or a computer with a regenerator that is built in or attached as a peripheral device. The regenerators could also be designed as just generators that can be used as room fresheners for big rooms and car fresheners for cars.

There could be many applications for digital scent such as:

Cameras equipped with digital scent technology can capture image as well as smell

Send scented email (how romantic)

Watch scented DVD’s

Play scented video games

Try a perfume from a product’s website

Why We Want To Do This?

There could be many applications of our product but the four basic types of applications that Digital Olfactory System seems a logic fit for at the moment.

Marketing

Entertainment

Education

Medical

Company Structure And Market Research Phase

In this chapter we have discussed our business model and defined that how the internal and external factor can affect the market.

Our product – Digital Olfactory System

As we have discussed our product in detail in previous sections as far as design and application of our product is concerned it will be a small device with inbuilt smell sniffer and smell synthesiser connected with a computer or some other equipment like digital camera, gaming console, TV, Digital Projector etc. Our technology will make it possible to send scented emails. This product will be sold as peripheral device for computer and it will also be integrated in laptops, digital cameras and cell phones.

Our Vision

Our vision is to enhance the experience of viewing by making it livelier and giving it a feel of real time experience, through this innovation we could also to some extend replace the use of natural fragrance by using artificial perfumes ,this could also boost the advertisement companies for making advertisement with smell sensors ,this would give out a clear idea of their product ,especially in industries in perfumes ,deodorants business and more so in food industries .It could attract more customers ,which is what any company intends to do through any advertisement. This innovation can be used for security purpose as well; a more sensitive smell sensor could as a bomb sensor which could be of high to help locating and diffusing a bomb. By manufacturing dedicated smell regenerators the use of artificial flowers could be increased because the only thing missing in today’s artificial flowers made of plastic or synthetic fibre is fragrance and by adding fragrance to them the experience though arterial could be felt as very real and natural. The scope of this product is wide and the demand would only increase with the technological advancement in various sectors of IT and non IT sectors.

Business Model

(Source, Hedman and Kaling (2002), IT and Business Models, Pg 113)

As seen in the business model the important factors effecting a business are, Suppliers, resources, Activities and organization, the scope of management ,the offerings and the market/industry that has the competitors and the customers.

As we intend to manufacture the digital olfactory system, there can be a company that is dedicated to manufacture the digital olfactory systems or it can be used by various companies in various industries who could manufacture customized digital olfactory system. We will try to relate the components of business model with the companies who might use it as a customized additional feature in their already existing products, we would like the digital camera industry Canon to use the digital olfactory system technology for recording the real time smell or fragrance by introducing a build in smell sensor in their cameras, and we would like apple to use the digital olfactory system technology for regenerating the real time smell or fragrance by introducing a build in smell regenerator in their laptops and computers. We would explain the business model and the components of the business model of these two companies relating with the addition of this new feature in their product.

According to Barney’s Resource Based View (Hedman and Kalling, 2002) the Activities are performed by a business to use the companies resources, offerings are the products and the services the firm has to offer through their sales. If a firm utilizes its resources in the best possible manner then invariable they will have more to offer to the customers.

The camera company Canon and the laptop company Apple could use their resources to built this technology and use it for their product which would improve on what they have to offer to their customers, if they be the first ones to come up with this feature then their competitors like Nikon, Sony and other in camera industry and dell, hp and other in computer industry would lack this competitive advantage, hence this would give Canon and apple a clear edge over their competitors.

External Context

It is important to analyze the external environment for any product of a company as it has a lot of forces acting on it that it has to deal with to be successful in the market.

Market Segments

Since we choose to add the feature of a smell sensor in the cameras of Canon and a smell regenerator in the laptops and desktops of Apple, we will focus on the camera and computer manufacturing companies and the market pertaining to it. We would describe further how this added feature can give Cannon and Apple a competitive advantage over their competitors and give more value for the product to their customers. The product will also face the forces in the external market like the suppliers, buyer’s substitutes, potential entrants and competitors which are the porters five forces we will discuss how and what extent these forces tries to hamper the success of this product.

Competitors

Some of the competitors of Cannon are Nikon, Sony, Samsung, Sony Ericson and others while the competitors of Apple are other computer manufactures like Dell, Hp, IBM and others, if Canon and Apple come up with the additional feature of digital olfactory system in their product it will surely give them a competitive advantage over their other competitors as it would be first of its kind of a product launched in the market.

Buyers

Buyers are the customers of the product, the buyers of this new product from Canon would be worldwide, and this could attract all the age groups that are interested in photography and also the professional photographers. While the customers of Apple who are already impressed by Apples innovative products would want to buy this product which would increase their sales and hence increase their profit.

Potential Entrant

Since it will be a product which will be first of its kind the threat from a new entrant will be less at least in the initial stages of the product life after the launch.

Suppliers

The suppliers of this additional feature could be the highly eminent staffs that work in R

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