Project Planning and Control
You are required to plan and document the new business setup project outlined below. Note that there are at least three (3) deadlines that you must plan for. Also note the hand-in procedures for the hard-copy material. There should be just one submission per team, but make sure you each have soft copies for backup purposes and contingency.
The assignment you submit for marking must be a product of your own work (as a team) except for the use of resources supplied with the course, discussions conducted by the lecturer during class time, and other assistance shown as acceptable in the section Assistance to Other Students on page 5. Your initial planning must include a plan for sharing the workload for the complete assignment. The marking lecturer may ask any individual for a further oral explanation, and different marks could be assigned to any non-participating team members.
Note that a “Peer Marking” form has been provided on Moodle to be used when a team member does not contribute as required. You must give advance notice to your team members if you intend to use that form. Also note the attendance requirement detailed later.
Only a hard-copy of all documents are required. The hard-copy documents should be supplied to your lecturer on the due date.
Assignments which are submitted after the due date and time without having received an extension through Special Assessment Circumstances (SAC) will be penalised according to the following:-
• 10% of final marks deducted if submitted within 24hrs of the deadline.
• 20% of final marks deducted if submitted after 24hrs and up to 48hrs of the deadline.
• 30% of final marks deducted if submitted after 48hrs and up to 72hrs of the deadline.
• No grade will be awarded if submitted later than 72hrs after the deadline.
However, if a team-member does not submit their contribution to meet the team’s schedule, then the main work should still be submitted on time, and the Peer Marking form used.
Note that this document supplies just a minimal starting set of information. You are expected to gather any additional information needed to develop the required Proposal document (aka Charter), and planning and reporting documents, by asking relevant questions of potential stakeholders. This information gathering initially may be done through a question and answer session in the class with your lecturer and subsequent questions may be asked by email. (Check with your lecturer in advance.)
Last year the Star Logistics trucking company hired your IT services company Best IT to upgrade their Logistics system and add a Truck Location system. Star Logistics do not run a courier service but do have medium size trucks for package and pallet pickup or delivery, and larger trucks for a container movement service as well. This company is centred on a warehouse, and all trucks leave or return from/to this base. Last year all the trucks were fitted with a GPS linked to a built-in tablet linked via cell-phone VPN to the two main systems on a server at the Warehouse. Currently, for the Logistics system, a pickup or delivery manifest (load document) is printed at the warehouse for each truck’s trip, and uploaded into their tablet. The driver electronically records the status of their load from then on in real-time. The GPS system communicates the truck’s location in real-time to the office for display on a screen.
Now Star Logistics want to move to the next level of automation and Customer Support. They liked your work in the last project and so have again hired your company, Best IT, to do this new project. Their goals are:-
• to even further reduce driver error;
• speed up the delivery process to increase the productivity of each truck;
• provide complete visibility of the parcel/pallet status for the customer;
• facilitate the growth of customers by having superior IT systems;
• have the potential for multiple sites in the future.
You have been asked to prepare a Project Charter for the provision of the following system automation features:-
• Each truck is to be fitted with an RFID reader linked to their tablet so that loading of any parcels or pallets fitted with an RFID tag can be detected and processed automatically.
• A cordless bar-code reader with docking station is to be added to each truck so that the drivers can identify any parcels without an RFID tag, with ease.
• A small label printer is to be attached to the tablet in each truck so that off-site pickups can be labelled appropriately.
• A web site needs to be developed for customers to use to register their delivery jobs, and enable them to monitor the delivery status of their own parcels.
• Any additional network hardware and software that may be required to fully integrate the above features with their current systems.
Office and driver procedures will need to be modified for these enhancements, and all the staff involved fully trained. Standard IT Project tasks and deliverables must also be identified.
Not many costs are known at present. Note that all costs need to be approved in principle by your sponsor before you can include them in your budget.
As future IT professionals you should be able to identify the full hardware and software requirements for such a project and should be able to obtain realistic costs for all new hardware and software. You may also think of using suitable cloud services to provision any hardware and software that may be needed.
Although there should be an analysis phase within your project to identify the finer details, you will need to do some initial analysis to identify the scope for the overall project. In particular, you will need to identify the roles of any personnel required. The costs of these personnel must be included in your Budget and the Part-B Gantt.
There will be a questions and answers session to gather detailed requirements for the project.
Your team size should be four. Individual “teams” are not permitted because of the workload and the lack of learning if all elements are not attempted. Everyone needs to be involved in all the elements to achieve full learning, and this is hard to manage in larger or very small teams. Lack of coverage of all the elements (and lack of involvement with all the tasks) really shows up when attempting the final exam.
All of you have to be involved in ALL of the planning processes. However, within the planning documents, one of you should be identified as the Project Manager, the others should be allocated to a specific (named) role (you will need to sort that out yourselves). You are expected to jointly plan and report on this project – all team members should have access to a current set of all the documents.
You will be expected to be individually assigned by your team to work on different tasks within the project plan to reduce the overall workload, and then review that item as a team. A breakdown of this team-task assignation must be included in the Part-A deliverables. In your planning you need to allow time for the team review of any documents created by individuals.
• You must identify with an assignment team immediately and confirm your arrangement with your lecturer, either in class or via an email. It is possible to change teams later, but this must be done in consultation with your lecturer.
• After the initial “business meeting” your contact with your “sponsor” and other “stakeholders” will only be via email. (i.e. to your lecturer!)
• You must send all further questions (following the initial “business meeting”) by email to your lecturer, who will act as your sponsor, or any other stakeholders – you must indicate who the questions are addressed to! If you have not received a reply after several days then do not delay further but ring your lecturer to see if there is a problem. (See the course schedule for contact details.)
• All email replies will be sent to the address the e-mail came from. You should use the CC option to ensure all your members are fully informed. (In that way our reply will then be sent to all your team.)
• There may be some restriction on your lecturer’s availability. This means you cannot expect immediate replies, and so again you must plan ahead.
• Your plan must be based on the answers to your OWN team’s questions. You must not use answers to another team’s questions. (A record of the answers provided to each team is kept.)
• You will be expected to use planning skills to get your assignment completed and delivered on time. Excuses for late delivery will not be accepted (use your risk management skills). Note the three deadlines. We welcome early submission.
• You must also incorporate into your Part C documents any changes that relate to feedback from Part B. It is most likely that there will be changes caused by the Hardware or Software selection tasks. Your analysis should identify a recommended solution, and the costs related to that should then show in your other documents, especially the Version Two Gantt. (i.e. it will be different to the original Budget.) At a later stage, you will be supplied with another handout that relates to Part C – a set of changes that you will have to apply to your initial plan – your Gantt chart Version One. For Part C you will need to supply a self-contained pdf file including revised budget and an updated version of your Gantt chart (Version Two) showing all the required changes, and progress to date.
• “Task progress” must show in your Version Two Gantt chart for all activities that have been completed (or partially done) up to (status date).
• The Status Report produced in Part C must match the situation shown in your Version Two Gantt chart.
• You must correctly assign all costs (including recently added staff costs) to tasks in Part C. This must include your personal (PM) costs as well.
• Finally, before rushing in to ask a lot of random questions, you must first prepare your own team plan of how you will prepare and run this project. For example:
NOTE: Your team plan must be for the whole semester!
It is not valid to have all or just one student(s) responsible for everything.
Attendance will be monitored. In particular, non-attendance (or early departure) at any class session allocated to assignment team activity (not always on the schedule), will result in a review of what portion of the team mark that you are entitled to.
• You are expected to deliver this assignment in three parts. Part A and Part B will be marked and returned to you before your next part is due to be handed in. Changes are expected to be made by you in response to feedback from an earlier item, but anything major will need an accompanying note of explanation in the following submission.
• Assumptions are not acceptable, but a front page of comments (where data has come from, or why certain tasks have been added) may help the marking lecturer to give more credit for the work done. Invalid data (e.g. unlikely hourly cost rates) will still be penalised and so make sure that you get clear answers to you questions.
• All team members will receive the same mark for all assessment items, unless a problem of inequitable participation is discussed with your lecturer, in advance.
• NOTE: Your Team Activity Plan should show an equitable workload – this must be confirmed with your lecturer as part of the feedback on your Part A.
Assistance to Other Students
Students themselves can be an excellent resource to assist the learning of fellow students, but there are issues that arise in assessments that relate to the type and amount of assistance given by students to other students. It is important to recognise what types of assistance are beneficial to another’s learning and also what types of assistance are acceptable in an assessment.
Study Groups. (= your team)
Discussion. (especially in class)
Sharing reading material. (e.g. via Moodle )
Working together with another team on one copy of the assessment and submitting it as your team’s own work.
Giving another team your work.
Copying another team’s or individual’s work. This includes work done by someone not on the course.
Changing or correcting another student’s work.
Copying from books, Internet etc. and submitting it as own work. Anything taken directly from another source must be acknowledged correctly – show the source alongside the quotation.