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NON-STANDARDISATION OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROCESSES: A CASE STUDY OF ERICSSON SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA - Part 11

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4.4 SECONDARY DATA PROCESSES AUDITED

In this descriptive case study the table below is a summary of the processes and the way they apply to the audits that are performed on a regular basis by the central functions team. The reader will notice that not every process step as described in the literature review, forms part of the audit. Systematic probability sampling is used in order to audit only items that have the most significant amount of impact on the business. It should also be noted that the audit criteria changes along with the focus of the organisation; hence, certain focus areas are assigned greater weight in calculations. Walker, D., Walker, T. and Schmitz (2003:28) elaborate on this changing focus area by saying that: “To be successful in the global business environment, organisations must thus constantly adjust their focus to changing realities.” The sections following this summary table will reflect on data and audit results as they pertain to each of the disciplines.

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4.5 DATA GATHERED

Five process areas are listed in table 4.7. Data is available on each of the disciplines and will be discussed in the following sections. The reader will notice that PROPS-C, which is the first discipline to be reviewed, covers a great majority of activities being audited. Therefore, activities being audited in the following process areas will not be discussed and evaluated again if they are already rated in the PROPS-C audits. This method will apply to all disciplines in order to avoid duplication of effort.

Table 4.7 A representation of processes forming part of the audit criteria (Source: Own source, 2007).

4.5.1 PROPS-C Adherence

Data gathered for auditing purposes in support of PROPS-C compliance is as follows:

  • TG1 meeting held and documented.
  • Assignment specification received from the pre-sales team.
  • Project specification created.
  • TG2 passed and documented.
  • Internal kick-off meeting held and documented.
  • External kick-off meeting held and documented.
  • Project baseline budget established and signed off.
  • TG3 passed and documented.
  • Project progress reports up to date.
  • TG4 passed and documented.
  • Handover to customer upon sign off of acceptance certificate.
  • Handover to internal support organisation upon sign off of acceptance certificate.
  • Project review meeting and knowledge sharing posted.
  • TG5 passed and documented.
  • Project evaluation questionnaires submitted.
  • Final report submitted.


In the following section, sixteen audit measurements based upon the data gathered are defined and discussed, as well as certain measurements are weighted. Measurements without a weight rating are performed as check of compliance, meaning that the business needs at the time do not require emphasis on these measurements. The ones with weight assigned to them form part of the organisation’s focus areas of improvement. By adding a weight to the measure, the Project Manager experiences a greater impact on their added benefits received. Nineteen assigned weights are available in total and they change in accordance with business needs and focus areas. In the definitions supplied, the notation ‘(W)’ is used, followed by a numeric number at the end of the sentence. This is to indicate which measurements have a weight assigned.

  • Measurement 1 pertains to the Project Manager hosting a TG1 meeting with documented minutes of meeting prior to TG2.
  • Measurement 2 is performed to see if the ‘Assignment Specification’ is received as a handover from the planning phase before TG2. (W2)
  • Measurement 3 is based on a ‘Project Specification’ being created by the Project Manager and submitted for approval to the sponsor at or before TG2. (W2)
  • Measurement 4 pertains to the Project Manager hosting a TG2 meeting with documented minutes of meeting after handover from the planning phase. (W1)
  • Measurement 5 shows whether the Project Manager hosted an internal kick-off meeting with participants from the extended core 3 team. The extended core 3 team are members who support the core 3 consisting of the Account Commercial Responsible (ACR), Customer Solution Responsible (CSR) and the Contract Fulfilment Responsible (CFR). Extended core 3 members would typically be active participants in the delivery of the project; therefore, their involvement in project kick-off is required. (W1)
  • Measurement 6 is performed to ensure that a kick-off meeting is held with the customer. Customer expectations are set in terms of delivery. (W1)
  • Measurement 7 is required in support of the Project Manager having an approved baseline budget entered into the financial system as part of project set up. (W2)
  • Measurement 8 pertains to the Project Manager hosting a TG3 meeting with documented minutes of meeting. The purpose of this measurement is for the Project Manager to determine early in the project if any significant changes are needed in terms of scope, budget or resources. Such adjustments are allowed during TG3 assessment.
  • Measurement 9 reflects that project progress reports are up-to-date and stored.
  • Measurement 10 pertains to the Project Manager hosting a TG4 meeting with documented minutes of meeting. TG4 symbolises that the first deliverables in the project are ready for acceptance.
  • Measurement 11 follows measurement 10 in that deliverables are handed over to the customer for operational use once the customer signs off the acceptance certificate for such deliverables. (W2)
  • Measurement 12 occurs at the same time as measurement 11 with deliverables handed over to the internal support organisation once the customer signs off the acceptance certificate for the respective deliverables. (W3)
  • Measurement 13 is a project review activity where the Project Manager captures the most salient features of the project in an internal online tool, which is accessible to all Ericsson employees in the world. This aids knowledge sharing, as well as re-use of project experiences. (W1)
  • Measurement 14 is in support of the Project Manager hosting a TG5 meeting with documented minutes of meeting. This tollgate reflects that all deliverables as per the customer contract are delivered and accepted by the customer in total.
  • Measurement 15 is a questionnaire that is sent out to various stakeholders within the customer organisation, in which their feedback is sought on project delivery. This customer satisfaction questionnaire will be discussed in more detailed way, as it forms one of the data collection and analysis sections within this chapter. (W3)
  • Measurement 16 is a final report that the Project Manager creates as part of the conclusion phase of the project. Lessons learnt form the crux of the document. (W1)

Audit results recorded in support of PROPS-C compliance are reflected in the figures below. Calculations are based on the following Likert scale in terms of the level of compliance with the sixteen measurements above:

0 = Non-compliance.

1 = Partial compliance.

2 = Full compliance.

A total of four figures are displayed below, which are grouped in sets of two. The first set of figures (Figure 4.7 and Figure 4.8) reflects project results without any weights against any of the measurements. The second set of figures (Figure 4.9 and Figure 4.10) has the weight applied as described in the measurement definitions above. The purpose of this comparison is to show that un-weighted scores reflect compliance, while weighted scores reflect maturity as perceived by the organisation.

Audits are performed throughout the life cycle of the project; therefore, not all projects reached the end of their life cycle before data is captured. This is evident in the results displayed for the two Project Offices respectively in the figures below.

Figure 4.7 displays twenty seven projects governed by the Nigerian Project Office that were audited. All twenty seven projects passed TG2, while five of them passed TG3, only one passed TG4 and TG5. The 100% compliance displayed against handover to the customer, handover to the line organisation, project review, TG5, project evaluation, final report, as well as 100% non-compliance displayed for TG4 that pertains to one single project, as this is the only project that reached the end of its life cycle at the time of data capture. This data is weightless.

While analysing the results obtained for projects that passed TG2 and TG3, it appears that the level of non-compliance reaches its maximum at 30%, which represents measurement 3 that is based on a ‘Project Specification’ being created by the Project Manager and submitted for approval to the sponsor at or before TG2. The impact of a Project Manager not having a Project Specification means that vital information pertaining to the delivery of the project is not available to the team. Delivery quality is impacted negatively; frustration and confusion could be a result of such an omission.

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In Table 4.8 the frequency of responses from participants in the Nigerian Project Office are represented as it appears on the Likert scale.

Table 4.8: PROPS-C adherence of the Nigerian Project Office without weights applied (Source: own source, 2011).

Figure 4.7: PROPS-C adherence of the Nigerian Project Office without weights applied (Source: own source, 2011).

The following figure (Figure 4.8) represents projects audited in the South African Project Office without weights applied. Fifteen projects governed by the South African Project Office are audited. All fifteen projects passed TG2 and TG3, while eleven of them passed TG4 and TG5.

As a result of analysis of the data of projects that passed TG2 and TG3 it was found that a large number of projects have full compliance. It can be said that the Project Managers in this Project Office are familiar with processes and procedures within their unit. The effect is a greater sense of trust and efficiency among participants of the Project Office. One cause for concern is a high percentage of non-compliance pertaining to measurement 2, which is performed in order to see if the ‘Assignment Specification’ is received as a handover from the planning phase before TG2. It means that the handover from the pre-sales team towards the delivery team requires some attention. Possible effects could include, but are not limited to the delivery of the project not being in line with the initial sale to the customer. This could impact customer satisfaction, as well as render the organisation with a sense of unprofessionalism.

Projects that pass TG4 and 5 reflect an overall high level of consistent compliance. In addition the Project Manager has the ability to see the benefits of compliance and its impact throughout the lifecycle of the project. Less conflict is experienced as a result of all team members having clear direction in the project, as well as a sense of team spirit when similar processes and procedures are utilised by everyone.

Table 4.9 reflects the frequency of responses summated, as per the Likert scale indicated. These numerical values are then converted into percentages as displayed in Figure 4.8.

Table 4.9: PROPS-C adherence of the South African Project Office without weights applied (Source: own source, 2011).

Figure 4.8: PROPS-C adherence of the South African Project Office without weights applied (Source: own source, 2011).

The following set of figures (Figure 4.9 and Figure 4.10) have weights applied to measurements 2 through 7, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 16 in accordance with the organisational focus areas. The purpose of applying a weight to a score is to highlight some measures over others on the basis of the importance that a particular measurement holds for the organisation. With weights applied, it can be seen that multiple measurements exceed 100%, which is perfectly acceptable seeing that it is not the level of compliance that is reflected in a weighted figure, but rather the performance contributing towards organisational goals. It is observed that the result of such a weighted measure is amplified in order to visually stimulate maximum effect.

Table 4.10 represents the same data as Figure 4.9, which is displayed as summations of response frequency as opposed to percentages on the bar chart.

Table 4.10: PROPS-C adherence of the Nigerian Project Office with weights applied (Source: own source, 2011).

With 19 weights applied, the scores captured for the Nigerian Project Office reflect that hand-over to the internal line organisation, as well as the project evaluation scores are both at 183%, indicating a mature organisation in the handover and close out phase of the project life cycle. Hand-over to the customer has the next highest score of 137%, which again is in line with the organisation’s focus area with a weight of 2 applied.

Figure 4.9: PROPS-C adherence of the Nigerian Project Office with weights applied (Source: own source, 2011).

In Table 4.11 and Figure 4.10 below, scores for the South African Project Office do not reflect the level of maturity anticipated. As mentioned, implementation of PROPS-C in this Project Office is rolled out to more projects than the Nigerian Project Office has and audits occur more frequently. The organisation’s two most important focus areas are hand-over to the internal line organisation and project evaluation. Scores achieved are 166% and 0% respectively, indicative of minimal application of tools and processes, meaning a low level of maturity. Project budget with a score of 119% reveals that the South African Project Office is more mature in the financial realm than the Nigerian Project Office.

Table 4.11: PROPS-C adherence of the South African Project Office with weights applied (Source: own source, 2011).

Project Evaluation scores form part of the global customer satisfaction scores. A target of 85% is set as a minimum customer satisfaction score. From these results in Figure 4.10 some corrective actions are required in order to address the issue of partial compliance.

The absence of Assignment Specification implies that there is a disconnection between pre-sales activity and project delivery when referencing the non-compliance scale. The risk factor increases as the disconnection could have a direct impact on the project's bottom line. It is possible that the pre-sales team performed a proper handover to the project delivery team, however this is not documented and, therefore, such occurrences will not be taken into account. This deduction can be made due to the percentages captured for TG2 as well as the Project Specification. The TG2 meeting input requires allotting of input that can only be obtained from the pre-sales team. The same could be said about the Project Specification, as it is a very detailed document, in which all the contract stipulations, acceptance criteria, margins and such like are depicted. Without a handover from the pre-sales team, the Project Manager would not have access to this data that is needed in order to complete the Project Specification. The nature of audits is such that proof is required in order to capture any score; therefore, deductions can be made on the basis of alternative data, however, it will not change the score.

Figure 4.10: PROPS-C adherence of the South African Project Office with weights applied (Source: own source, 2011).

In table 4.12 below a comparison is drawn between the respective Project Offices. Weights are listed from the highest to the lowest with their respective description shown. The column labelled ‘Compliance’ indicates the un-weighted score, while the column labelled ‘Maturity’ reflects the score once its respective weight is applied.

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While it is known that implementation of the PROPS-C model is more established in the South African Project Office, it would appear that the Nigerian Project Office’s highest compliancy scores are in line with the organisational focus areas. Within the confines of limitations, as well as de-limitations, as stated within this research, the Nigerian Project Office seems to be more mature. The only areas where the South African Project Office appears to be more mature are Budget, TG2 and Internal kick-off meetings being held with the project team. The results reflect the variance in the level of process application as evidence of non-standardisation.

Table 4.12 A comparison between weighted and un-weighted scores for both Project Offices (Source: Own source, 2011).

It can be said that audit results without weights applied reflect the true compliance of processes and procedures. Weighted measures are not the correct method to use when compliance levels are sought. It can be disputed though that the level of maturity could be determined from a weighted result, as it could reflect the Project Manager’s ability to perform above average if weighted measures score over 80%.

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