Managing Risks in Telecommuting Expansion Project

Description of Risks

Impact Likelihood of Occurrence (L,M,H) Degree of Impact (L,M,H) Initial Action to Take if Event Occurs Team Member Responsible Strategies for Prevention and Mitigation

Widespread security breach caused by unauthorized access to customer information. This could lead to negative publicity and loss of credibility, thereby affecting the overall business. Immediate action should be taken to enhance security, including limiting employee access to sensitive customer information.

To ensure the security of telecommuters' PCs and restrict information access, it is important to install the most up-to-date security software and enforce strict password policies.

Additionally, challenges with integrating the Document Server need to be addressed. If there are issues with the setup, troubleshooting should be done remotely to identify the underlying problem. To minimize errors and save time, it is possible to script and semi-automate the installation and setup of document servers. Technical challenges like power failures and internet outages can also cause delays in setting up the telecommuters' environment.

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Guidelines should be provided to instruct users on how to move on to the next computer if there are power or internet challenges and return to the remote PC later. To prevent and manage these risks, the telecommuter PCs can be prepared and configured at the Xemba Translations office before being shipped to the remote location.

In the long term, budget can be allocated for individual battery backup for the remote PCs. There has been a delay in the completion of the Telecommuting Expansion project. Inadequate resources are available to address the increased customer need, causing negative publicity for the company.

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To catch up and speed up progress, the project team size should be increased to reduce potential schedule impact. The project team should manage schedules even more tightly by monitoring daily progress of tasks and mitigating schedule delays before they occur. The perception of impersonal and below par service due to telecommuters can lead to the loss of real customers and negative publicity. The focus can be shifted to lost customers to survey their reasons for taking business elsewhere and offer incentives to return. It is important to work with the marketing team to ensure that large customers understand the benefits of real-time web-based communications and translation services.

The progress and overall health of the Telecommuter Expansion project will be measured using "Earned Value Management" (EVM), which considers the cost and schedule baselines. EVM relies on three key metrics: "Planned Value" (PV), "Earned Value" (EV), and "Actual Cost" (AC). PV represents the official budget assigned to the project, while EV reflects the amount of work that should have been completed by a specific point. AC represents expenses incurred for work performed up until that point in the project. EVM offers a thorough method for monitoring advancement and evaluating the status of the Telecommuter Expansion project by considering factors such as budget allocation, completed work, and costs incurred, as well as tracking disparities between approved baseline for costs and schedule.

The variances are useful in determining the overall project health and status. - Schedule Variance (SV): It indicates whether the project is ahead or behind at a given point in time. To calculate SV, subtract the Earned Value (EV) from the Planned Value (PV). A positive value means the project is ahead, and a negative value means it is behind. - Cost Variance (CV): It indicates whether the project is overspent or underspent at a given point in time. To calculate CV, subtract the EV from the Actual Cost (AC). A positive value means it is under spent, and a negative value means it is over spent.

The Cost Variance at the end of the project is determined by subtracting the Actual Cost (AC) from the Budget at Completion (BAC), resulting in CV = BAC - AC. This calculation applies to both positive and negative values, indicating whether the project is over or under spent. The Earned Value Management technique includes two indices: the Schedule Performance Index (SPI) and the Cost Performance Index (CPI). These indices measure schedule efficiency and cost efficiency respectively.

The SPI evaluates how efficiently the project has progressed thus far. An SPI less than 1.0 suggests that less work has been completed than planned, while an SPI greater than 1.0 indicates that more work has been accomplished compared to what was originally scheduled. The formula for calculating SPI is: SPI = EV / PV.

On the other hand, CPI assesses how effectively resources have been managed within budget up to this point. It is a crucial metric in Earned Value Management methodology. A CPI value below 1.0 implies that the project is currently exceeding its budget as per the initial plan, whereas a CPI value above 1.0 signifies that it is currently under budget and performing well financially. The formula for calculating CPI is: CPI = EV / AC.

Task B1: Justification of Metrics: The Earned Value Management methodology was chosen for tracking the project metrics of the Telecommuting Expansion Project because it comprehensively covers all aspects of Project Schedule Control and Cost Management. This approach allows for a comprehensive analysis of the provided data, including the budget at completion (BAC) for labor costs. The Cash Flow Report in the case study serves as a reference for the Earned Value at the 76 day mark in week 11. The Status Reports at the end of the Case Study also provide detailed actual costs for each work package in the project's work breakdown structure.

By utilizing the provided details, it is possible to easily calculate the Cost and Schedule Variances, which provide a comprehensive analysis of the project's overall health in terms of schedule and cost. Through basic arithmetic calculations, it is possible to determine if the project is adhering to the budget or exceeding it, as well as ascertain if it will meet, exceed, or fall behind schedule. Furthermore, by evaluating the Cost Performance Index (CPI) and the Schedule Performance Index (SPI), one can effortlessly assess the project's cost and schedule efficiency. By comparing these indices against 1.0, it becomes possible to predict whether the project will finish under or over budget and ahead or behind schedule. This approach aligns well with the critical path methodology employed in the case study where particular emphasis is placed on work packages within the critical path to minimize risks and manage project schedule and costs effectively.

Task B2: Current Project Status: The provided table displays a comprehensive overview of the fifteen project team members and their associated labor costs. These costs were initially planned at the start of the project, but have been revised according to the project manager's instructions.

Status report: Resource Name Rate per Hour Planned Hours Budgeted Labor Cost WBS Item Hours Worked Hours Left Revised Work Plan Spent Costs Future Costs % Left Elizabeth $ 70.00 121.43 $ 8,500.10 11220122 $ 8,540.00 $ - 0% Hugh $ 70.00 120 $ 8,400.00 210317120 $ 7,210.00 $ 1,190.00 14% Kimberly $ 70.00 76 $ 5,320.00 3721688 $ 5,040.00 $ 1,120.00 21% Phoebe $ 68.00 98 $ 6,664.00 4762096 $ 5,168.00 $ 1,360.00 20% Ben $ 68.00 138 $ 9,384.00 59352145 $ 6,324.00 $ 3,536.00 38% Zeke $ 65.00 384.67 $25,003.55 6153245398 $ 9,945.00 $15,925.00 64% Malinda $75.00 224 $16,800.00 758160218 $4,350.00 $12,000.00 71% Willis $70.00 108 $7,560.00 816068228 $11,200.00 $ 4,760.00 63% Jackson $45.00 268 $12,060.00 2,4,5177112289 $7,965.00 $ 5,040.00 42% Kendrick $40.00 78 $3,120.00 586086 $3,440.00 $ - 0% Marcel $75.00 432.85 $32,463.75 1,4,5,7268200468 $20,100.00 $15,000.00 46% Lianne $37.50 204 $7,650.00 3,8170110280 $6,375.00 $4,125.00 54% Darius $55.00 72 $3,960.00 3,8304272 $1,650.00 $2,310.00 58% Valene $60.00 150 $9,000.00 4,5,611664180 $6,960.00 $3,840.00 43% Clemencia $80.00 218.05 $17,444.00 1,6104114218 $8,320.00 $9,120.00 52% 2693 $173,329.40 178812203008 $112,587.00 $79,326.00 41%

Based on the summary provided above, we can summarize the following points:

The Planned Labor Cost (PV/BAC) is $173,329.40, while the Labor Costs spent (AC) amount to $112,587.00. The Remaining Labor Costs are $79,326.00. The Initial Labor Plan was projected to take 2693 hours, but it has been revised to 3008 hours. Currently, 1788 hours have been spent, leaving 1220 hours remaining. Based on the Initial Labor Plan, the percentage of completion is calculated by dividing the Hours spent (1788) by the Initial Labor Plan (2693), resulting in 66%.

According to the Revised Labor Plan, the metrics are calculated as follows: - % Complete: Hours spent / Revised Labor Plan - 1788 / 3008 = 59% - % Remaining: Hours remaining / Revised Labor Plan - 1220 / 2008 = 41% Given that PV, AC, and % Complete are known, the following metrics from the Earned Value Management Plan can be computed: - Earned Value (EV) = BAC x % Complete - $173,329.40 x 59% = $102,264.35 - Cost Variance (CV) = EV – AC = $102,264.35 - $112,587.00 = -$10,322.65 - Schedule Variance (SV) = EV – PV = $102,264.35 - $173,329.40 = -$71,065.05 Note: Both Cost Variance and Schedule Variance are negative indicating that the project is over budget and behind schedule.

The Cost Performance Index (CPI) is calculated by dividing the Earned Value (EV) by the Actual Cost (AC).

The Schedule Performance Index (SPI) is calculated by dividing the Earned Value (EV) by the Planned Value (PV), resulting in an SPI value of .91 ($102,264.35 divided by $112,587.00). Similarly, the Cost Performance Index (CPI) is determined by dividing the EV by the Actual Cost (AC), resulting in a CPI value of .59 ($102,264.35 divided by $173,329.40). It should be noted that both the CPI and SPI values are less than 1.0, indicating that the project will exceed its budget and experience delays in completion.

The Case Study states that by using the Earned Value Management technique, it is possible to estimate the final project cost and duration. The project's initial planned duration is 123 days.

The estimated final project cost is equal to the Budget at Completion (BAC) divided by the Cost Performance Index (CPI).



Estimated Final Project Duration:

Planned Duration / SPI = 123 days / .59

= 209 days

Note: Without further action, the labor costs for the project will exceed the planned budget by around $17K and the project will be delayed by approximately 86 days. The additional costs are due to procurement expenses for hardware and software to accommodate the 173 telecommuters. This includes expenses for new computers, Document Servers, Shared Drives, FTP Servers, Firewalls, and support for Web-Based meetings. According to the Status Report from the previous project manager for the Xemba Translations Telecommuter Expansion Project, the total budget allocated for these costs was $73,670.57. The report also provides estimated actual costs for these items in the following table:

Option 2 - Laptops HughTechnical support2$0.00 $0.00 KimberlyComputing support3$0.00 $0.00 PhoebeDocument servers4$34,600.00 $89,268.00 Cost for document servers for the 173 telecommuters. Option 1 - $200 for 50GB per person Option 2 - $516 for 100GB per person

BenShared Drives$17,300.00 Cost for shared drives for the 173 telecommuters. The cost is estimated at $20 per 10GB. Each usr will use an average of 50GB. Total cost of $100 per user.

ZekeFTP Sites$6,000.00 Estimated annual cost for 1000GB storage space with unlimited bandwidth for file transfers and unlimited simultaneous logins.

MalindaFirewalls$20,000.00 Cost of firewall software and hardware.

WillisWeb-Based Meetings$2,000.00 Cost between $1000 and $2000 per year based on used of web meetings.

$91,300.00 $148,768.00

According to the table above, the total costs for hardware and software to support the needs of 173 telecommuters exceed the budgeted amount by $17,629.43 at the lower end, and potentially more depending on the chosen configuration. Phuong Wolfing, the CEO of Xemba Translations, suggests that the costs of the firewall could be absorbed into the overall IT budget instead of being considered a project cost. This means that the hardware and software costs for the Telecommuter Expansion Project would amount to $71,300, staying within budget. Xemba Translations Senior Management and Stakeholders must now decide on how to proceed.

Task B3a: Problems Affecting Project Implementation: Three potential problems that could affect the project are outlined below: 1. Cost Overrun: Based on the current project status and estimated time required for different tasks, it is evident that the project will exceed the budget unless there are significant changes. Additional funding will be necessary to complete the project. The new Project Manager will need to make an even greater effort to control costs and minimize overruns. With 76 days completed out of a planned duration of 123 days, the project should be approximately 62% completed. The Actual Cost (AC) for labor on the project so far is $112,587. Analysis of the Cash Flow Report in the Baseline Project Report indicates that by day 76, the project's Earned Value (EV) should be around $125,000 with a Percent of Work Complete of approximately 72%. Calculation of the Cost Performance Index (CPI) using the EV of $125,000 and AC of $112,587 would yield a value greater than 1.0 (1.12), indicating that the project is currently under budget.

However, based on new estimations of remaining work, the Percent of Work Remaining stands at approximately 41%, indicating that the project is only 59% complete in terms of tasks. With a " % complete" value of 59% and a Planned Value (PV or BAC) of $173,329.40, the Earned Value (EV) amounts to $102,587. The negative CPI of less than 1.0 (0.91) suggests that there is a definite cost overrun unless appropriate measures are taken to control project expenses moving forward. Additionally, there is a Schedule Overrun situation whereby, considering the current project status and activity trends, it is evident that the project will not be completed by the targeted end date in June, aligning with the start of the third quarter as initially planned. If the Senior Management and Stakeholders are committed to completing the project on time for the third quarter, significant actions must be implemented to mitigate and minimize further delays. Amongst various factors contributing to the delay, one notable setback in the project schedule was the time lost in rescheduling the web-based meetings due to a power outage caused by adverse weather conditions experienced in the Midwest region.The delay in the schedule was caused by a procurement delay for the 47 new computers. These computers were back-ordered, resulting in a two-week delay. As a result, the setup and validation process for the telecommuters' new computers also started late.

In the "Project Status" section, it has been mentioned that the Schedule Performance Index (SPI) is 0.59. This value indicates that the project is currently behind schedule and will likely be completed much later if the factors causing the delay are not addressed. It is important to closely monitor the critical path items to explore possibilities of accelerating them and reducing the delay. Additionally, the status report for the Telecommuter Expansion project in the case study highlights three quality challenges commonly faced in IT projects. These challenges include factors that can decrease the quality of the solution being worked on. For Xemba Translations, the Telecommuter Expansion project involves a significant investment in information technology infrastructure and its associated complexities. Setting up and ensuring functionality of this complex solution, especially in terms of security resilience, is crucial. The resource strain experienced during projects intensifies when there are schedule-related challenges, which is not unique to the Telecommuter Expansion project.

The project is significantly behind schedule and important decisions about the schedule need to be made. Quality management is also crucial for the project's success. One aspect of the project involves setting up computers for 173 telecommuters, including document server access, shared drives, FTP access, and web-based meeting software and hardware. This task adds extra pressure to the project team, who are already dealing with a tight schedule. Under such circumstances, there is a tendency to prioritize completion over quality. However, given the technical complexity and resource limitations, it is essential to take steps to ensure that all technical deliverables meet high standards. This is crucial for successfully completing the project and ensuring smooth daily operations at Xemba Translations.

Task B3b: Recommendations for Problem Mitigation: This is a summary of the steps to mitigate the problems that can negatively impact the project. Although the encountered problems cannot be eliminated, they can be minimized or mitigated as the project progresses towards completion. Considering that the project is currently on day 76 out of a planned 123 days and has used $112K out of a budgeted 173K, there is room for tighter fiscal control and cost management. Processes must be established to confirm and authorize additional hours spent on activities, particularly if those activities are behind schedule. For instance, there has been significant time spent on the Web-Based Meetings pilot test. External factors such as bad weather caused unexpected delays, resulting in unnecessary hours being spent on an activity that produced no results. Moving forward, before any planned end-to-end testing activity, a quick go/no-go decision should be made to assess readiness for such activity. Additionally, greater attention should be given to accurately estimating task duration.

By utilizing actual data on the duration of different tasks, we can more accurately estimate the time it will take to complete activities and plan accordingly. This not only aids in estimating costs, but also allows for better control over scheduling. In addition to this, a "best practices review" can be organized by the Project Manager to enhance productivity and shorten the timeline for certain tasks. With the revised estimates indicating 1220 hours of remaining work, there is a significant opportunity to expedite completion dates and reduce overall hours spent. Moreover, Senior Management can provide authorization for spot bonuses as an incentive to meet tight deadlines, contingent on budget allocation. This fosters teamwork and focus in pursuit of a common objective.

Regarding the hours spent on the project by the project team, it is possible to review the process with the team and make proposals to Senior Management on a weekly basis regarding the authorization of overtime hours for employees who will be working their full 40 hours for the week. This approach helps control costs related to overtime-pay and prevents team members from feeling overworked, which can lead to mistakes and low quality deliverables. It is crucial to avoid team burnout at all costs, as this indirectly improves overall quality and team responsiveness. To achieve an unbiased and tangible view of progress and measure the quality of technical deliverables, the team can collaborate to establish concrete metrics. This approach can also be applied to setting up new computers, document servers, shared drives, FTP sites, and the web-based meeting software environment.

Task C: Executive Summary: The Telecommuting Expansion project is progressing well. A new Risk Analysis was conducted, and additional risks were identified and summarized in a Risk Assessment Matrix. Here is a brief overview of the newly discovered risks, their impact, and strategies for prevention and mitigation:

Description of Risks Impact Strategies for Prevention and Mitigation

1. Widespread security breach due to unauthorized access to sensitive customer information

Negative publicity for the company and loss of credibility with existing and potential customers, affecting overall business

- Implement the latest security software on all telecommuters' PCs

- Enforce strict rules for information access, including password policy management

2. Document Server integration challenges

Delay in establishing the Telecommuters' environment

- Potentially script and semi-automate the repetitive process of installing and setting up document servers to minimize errors and reduce time

3. Technical challenges such as power failure and internet connection outages

The setup of the environment for Telecommuters may be delayed if there are any issues with power or internet connection. To prevent and address this risk, the telecommuter PCs can be prepared and set up at the Xemba Translations office before being sent to the remote location. In the long term, budget can be allocated for individual battery backups for the remote PCs to avoid delays in the completion of the Telecommuting Expansion project due to inadequate resources. It is important to manage schedules even more efficiently by closely monitoring daily progress of tasks and addressing any schedule delays before they occur. There is a risk of customers perceiving the service as impersonal and below average due to telecommuters. While this risk may be subjective, it can result in the loss of real customers and negative publicity. It is recommended to collaborate with the marketing team to ensure that large customers understand the benefits of real-time web-based communications and translation services.

The project is currently on day 76 since it started. Some modifications have been made to the initial schedule and cost estimates of the project. The Earned Value Management technique was employed to calculate various important schedule and budget metrics, allowing for comparison and strategic planning. The table below provides an overview of the initially planned and revised estimates for the project's Schedule and Budget items:

Schedule/Budget Item

Initially Planned

Revised Estimates

Duration in Days: 123 days, 209 days

Duration in Hours: 2,693 hrs, 3,008 hrs

Personnel Cost: $173,329.40, $190,471.87

Hardware/Software Cost: $73,670.57, $71,300.00

Note: The cost of additional firewall hardware and software amounting to $20,000 will be included in the IT budget as advised by CEO – Phuong Wolfing. This cost will not be included in the Telecommuting Expansion Project costs as shown in the table above. Aside from the revised estimates mentioned, an analysis was conducted to address and mitigate three problems faced by the project. Recommendations were provided to tackle the root causes of these problems. The following problems were thoroughly discussed and summarized together with recommendations: One: Cost Overrun – Considering the current project status, activities trend, and estimates provided by the project team regarding the remaining time required for various project tasks, it is certain that the project will exceed the budget and necessitate additional funding to be completed unless significant changes are made.

This indicates that the new Project Manager would need to put in even more effort to control costs and reduce cost overruns. Additionally, based on the current project status and activities, it is evident that the project will not be completed by the targeted end date at the end of June, as initially planned for the start of the third quarter. Therefore, if the Senior Management and Stakeholders want the project to be completed on time for the third quarter, several critical steps must be taken to mitigate and minimize further project delays. Furthermore, the included status report for the Telecommuter Expansion project highlights that there are various factors in any IT Project that can adversely affect the quality of the solution being developed.

Xemba Translations is facing the Telecommuter Expansion project, which requires a significant investment in information technology infrastructure. Setting up and ensuring the functionality of this infrastructure is complex. It is crucial to carefully set up and test the solution, particularly in various edge cases that involve security attacks and malicious users. Due to the technical complexity and limited resources, measures must be taken to maintain high quality in all technical deliverables for the successful completion of the project and the smooth operation of daily activities at Xemba Translations. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate encountered problems, efforts can be made to minimize or mitigate them as the project progresses towards completion.

The recommendations for addressing the project's problems are outlined below:

  1. Authorization for additional work: It is crucial to establish processes for confirming and authorizing the need for extra hours spent on an activity, particularly if that activity is running behind schedule.
  2. Accuracy of Task Estimation with Best Practices: Another important aspect is to improve the precision of task duration estimation. By utilizing our historical data on the duration of different tasks, we can more accurately estimate and plan for the duration of activities. This not only assists with cost estimation but also enhances scheduling control.

As part of due diligence and planning, a "best practices review" can be organized by the Project Manager. The project team will review best practices for a task in order to accelerate progress and shorten the schedule. Incentives can be used to motivate the project team, with authorization from Senior Management. Spot bonuses can be allotted to meet tight deadlines and keep the team focused. Another aspect to consider is managing overtime pay and preventing burnout. The project team can review the process and propose weekly to Senior Management whether authorization for overtime hours for employees working their full 40 hours a week should be given. This approach helps control costs and prevents the team from feeling overworked.

Updated: Feb 16, 2024
Cite this page

Managing Risks in Telecommuting Expansion Project. (2016, Feb 26). Retrieved from

Managing Risks in Telecommuting Expansion Project essay
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