Project Audit of the Ottawa-Carleton Water Park Essay
Project Audit of the Ottawa-Carleton Water Park
I have audited the Ottawa-Carleton water park project and analyzed the various stages of the project, the methodologies, techniques and tools of project management that were utilized.
The project managers, that are KLSJ Consulting, who had been contracted by the owners Carlington Aquatic park were very effective in the management of the project. They displayed competence and understanding of the key issues that are essential for management of large scale high risk projects like the Ottawa-Carleton water park project.
The project was a big success and was completed without major cost overrun and scope creep.
The project managers had made very adequate preparation and detailed plans on how to carry out the project. This included different strategies of managing the key aspects of the project like quality, risk and time schedule.
Part 1: Case Study Description
The project to be audited is called Ottawa-Carleton Water Park. It is a project that involves putting up of a full size water park in Ottawa area.
The design and building of the Ottawa-Carleton water park project will be managed by KLSJ consulting on behalf of the owners Carlington Aquatic Parks. The owners will retain all authority concerning financing, marketing and critical designing of the water park. After the construction the water park was efficiently passed over to an operations management team (KLSJ Consulting 2002).
Ottawa is the capital city of Canada with a population of over one million. It is a destination for many summer tourists as it has very fine tourist attraction which includes galleries and recreational facilities among others. According the Ottawa-Carleton water park project concept, during summers, about two million visitors come to Ottawa (KLSJ consulting, 2002).
Water parks which mostly operate during the summers are very profitable and represent a mature industry. There are many water parks offering recreational services to people in different parts of the world with United States having more than nine hundreds (KLSJ Consulting 2002).
The Ottawa-Carleton water park will be a full size water park offering a range of recreational facilities to its visitors. It will be situated in the Ottawa area and will consist of facilities like sport court, rock climbing wall, children center, a wave pool, a river, slides, towers, group area with picnic facilities plus other attractions (KLSJ Consulting 2002).
According to the project proposal, the project started in 2003 and will took two years with completion in 2005 (KLSJ consulting, 2002).
The challenge facing the Ottawa area is that there is no full size water park in the area, and with the rising popularity of water parks in North America it was a lucrative idea to take the first move to create one for the Ottawa area market.
The need for one site that will offer visitors a big range of recreational facilities in the Ottawa area initiated this project to construct a full size water park in the Ottawa area in an easily accessible area. The land will be leased from National Capital Commission Public lands and the water park will be built by a prime contractor with owners and investors acting as supervising agents. The project will take 2 years and is expected to be completed by May 21. 2005. (KLSJ consulting, 2002).
The project was completed effectively and successful and the water park was opened on June 2005. The handing over was very effective though the project completion had delayed with four weeks. The project is considered a big success.
According to bi-weekly status report the project started two weeks behind schedule. This time was to be recovered by sourcing the environmental study to the one consultant who had offered the initial environmental feasibility study services. Thus, the project was expected to be complete as scheduled (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
The approximate budget for the whole project was set at twelve million four hundreds and forty eight thousands Canadian dollars. The project completed with a small cost overrun of 2.7% (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
According to the project communication plan the project managers had the responsibility of making all the communications to the external parties including politicians, regulators and media. The team leader made all routine project communication and his responsibility which included preparation and delivery of all project performance report (KLSJ consulting 2003).
As stipulated in KLSJ consulting communication plan (KLSJ consulting 2003) the main communication objective was to encourage a positive image for KLSJ and the project to garner support and to generate local interest in the water park. All communications were to be aimed at posing a positive publicity and were to be identified in their work breakdown structure. The team leader was the communication coordinator. The project communication plan was to be evaluated quarterly and at the start of each phase, feedback collected from all stakeholder and improvement done in order to improve the communication plan (KLSJ consulting 2003).
The project manager of Ottawa Carleton Water Park was Karen Dhanraj and his primary responsibility as cited in KLSJ consulting Ottawa-Carleton water park project proposal (KLSJ 2002) included:
- Coordination and communication with outside agencies
- Interfacing with community groups, the capital district, and municipal, regional and provincial governments.
- Providing direction and guidance to other team members
- Maintaining the overall project plan (schedule, cost and resources)
- Coordinates and producing all project documentation.
- Coordination and oversight of the market’s agency
- Membership in the Risk management working group (KLSJ consulting 2002)
The project team included three team leaders. Scott Kennedy was the team leader concerned with Design and construction and was responsible for all activities concerned with design and construction.
Lavern Fleck was the legal team leader whose responsibilities included legal counsel, contract management and handling the regulatory authorities on legal issues.
Steve Jackson was the team leader concerned with Finance. His role was to manage all finance issues related with the project.
Jim Harris was the Risk manager whose role was to coordinate the Risk management program.
Project marketing was done by an outside contractor (KLSJ consulting 2002)
Part 2: Scope, cost and Time management Analysis.
The project was successful in terms of attainment of the required scope. The water park was completed with all the facilities that were intended. No major compromise were made on quality of the facilities and attractions. This means the objectives of the project were realized.
According to the post project report 311, 650 Canadian dollars were used in-excess of the budget for the project to be complete. This represented a 2.7% cost overrun. This was contributed by several factors that included: mitigation of an environmental problem, traffic and road upgrades, higher costs for the water park design, and a series of variances in construction (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
The project was completed four weeks behind schedule. The opening of the water park had been scheduled to take place on 21 May 2005 but it did not until June 15. The major cause for this delay was the late delivery of the water slides and the unfavorable weather condition in early spring of 2005. Hiring of the operations manager and conformation of investors took more time than had been expected but these activities did not affect the overall time frame of the project (KLSJ Consulting 2002).
The management of the Ottawa-Carleton water park project used different project management tools and technique to ensure the project was a success. One thing that worked for the projects success was the good and efficient management of the three major constraints of a project that include scope, time and cost. The project management ensured that proper measures were put forward that helped the project to succeed.
Different techniques and tool were used to make the scope of the project to succeed.
The first strength for the project was that the scope was well defined. The overall objective of the project was well outlined complete with details and estimates of what was needed. The owners wanted a full size water park of a total cost of 12, 450,000 Canadian dollars that will provide recreational facilities to about 7000 visitors in a day (KLSJ Consulting 2002).
The project management used different techniques and tools to manage scope. The project management strategy was well designed with a very well functioning project management team. The team was of manageable size and represented the functions that were core to the success of the project. The project management team was led by the project manager who lead three team leaders and a Risk manager. The marketing function was contracted from outside. This team was able to handle all the issues that concerned the project hence helping the project come to achieve its objectives.
The other technique utilized was good risk management. The Risk manager had a Risk management program that ensured a problem area was identified and acted upon before it became a loss to the project.
Communication was also well structured ensuring that all external and internal communication were carried out appropriately. This had been well planned for and duties allocated thus ensuring no obstacles came up.
Cost management was a major factor for the success of the Ottawa-Carleton water park project. Different techniques and tools were utilized in order to effectively manage costs.
The first step was having a team leader who was to be concerned with financial issues of the project. His responsibilities included development and monitoring of business plans/s and project cash flows among other responsibilities.
The cost was well estimated using a class B estimate which provided a variance of between -10% to +25%. The overall cost estimate was can $12448, 250. A 10% contingency had been provided to cater for expected price variation. The total cost had been analyzed using both functions and phases. The total cost had been divided by project function that included management, contract management, financing, political/legal, marketing and construction. The total cost had also been divided per project phases. The phases included phase 1 to phase 5. These analysis of cost enabled the managers to ensure they had enough finances before undertaking a task or contract in order to avoid stoppage or legal action against them (KLSJ Consulting 2002).
The cost was also analyzed by use of tables, graphs and Gantt charts to help in management. The project management also adopted a cost control strategy that was aimed at avoiding cost overruns. This strategy involved issuing fixed price contractors, including penalty clauses for non-performance in contract and taking insurance for specific perils. All these efforts were geared toward operation within the budget.
Time was another constraint that was well managed in the Ottawa-Carleton water park project. The management team used a work Breakdown schedule to analyze the duration of the project. The project duration was divided into fine phases. Key milestones were identified in each phase of which some were in critical path and others were non-critical. Deadlines and reviews were done and a schedule change management plan was adopted.
The work Breakdown schedule was further divided into tasks thus facilitating easier management of these activities.
A tradeoff strategy in some instances was utilized in order to manage competing priorities of scope cost and time. This strategy involved, in some cases allowing tradeoff compromises between scope, cost and time management. However no major compromise was done in term of number or quality of attraction to be installed in the water park. All the structures and facilities that were installed in the water park met the quality and standard that was expected.
Different techniques were used for corrective action in the different aspects of the project. One correction action that was adopted was the institution of a deadline for every phase and the end of phase reviews and approvals. Performance report had to be submitted at every end of a phase and change request had to be reported before the deadline. These actions made sure that no activities led to delay of subsequent activities and thus maintaining the whole program on schedule.
Cost correction action involved analysis of the cost requirement using charts and tables. Cost was also anticipated in order to make sure enough preparation were done before the time.
In assessing the strategies that the Ottawa-Carleton water park project management team utilized we can be able to see some of them went wrong while other worked well.
One of the strategies that never worked well was the security of investment funding. There was a major delay in securing investment funding causing a delay of six weeks and an over expenditure of can$12,000 as a result. This strategy did not work well and more care should have been applied to curb such delays. Only that there was sufficient slack, else this delay could have caused the overall project to delay (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
There was also wrong estimation of time to be taken in hiring a suitable operation manager forcing the use of extra resources totaling to can&14000 to recruit the officers before the overall timing of the project was affected.
Though the delay in delivery of the waterslides as not the responsibility of the project management inclusion of a clause imposing a penalty on late deliveries by contraction could have solved that problem by offering the manufacturer an incentive to deliver on time (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
There was a floe in scheduling in that the bad weather of spring could have been anticipated and provided for to avoid delays in the overall project schedule.
Some of the well utilized strategies were cost estimation, project management, quality controls and Risk management. Time was also relatively managed well.
The strategy of utilizing budget and cost analysis techniques and tools served the project well to avoid major cost overruns. Proper management was provided with a well functioning project management team and structure that enable efficient operations. The project management was also able to outsource for services outside as well as utilizing their internal resources optimally. Time schedule had been planned well with work Breakdown schedules being utilized and the project being divided into phases to facilitate easier management (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
The combination of all these strategies, the ones which worked well and those that had some flaws led to the success of the project. There was no major scope creep and the cost overruns were very low (2.7%). The objectives that had bee envisioned by the initiation were realized though the project was completed four weeks behind schedule.
Some of the project management techniques and tools learnt where well applied in the Ottawa-Carleton water park project. Some of these techniques include project schedule setting and breakdown, analysis and good management of the triple constraints factor, outline of the critical and not critical activities, setting and analysis of budgets, use of work breakdown schedule, good management team and clear communication guidelines. Other analysis tool like Gantt Charts, graphs and tables were used. There were also measures to manage risk and quality.
Management of the three major constraints is always a major factor for success of any project. Proper management will work to avoid scope creep and or cost overruns (Hormozi, Dube 1999). I could recommend that such techniques be used more keenly and fully so as to manage the project more effectively.
Part 3: Project Schedule and Baseline Assessment
The Ottawa-Carleton water park project schedule was managed using a work breakdown schedule. This was a plan that could take the project through five phases in 32 months. The project was also divided according to function each function with a team leader. Besides the manner work breakdown schedule which contained 200 items there were six subordinate work breakdown schedules which were used for clarity in the tasks to be performed.
Despite of this superb plan the project closed behind schedule by four weeks because of several other reasons that the project management could not be able to avoid (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
Baseline assessment was well planned for with the work breakdown schedules to illustrate how progress was taking place and tables to show the sequence of events and functions. Budgets had been done to show the funds need by phases, functions and cost category. This worked to ensure the intended objectives were met. There was also a clear plan on how change was to b managed.
Ottawa-Carleton water park project management utilized several techniques and tools to manage the project schedule and baselines. One of the critical tool used was a work breakdown structure and schedule. The team utilized a 200 item master work breakdown structure and six subordinate work breakdown structures. These subordinate structures were to divide the tasks into shorter and clearer activities so as to ease monitoring and management of the tasks. The activities had a clear sequence of how they were to take place. The happening of some activities was to take place only after another activity place. AT a certain point the construction of the water park had to continue only after assurance of investors support.
A critical path was identified and milestone events were established both critical and non critical tables were used to analyze these milestone activities for easier clarity.
Financial analysis was well carried out by use of financial estimates. The financial estimates had been well planned with analysis estimates of cost per phase, cost per function, cost per project category and cost per cost category well done. This was meant to act as the baselines and so to avoid cost over runs and to manage variations in prices effectively (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
There was also a plan on how to manage change. This was geared toward management of all constraints to ensure there was no great variation from the baselines.
Ottawa Carleton water park utilized the critical path method to manage schedules and cost. Some of the techniques and tools used include charts, Gant /charts, tables and work breakdown structures and schedules.
The projects management team used different methods to estimate the task duration. This was most logical consideration of time such activities take including time allowances for any anticipated factor that will affect the tasks duration. The work breakdown structure and schedule was very important in this aspect. The Ottawa Carleton water park project had a complete communication plan with communication objectives, plan and manage themes to be passed across to the various audiences. It had also it priorities and constraints identified.
The team leader who was reporting to the project manager was responsible for the communication especially internal communication. The project manager had the sole authority to communicate with external parties which included regulation, government authorities, the public and the media.
The team leader was also responsible for all communication regarding the program of the project. Hew was to report all performance progress to the project manager.
This communication plan served a big role to ensure that the project was a success. Its main objective was to pose a positive image of the project managers that is KLSJ consulting the project and the upcoming water park. Consequently, the themes of the messages passed were concurrent with this objective. Thus the communication plan helped KLSJ to get support of the government authorities, the media , the public and more so the investors and the enabled the project to succeed (KLSJ Consulting 2003).
The Ottawa-Carleton water park project management team used several methodologies and techniques to carry out corrective action in different situation. One of the strategy utilized was trade-off between the various major contracts of the projects. This was utilized when there was delay in securing investors. More resources were applied to the task in order to speed up the process and so save time (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
Another strategy utilized was negotiation. This was utilized when there was an environmental mitigation. The manager negotiated with the region and agreed on a cost sharing arrangement and on a program to was aimed at avoid delays in continuation of the constructions. This served to save both time and cost.
Another corrective action taken by the project manager involved sole sourcing environmental studies consultant. After the delays in the initial stages of the project, the management sole sources the consultant thus saving a lot of time that could have been used up in the recruiting.
Different strategies were used by the project management to manage aspects related with project schedule and baseline. On strategy that was so effective was the change plan. The plan offered a guideline on how change was to be managed and this ensured that the project was processing according to plan.
Other strategy utilized was the closes monitoring of the main constraints, that is time, cost and scope. This enabled the project to proceed well with much delays, scope creep, cost overruns or compromise on quality. The project management utilized and followed that plan well and utilized took like work breakdown structures, financial estimates and the critical path method.
Part 4: Risk Assessment Quality Assurance and Change Control Management
Risk management was a critical issue in the management of success of th Ottawa-Carleton water park project. This was well done by instituting a Risk management working group early in the project. This group met monthly to discuss risk-related issues. Besides that there was a comprehensive risk management plan and assessments of the risk of the different parts of the project. These measures enabled all risks to be handled before they developed into loss for the project. The major risks that were dealt with included: Environmental assessment mitigation, delay in hiring of operation manager, delay in securing investment funding, inclement weather, and delay in delivery of the water slide (KLSJ 2005).
Change was also well managed during the project performance and this enabled effective changes in order to bring the project to success as expected. A change plan was set for early in the project and these offered guidelines on how change was to be done if tit was needed.
The project management used qualitative and quantitative measures to ensure quality was upheld in the project (KLSJ Consulting 2003). This was geared towards ensuring that the project met the intended quality. This was done effectively and no any quality compromise resulted (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
The project management different techniques and tools to manage the risks that were inherent to the project. This techniques and tools were included in a comprehensive Risk control plan. The technique used included risk assessment before the project began and all through the project. Tools that were used included a risk evaluation criteria table, impact criteria table, and risk summary tables. Risk matrixes were also used to assess the various risks (KLSJ Consulting 2003).
A risk management working group which was headed by the Risk manger analyzed all the risks facing the project throughout the project duration. This function grouped managed the risks as they appeared and provided mitigation strategies that enabled the risks to be managed.
Ottawa-Carleton water park project had an efficient change control system that used formal scope control processes. The plan had change cutoff dates schedules in each phase A tracking system was used. The change plan was aimed at avoid disruptions of events as they had been planned in the work breakdown structure. Each request for change had to evaluate in order to establish its impact on other variables.
One of the changes that was effected in the Ottawa-Carleton water park project was the change of decision on recruiting the environmental study consultant. The change was effected and KLSJ sole sourced the consultant who had done the initial environmental feasibility to carry out the job. This was carried out effectively and it resulted to saving of two weeks and one thousand Canadian dollars.
The change management plan adopted by Ottawa-Carleton water park project team ensured that it integrated scope management. This was aimed at making sue that all changes were made within the overall objectives of the project. The tracking system used also worked to make sure that all the changes that were effected fitted in the overall plan of the project. Assessment of the impact of the changes on cost and schedule had to be done before any change was effected and this was aimed at making sure that the changes did not have an adverse effect on the other operations o the project.
The requirements that on change requests had to written facilitated later reference and tracking of the changes in order to maintain the project on the intended plan. All this measures worked to ensure there was no scope creep and even cost overrun (KLSJ Consulting 2005).
Quality was a key consideration in all the stages of the Ottawa Carleton water park project. Because of the nature of work and construction that were done, quality was planned for and closely monitored to ensure safety of all facilities. KLSJ uses 1SO 9001: 200 standards for the project management. The firm had also to comply with other standards that affected the project which included standards set up by the region and the local authority (KLSJ Consulting 2003).
KLSJ consulting had a group of experts on quality management who offered their expertise to the project on an on-call basis. Within the project team the team leader (finance) was concerned with all matters on quality. Besides that, quality was a responsibility of all people concerned with the project.
The ISO 9000: 2000 quality assurance procedures were followed throughout the construction and regular quality status reports were provided. The planning was well done by the help of a manual of project procedures and a quality management plan. Verification of all certification of contractors was done as well as auditing of all construction activities in order to maintain high quality in all facilities. Quality control was done by taking up action immediately as issues of concern arised (KLSJ Consulting 2004).
Ottawa Carleton water park project management team used several techniques as corrective actions in aspects of risk, quality and change in the projects. One technique used over all was constant monitoring, assessment or evaluation. Issues of risks, quality or changes were monitored and evaluated throughout the project life. Another way was having a contingency plan. This enabled the team to contain all the variations within the scope of the project and thus ensuring t6he project objectives were achieved. The project team was also well prepared with detailed plans on how all the things were to be handled and this helped to manage change effectively.
The project management team used various strategies to manage these aspects of the project effectively. The first strategy that was used was adequate planning. Enough planning had been done on all aspects related with risk management, quality and change control management. The plans helped the team to prepare all round for the various occurrences that were expected. The plans also provided clear guidelines on how the operations were to be done. This also ensured that all the resources required, in terms of human resource or funding, were ready before the project got into a phase where they were to be used.
The other strategy was the constant evaluation and assessment of the different aspects of the project that were related with risk, quality and change. There was also a risk management program that was carried out all through the project by risk management working group. This ensured that all the inherent risks were identified and dealt with before they resulted to a loss to the project. Quality was assessed through out the project life and one team leader, among other roles, was concerned with ensuring quality was maintained. There were also audit teams that assessed the quality of the various structures that were put up in the water park. The different activities were also continually evaluated in order to handle any change effectively without compromising on quality of the facilities to be put up.
Another technique that was well utilized was change management. Change management was well planned for and this facilitated its effective execution. Control was also another strategy technique that was effectively carried out. The project team was able to effectively control the three major constraints namely scope, cost and time. This enabled the project to be completed successfully.
There were many tools that were used to manage the aspects of risk, quality and change in the project. These tools include risk matrix, contingency plan, change management plan, quality management plan plus many tables, structures and analysis summaries.
According to the strategies that were applied, some were very effective while others had some flaws. The strategies that went very well include the change management plan and the quality management. The different changes that were done within the project were very effective and did not lead to scope creep or major cost overruns. Quality management was very effective and did not result to any quality or quantity compromise.
Risk management had been good but things did not go very well leading to delay of deliver of the water slides (KLSJ Consulting 2005). This showed that risk management despite of all the plans had a flaw. Otherwise the planning of the whole project had been well done.
Part 5: Conclusion
The Ottawa-Carleton water park project was a success and the managers, KLSJ consulting displayed good project management skills and expertise. Many of the techniques, tools and strategies learnt in class were applied effectively in the management of this project. This project represents a perfect example of good use of the techniques and tools of project management that are always taught theoretically in class.
The project management team was effective and was able to manage the project processes efficiently without any problem arising. The processes were handled with the maximum professionalism expected and the law was followed to the later. The legal team leader was able to handle all issues that concerned legal contracts and regulations. The strength of the project team always determines the success of a project as this is the team that manages the aspects that matter in a project (Larson, Gobeli, Gray 1991)
Management of a project to success is always a combination of use of expertise and practices that bring control to the operations of a project (Reiss 1995)From the various project management methodologies, techniques used in the management of the Ottawa-Carleton water park project I can be able to point out three best practices that enhanced the success of this project. The first practice was the adequate preparation that had been done.
Before the project began the managing firm prepared a project charter that outlined the objectives, scope, management plan, financial analysis and the stakeholders of the project. There was also a project plan that outlined how the various aspects of the project were to be managed in the course of the project life. Then there were several other plans that dealt with how the specific aspects of the project were to be managed. For example there was a quality management plan, a risk management plan and a change management plan.
The second practice that was well adopted was schedule management. The time concept of a project is usually a critical factor of a project and unless adequate care is given to this aspect from the planning stage of a project a delay of completion is likely to occur. (May, Gueldenzoph 2006) Though the overall project schedule was exceeded with four weeks enough measures had been instituted to manage the project duration. Work breakdown structures and many other analysis tables had been used all in the effort to make the project run in the stipulated time frame.
The third practice that was very well done was the approach to risk management. Risk management is a sensitive aspect of any project especially the high risk projects and this requires adequate planning and care in the implementation of the risk management plan. (Hannigan, Browne 2000) The project was considered a high risk project and so to start with a detailed risk management plan had been laid. The risk management plan included a risk management program that was carried out throughout the project duration led by a risk management working group that was headed by the risk manager.
The project transition from the operations manager to the team that was to continue managing the water park was well prepared for and was very effective. This is an area which brings problems in some projects and is an important factor that should not be taken for granted (Frame 2002).
Another important area of importance to a project is the management of corrective actions. (Hormozi, McMinn, Nzeogwu 2000) I recommend that necessary measures be put up before the project begins on how to carry out corrective action and how to carry out corrective action and how to manage schedules and baselines in order to achieve the project objective.
I recommend that in future projects more care to be given the management of risks especially concerning honoring of contracts by those contracted. Proper management of contracts will ensure that the contract is effected in time and in the condition that was intended. Also other tools and techniques that were not utilized in this project could be of great use to other projects.
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University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 17 February 2017
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