Project Management in Practice

Time Management Given the wide scope and the complexity of the project, the deadline of the implementation of CICS was 10 July 2003, and 12 October 2005 for COM was unrealistic. Therefore, potential delays of the project was foreseeable and time buffers in this case, was necessary as the quality and functionality of this project is crucial to the Customs' operations, otherwise the scope of the project should be adjusted to fit in the timeshare. The Customs should also estimate the activity resources and activity duration as accurate as possible since finishing on time was important under new political environment.

The DES was clearly incapable of undertaking such a complex project development. In fact, both Customs and DES agreed that DES should only be continuing manage the infrastructure, desktop and data aspects in October 2001. The Customs also should continuously monitor and control the schedule against severe changes and delays instead of having DES work on this project "under existing outsourcing arrangement" for nearly 4 years, then realized that they were running out of time and rush into implementation releases Just 1 year after the Consortium, IBM and Current taking over the development of the project.

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They even did not have enough time for system testing. All these eventually contribute to the poor quality and functionality. Quality Management Many factors including insufficient time, lack of communication and chaotic integration have contributed to the poor quality. However, the key reasons were the poor quality assurance, lack of quality control, and unexamined contractor's regarding contractor' performance and the quality of inputs was also a main factor created under standard quality.

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The Custom overemphasized on the expected level of functions and ignored the constraint among the scope, quality, and the time.

They should take into account the industry satisfaction, in this case they did consult the industry but they didn't "buy in". The COM therefore did not create value that can fit in and satisfy the requirements of the industry. Continuous improvements should be performed instead of last minute changes. Any defection should be detected and recognized early in the execution stage, the costs of repairing and redo, and the "data fix" thus can be saved, and necessary changes and improvements should be requested and carried out with approval.

Cost Management The cost of the project was initially estimated as $30 million, and then rocketed to $212. Million as reported in 2006. A great portion of the cost came from the cost of quality, especially cost of correcting, as most of the defections were not fully detected during the production period. Some other problems were the initial estimation was unrealistic, following by no financial management plan or project budget prepared for the project, and the minutes of meeting did not reflect any cost issues against the initial budget.

The custom should have taken the scope, the limited time and insufficient resources (especially to have DES as their only major contractor in the first 3 years) into consideration when they estimated the cost. Plus, they should refine the estimated cost and monitor the cost against the budget throughout the project life cycle, and address potential issues associated with cost increasing instead of escalating from $30 million to $200 million without proper documentation of the expenditure and the changes that occur to the costs.

Human Resource Management Customs has also failed to plan the project team resources at the commencement. They have to engage Computer Associates Consortium to develop the CICS 4 years after the project kickoff, and they have to recruit IBM and Current for the CUFF section by separated contracts. These transition and changes were not even properly captured by documentations, which resulted in contract value of $29. 90 million unaddressed and failed to demonstrate the compliance with project scope. As mentioned above, the criteria for vendor selection was not established clearly.

Therefore, the quality and readiness of the vendor were not examined, the method and criteria of procurement were not documented, and eventually leads to delays and poor quality of the project. When selecting the vendor or contractor, the Customs should consider whether this contractor is capable of accomplishing certain tasks within an allowed timeshare and liver desirable outcomes. Additionally, they also need to administer the procurements properly including managing and monitoring their performances and making changes if necessary.

Risk Management From the perspective of risk management, MAMBO methodology can help to create an integrated approach to distribute efforts to extend risk management during the project life cycle. Apparently, in the initial planning phase it can always use probability and consequences analysis to predict the likelihood for occurring and mitigate risks through performing qualitative and quantitative risk analysis, holding rainstorm meetings, listening to expert opinion or getting access to the lessons from past experience.

In this case, certain tested scenarios can be used to simulate in the CRA system, a full set planning phase should be taken before implementation. While when it relates to unwilling changes such as government law modifying during the implementing process, periodic backup planning and arrangements should be performed in a timely manner. Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Management Many industry stakeholders 'expressed the view that Customs did not understand their business processes or listen to the concerns they raised'.

Issues including incompatibility of the new software, high-standard of data integrity, unable to determine cargo status, high number of workarounds, etc arose as a result of limited interaction between Customs and the industry at the development stage of the COM. In fact, no significant input from industry stakeholders was recognized at the planning stage. Given the MAMBO approach, these problems could be addressed at the first place if Customs had a well-planned framework in identifying stakeholders (various industry sectors, staffs, Government, etc. , considering their level of influence ND interests in the project such as co-design the new system (by revising project charter and procurement document) and planning appropriate strategies to engage them (creating effective communication channels, providing sufficient training to users, acknowledging their needs and expectations and having adequate contingency factors creating poor communication quality including lack of effective forums for communicating with industry, no channel for feedback, no definition of targeted audiences, inappropriate delivery method of information, etc (KEMP 2011).

In order to mitigate problems above, Customs re-directed most of its decisions and activities to meet requirements of involved stakeholders and address the concerns associated with CICS. Customs undertook numerous reviews to address problems of its system (by both internal and independent audit), adjusted its communication strategy, and has improved the relationship with industry (by establishing Industry Action Group, reviewing its Imports Business Continuity Plan, etc).

Regarding controlling stakeholder engagement, feedback, lessons learnt from management of the project and recommendations of the independent reviews are documented for further development of the COM project as well as future projects. Generally, Customs has done well in managing and controlling stakeholder engagement and has achieved several successes in ongoing monitoring overall stakeholder relationship and implementing stakeholder engagement strategies. Project Integration Management According to the NANA, quite a lot of problems were identified in the planning phase. In this phase, the major picture should be portrayed.

However, the absence of overall project planning and all these identified problems told that the heavily rely on scope, cost, time, risk management in the planning phase is not enough. During the execution and control phase, after NANA reviewed the information and data in the CICS application, a number of weaknesses were identified for controlling process. According to the audit, the underestimated and misjudgment complexity of new system and unparalleled running of new and old systems encountered delays, cost overruns, and especially implementation of import components of CICS caused substantial disruption.

Overall, not enough testing time for new system was given and not complete originate planning steps being taken to mitigate potential risks and errors. While several problems arose within the scope of the MAMBO methodology there were also problems that arose outside of this methodology which were not adequately planned. This included a lack of focus on the business case during execution, a focus on completing tasks as opposed to delivering products and inadequate risk planning relevant to government projects.

Up until 2000, the main focus of the Cargo Management Strategy was on a number fronts, including implementing new business process to enable a dramatic performance improvement, legislative changes to modernize the way customs engages the movement of cargo and an integrated information technology system through CICS (Bozo Allen Hamilton 2006, p. 8). However, after September 11 2001, a greater focus was placed on border protection with a move towards a tighter control regime (Bozo Allen Hamilton 2006, p. 4).

This led to a consequential shift in the focus of the project. The lack of reference to the business case during the implementation and execution stages blurred the scope of the project and made it easier for outside risks to hinder the purpose. Another problem that arose outside of the MAMBO methodology was that Customs id not take into account risks that are specific to government projects. This is because the MAMBO methodology does not seek to encompass the wider environment such as political, economic, environmental or social factors.

This is required in government projects as the key risks are generally within those areas as opposed to financial risks. This consequence was evidently seen in the project's shift from focusing on trade to security after September 2001. Thirdly, a root cause of the technical problems during implementation stage was due to a lack of focus in the delivery of the product and a greater focus on performing the ask. For example the selection of software developers falls within the vendor selection criteria when planning a project.

Updated: May 19, 2021
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Project Management in Practice. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Project Management in Practice essay
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