Project Management for Information Systems
Advanced Management Training (AMT)
Version Date Produced Author Comments
0.1 11th July P. Chita Initial Draft
1.3 30th September P. Chita Feedback corrections
Advanced Management Training (AMT) is a commercial training company based in central Scotland. It has successfully offered a wide variety of commercial management courses on a rather disorganised basis. It now seeks to leverage its presence in the marketplace and take the next step of expanding its course offerings and it aims to become a leading centre of project management training in the central belt of Scotland.
To assist in this endeavour – senior management have established that marketing and promotion is going to be key. Fundamental to the promotional elements is the establishment of a comprehensive web site that would provide the following basic functionality.
1. Display details of all courses run.
2. Display status of courses such as open, closed or booked up.
3. Provide details on the topic of each course as well as days & exams etc.
4. Provide pricing, venue details and physical locations (there are 3 venues in Scotland – Aberdeen, Edinburgh & Glasgow).
5. There are five courses that are run at the moment - PRINCE2, Programme Management, Management of Risk, Change Management and ITIL.
The exercise will be run according to the usual mix of conventional project management and agile methods which is a typical arrangement in industry today. You have been appointed Project Manager for this task and your time & cost is to be paid for separately and is not included in any part of this exercise. AMT have limited funds for expansion and the business case will be finely balanced.
Assume that all tasks and parts identified below are discrete and can be completed by a single individual and do not require input from more than one person.
Following an initial discussion – the following table and section details the required functionality and requirements that have been initially requested by the client.
Table 1: Client Requirements
1. Full conformance with all usability criteria. A Usability Report is required which outlines these criteria and shows how the proposed web site conforms to them.
2. A Report is required indicating your recommendations for a cost-effective hosting and maintenance solution that the client can use.
3. Web site pages should use whichever style sheet and logos you wish. It’s up to you to make it as user friendly and attractive as possible,
4. Client is very open to layout, style and other suggestions regarding the web-site interface as well as functionality . You are the technical expert – use your knowledge and skills acquired.
5. An administrator facility must be provided to easily update the web site with new courses etc. This should be password protected. Also, an appropriate level administrator manual (Report) is required so that the non-technical client can administer the web-site on his own without further assistance.
6. Web site elements and functionality should be tested on all normal browsers – Firefox, IE, Chrome and Safari. Effort should be expended on testing this and a fully tested system is a significant deliverable.
7. Web site should accept credit card and PayPal payment methods.
8. Web site should allow potential course delegates to register for a course. To do this they would first have to complete a registration form on-line and only thereafter register for a particular course. The business needs these important details before letting people book a course,
9 How the web-site could be optimised for Google rankings should be addressed. So if a potential delegate types in Edinburgh + PRINCE2 then how can this web site be the first one on the Google page? A Report is required to show how this would work and what steps have been taken up to this point and what would need to be done further to achieve this objective.
10 There are 3 venues – Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Each course identified above is run once a month at each venue – preferably on different weeks of the month – although some overlap is inevitable.
11 A paper registration form in pdf format is required. This is so a potential delegate (who may not want to book online) could print -off, complete and then post in a registration form
12 The web site administrator should be able to view the booking status of all courses. This means he/she should be able to see how many people are booked onto all the provided courses at all locations.
13 When a potential delegate books a course – then he/she should receive an email acknowledgment from the system and this should also be copied to the administrator.
14 Each course can have a maximum of 15 delegates and needs a minimum of 5 in order to run. When a booking is made then a counter value for the 15 maximum number attending the course should be decremented by one.
15 All courses have a two week cut-off point where if less than 5 delegates have booked then the course should be cancelled. The administrator should receive an automatic warning three days before this two week deadline occurs. The course administrator can then contact any booked delegates to inform them verbally of the situation.
16 You should ensure that all data is validated i.e. no course should start on the 30th February; no delegate should be booked on to a non-existent course; no course should start on a Sunday etc. Also, the administrator should not be able to easily delete a course accidentally if delegates are booked on to it. There have to be validation checks.
17 Course venues are hosted by a service company Regus (http://www.regus.co.uk/) and their locations should be easily identified and displayed on a web site page using Google maps etc.
18 A well-structured discussion forum for registered potential and past delegates would be useful to discuss any course topics and areas of interest.
19 Additionally, a news function that provides the latest specialist information about the course topics as well as reduced offers and discounts on courses would be of interest and could run as a banner or a side bar on the web site.
AMT Delivery Team
1. The delivery team is a mix of software developers and business analysts who actually have very little specific web development experience. Most of their expertise is in the audio-visual multi-media & games domain which may indeed come into play at some point in the future when the company aims to take its courses online (but this is not part of this project).
2. The delivery team are extremely busy, and they can only each give a maximum of five hours a week towards this project and so you have decided to recruit five of them.
3. You estimate that on this basis the project will take six weeks and to help identify a realistic budget you have decided to cost their time on the project as follows.
Systems Analyst (1) - £120 per hour.
Business Analyst (2) - £110 per hour.
Software Developer (2) - £90 per hour.
Whatever is produced by the developers will be treated as an initial version capable of extension and further development. This budget is not enough to produce a full-blown multi-function web-site but should be enough to provide all the required functionality elements that the organisation needs to have in the immediate future.
AMT Management Personnel and their Roles
1. Chief Executive Officer: Jack Daniels.
Jack started the company a few years ago as he led the spin-out from a large organisation he had previously worked for. He has a broad view of the business and the industry in which it operates. He is very interested in the whole training and education market and is particularly focussed on where the future of commercial training lies in online and virtual environments. As CEO he is in overall charge of the company and its resources and objectives. He is extremely busy horizon scanning and dealing with the strategic aspects of the business.
2. Training Delivery Director: Jed I. Knight
Jed oversees the smooth and effective delivery of all training courses within AMT. He has an eye on what the market is likely to need in the future and will assess training requirements as and when they come in. The proposed web-site will streamline much of his business function.
3. Marketing Director: Rollo Koaster:
Rollo has been with the company for 2 years and is charged with building the profile of the business with both public customers and with large organisations who have diverse training needs. She has authority to commit resources from the business marketing budget. She also is charged with monitoring the expected benefits from the web-site and is keen to ensure value for money.
4. IT Director: Harry Driver:
Harry is responsible for the IT function that looks after all the IT and information systems that the company relies on and which needs to be constantly updated and upgraded from the legacy systems that the AMT inherited from the host organisation. There are a varied mix of about 20 employees within this department that look after networks, systems and application,
5. Finance Director: Kash Register
Kash is responsible for all the financial accounting processes within the organisation both manual and electronic. She is responsible for ensuring the efficient and cost-effective running of the organisation.
6. Director of R&D: Chrystal Ball
Chrystal manages an innovative and highly motivated team that are constantly looking to push the boundaries of the electronic delivery of education and training. Currently they are focussed on mobile devices such as smart phones using both IOS and Android and are also exploring cloud-based delivery approaches as well as gaming and virtual reality. Chrystal has an excellent understanding of IT systems overall and their ability to deliver business benefit.
7. TechIT Account Manager: Ian Boring.
Ian works for TechIT who are a major supplier of IT solutions and services that AMT turn to on many occasions. Ian has managed the AMT account for several years and has also often provided consultancy and feasibility assessments. Ian’s organisation has all the necessary skills and resources to deliver webbased projects – for a fee.
The output of this exercise will be the production of plans & documents preparing for software delivery. At no point will you need to develop software or assemble any of the identified deliverables listed in the Table above. You are investigating, analysing and planning the delivery of these items only. The deliverable is the Project Brief and this is to be presented to the Project Board for their approval before the project can proceed to the delivery stage. The constituent elements of the Project Brief are listed below and templates for some of these sections are available in a separate document on Moodle As these templates have been provided, they MUST be used. Also, please note that these templates and the Project Brief itself may differ from any that you may have encountered in your previous experiences. This fits with the seventh PRINCE 2 Principle of “Tailor to suit the project” and please note that any other versions or alternatives that your organisation may use will not be accepted.
Deliverable Documents within the Project Brief
A. Project Management Team Structure:
Examine the above AMT Management Personnel Section to see a variety of management job roles & individuals. Construct a project management team consisting of the following roles. It is not enough to simply insert names & roles for each position. You have to provide a justification & explanation of your selection as to why the chosen individual should be placed in these roles and what equips them for that role.
The roles to be filled are: o All the three roles on the Project Board (Senior User, Senior Supplier & Project Exec) o Project Assurance.
o Project Support.
B. Business Case:
See template provided in the Templates document. This business case should be taken from the organisation’s perspective to go ahead with a web presence option instead of some other activity to boost sales.. Essentially it should make some assessment as to the likely benefit versus the cost of delivery of the project. The following points provide some more information to help you undertake the investment appraisal section of the business case.
• Average gross profit per delegate on a course is £50
• Business overhead is 10% of the delegate’s gross profit.
• Average number of delegates per delivered course is 8.
• Each venue only runs courses for 10 months in the year to cater for holidays.
• Marketing estimates that the web-site will generate an extra one or two delegates per course.
C. Project Plan – 3 elements
The Project Plan describes how and when the project’s objectives are to be achieved. It also provides an indication of how and when these objectives are to be achieved by showing the major products, activities and resources required for the scope of the plan. You are to produce the following three elements.
1. Product Flow Diagram (PFD):
See first week’s tutorial & handout. There should be at least 30 items in this diagram, and it should show the major products that are to be delivered in the project. Make sure you stick to the rules and guidelines relating to the production of PFDs that are provided on Moodle. The diagram should also be accompanied by a short narrative outlining your thinking.
2. Product Descriptions:
Select any two deliverables from your PFD and provide example Product Descriptions. Make sure they are different from the example in the handout and do NOT relate to documents. Again use the template on Moodle and each product description should not be any more than one page of A4 in length.
Provide a Gantt chart of the activities and resources necessary to produce the project deliverables. Although PRINCE2 advocates three levels of plans, for this small project one schedule will be enough to show the way in which the activities and the resources will be scheduled in order to produce the project deliverables.
Importantly there must be coherent naming & numbering correlation & consistency between these three deliverables. You will have to decide how many and what tasks the project and PFD deliverables must be broken down into in order to maintain effective management oversight of the project.
NB. It is likely that with limited knowledge and experience you will have to estimate the time duration of many of the elements listed in the above table and this is entirely expected and natural in environments where there is substantial uncertainty. Do NOT be overly concerned about getting these estimates right as it is possible that there is no commonly agreed answer. With any uncertain task it is important to make an initial estimate and at least put something down on paper as a basis for communication and to make progress. No doubt you will amend and modify as you go. The important thing is to be consistent, logical and reasonable and establish a first pass that will then be used to further refine at a later stage. It is this first pass that your schedule is attempting to deliver here. Every student may produce a completely different answer and yet they may all be satisfactory first attempts. It is the use of the scheduling and resourcing tool that is important here rather than your estimates at writing software. Similarly, for estimation purposes, note that all the written reports (bold & underlined) in the above Table requested by the client are significant documents in their own right (@2500 words – similar to a student essay and so would require six hours to complete) and so work must be budgeted accordingly. Remember you are not being asked to write these reports. They are included here as project deliverables that you are planning & budgeting for. It might be useful to look at other training company web sites to get an idea of the kind of sites that are appropriate in this domain. Just Google “PRINCE2 Training” or check out http://www.learningtree.co.uk/ http://www.qa.com. Also remember this project is not to deliver a fully functioning web-site but for a basic prototype.
D. Project Approach
These elements to be submitted (A/B/C/D) should incorporate an exploration , synthesis and application of the main ideas and concepts discussed on the course.
4. Additional Points to Note
• The word limit for this assessment is 2500 words and items presented using the provided templates (Business Case & Product Descriptions) may be ignored for word limit purposes. You must use the templates provided though, so do not create any others or you will be penalised.
• Word count starts at the first word of the introduction through to the last word of the conclusion. Tables and appendices are ignored in word counts. If you have difficulty keeping to the word limit, think about putting more of the deliverables into tables or add an appendix or two.
• All the above deliverables should be concatenated together to form one single document to be submitted to Turnitin. Do NOT submit a ZIP file or multiple files.
• For marking purposes all items will be printed out so make sure they are all properly formatted in portrait layout and each one must have your matriculation number on it, preferably in the footer or header. Also note that the contents of your PFD must be legible when printed. If needs be, you can extend across two pages of A4.
• Page layout: Submissions must be properly formatted and in portrait mode and be in Arial font 11pt., 1.5 line spaced.