Project Management Assignment: Factors to Achieve Organizational Goals
Task: You are the Organisational Development Officer for a large project-based organisation and have been tasked by your senior executive team to research some specific topics of interest to the company, for use as mini-case studies in their training materials for university interns and newly hired project engineers.
The project management assignment involves the creation of a logically structured whitepaper, which will examine the significance of your chosen topics to project management and discuss how they can be applied in projects from a practical perspective. It is expected that the whitepaper would be of a quality that could be presented to senior executives, namely the Chief Operating and Human Resources Manager, and from all papers received; they will choose the best one for each of the topics covered. The whitepaper is expected to show a thorough understanding of the concepts associated with the chosen topics based on a robust summary of any previous research in a valid but concise literature review.
The whitepaper will also be expected to provide recommendations and methodologies to implement the concepts related to your chosen topics into projects. Additionally, you are to develop six challenge questions (two per topic) related to your white paper that can be used to test the university interns and newly hired project engineers.
The white paper will need to be designed to:
- Inform the senior executive team
- Engage the senior executive team
- Provide the senior executive team with practical strategies for applying the concept in real project applications.
Success of a project or a business organization is based on several internal and external factors. Continuous improvements and changes are essential to achieve the project/organization goals. Three such aspects are covered in the paper that can lead to significant benefits. These cover the value of development and maintenance of learning-culture in a project environment, optimal project interpersonal communications, and culture of diversity of thought and conflict.
The project state or the organization status does not remain static at any point. It is crucial to make improvements and changes to meet the stakeholder needs and achieve improved levels of quality and performance.
Value of Developing and Maintaining a Learning-culture in Project Environment
Learning culture refers to a culture in which the resources continuously seek, share, and apply new concepts and knowledge to improve their own performance along with the performance of their team and project. The culture also facilitates self-improvement of the employees through teach (Froehlich et al., 2015).
There is significant value attached to the development and maintenance of learning-culture in a project environment. The business projects undertaken by the organization do not remain static. There are changes that occur in these projects due to internal or external factors. Technology changes, for instance, are prominent as there is rapid transformation of technology. The clients often come with new sets of requirements that may need specific skill set to implement. With the learning-culture in the project environment such aspects can be properly handled.
The learning-culture can ensure productivity enhancements in a project. The employees engaged with the project continually get the opportunities to work on and improve their skills and abilities. It keeps the employees ready to manage the changes that occur in a project. The existing project continuity does not get impacted with the implementation of adequate skills. Continuous learning and improvement result in the productivity improvements of the employee and the entire project (Kean & Kwe, 2015).
Improved returns and profits can also be achieved with adoption of learning-culture in a project environment. There is various success factors associated with the projects. Some of these are monetary while many of these are non-monetary factors. Client satisfaction and engagement levels along with the comments and rating provided by the client signify the success of a project. To be able to achieve positive feedback and good ratings, it is necessary that the client demands are met. The employees in a project can understand the reasons behind the change requests and can also work on these changes through their learnings, knowledge, and skills acquired (Guile, 2019). The quality of the project also improved with the implementation of the necessary changes. It leads to improved returns and profits.
The culture of knowledge enquiry and continuous knowledge sharing also leads to significant improvements in the project. The best approach and ideas are selected from a wide range of alternate options. The employees also learn to adapt to the changes in order to make necessary changes in the project environment.
Optimal Project Interpersonal Communication
One of the key factors in achieving successful project outcomes is the quality of communications in the project. It is necessary that the information sharing is regular and effective so that all the resources and stakeholders feel involved. It is also crucial that the team members and the stakeholders have enhanced transparency levels to clearly put across their thoughts and opinions.
The establishment of optimal project interpersonal communications can offer a wide range of benefits to the employees, project, and the entire organization.
- The rate of conflicts between the employees and the stakeholders is reduced. The optimal interpersonal communications enable easy sharing of ideas and the conflicts, if any, can also be resolved with communication and collaboration (Swartz et al., 2019). The absence of conflicts result in higher productivity levels with fewer lags in the project.
- Project clarity is maintained with optimal interpersonal communications. There are small to large-scale projects that the organization carries out. These projects have small to huge teams with numerous employees. The proper flow of communication makes sure that the project goals, objectives, deliverables, etc. are known to one and all. It also makes sure that the project activities are carried out as per the dependencies and with proper collaboration. The added project clarity leads to the avoidance of unnecessary defects and bugs (Lockwood, 2015). It also ensures that the project loopholes are identified and resolved so that they do not cause adverse impacts on the project.
- Higher employee satisfaction and stakeholder satisfaction is enabled with optimal project communications. The projects usually have leaders and managers along with the rest of the resources assigned as per the project requirements. The improved transparency among the managers and employees results in the required support and resolution of the issues. The employees feel valued and it has positive impacts on their motivation and satisfaction levels. Similarly, there are numerous internal and external stakeholders involved in the projects. These project stakeholders need to be provided with constant updates regarding the project. The details of the project issues and risks shall also be shared with the stakeholders to receive the best possible resolution. Effective project communications make sure that these aspects are managed and included in the project to achieve the enhanced satisfaction scores.
There are numerous ways that are developed which can be followed to establish optimal project communications. The automated tools and techniques can be used to carry out these communications. Many of the project resources work from dispersed geographical locations. Most of the employees are working from the remote locations after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic (Greenberger, 2016). The web-conferencing and project communication tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, etc. can be effective in ensuring effective information sharing. The automated project management tools, such as Trello, Asana, Basecamp, and others also provide the option to carry out one-on-one and group communications. Google Drive, Dropbox, and other platforms enable easy cloud sharing of the project documents to provide access to all the concerned members of the project.
The present workforce is composed of the employees from varying cultural backgrounds, age groups, genders, race, and skill-sets. The professional experience of the employees also varies. Diversity inclusion and management is necessary to meet the current market demands. Diversity in the workforce and the stakeholders has numerous benefits in store for the employees and the management.
The employees get the opportunity to work with the fellow team members with different skill sets and cultural background. It has an influence on the preferred work styles and techniques adopted by the employees. Such an environment provides the essential exposure to the employees making them ready to adapt to the international business needs (Solheim, 2018). The employees usually need to interact with the customers, vendors, and other stakeholders from different backgrounds, age groups, and genders. The culture of diversity in the organization provides the employees with a chance to understand the specific aspects of diversity and inclusion. It is often seen that there are a few conflicts that arise with the presence of diverse workforce. Such healthy conflicts can be beneficial from the point of view of employee learnings and professional development. The employee gets a chance to understand the viewpoints and perspective of others to learn about new concepts and work styles.
The organization also benefits with the adoption of the culture of diversity. This is because the brand image and brand value improves with such a culture in the organization. The customers in the current times prefer to engage with the business firms supporting and reflecting the idea of diversity (Ozgen et al., 2015).
There are ways in which such a culture can be established in the business firms. The primary step that shall be followed is the development of diversity policy. The policy shall be a formal document prepared to cover the aspects, such as need for diversity, roles and responsibilities, steps to achieve diversity, training needs, and likewise. The diversity policy shall be published as a formal business document and must be available on all the organization portals.
Training is one of the crucial aspects in promotion of the culture of diversity and inclusion. The management and leadership may not be aware of the specific norms to follow while managing and leading a diverse workforce. Similarly, the employees may also be unaware of the specific practices to follow and the ones to avoid in a diverse culture. The trainings shall cover these aspects along with the focus on strengthening communication, collaboration, and team-building skills in the employees. The trainings shall also include the aspects of ethics and compliance. Quite often, the employees engage in discrimination towards the fellow employee of a particular culture, gender, or race (Hawkins, 2016). The ethical trainings will make sure that the employees abide by the ethical and professional code of conduct. Language can be a major barrier in a diverse workplace and the language trainings can also be attended as per the requirement. Such measures will make sure that the culture of diversity of thought and conflict is harnessed in the organization.
It is essential to follow adequate methods and mechanisms to implement all the aspects discussed in the sections above. Some of the recommendations are included to facilitate easy implementations to obtain the beneficial results.
To enable the development of learning-curve in the project environment, the following points shall be considered.
- Resources in the project shall be selected after their skill assessment. The skill set of the resources shall be stored in the project database and must be updated with the improvement or addition of a skill.
- Training hours must be defined for the project resources and the training funds shall be kept reserved from the overall project costs. The training hours shall be synced with the employee rewards so that the employees attend the trainings and take them seriously (Yoo & Huang, 2015). The training hours shall be decided based on the project timeline and the gaps in the employee skills.
- Informal discussions, brainstorming sessions, and group discussions shall be regularly conducted in the project. The project lead and the managers must carry out these discussions and sessions. The concepts associated with the project shall be discussed in these sessions to come up with the new ideas. It will also lead to knowledge sharing and creation.
- Project review and audits shall be included as usual project activities. These processes will lead to the determination of the project changes and the existing gaps to meet the changes. The performance reviews will provide insights to the employee skills and abilities along with the loopholes present due to the necessary project changes.
The establishment of the optimal interpersonal communications in the project is also necessary and the following aspects shall be considered to establish the same.
- Project shall include a range of communication methods comprising of formal and informal methods to enable the employees to choose from the preferred option. Also, it will provide the employees to enhance their communication abilities.
- Communication plan and schedule shall be developed in the initial stages of the project. The plan shall cover the details of the communication methods to be used in the project along with the schedule for decided communications, such as daily or weekly meetings. The access to the communication tools, such as SharePoint, email, chat apps, etc. shall also be provided to the employees.
- Communication trainings and sessions shall be organized for the employees based on the employee performance and gaps (Newman et al., 2019). Communication skills need to be developed and continuously improved upon. The knowledge of specific methods and concepts can assist the employees in improving their communication abilities. Practical assessments and activities in such sessions can further lead to the improved communication mechanisms.
- Reporting shall be included as a significant form of project communications. These lead to the logging of project activities and also make sure that the authentic project details are shared with all the employees and stakeholders. The reporting schedule shall be included in the communication plan and schedule to make sure that there are no gaps.
The establishment of the culture of diversity of thought and conflict shall be harnessed and it is possible over a period of time.
- The organization shall calculate its diversity score by analysing the employee and stakeholder details, such as age group, gender, cultural background, race, ethnicity, etc. The improvements shall be made in the case of low diversity score by including reservations during recruitment and hiring.
- Diversity policy shall be defined and developed in the organization and the guidelines to manage the diversity in the workplace must be included in the policy. The policy document shall give detailed description of the trainings that shall be conducted to promote diversity in the workplace.
- Employee surveys and discussions shall be conducted to assess their knowledge and understanding of diversity in the workplace. It will also provide the understanding of the readiness of the employees to work in the diverse environment. The results shall be used in making the training plans and schedule (Amaram, 2018).
- Legal trainings and compliance shall be included as a part of diversity management policy for the organization. Anti-discrimination Act, Fair Work Act, and other legislations along with the consequences of non-compliance shall be discussed in these trainings.
- Communication and collaboration shall be continually attempted to improve for the employees and the stakeholders.
Two questions per topic are developed for the university interns and newly hired project engineers to determine their understanding and viewpoint on the topics covered. The answers to these questions and the analysis of the response will provide in-depth understanding on the knowledge and awareness of these topics. It will also enable the suitable development of the plans and strategies to incorporate these aspects in the business and project environment.
Value of Developing and Maintaining a Learning-culture in Project Environment
- How do you value professional development and skill enhancement from professional growth and project aspects?
- What are the factors that you would consider to improve your skills and competencies in the workplace?
Establishment of Optimal Interpersonal Communications
- What is the role of interpersonal communications in the project/organization success?
- What are the various business communication methods you are aware of?
- Do you believe that diversity and inclusion are significant aspects of the present-day workplaces? Why? Why not?
- What are the practices that you should adopt and avoid while working in a diverse workplace?
Success of a project or effective functioning of a workplace involves a number of factors. Thorough understanding of these factors makes it easier to follow the correct path to achieve favourable outputs. Learning-culture is important in a project environment to ensure continuous improvement of the project quality and performance. It also ensures innumerable benefits for the project employees. The optimal interpersonal communications also make sure that the probability of project success is increased. The diverse culture in the workplace is also essential to meet the global business requirements. Diversity management shall be performed while maintaining and improving the aspects of legal and ethical compliance. ?
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