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Project Management Foreign Sme

Essay by   •  June 4, 2019  •  Research Paper  •  2,247 Words (9 Pages)  •  27 Views

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Company

The company I will talk about in this paper is a consulting company located in Beijing mainly focused on foreign SME. Except of consulting at that time they also had few different projects.  I joined the new established IT department which already had two software engineers. They were managing the company’s website and just have finished the first version of the Online Management System (OMS), a software program, which was created in order to digitalize the workflow and create the specific tools for the departments in order to coordinate the work easier. I was hired to continue the development of the OMS system with other two engineers, as the department lack the human resources in order to deliver the project on time. First day I remember that general manager was complaining that software engineers delayed the project and it took 65 days to finish, instead of 25 planned. I was really surprised after I talked to the engineers during my first day in the company, as they were really professional and skilled software engineers. During the first week it was hard for me to understand why there was a delay, but after my second week in a company I realized that it is about company’s culture and management.

The only department that was working relatively fine was accounting department. People there were responsible and always paid customers on time as they knew that payment delay would disastrous the business. On the other hand, one of the employees from the accounting department had previous experience in HR, so she was the HR manager at the same time. As I later discovered, that was one of the core problems of the company.

I remember the other departments were all mess. Marketing department employees were working long hours in order to achieve the number of the potential deals set by general manager. Sales department people were busy with both deals coming from marketing department and emergency deals from general manager and CEO. As a result, people were overloaded by the work and usually had to stay in the office till the late night. In general, people were stressed, did not have a good working environment and did not enjoy their job. They also did not know where the company is going and what is the CEO plan for the near future. They were also receiving emergency tasks daily.

Project

All the communications in the company were done by the emails and the documents were stored on different computers in the office, so CEO decided to create an IT Department to develop an Online Managing System (OMS). The main purpose of the OMS was to automatize all the working processes between departments, create main database of the passed projects and documents attached to them and allow managers to track the progress of each future project.

The first version of the OMS was design by the general manager of the company. Its development was delayed and was not helpful to the employees of the company. After I join the IT department we have been given a new software development task by the general manager. I want to add that the deadline set for that task was not rational, but due to the amazing work of the other two engineers we were able to deliver on time. Once delivered and presented to the employees from different departments we found out that many features designed by general manager were not needed and the system lacked the features that were actually needed. After talking to the general manager I convinced him that it is better to let the employees to design what they need. In the end he agreed, but on the other hand we received a deadline for providing a technical specification designed by the engineers through the communications with the employees from other departments. The time set by the general manager was not enough to speak with everyone in the company, but the manager said that we are in rush in switching to the OMS system so we can not discuss it. After we spoke with a half of employees in the company we wrote down all the features they needed and came up with a new design of OMS. The OMS was perfectly designed by the software engineers on the paper. They had designed the system that had a potential to bring the clients management to a new level based on what employees needed. Unfortunately, the new OMS system was not approved by the manager due to the high budget and we had to cut off 35% of the features. The new deadline was set and we started development.

The original project was designed to be done in 5 months. We have divided employees into 3 “topic groups”. So in order to continue the development for the second group we had to confirm that the first group received all the features they need, as the tools for the second group were based on the the tools from the first group. Here was the biggest problem. Employees from the first group were given only two weeks by the manager to do this quality control and to make the changes they want. But this amount of time was not enough for them as they were loaded by the other work. In the end, they checked the system and confirmed with us that everything is good, but as I later discovered they actually did not have enough time to check the OMS properly and just confirm without checking. Same happened with the second group.

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Almost all the points above were dismissed on the top management side. As a result, when we finished development for the third group, employees started to notice some missing features during the another test, then CEO asked everyone to come to the office for additional paid day on Saturday to test OMS. On that day we received emails from the first and the second group members which added 2 additional months to the development. In the end, project was much over budget. It cost twice more from the original one, designed by the software developers and took 7 months instead of the 5 planned.

Problems

In order to change the company, first of all we have to list all the problems. It is necessary to say that the project was not designed well from the beginning. After many hours I spent on analyzing the problems from the first version of the OMS I realized that the system was developed not only to improve the company’s performance, but also to track the performance of each employee. This not only didn’t improve the performance, but made some barriers for employees. Secondly, adding more features during the development will not only delay the project, but also make a huge damage to the software quality. Thirdly, fast decision making of course is a benefit, but only when the quality of it is not compromised. Fourthly, by overloading stuff with work and then adding deadlines for quality control, management is making it impossible to carefully check the project. Moreover, in order to finish the project on time management compromised quality control to move faster to the next step of development.

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