By Kevin Fielding

ES968-10 Project Planning Management & Control 11

Mike Newton

9th August 2021


TOC o “1-3” h z u Introduction PAGEREF _Toc80317756 h 2The team’s Belbin profiles PAGEREF _Toc80317757 h 2The team lifecycle PAGEREF _Toc80317758 h 3Decision-making procedures PAGEREF _Toc80317759 h 5Conflict within the team PAGEREF _Toc80317760 h 6Effectiveness of the team in the virtual environment and recommendations for improvement PAGEREF _Toc80317761 h 7Reasons why estimates are often wrong and ways to improve quality of estimates PAGEREF _Toc80317762 h 9References PAGEREF _Toc80317763 h 14

IntroductionThis report is aimed at investigating the entire performance of a project management team that was virtually assigned to the management task. We are going to concentrate on the contributions made by each member and their fitness to the team. We are also going to look at the team, in general, to figure out the strengths of the team and its weaknesses. For a team to perform at its best then the members included should be assigned clear responsibilities. These responsibilities ensure that a team is not limited to a certain weakness that would hinder the completion of the team’s mission. Our team members were also organized in an order similar to Belbin’s method of team organization to ensure that the team can achieve its goal. This method gives every team member a particular role which they are supposed to adhere to till the goal of the team is achieved. This organization was made during field operation to solve the problems that arose in during the time the group was not following any order.

The team’s Belbin profilesOur team had a total of five members according to their roles as follows: including implementor, team workers, the plant, the coordinator, and the specialist. We were all assigned roles according to Belbin’s method for productivity. These roles indicated in the table below, each role to the person it is allocated to. The role of the implementor (IM) was to put the ideas generated, (through brainstorming and innovation) into practice. The team worker (TW) had the role of ensuring the whole team had the sense of team work and cooperation. The team worker was supposed to ensure the whole team had an impactful engagement with the general group through their role contribution. The PL (Plant) was in charge of the innovative part of the team. He was supposed to way options and think around challenges to come up with the best solutions for problem solving. The coordinator had the role of the team leader. He acted as the chairman of the whole team and ideas and other issues had to pass through him before they were implemented. Lastly the specialist role (SP) carried the mandate to provide the needed professional skill to make sure the ideas were implemented right. He carried the role of offering the team with the skill and the knowledge of performing the task.

Members Belbin’s profile

1 IM

2 PL

3 SP

4 CO

5 TW

Table 1.1 Table showing the role allocation of the team members in the task

Some of the roles given in these profiles required more work than others, but still were according to the known personal capabilities of the team members. The members showing a great deal in problem solving were voted and given the task that is perfect alignment with their skills. If the team member was showing knowledge and prowess in the leadership category then they received chance to govern the team. All the roles were meant to make the team more effective in tackling the task in hand and to fully minimize the chances of failure that may accrue as a result of mismanagement. The role allocation showed great effectiveness all through and the goals were achieved in spite the challenges experienced along the project period.

The team lifecycleWorking partners are considered a team if they possess the values and the conduct that obey the code used in teams Rodrigues-da-Silva and Crispim (2014). Teams are generally a group of personnel who perform the different tasks assigned to them but they all have a common interest and a common goal. They are set to achieve a certain goal which may be completing a certain task. Teams are measured in terms of their success. For success to be achieved in a group the group should be capable and possess within it certain core values. They include cooperation, motivation, leadership, hard work, and time management. Teams usually start as a group of people barely familiar with each other than go through a development journey through interactions and mature to form an effective goal-oriented team that achieves their goal. According to Tuckman’s research, a group goes through five stages from the first day to the end. They are stages that form the team and impact the members with the necessary skills required for the entire team to work. When represented on a graph, Tuckman’s findings appear as the graph below.

Graph 1: Graph representing the five stages of Tuckman’s team development idea

(Source: Black, Gardner, Pierce, & Steers, 2019)

Our team was also subject to this stage-based development. Most of the experiences that were noticed throughout our working time confirm the ideas of the stages involved in team development. At first, the members of our team were all selected from their different fields and brought together to form the project management team. This meant that they were generally unfamiliar to each other. We needed to start everything by a team meeting necessarily meant to make everyone familiar to the other or at least know the other members’ name for team working. The first meeting cleared the air a little. We could know each other by our real names and the profession of each member was also brought out in the meeting. This represented the forming stage of team development. It is meant to introduce the purpose of the team and also introduce the familiarity of each team member to the others for ease of work when deployed.

After the introduction part, the team was set to start the task. It was noted that the performance of the team was not progressing though. The team showed a lot of non-directional activities mostly costing the group of its productivity. Some of the tasks meant to be undertaken were a bit late to be performed both internally and externally, for starters, from the external perspective the supplier of the P204 was voted to be unstable which resulted to changing the supplier altogether. This did not affect the time scheduled for completion but introduced pressure to the team. It was also discovered that the P210 was not completed in time. This was noticed during the 60-day PDCA closed-loop inspection which affected the M315 work plan. Some of the members took the leadership roles and were later disputed by others. The team showed the urgency of organization and leadership. Choosing a leader was important to avoid this kind of failures along the laid plan. It was also clear that there was a need for division of labor. This situation in the team showed the storming stage as indicated in Tuckman’s experiment. This stage is the hardest one which needs a lot of attention and faster methods of resolving the situation to prevent it from injuring the entire task. Passing this stage sets the team clear of what is set to achieve, it also helps avoid time-wasting in the process. Upon solving all the issues that had arose, we cleared the air by appointing the leader and each member was assigned a particular task. The tasks given were according to the skills, personality and other relevant factors showcased during the chaotic moments of the team. At this time everyone was clear of what was expected from them. Members with valuable skills like organizing the team shared with the group by taking the role of team organization and maintaining a cooperative environment all along. This showed the norming stage and it is vital for the success of the team.

The team health rose and the mission was clear to everyone. It left the team members being focused fully on the mission of the group and each one was busy and adding value towards the major goal by sticking to the tasks assigned to them. The priority items were clearly noted, they included the cost control, timely adjustments among others. The productivity at this time rose to the roof. The team was highly effective with a proper system to deal with anything that arose. Some conflicts came by but by the power of the system all was settled well and fast making the team’s mission the priority. The goals set are met on daily basis, this represented the performing stage according to Tuckman. With the order in the team, all the set goals were achieved fully and data analyzed. Others were involved in further moderation of the collected information to make it easily presentable and comprehensible.

Decision-making proceduresThe decision-making process in the team system was meant in a way that all the members were allowed to contribute their ideas and suggestions. It also considered the problems that were being experienced on the ground. For instance, M312 and M315 received a notification from the manufacturer that they could not provide goods, which caused the scheduled inspection personnel to be unable to inspect as planned. This line of setbacks led to slowed completion of the M315 in phase 6 as planned that led to increased inspection costs. Some of the setbacks like this made us change the decision-making procedures from time to time to suit the changing situations daily.

The roles given to each member served the purpose that the members could get a view of the different situations from different angles. When all the willing members put their ideas on the table the leader ensured that all the presented ideas went through a series of the vetting process which ensured that the workability of the ideas was weighed along with their pros and cons. From this, the best ideas were chosen and more analysis was done on them to following more sensitive parameters to make sure the final decision brought about the best idea that there was. An idea that was meant to act on the benefits of every team member. The chosen idea was also put on test and observation for some time to test its efficiency. When declared fully effective it was fully implemented but if it failed the test the next idea in line was put to test to the goal being to have the best idea in operation.

The instability noted in our supplier of the P210 led to an abrupt decision being made to suit the problem and to rectify it. This incident made it clear that choosing a reliable supplier was vital for the team success since it not only reduces the cost but also the execution pressure on the team which would be a downside for the project progress. The members in the team were all skilled at different fields although, some of the fields interacted at some instances meaning that the information at these overlapping fields was expected to be more accurate and thoroughly updated because it was run through two different professionals who were expected to perform the necessary changes according to their partner’s critics of the data acquired. It would also mean a repeated procedure for the data to be correctly updated. The team formulated a working procedure that involved some of the members coming in at the end of the shift of another member to avoid disruptions and interferences that would occur if these different professionals worked at the same place at the same time.

Decision making was also inclusive of earlier methods used in historical engineering for reduced cases when it comes to losses. Some of the problems occurring in the progress of the project led the team to think of faster ways to fix them. Faster fixing of this problem was essential to avoid further cost that would be incurred, this led to the involvement of the use of data from the historical risk handling ideas to solve some of these problems. It was also noted that it is crucial to record the current mistakes and gains for future reference. This was voted necessary because of its importance to help avoid future risks and mistakes that would be as a result of inexperience.

Conflict within the teamA lot of conflicts were experienced in the starting days. Some of these conflicts occurred as a result of schedule failure. The reason that led to schedule failure could be attributed to the mistakes that happened during the progress of the project. There was a problem with the supplier of P201 which resulted to elevated pressure on the team to meet the completion time. There was also a problem with the designers in period 3 which was changed to the subcontractors resulting to general under usage. There was a delay in products supply by the manufacturers involved leading to delayed inspection altogether. These and other failure in the previous plan resulted to unplanned conflicts that may have caused a wastage in the limited time of the project.

The major reason for this was the fact that the guidelines and rules meant to govern the team and the necessary procedures to be applied were not properly vetted. Different members were not assigned their tasks making the whole team experience some fails at different points of the project. It was noted that the conflicts mainly arose from poor decision-making and disagreements when a group of team members was involved in the same task. The skills of each team member were different, they also possessed different personalities which made them fit for certain jobs and unfit for others. These differences were experienced during the initial 2 weeks when the team was organized and the leaders chosen. At this moment all the members were assigned different tasks and were to work on them for the health of the team and to increase the chances of the team reaching its goals within the scheduled time.

When a system was generated all the conflicts that arose were put in the problem resolving procedure which was agreed upon by all members. This procedure was effective in solving most of the problems that were present in the course of the project. It also reduced the number of times conflicts occurred which was attributed to the general success of the team.

Effectiveness of the team in the virtual environment and recommendations for improvementFrom the goals achieved and the general mission completion, it can be said that the team was highly effective. The team was able to formulate a working procedure and schedule. It was also able to organize itself appropriately according to the strengths and weaknesses of the members. This showed a great deal of professionalism and the overall effectiveness of the group. The group was also able to contain most of the shortcomings such as arguments by formulating procedures geared to solving these arguments and conflict. From an overall point of view and taking into considerations that the main agenda was met I can say that the team was effective and able for the task given

To sum up the whole report, every member of the team performed at their level best. The discussion meeting proved that all the members were serious in their entire work, they also showed a high level of professionalism. Time management was okay with each member with very few cases of late appearances which however never affected the entire schedule. The problems found were explained concerning their major causes. Pictures were also taken in areas that may need clarification or further explanation. The process was a great success with all the expected goals achieved. Cooperation and general teamwork was shown by the team. All the esteemed places were accessed and evaluated to the conclusion.

A few things can be done to improve the effectiveness of the group. One of them is the provision of essentials which include tools and other machinery to ensure that the process is smooth and the data acquisition is done at the highest level of accuracy. It would also help greatly by checking to do the project plan checklist to record the main points of the project plan and also reminding the managers to do self-inspection in future project. It could also help to note and involve a trusted supplier to ensure there is no unnecessary failures in the project progress due to external factors like the case of unreliable supplier in our team.

Reasons why estimates are often wrong and ways to improve quality of estimatesEstimation being a method of approximation means that it is also subjected to plenty of shortcomings. This procedure is affected by many factors most of which mainly result in wrong approximation values. There are many harmful effects of wrong estimation amounts. It can be fatal for personnel like the investors and the companies at large. Estimation methods of project management are tested to determine its viability for application in the estimation of values in a project setting. The common methods used for estimation in the firms are analyzed to get the ideas they use in the estimation process. (Kitchenham, Pfleeger, McColl, & Eagan, 2002). The methods are then analyzed and tested to figure out whether the methods can be trusted in the provision of accurate data worth using in project management more so in making critical decisions that are vital for the project’s success. These methods are then discussed on their weakness and their tendency in the provision of wrong data that is not worth consideration in making vital decisions especially in projects aby the projects managers. The reasons behind the faulty results from these methods are checked and identified and explained in detail why they lead to the generation of wrong data with these methods (Lorko, Servátka, & Zhang, 2021)..The methods of estimation are then modified in a way to make sure that the data they generate is more refined and more correct to a point where they can now be used for estimation of values in projects without causing a major managerial problem that may arise from the use of wrong data that does not add up/ offers a wrong representation of the exact facts. This report is aimed at presenting studies made on estimation methods that are used in projects for value estimation. Estimation is generally a way of trying to figure out a value that is close enough to the actual value in question in that the use of the estimated value can represent the actual one without failing or resulting in shortcomings. Estimation is a common method used in projects especially in values or quantities that cannot be worked out with the current available mathematical formulas. For example, a contracting company may need to try to figure out the cost it would take to build a certain building to completion. From the current mathematical formulas available (Daraio, 2018). This is not possible to work out an actual answer, however, given certain data this company can work out an estimated amount from which they can make decisions like what to charge their clients. Most of the methods presented for the calculation of estimates are however faulty, with most of them giving out data that cannot be relied on in decision making (Omran & Hooi, 2018). In this report, we try to figure out the ways how they are used, what causes their faulty nature, and how we can modify these methods to make sure we achieve values that are a bit realistic and can be used by companies.

Estimation itself is generally a broad topic that is bounded by many methods. These methods are used to calculate and arrive at certain values that have undergone various conditions that naturally affect these values to mold them to values that can represent the results expected in the event of running any data under these conditions. Some of the methods used in estimation include Cost estimating, indexing, factorial estimating, parametric estimating, and cost capacity. The parametric estimation methods are involved in the data estimation where we choose family models with which data lies and then choose the best estimator from the general parameters of the distribution. Another method of estimation is cost estimation. This type has in it many other different methods that can be applied to estimate the cost of projects. Among the methods used in cost, estimation is account analysis, scattergraph method, regression analysis, and the high-low method.

All the methods above describe ways that can be used to achieve the same results but under different conditions and also from different situations and parameters. They all use different ways of data distributions in a way that the patterns stipulated by previously acquired data formulate a pattern that makes the basis from which the expected data can be retrieved. When the relevant parameters affecting a certain value are not properly included in the estimation, then the resultant data cannot be said to be right or factual (Haug, Zachariassen, & Van Liempd, 2011). Valuables are often affected by many parameters that no matter how small, have an impact on the overall result. In a case where any of these parameters is left out during estimation then the resultant value is said to be defective or untrue. Some of these parameters that are essential in estimation and can lead to wrong data when left out include; inflation. This happens in the case of cost estimation. When the method used in the calculation of cost estimate does not put into account the effect brought about by inflation, then the data estimated cannot represent a factual value of the cost estimate. This may cause problems in the projects related.

Point adding to wrong estimation values would be risk and uncertainties (Kulkarni, Londhe, & Deo, 2017). For proper and correct cost estimation, one must put into account the risks present in the market and the unexpected uncertainties (Rodrigues-da-Silva and Crispim (2014). This is like putting an expected error margin that is meant to cover any risks that would come along the way. Risks are not normally predictable but can cause serious damages to a poor plan. Including the risk factor in the cost, estimation puts the investor on the safer side in case of anything considered as risk hits the project acting as a cushion all along Inexperience among personnel also acts against accurate estimation values/data. Experience is a vital factor in cost estimation Gunner and Skitmore (1999). The market is unpredictable and experience gives the advantage that one has been around the market and has the know-how of some of the occurrences that have happened in the market over the time he/she has been exposed. From experience one can acquire advice that can help in cushioning an investor from possible negative impacts that happen in the market. Lack of experience would otherwise lead to rushed decisions which are more likely to be prone to the negative impacts of the market. For valuable and more dependable data estimates, one can apply certain moderations on the entire estimation process to ensure that the process is all-inclusive and puts into accounts all the affecting parameters to have more refined data that is a closer/more accurate estimation value.

Some of these moderations include: Applying value analysis tools in the determination of the value of an object. This is a crucial step to avoid overvaluing a product or undervaluing it together (Liu & Zhu, 2007). Proper valuation is a vital estimation to make sure you end up with correct estimated values. It is also important in ensuring you can detect fraudulent activities in the market. To increase the quality of estimates you can also ensure that your estimation processes are handled by professionals. You have to be vigilant in a way that you search for the best services to handle the estimation process. For this, you should consider the previous works of the parties before hiring them, this way you caution yourself from amateur work that is prone to disaster for its low value. By making sure you are served by the best service providers available in the market you increase your chances of success highly because the service provided is thorough and considering multiple aspects which may not be put into consideration by amateur personnel that are very green to the market. Another thing to consider to increase the quality of your estimate values is the volatility present in the market. This is the same factor that affects the prevailing exchange rates present in the different economies. The exchange rates may affect the quality of your estimates especially when the business involved is operational in more than one country. To curb this problem, you should opt for other modes of payment such as gold or other valuable products with a stable and steady value over a long period.

Wrong data estimates can also be solved by contracting price adjustment. This is the consideration of the value of a certain currency concerning the economic environment of the parent country. This is a caution meant to ensure you are on the right side of the inflation rate of a certain economy before estimating your cost. Inflation means that the currency has lost a certain value which must be included when dealing with an inflated currency. This way the estimated values are more accurate and of high quality.

Shielding your estimate from inaccuracy requires that, you as the sole benefactor of accuracy, be vigilant in the cases of complex products and services. This is where you request clarification of a product or service to ensure that their correct valuation is noted and included in the entire process for accurate results. Lack of clarity means that one cannot fully comprehend the value attached to something. This incident is dangerous. It can lead to overvaluing or undervaluation altogether which in turn affects the credibility of the estimates.

Rigorous analysis can also help in improving the quality of the overall estimates. A deep analysis performed on a product or situation means that one can capture all the details surrounding this particular product. It also means that one can denote the expected risks that occur in the cause of involvement with it. With this information, it is easier to caution yourself and includes the expected variables for increased quality of the overall estimate quality. Business people should also not neglect the power of experience, Experience solves a lot of problems in estimation and guarantees results.

The general idea presented here is that in performing estimate calculation one has to be very thorough. A single blunder may turn out to blow up the whole project. To prevent this, it is prudent to apply measures such as the incorporation of the moderators in the cause of estimate calculation to ensure that the values obtained and the data obtained as the estimate have a higher percentage of accuracy. A more accurate estimate means better decisions which finally lead to the success of the project in question. It is crucial to ensure you are in full knowledge of the parameters that matter in terms of the estimated quality at different environments, this way there is a higher chance that the estimations made are well of and consider all the necessary parameters. From the discussion above we get the true weight carried by the accuracy of estimates. The overall success of projects is accrued to the amount of accuracy maintained in the estimate calculation determination. From this, my recommendation is that in cases of estimate values it is important to note the environment you stand in terms of the economic environment, the skills, and prevailing money market to make decisions and for estimated determination. By keen observation of these aspects then the quality of your estimates is guaranteed to be high and effective in business.

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