How to manage a project
Balancing between organizational goals and objectives with the needs of the community and the environment that businesses operate in, remains a big challenge. To ensure sustainability, the cost aspect and commitment in in terms of resources is a must do for an organization (Martin, 2012). However, as a business strives to excel, it must make sure that its activities are sustained. This is done by undertaking different Corporate Social Responsibilities’ (CSR) activities. This article will look at the specific CSR activity of the business as a main project to ensure sustainability and achievement of its goals and objectives. The article makes reference to The Tale of India which is known for its wide range of mouth-watering dishes cooked of herbs and spices. The project involves the financing of small suppliers of greens, drinks and other spices to ensure continued and reliable delivery of food to its customers. The main project of the investor is to have a portion of the company sales go the small businesses in order to engage in innovative production which is cost effective. The main areas of the project include aims and objectives, a management plan, project breakdown, qualitative and quantitative research methods for meeting the objectives and the analysis of data using appropriate tools alongside making possible recommendations to ensure the attainment of the identified objectives.
P1: The project aims and objectives for the scenario
The main aim of the project is to ensure that as the business grows and seeks to achieve its objectives, it is able to sustain its business activities of cooking mouth-watering dishes that are sustainable.
i. To increase the sales of food by 15% in the next five years
ii. To increase the money given to the suppliers by 10 percent in the next five years
iii. To reduce the consumption of conventional food by 70% in the next five years
iv. To increase the company profits by 20 percent in the next five years
P2: Project management plan
The project management plan (PMP) is the main document for communication used in every project. It is always made available to all members of the project management team. The following are the key areas that the said project will cover:
Cost: The approximate cost of the project is $0.25 million. The cost elements include installation of production machines, growing of different plants and preservation equipment. Further, the cost will also cover on supporting research and development on new methods of food production. More important, however, is the cost management aspect, the project will have both an audit and finance teams to ensure that the cost is controlled and that any expenditure incurred is reasonable and acceptable (Curlee, 2011).
Scope: First and foremost, the project will cover all the innovative production activities from the suppliers’ side to the restaurant. This means that all the developments that are directly under the company should be part of the project and more especially those that have not been done the developments.
Time: The project will run for one and a half year period. It will commence with the first tier suppliers, sister businesses and head business. However, this time is only approximate since there are other factors such as delay in supplying equipment, change in weather and other issues related to logistics that may affect negatively the flow of the activities as planned (Frame, 2013).
Quality: This is a very important key in PMP since it helps determine whether the project is meeting its goals and objectives. One could think of quality as an evaluative tool for the requirements of the project (Frame, 2013). However, more to note, is that quality control is something must be practiced throughout the project. The specific quality tools that will be adopted in this undertaking are: Fishbone Diagrams also known as Cause and Effect Diagram, Gantt chart and Inspection. The tools will be important in monitoring whether all the requirements of the project are met and also make recommendations to improve on the aspects that are not doing good.
Communication: This is the process of exchanging information among the stakeholders in the project. The project will divide the team into two groups to ensure that communication is precise and effective (Larson, 2009). The two groups are stakeholders and the project team itself. For all parties to be well informed there will be short briefings every Monday morning to give reports from previous week and the expectations during the current week. This approach is important in promoting cohesiveness and commitment to the project. The supervisors will also be informed of any updates on a regular basis to ensure continuous flow of important information.
Risk: All the activities will be monitored and evaluated regularly. The process will make use of the available reports both from within and outside to determine the possible risks that may affect the project. This will help put in place possible measures to mitigate the effects (Kerzner, 2009). The anticipated risks include delays in delivering the equipments, faulty apparatus and inability to use some of the innovations. The analysis of risk will therefore take precautionary measures to ensure that whatever eventuality, the project implementation is not interrupted.
Resources: There are various resources that support project implementation. Among them are human resource, finance resources, skills, experience, technology and capital among others. The resources will only make sense if utilized optimally. The available resources will be allocated on a prioritized manner based on each activity in the project (Paul, 2013). This means that each activity will get a fair share of resources. The intention is to reduce wastage and maximize output.
P3: Breakdown Structure and Gantt Chart
The following table shows the different activities of the project and the time duration each activity will approximately consume:
Time Duration (Days)
Planning and Design
The above activities are as shown in the Chantt Chart below:
The breakdown structure and Gantt chart above clearly highlights the time that each of the activities in the project will take. The tools are important in helping the project team to ensure that no overlaps or delays in the projects. This is important in making sure that the project is completed within the planned time without further delays. All the activities will be performed one after the other.
A project management process is a practice that helps the management teams in any project ensure that adequate resources are availed, specific skills acquired and more important, the winning of the stakeholders commitment. The idea behind it is to actualize the project (Elagapudi, 2012). Of great importance, is the fact the project management process guides the team throughout towards attaining the goals and objectives as planned. Research methodology is also a very important device of getting relevant information and data that will form the implementation of the project. The possible research methodologies that could be used in these cases could entail the use of secondary data. This is from similar projects that have either been successful or failures. They provide lessons for improvement and greater performance.
P4: Small-scale research using both qualitative and quantitative research methods
As a recap, the project aim to ensure that as the business grows and seeks to achieve its objectives; it is able to sustain its business activities of selling of best food to its clients. On the other hand the specific objectives of the project include increasing the sales of food by 15% in the next five years, increasing the money funded to the suppliers by 10 percent in the next five years, reducing the consumption of conventional of food by 70% in the next five years and increasing the restaurant’s profits by 20 percent in the next five years.
However, to ensure that the aim and project objectives are realistic and achievable, a detailed study must be carried out to establish the factors that may lead to their success or failure. The process must employ appropriate research methods to establish that. In the case of this specific project, both questionnaires and interviews could be used collect relevant data (Rodney, 2014). The project team, to start with, will have to employ the questionnaires to get specific information from the existing suppliers, customers, and potential customers. Some of the things that the questionnaires we be focused on, are the curiosity of the customers to the new innovation and the perception of the clients about the company engaging in sponsorship activities. This is important in predicting the demand of the hotel dishes. In addition, interviews could be considered instrumental research methods for determining the feasibility of the project aims and objectives. The specific information that the research tools will cover include the amount of money the suppliers are to invest in innovation and that is $50,000 and above, number of suppliers in the industry, the amount of donation that the producers think should be invested in innovation and the number of families that rely on conventional food in homes and other restaurants. One thousand five hundred customers both existing and potential were involved in the research.
The research methods are standards and scientifically acceptable in collecting relevant data that can be tested. This is because the information can be stored for reference in the future. Further, the data collected from the interviews would also be used in give a wide overview of how the general public views the project. This is because the customers are free to express their mind without any limitation.
P5: The following is the summary of the data that was collected from research:
Willing to spend over $50,000 in innovation
Number of suppliers in the industry
Supporting the cost of innovation
Using conventional foods
Table 1: Data from the research
Diagram 1: Graph summarizing the research data from the respondents
From the graph it is evident that a majority of the customers both existing and potential one, are positive about the project. Of the one thousand five hundred respondents, 86.70 percent indicated that they support the project, while it was established that 97 percent of the respondents are willing to spend over $50,000 in housing and also it was also found out that 73.30 percent live in rented houses. Further, the research revealed that 80 percent of the respondents view the cost of the project as one that is reasonable and sustainable. Finally, the research did confirm that 60 percent of the respondents still rely on ordinary food in hotels and homes.
P6: Conclusions and recommendations
The following are the specific conclusions from the study:
1. More producers will be willing to engage in innovative food production methods. This is because the discovery will help reduce the cost of production. Since the majority of the customers are willing to spend over $50,000, then it means the project will benefit a majority of them
2. Further, a majority of the customers that supply herbs and other spices in the industry are about 73.30 percent. This is in the long term will be costly as opposed to dealing with a manageable number of suppliers.
3. Third, a better portion of the respondents still rely on conventional food which is not sustainable. Installing the new innovation systems, therefore, will be a better alternative and sustainable approach to ensuring a comfortable stay in the houses.
4. Finally, the research also proofs that the market is supportive of the idea of financing first tier suppliers in enhancing and sustaining their production.
The following are the specific recommendations for the project team:
1. The company should continue new creative production methods that are cost effective
2. The company should also launch a campaign to educate and woe the suppliers about new methods of food production as this will be a saving in the long-term
3. There is need also to have a more elaborate plan to ensure that there is complete shift from reliance on ordinary food to more sustainable sources of food.
4. The company should strive to increase its donations to the suppliers as this will help win more confidence from the market and thus sustainable business.