In document Business Information Systems 2T (Page 115-120)



1. Focus on organizational goals—Managers are finding tremendous value in choosing projects that align with the organization’s goals. Projects that address organizational goals tend to have a higher success rate since they are important to the entire organization.

2. Categorize projects—There are various categories that an organization can group projects into to determine a project’s priority. One type of categorization includes problem, opportunity, and directives.

Problems are undesirable situations that prevent an organization from achieving its goals. Opportunities are chances to improve the organization. Directives are new requirements imposed by management government or some other external influence. It is often easier to obtain approval for projects that address problems or directives because the organization must respond to these categories to avoid financial losses.

3. Perform a financial analysis—-A number of different financial analysis techniques can be performed to help determine a project’s priority. A few of those include net present value, return on investment and payback analysis. These financial analysis techniques help determine the organization’s financial expectations for the project.


Once an organization defines the projects it wants to pursue, it must set the project scope. Project scope defines the work that must be completed to deliver a product with the specified features and functions. The project scope statement is important because it specifies clear project boundaries. The project scope typically includes the following:

• Project product—a description of the characteristics the product or service has undertaken.

• Project objectives—quantifiable criteria that must be met for the project to be considered a success.

MANCOSA – BCom ITM Year 2 115

• Project deliverables—any measurable, tangible, verifiable outcome, result, or item that is produced to complete a project or part of a project.

• Project exclusions—products, services, or processes that are not specifically a part of the project.

The project objectives are one of the most important areas to define because they are essentially the major elements of the project. When an organization achieves the project objectives, it has accomplished the major goals of the project and the project scope is satisfied. Project objectives must include metrics so that the project’s success can be measured. The metrics can include cost, schedule, and quality metrics along with a number of other metrics. SMART criteria—useful reminders on how to ensure that the project has created understandable and measurable objectives.


Managing people is one of the hardest and most critical efforts a project manager undertakes. How to resolve conflicts within the team and how to balance the needs of the project with the personal/professional needs of the team are a few of the challenges facing project managers. More and more project managers are the main (and sometimes sole) interface with the client during the project.

As such, communication, negotiation, marketing, and salesmanship are just as important to the project manager as financial and analytical acumen. There are many times when the people management side of project management made the difference in pulling off a successful project.

A project plan is a formal, approved document that manages and controls project execution. A well-defined project plan is characterized by the following:

• Easy to understand.

• Easy to read.

• Communicated to all key participants (key stakeholders).

• Appropriate to the project’s size, complexity, and criticality.

• Prepared by the team, rather than by the individual project manager.

MANCOSA – BCom ITM Year 2 116 The most important part of the plan is communication. The project manager must communicate the plan to every member of the project team and to any key stake- holders and executives. The project plan must also include any project assumptions and be detailed enough to guide the execution of the project. A key to achieving project success is earning consensus and buy-in from all key stakeholders.

By including key stakeholders in project plan development, the project manager allows them to have ownership of the plan. This often translates to greater commitment, which in turn results in enhanced motivation and productivity.

The two primary diagrams most frequently used in project planning are PERT and Gantt charts. A PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique) chart is a graphical network model that depicts a project’s tasks and the relationships between those tasks. A dependency is a logical relationship that exists between the project tasks, or between a project task and a milestone.

PERT charts define dependency between project tasks before those tasks are scheduled (see Figure below). The boxes in figure below represent project tasks, and the project manager can adjust the contents of the boxes to display various project attributes such as schedule and actual start and finish times. The arrows indicate that one task is dependent on the start or completion of another task. The critical path is a path from the start to the finish that passes through all the tasks that are critical to completing the project in the shortest amount of time. PERT charts frequently display a project’s critical path.

MANCOSA – BCom ITM Year 2 117 Figure 7.4: Pert chart

(Source: CM guide, 2009)

A Gantt chart is a simple bar chart that depicts project tasks against a calendar. In a Gantt chart, tasks are listed vertically and the project’s time frame is listed horizontally. A Gantt chart works well for representing the project schedule. It also shows actual progress of tasks against the planned duration.

Figure 7.5 illustrates a Gantt Chart.

MANCOSA – BCom ITM Year 2 118 Figure 7.5: Gantt Chart

(Source: Bocij et al, 2008:365)

Further reading

For further reading on project evaluation: Turn to p 367 of Bocij et al.


Attempt essay question 3 on page 370 of Bocij et al. on Project evaluation and review technique

MANCOSA – BCom ITM Year 2 119 Suggested answers

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