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NON-STANDARDISATION OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESSES: A CASE STUDY OF ERICSSON SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA - Part 10

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4.3.2 Section 2 − Project Management

Next, the researcher will discuss the South African Project Office data in detail pertaining to the last eleven questions, thereafter, the same will be shown for the Nigerian Project Office. Responses received from participants representing the South African Project Office are reflected in the bar chart below. Each of eleven questions is shown by the corresponding number of the question only. This visual representation is selected by the researcher, as it does not clutter the graph with excessive text.

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In this section the participant’s view of how the project management processes and procedures impact their day-to-day activities is solicited. Participants are requested to select the option that best describes their opinion regarding eleven statements and/or questions posed; only one selection is allowed per statement and/or question. With the conclusion of this section, the participant would supply feedback on a total of twenty one questions and/or statements. The following statements form part of the Project Management section in this questionnaire:

  1. Following specified processes adds value to my project during its life cycle.
  2. It is easier to deliver a project in MUSA if we all use the same processes and procedures.
  3. The Project Office in my service hub supports me when I need it.
  4. Process changes and/or updates are communicated to employees.
  5. I believe that standardised processes and procedures can reduce project operating costs.
  6. Customer satisfaction will improve if everybody uses the same processes.
  7. Time-to-customer could be shortened if processes are followed.
  8. Process adherence impacts positively project profitability.
  9. Project quality will increase if I follow the specified processes and procedures.
  10. Project risk and exposure could be minimised if standardised processes are followed.
  11. It is possible to establish best practice processes within my service hub.

The results depicted in Table 4.4 indicate the frequency of responses, as per the following Likert scale:

  • Strongly Agree.
  • Agree.
  • Disagree.
  • Strongly Disagree.


The researcher assigns a numerical value to each level of response in the questionnaire in order to aid with the calculation of percentages, as well as graphing of the data. Four options are represented as follows:

  1.  = Strongly Agree.
  2.  = Agree.
  3.  = Disagree.
  4.  = Strongly Disagree.

Table 4.4: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the South African Project Office (Source: own source, 2011).

Figure 4.4 depicts the same data as Table 4.4 after the frequency of responses was converted into percentages.

Figure 4.4: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the South African Project Office (Source: own source, 2011).

Positive impact that participants in the South African Project Office experience in their day-to-day work due to standardisation and alignment are discussed.

  • 63% of participants strongly agree that it is easier to deliver a project in MUSA if everyone uses the same processes and procedures.
  • 58% find that following specified processes adds value to their project during its life cycle.
  • 58% believe that standardised processes and procedures can reduce project operating costs.

In close comparison participants indicated that they agree with the following statements:

  • 58% agree with the statement that process changes and/or updates are communicated to employees.
  • 54% feel that the Project Office in their service hub supports them when needed.
  • Similarly, 54% agree that process adherence impacts positively project’s profitability.
  • On the flip side of this coin it is reflected that 21% of participants do not agree that sufficient communication takes place when processes are updated and/or new ones are implemented. 8% strongly disagree with the statement that process changes and/or updates are communicated to employees, while 13% disagree with it.

Four statements were ranked equally with 13% disagreement:

  • The Project Office in their service hub doesn’t support them when needed.
  • Customer satisfaction will not improve if everybody uses the same processes.
  • Time-to-customer couldn’t be shortened if processes are followed.
  • It is possible not to establish best practice processes within their service hub.

As per the data represented in Figure 4.4, the participants from the South African Project Office acknowledge the benefits that process standardisation and adherence, as well as alignment, contribute towards successful project management. King (2005:50) echoes this sentiment when asked to comment on what can be done to encourage consistency and measureable results at an individual project level; he says: “Use the process, and people will see the results. Sell the process by demonstrating the results”. Only a small number of participants feel that it would not add any real value. One item that requires additional comment is that 21% of participants want to see an improvement in communication when alignment occurs in terms of process changes and updates. These highlighted items will be discussed in more detail in the concluding chapter when making recommendations on remediation.

Responses received from participants representing the Nigerian Project Office are reflected in the bar chart (Figure 4.5) below. Each of eleven questions is shown by the corresponding number of the question only. This visual representation is selected by the researcher, as it does not clutter the graph with excessive text. Table 4.5 is a visual representation of eleven questions, while the frequency of responses is mapped against a Likert scale.

Table 4.5: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the Nigerian Project Office (Source: own source, 2011).

Figure 4.5: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the Nigerian Project Office (Source: own source, 2011).

In reviewing the results from Figure 4.5, it is noted that two of the statements are rated as ‘Strongly Agree’ for both the South African and the Nigerian Project Office with fairly similar percentages of representation. It appears that project management impacts day-to-day project execution, which is experienced in a similar manner by all participants. Statements 12, 15 and 20 all have a score of 55% reflected as ‘Strongly Agree’ by the Likert scale. These statements are:

  • It is easier to deliver a project in MUSA if we all use the same processes and procedures.
  • I believe that standardised processes and procedures can reduce project operating costs.
  • Project risk and exposure could be minimised if standardised processes are followed.

With scores in close proximity, one statement appears in both Project Offices’ ‘Agree’ category.

  • This statement achieves a 65% agreement from participants, which pertains to the communication of process changes and/or updates towards employees.
  • A similar score is achieved when participants were asked about the possibility to establish best practice processes within their service hub.
  • A tie in scores at 55% agreement is seen when evaluating participants’ opinion on time-to-customer, which could be shortened if processes and procedures are followed and project quality is increased.

There are no responses recorded from the participants in the Nigerian Project Office that indicate any statement with which they strongly disagree. It can be interpreted as an indication that participants are generally in agreement on what ‘best practice’ should be and what the inherent benefits are to standardisation.

Some statements with which participants disagree are shown to be:

  • 15% disagree that Customer satisfaction will improve if everybody uses the same processes.
  • 10% indicate that process changes and/or updates are not communicated to employees.
  • 10% do not agree that process adherence impacts positively project’s profitability.

In summary of the data in Figure 4.5 from participants representing the Nigerian Project Office, it can be deduced that mutual agreement is reached among participants in that it is easier to make use of standardised processes, project operating costs can be lowered, risk exposure can be minimised, communication improved, ‘best practice’ is a possibility, time-to-customer is improved upon, as well as an increase in quality can be reached. It seems as if participants find it hard to believe that such standardisation can positively contribute towards customer satisfaction, communication, as well as profitability. These highlighted areas deserve greater focus in the concluding chapter when recommendations are made based on results recorded.

Figure 4.6 reflects the results for the market unit based on the last eleven questions that pertain to project management practices and how they impact the participants’ day-to-day efficiency. Results are calculated by adding the South African Project Office scores to the Nigerian Project Office scores and then dividing the sum by two.

Table 4.6 indicates the frequency of responses from participants in the Nigerian Project Office. This data is then converted into percentages and displayed as a bar chart in Figure 4.6.

Percentages range from 53% to 62% in positive responses received from participants across the market unit. It gives an indication that a moderate amount of respondents believe that their day-to-day experiences are positively impacted by standardised processes and their effects. These are not the results that the researcher anticipated, which calls for further investigation. When comparing results from section 1, in which the actual processes were in question as opposed to the impact these processes have on day-to-day project execution experiences, percentages were observed to be in the range of between 64% and 73%. Participants, who have negative impression of day-to-day impact, registered lower percentages in response to the statements made. The researcher anticipated these findings; however, the same will form part of recommendations in the next chapter.

Figure 4.6: Section 2 – Project Management responses for the market unit as a whole (Source: own source, 2011).

A few more comments are supplied by participants in addition to them completing the checklist.

Statement 11. Following specified processes adds value to my project during its life cycle.

Comments to this statement:

  • “If processes are kept up to date” (Anonymous, 2007).
  • “We win in efficiency” (Anonymous, 2007).

Statement 12. It is easier to deliver a project in MUSA if we all use the same processes and procedures.

Comment to this statement:

  • “If everybody (not only PM) knows about Project Management” (Anonymous, 2007).

Statement 13. The Project Office in my service hub supports me when I need it.

Comment to this statement:

  • “Possible growth in PMO is needed. Current team has a massive workload” (Anonymous, 2007).

Statement 14. Process changes and/or updates are communicated to employees.

Comments to this statement:

  • “This I think is not happening today, a communication plan is needed” (Anonymous, 2007).
  • “Takes long though” (Anonymous, 2007).
  • “Could be better! Especially when you don’t have a lot of contact with P.Office” (Anonymous, 2007).

Statement 16. Customer satisfaction will improve if everybody uses the same processes.

Comments to this statement:

  • “Customisation (adaptation can be necessary sometimes)” (Anonymous, 2007).

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The overall response within the market unit is positive (Figure 4.6). Averaging out percentages calculated across all twenty one questions, the researcher finds that 42% of participants within the market unit strongly agree with standardisation and the methods in which it is achieved, while 47% of participants agree with it. Change management is most often met with negative feedback; it is, therefore, surprising to see that a mere 7% of participants disagree with standardisation and the methods in which it is achieved, with only 1% of participants who strongly disagree with it (Lynch, 2003:786).

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