During the period of my internship I had some findings that are described here on the basis of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). I asked the Project Manager some questions. My queries, his answers, and my comments on the answers are given below:
1. Please name one of your Completed/Running Projects.
Ans.UttaraValley (Running project)
Comments: This the first and running project of the company
2. Does it satisfy the characteristics of project such as objective, fund, time etc?
Yes, the project satisfies the characteristics of project which are
- Cost Time Constraints
- Life Cycle – Tasks
Comments: It is an ongoing project and till now it satisfies objective, fund, time etc. But the project manager should be careful of monitoring the project himself as it is the first project and many uncertainties are all around the project.
3. What is the objective of this project?
The project objective consists of the business benefits that an organization expects to achieve as a result of spending time and exerting effort to complete a project. A project objective is often referred to as the goal. The project objective serves as the marching orders or charge for the project leader and team. It provides information as to what, where, and when, as well as information about how much improvement or change needs to occur. At the completion of the project, any person should be able to refer back to the project objective and determine whether the project was successful. Project goals keep the focus on what is most important. However, on some teams these primary goals are lost in their meeting’s activities. Even if the progress is only inches rather than by huge leaps, the team must be pushing the project forward as quickly, safely, and reasonably as possible.
Objectives or Goals of UTTARA Project
Finish the project within the scheduled timetable.
The objective of Uttara Valleyis be to finish the project within the timeframe agreed upon. This means the project manger must do everything possible to drive the project to the end and stay on time. He should remember to avoid guessing and incompetence in the planning of the scope so as to have a reasonable time schedule with which to work.
Finish the project within the scheduled budget.
Budgets are set by UttaraValley projectteams while others inherit them. Whether they set the budget or inherit it, they need to make sure they are doing their best to track their expenditures and know where the money is going. When they will finish the project within the scheduled budget, they will demonstrate their ability in running the project responsibly.
Finish the project with the same level of quality.
Unfortunately, when projects lag behind, quality is often sacrificed in order to catch up. Project leaders sometimes feel that in order to pick up speed, pieces of the project will need to be downsized or cut completely. True, the project plan will have to be revised when problems arise, but the revision should never compromise quality. While it is important to keep deadlines, it is equally important to keep the project’s quality high throughout the project.
Finish the project within the specified guidelines.
UttaraValley project makes sure they are meeting the customer’s needs. They must “wow” the customer! This can be done simply by finishing the project with the specifics the customer really wanted. The best way to solidify this is to verify their accomplishment by customer handoff and close down.
Do the best you can with what you have been given.
There is no such thing as a perfect project. Some projects run up against major odds and hurdles. For example, many recent projects in our country have endured major setbacks because of terror attacks, severe weather causing power outages, or a nation at war. Even against these catastrophes, projects were remarkably turned around and back on track because of great project team leaders and teams. Project goals were met because they did their best with what came their way.
4. In your project management, do you follow the four phases of project management?
Four Phases of Project Management
According to the project management there is four phases exist. THE ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY is going through with all the phases.
- First they define the project in which they set up their goals according to the desire of their clients. Like this UttaraValley project, the top management defined it. This stage called D1.
- After that at D2 stage they make the detail proposal for the project. They ensure the answer of these questions, like-
- How to conduct the project?
- Who will conduct the project activities?
- When will they have to deliver the project to the clients?
- In project right now is in D3 stage that means the project manager is implementing the project according to design criteria of the project.
- The UttaraValley projectis the first project of the company and till now it is being implemented. So, the D4 stage will be completed.
Comments: It is clear that they are following the four phases of project and has already completing three of four phases and the last phase is still left. Every phase of this project is important for the company as it is the first project.
5. Projects have become complex- how do you respond?
Project Complexity is the extent to which a project, or one of its components, involves a large number of parts, and/or a large number of people, to be coordinated and/or interfaced.
Successful land development requires the developer to go through a complex process of many interrelated parts. While land development is both an art and a science, the most important aspect of the process is its holistic nature. Each separate part influences the others and a viable solution must take into account market demands, budget constraints, and site conditions.
The process usually begins with an idea for the creation of a new development that will serve the needs of the local market. This new development should take its place as a good neighbor within the local community by acknowledging its relationship to adjacent land uses. It should also become economically viable for both its inhabitants and the developer. Therefore, the project manager said that to produce a successful idea for his project, he begins with a thorough understanding of what his potential buyer needs and wants in a new development.
Comments: As the projects have become complex for the reasons described above, there is another extra reason for the company and that is, the company is going to complete a project for the first time.
Do you follow any time planning like Gantt chart, Activity on arrow or anything else?
Ans. The Company follows only Gantt chart but no other A-O-A or A-O-N Diagram.
Comments: We think that the company is not willing to reveal their secrecy and that is why they are hiding their strategies.
Do you follow the Critical Path Analysis to complete the project in time?
Ans. As there is no A-O-A or A-O-N Diagram, there is no critical path to be needed.
8. What kind of cost plan is used: Bottom up, Top down or anything else?
Ans. The Top-down cost planning is used here as it is a real estate project and prices of lands are set before the project is completed.
Comments: It is a good decision to use top-down method as the price is fixed for the land and the project manager does not have the scope to increases cost and must use as needed. Cost is the main concern here, not the quality.
9. How do you estimate the cost of project- Experience, Forecasting etc?
Estimating is the process of forecasting a future result in terms of cost, based upon information available at the time. Many techniques, books and software packages exist to help with estimating project costs. Cost estimating is one of the most important steps in project management. A cost estimate establishes the base line of the project cost at different stages of development of the project. A cost estimate at a given stage of project development represents a prediction provided by the cost engineer or estimator on the basis of available data.
The costs of a UTTARA land development facility to the owner include both the initial capital cost and the subsequent operation and maintenance costs. Each of these major cost categories consists of a number of cost components.
The capital cost for a UTTARA land development project includes the expenses related to the initial establishment of the facility:
- Land acquisition, including assembly, holding and improvement
- Planning and feasibility studies
- Architectural and engineering design
- Construction, including materials, equipment and labor
- Field supervision of construction
- Construction financing
- Insurance and taxes during construction
- Owner’s general office overhead
- Equipment and furnishings not included in construction
- Inspection and testing
The operation and maintenance cost in subsequent years over the project life cycle includes the following expenses:
- Land rent, if applicable
- Operating staff
- Labor and material for maintenance and repairs
- Periodic renovations
- Insurance and taxes
- Financing costs
- Owner’s other expenses
The magnitude of each of these cost components depends on the nature, size and location of the project as well as the management organization, among many considerations.
The project manger of Uttara Valley Project follows the following rules will to ensure that an accurate and realistic estimate is produced.
- He assumes that resources will only be productive for 80 percent of his time.
- Resources working on multiple projects take longer to complete tasks because of time lost switching between them.
- People are generally optimistic and often underestimate how long tasks will take.
- Make use of other people’s experiences and his own.
- Obtain an expert view.
- Include management time in any estimate.
- Always build in contingency for problem solving, meetings and other unexpected events.
- Cost each task in the Work Breakdown Structure to arrive at a total, rather than trying to cost the project as a whole.
- Agree a tolerance with his customer for additional work that is not yet defined.
- Communicate any assumptions, exclusions or constraints he have to his customer.
- Provide regular budget statements to his customer, copying his team, so that they are always aware of the current position.
Comments: There is no previous experience of the company as a whole, so they must be careful of estimating cash inflows and cash outflows and uncertainty involving these.
10. What kind of cost plan analysis you follow- payback method, discounted cash flow, IRR?
Ans. Discounted Cash Flow method is being used to plan analysis here as it gives almost corrects estimation and considers time value of money.
11. How do you identify the risk of project? What are the probable risks of this project? What is your preparation?
Several techniques are available that Project manager can employ to identify risks to his projects. He relies on regular team meetings, brainstorming sessions, reviews with stakeholders or experience from similar projects to identify risk of the project. Risks may result from high-level support, funding, resources, skills, hidden agendas and planning related issues.
What are the probable risks of this project?
Once he has identified the risks, he takes the following steps to overcome the situation:
Once he has identified his risks, he writes them down in a risk log. The log is used to monitor and track his risks. He makes his risk log visible to the project stakeholders so they are able to see risks that concern them being addressed. They may flag new risks he hasn’t identified.
The risk log should evolve over time with potential risks removed and new ones added as the project progresses.
Once he has filled out his risk log, then he evaluates his risks. He grades the risks on two levels, likelihood and severity. Assign a value to both the likelihood and severity of high, medium or low. It follows that he should concentrate his efforts on the high / high and high / medium risks. He looks at the financial implication of each risk as an additional factor.
Once he understands where his risks are coming from and which he should addresses first, then he takes corrective actions. He thinks of two actions for each risk. He documents the actions (in his risk log) he intends to take to minimize the impact from each risk.
Finally, he monitors and controls his risks. Risk control involves keeping a risk management plan, a record of risks handled, a description of his proposed corrective actions, costs involved and a risk escalation plan for when problems occur. He includes information about the risks in his progress reports. This keeps them visible and prevents any nasty shocks during the project.
Nobody likes to think about what may go wrong in a project, especially early on, but to overlook risk management means that we chance an unnecessary project failure.
Comments: Risk and uncertainty are all around this project as it is the first project of the company. A simple mistake can be very dangerous for the success of the project. So, steps should be taken carefully.
12. Do you prefer team work in project management? What do you do?
The project manager of UttaraValley project prefers team work in project management. He believes that Human Resource Management is needed everywhere, at home, at the office, and especially when working on a project with a group of people. Using human resources during a project requires getting the most effective use of the people involved with the project. This includes everyone associated with the project: sponsors, customers, partners, and individual contributors.
According to him, there are three major aspects of project human resource management: organizational planning, staff acquisition, and team development.
Organizational planning identifies, documents, and assigns project roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships. Before the project begins, all role and responsibilities should be designated. This will cut down on any confusion after the project starts. Each team member will know what is expected of him or her and will be able to follow through on the assigned tasks. Having a staff development plan and an organizational chart will also decrease uncertainty and conflict. A staff development plan describes how and when human resources will be brought onto and taken off the project team. An organizational chart is a graphical way to breakdown the project reporting relationship. It diagrams who is to report to whom. There will not be any question as to the chain of command with a detailed organizational chart. Good organizational planning also includes any supporting documents needed to outline each job title and description or any training needs.
Staff acquisition is the process of getting the human resources needed assigned to and working on the project. Choosing the correct people for a project is almost as important as the project itself. Without a knowledgeable team, the project will be much more difficult. Some things to consider when picking your team are previous experience, personal interests, personal characteristics, availability, and competencies and proficiency. Your resources for finding team members are endless. They may come from negotiations with managers and other project teams, pre-assignment from another project, or even from outside the organization. He also needs to determine whether each team member will be working on the project full or part time. Thinking ahead of the ideal team members will save your valuable time later.
Team development includes developing individual and group competencies to enhance project performance. By coming together as a true team, the project will be more successful. The project manager follows the following ways to achieve team Development:
- Team building activities
- General management skills
- Reward and recognition systems
- Collocation or frequent face-to-face meetings
Significant improvements in team morale will cause an increase in team mentality. Other improvements that will be seen include performance improvements, improvements in individual skills, improvements in team behaviors, and improvements in either individual or team competencies.
Comments: It may become very tough to maintain team work because, team work is the result of working together for a specific time. As time passed and the team work will be more effective for this project.
13. What is the organizational structure of this project management?
How do you maintain the control system of the project?
A project control system is a tool that enables managers to recognize problems before they become unsolvable. In essence, it monitors and controls the actual work to be done along with the cost of doing the work and the time needed to do it. How elaborate a system is depends on the size and scope of the task to be managed, as well as the size and distribution of the team working on it.
Comments: There is no written technique to be followed to control the project.
15. According to the project classification in which category this specific project belongs to?
There are three types of project, such as-
- X category: Productive of self sustaining & earn revenue. Example: power plant.
- Y category: Productive but does not earn revenue. Example: Irrigation.
- Z category: Service providing project non-visible product. Example: education, health etc.
According to the project classification, the UttaraValley project belongs to “X category” because it is not only productive but also earns revenue.
Comments: It is a private owned company and for-profit project
16. What are the key factors of your project?
Project managers stay current with ever-changing development regulations and are responsible, either directly or indirectly, for key factors in land development project.
The key factors of FDV land development projects are:
Interface with public agencies
The project manager of Uttara Valley project works with city and county planning departments, flood control and state agencies (for zoning, subdivision platting, street layouts, street dedications and other urban planning items), with public works departments (for water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, streets and flood control issues), with state agencies (for utility environmental quality) and in some cases with the utility district authority.
Environmental issues must be dealt with before lenders will commit to financing, and typically prior to breaking ground. Every project should begin with an environmental report. Wetlands, live/inactive water bodies, burial sites, illegal dumping, pollution — natural or manmade — to name a few, are all environmental issues that have a major factor in the ultimate use of the property. Water bodies, flood-prone areas and areas that warrant special use can be protected to add an amenity and appeal to a project.
Contracts with consultants and contractors
Appropriate contracts for all subcontractors and consultants are critical to the legal and financial aspects of the project.
Land, planning, landscape, architecture, amenity planning
A project manager must be versed in various land-planning strategies to maximize use of the land and project appeal. Appropriate and pleasing landscape architecture and amenity design can determine the tone and impact that a developer is hoping to achieve. Designing amenities for the ultimate users such as water features that act as storm water detention and amenities improves the marketability and sales velocity of a project.
The project manager is generally responsible for providing a cost analysis for all aspects and each phase of a development project.
It is the project manager’s responsibility to choose the projects civil/design engineer, who is ultimately responsible for the design and operation of all utility and infrastructure functions of the project. Water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer capacity must be determined from the appropriate utility provider, and governmental approvals must be obtained for every engineering and design-related construction item.
The project manager works with the project engineer to coordinate the bidding for infrastructure construction, whether it is by publicly advertised bidding or selective bidding. In addition, the project manager and project engineer supervise the construction and progress payments throughout development of the project. Additionally, the project manager coordinates the extension and installation of electric service and street light installation (an increasingly difficult task since electricity deregulation), natural gas, telephone, cable television, telephone and, if available, bundled digital services.
The project manager supervises the creation and initial operation of the homeowners association, typically by hiring a professional firm that specializes in this. The project manager also supervises preparation of deed restrictions and serves on architectural control committees, if necessary.
The project manager coordinates the design, financing, construction, maintenance and operations of amenities, which may include the subdivision entrance, parks, recreation areas, open space, landscaping and water features, plus active recreation features, such as golf courses.
One of the first tasks of the project manager is to coordinate and direct a market analysis, which helps determine the demand for, absorption and price of the product.
Financing district development
The project manager should be versed in the various development-oriented financing districts, including municipal utility districts, tax increment reinvestment zones, public improvement districts, municipal management districts and road improvement districts.
Project managers must be versed in all aspects of development regulations, including zoning, subdivision platting, environmental regulations (including wetlands), utility and infrastructure regulations and development financing regulations.
Professional groups and politics
Through activity in land development and real estate oriented professional groups, project managers stay current in development trends and changing regulations and take advantage of networking opportunities. Project managers also often are politically active so they can work to retain or improve property rights regulations that provide positive land development activity.
17. What are the key elements of your project?
Key Elements in THE ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY
The key elements of the land development process THE ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY are market research, site selection and analysis, project design, site engineering, project costs, and financial feasibility. Each element has a unique role to play.
Market research involves determining which type of buyers to capture; understanding their buying power, lifestyle characteristics, and product demands; and matching housing types and master plan concepts with those characteristics.
This part of the process can extend through to the marketing and selling of the project.
Site selection and analysis involve developing a list of desirable site characteristics; analyzing site conditions; and evaluating all the physical, legal and political, and off-site characteristics of a particular site for their contribution to the project’s success. Project design matches marketing information on buyer preferences with site characteristics to produce a master plan and housing types that best satisfy these requirements. Site engineering deals with the physical handling of the topography and installing the infrastructure to support the master plan.
Managing project costs involves determining both soft costs (fees, marketing, and testing and investigating site conditions) and hard costs (labor and materials) for the project together with the schedule for completing each task. From this information, one can then produce an accurate project cash flow.
Financial feasibility refers to determining the profitability of the project from sales forecasting and project costs.
18. What your role and responsibility as a project manager?
Roles and Responsibilities of UttaraValley project manager
A project manager is the person who has the overall responsibility for the successful planning and execution of a project. The UttaraValley project manager possesses a combination of skills including an ability to ask penetrating questions, detect unstated assumptions and resolve interpersonal conflicts as well as more systematic management skills.
Key amongst his duties is the recognition that risk directly impacts the likelihood of success and that this risk must be both formally and informally measured throughout the lifetime of the project.
Risk arises primarily from uncertainty and the successful project manager is the one who focuses upon this as the main concern. Most of the issues that impact a project arise in one way or another from risk. A good project manager can reduce risk significantly, often by adhering to a policy of open communication, ensuring that every significant participant has an opportunity to express opinions and concerns.
It follows from the above that a project manager is one who is responsible for making decisions both large and small, in such a way that risk is controlled and uncertainty minimized. Every decision taken by the project manager should be taken in such a way that it directly benefits the project.
Project managers use project management software, such as Microsoft Project, to organize their tasks and workforce. These software packages allow project managers to produce reports and charts in a few minutes, compared to the several hours it can take if they do not use a software package
The role of the UttaraValley project manager encompasses many activities including:
- Planning and Defining Scope
- Activity Planning and Sequencing
- Resource Planning
- Developing Schedules
- Time Estimating
- Cost Estimating
- Developing a Budget
- Controlling Quality
- Managing Risks and Issues
- Creating Charts and Schedules
- Risk Analysis
- Benefits Realization
- Scalability, Interoperability and Portability Analysis
- Team Leadership
- Strategic Influencing
- Customer Liaison
Comments: These rules and responsibilities are defined by the top management.