Amber Cars Project
Project management is widely hailed for its ability in making organizations and individuals actualize various projects. According to Thomas, Jacques, Adams, and Kihneman-Woote (2008), project planning has the ability of enabling organization to save a lot of expenses by minimizing time and resource wastage. This paper gives a detailed description of the implementation of a car hire website for Amber Cars. In particular, the paper will discuss all issues that will be considered during development from the scope, planning, launching, monitoring and control, to the closing of the project. Ambers Car is a family-owned taxi business with its headquarters in Northampton, England. The company has been in operation since the year 1998.
The development of a new car hire website for Amber Cars will entail the use of various personnel’s that have varying skills in order to effectively complete this complex within the given deadline. Accordingly, one project management will ensure that all people involved in the project are working in harmony and in the most effective and efficient manner. In addition, the coordination of all activities will ensure that resources are efficiently utilized.
Amber Cars has a lean employment team. It has two people who deal with general enquiries, five individuals who are controllers, one general manager, and one account manager with an assistant. The main marketing method for the company is through the use of local newspapers and Yellow Pages directory. The company’s clients make their bookings through fax, email, or making a direct call to the company, which are managed by controllers. Regarding income, Amber Cars gets a commission of 145 pounds from each taxi weekly for the cab rented to a driver and the business accounts for organizations such as hospitals and schools.
The main goal of this project is to develop a new website for Amber Cars, which will enable the company to increase its reach to potential clients. In particular, the website will enable customers to make online bookings from anywhere in the United Kingdom. In addition, the website will enable Amber to have a greater online presence, which it can enhance through targeted online and social media marketing.
Besides making customers have much easier access to Amber’s services, the website will enable the company to achieve its main objective of increasing sales and incomes. Through greater online presence, and more enhanced targeted marketing, the company will be able to attract more customers. In addition, the website can over time make the company to reduce its expenditure in newspaper and yellow pages adverts.
When developing and launching the website, the project developers and the company will consider the interests of all stakeholders, who include shareholders (owners), employees, customers, and the government. Some of the risks involved in the website include hacking of the system, loss of confidential information about the customer and employees, loss of confidential data, and system failure. Data security, in particular, is a vital issue that is addressed in the 1998 Data Protection Act of the United Kingdom.
The project development of the Amber’s car-hire website is faced with various constraints that must be overcome by the development team. First, the project must be complete in 58 days after its initiation. Second, the project should not exceed the set budge of 8,000 pounds. Third, the developed website should function perfectly once it is launched. In this case, customers should be able to see the services offered by the company and book a taxi. The company should be able to use this system to connect with its drivers. Also, the system must be secure, protecting users and the company’s information. Once the scope is approved, the project development will proceed to the planning stage.
Project Specification Template
|Project Title||Developing a Car Hire Website|
|Project Goal||To develop and launch a car-hire website.|
|Objectives||Develop and launch a car-hire website in 58 days.|
|Timescale||58 days from 1st April 2018|
|Quality Measure||System must meet security requirements established in Data Protection Act (UK).|
|Benefits||Increased sales for the company
Enhanced market reach
Reduced advertising expense
|Known risks||System hacking which can lead to loss of income and confidential personal data.
Planning mostly entails the determination of the projects that should be undertaken at each specific time and the resources that are needed. This process is important in ensuring that there is no wastage of resources and for ensuring that all personnel are allocated to tasks that match their skills. This project will be divided into 6 major subgroups, which are analyzing, prototyping, development, testing, training, and project closure. The first step will be analyzing, and the activities in this stage will include eliciting client needs, analysis of target audience, gaining server access, getting access to the required resources, producing required specifications, and getting approval from the client to proceed.
The second step will be prototyping. Activities in this stage will include the development of a prototype, approval of prototype by the client, testing of the prototype, amendment of the prototype, gaining approval from client to proceed. The third stage will be development. This stage will entail the creating of coding templates, the creating of HTML and CSS documents, the development and test of interactive components, addition of appropriate content, verification of site links, the verification of functionality, and the gaining of approval from the client to proceed. The fourth stage will be testing. In this stage, there will be cross browser testing, error testing, user group testing, amendments arising from testing, and gaining of approvals from Amber to proceed with the project. In the fifth stage, the project will be almost through, and the client (Amber’s employees) will be trained on how to use the website backend. The sixth stage will be project closure, the website will be connected to the database and it will be launched. There will also be a project review and final closure of the entire task.
After identifying the activities, a network diagram of the activities to be undertaken are developed. The network diagram is important in enabling the project team to identify the critical path for the project, and accordingly the earliest possible time that the project can be completed without crashing any days. Without crashing any day, the project team can only complete the website development in 60 days. Since the project should be completed in 58 days, 2 days will be crashed among critical activities that can be crashed and have the lowest daily crashing costs.
One all the activities that are to be done have been identified, the next step is the launching of the project. This step will happen after approval of the project plan by the general manager. In this stage, appropriate resources for the website will be purchased, which will include items such as servers and computers. In addition, there will be the recruitment of individuals who will assist in the project. In addition, there will be the establishment of operating rules for the project, which will ensure that there is team work. Equally important, all team members will have the opportunity of learning the objectives of this project, understanding their roles and responsibilities, and identifying the right reporting channels.
Monitoring and Controlling
The monitoring and controlling process will be essential in ensuring that any hitches in the project development are detected and corrected quickly, before they cause any mess in the system. Largely, monitoring and controlling will entail performing a continuous assessment of the project’s progress, carrying out a risk assessment of the project, and establishing reporting mechanism to enable proper control of the project. Also, a project leader develops a mechanism of reporting the project’s status, establishing means of identifying and solving problems, and processes change requests and scope change requests as needed.
In Amber car-hire business, the monitoring will be of three key aspects of the business, which are: establishing the data to be collected, collection and analysis of data, and report of the project’s progress. The establishment of the data to be collected will ensure that only relevant information is assessed when determining the type of website to be established, and the resources needed. The performance of analysis on all collected data will ensure that wrong assumptions are not used in the project. Finally, a report on the project’s status will enable team members to know their performance, and make appropriate changes and improvements when needed. In the status report, the main concern will be cost and schedule. This report will be created at the end of every week so that the team can compare their actual performance against the established baseline.
Overall, the project control will enable the team to identify if there is any variance in their performance. The project manager, on his/her part will establish alternative courses of actions to correct deviations. In this regard, the monitoring and control of the project will have a benefit of ensuring there is timely completion of the project. Addition, it will ensure the project is completed within the set budget of 8,000 pounds, and according to the required quality. Further, the controlling will ensure that all objectives of making the car hire website have been attained, and the final product (website) is of the required standards. Besides ensuring there is the delivery of a quality product (website), the controls will ensure that the project team is able to maintain excellent relations with Amber Cars and that the website meets the expectations of all stakeholders (customers, Amber, employees, tax drivers).
To ensure that the project control process is effectively conducted, the project manager will first establish a baseline plan. He/she will use a status report to monitor the performance of the company against the set baseline. The baseline plan gives the expected ideal cost, scope, and schedule for the project. Therefore, this comparison enable him/her to know how far the actual performance deviates from plan. Overall, the periodic measurement and correction of significant deviations will ensure that the project is completed within the required baseline limits. In this regard, the status report will improve the communication among members implementing the project and the organization. It will also ensure there is no communication breakdown during the project implementation, and all issues are solved in good time. Further, it will enable stakeholders to receive appropriate communication in time, and enhance Amber’s support for the implementation of the project.
The closing stage will be essential in ensuring that all the client’s requirements have been attained and all deliverables have been installed. More importantly, it will ensure that Amber Cars’ gets full value for the development of the website. In addition, the project closure will ensure that the project’s documents are properly recorded and handed to appropriate parties. The assets that were used in the project are reconciled. Project resources are released from the project development team, the project is fully completed, and payments for the project are made.
For the development of Amber Cars’ car-hire website, seven project closures will be made. The first one will be perform project close-out. In this close-out, the project manager will ensure and document that all the tasks listed in the work breakdown structure have been completed. He/she will also ensure that scope of the entire task has been completed according the business case definition. In this regard, he/she will ensure that the project is able to perform its required duties. The project manager will then carry-out a final project evaluation, and if he/she determines everything is according to the requirements, he/she will close the project.
The second stage will be client closure-out. Client close-out will be done to ensure that the Amber Cars is satisfied and has accepted the developed website. Moreover, it will provide the project manager with the opportunity to assess the level to which Amber is satisfied with the developed website. This process will be done by interviewing the Amber’s general manager to ensure that all deliverable have been received and that he/she has accepted the website. The third stage will be organization close-out. This stage will ensure that the project development team has completed its use of the organization’s resources. It will entail returning all equipment that belonged to the organization that were been utilized by the team. There will also be a reconciling of the returned inventories with the original inventory. Finally, there will be a reconciliation of the original budget against what was actually spent in the project. Any remaining funds will be returned to Amber’s finance department.
The fourth stage will entail a subcontractor close-out. In this regard, the project manager will ensure that all subcontractors have received their full payments. In addition, he/she will ensure that these individuals have returned any asset belonging to the project team, which they may be having. In website development, subcontractors may be people providing cloud or networking services.
The fifth stage in the project management is the performing of a risk assessment that are relevant at the end of the website development project. In this stage, the project manager will identify risks in each stage of the project. He/she will also estimate the likelihood of each risk occurring and its possible impact. Fe/she will then stratify the risks based on their impacts and nature. Finally, he/she will establish strategies of dealing with the risks. For residual risks and cash flow for example, he/she will ensure that there is an audit of all resources used in the project, followed by an official handover of remaining resources to the company. For training risk, the project manager can set a simple quiz to assess whether the Amber car’s personnel will be able to use the system on their own. He/she can also develop a user’s manual to guide them.
The sixth stage is team close out. In this stage, a project closing meeting is held to examine lessons learned and officially close the project. The main attendants in this meeting will be the project manager, the project team, and important stakeholders such as subcontractors. In this meeting there will be an examination of project successes and failures. There will also be an identification of ways that the project can be improved. Finally, there will be a release of team members from the project.
The seventh stage is the production of the final project report. In this stage a final report of the Amber Cars car-hire website report will be prepared. This report will summarize all the closeout activities. The purpose of this report will be to demonstrate the Amber’s senior management that the project is complete, and also to show them the final status of the project. This report will include a description of the activities done in the other stages. Accordingly, it will have the following topics: project closeout activities, client closeout activities, organization closeout activities, organization closeout activities, subcontractor closeout activities, final risk assessment, team closeout activities, and the report closeout statement.
Thomas, M., Jacques, P. H., Adams, J. R., & Kihneman-Woote, J. (2008). Developing an effective project: Planning and team building combined. Project Management Journal, 39(4), 105–113.