In the continuous changing and developing world of business it is of high priority for the companies to re-structure them with the latest techniques and systems of information technology. Such companies have proved themselves and showed up the remarkable improvement in their business .In the other words, this whole procedure involves the ???collection, storage, processing and communication of information by electronic means??? and this evolving phenomenon in business is called ???e-business system.???
Definition of e-business:
e-business (electronic business) is, in its simplest form,??? the conduct of business on the Internet. It is a more generic term than e-Commerce because it refers to not only buying and selling but also servicing customers and collaborating with business partners.???
E-Business requirements for Xtra:
For a company like Xtra it is essential to upgrade itself with the potential e-business system to extend and expand globally, builds the reputation, and gains the trust of the vendors and to generate financially. To achieve all these targets and to set the e-business system running smoothly and effectively company required:
. Purchasing of hardware according to the requirements and budget of
Xtra (server, clients, networking equipments, printer etc.)
?·? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Installation of hardware
?·? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Software development
?·? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Software installation
?·? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Testing of software
?·? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Training and development of staff
?·? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Monitoring and evaluation
?·? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Maintenance of software and system
Developing A Web Site:
At Xtra when we talk about re-structuring the system to improve the financial aspect then Web developing is MUST to set up, to see the world closely and peak into the ???Virtual business??™ and called as a Virtual company.
The aims of developing the Web Sites are:
Create interest ??“ the aim is to attract interest (to provide a ???hook??™) that will generates visits and sales.
Design ??“ the design of the site should be attractive. Care should be taken over the design of site maps that guide users from one part of the site to another.
Develop content ??“ the language should be informal and the text needs to be written with clearly visible fonts so that the user will not be lost.
Programme ??“ the site needs to be programmed to enable a web browser to use animation, video and possibly audio files. Systems need to be set up for handling transactions.
Maximize traffic ??“ the site should be indexed and cross-referenced so that it is flagged up by the major search engines used by potential customers.
Web marketing is the process of promoting business and selling to customers through the use of the internet. Through this way at Xtra the business will take the new turn. It is commonly referred to as e-commerce.
The marketing objectives of using the internet are defined by Davis by as follows:
Build brand image ??“ the Web can extend brand definition. It is particularly appropriate, by association, for creating and monitoring the credibility of high-tech companies and their products or services.
Increase sales ??“ the Web can provide extensive and vivid information about a product. The site provides the basis for ???one-to-one??™ marketing and corporate promotional offers.
Generate loyalty ??“ customers who actively decide to visit a Web site are likely to be attracted by the brand offer.
Reduce costs ??“ Web sites provide automatic ordering, invoicing and customer services and cut down on time and paperwork.
The benefits of Web marketing are clearly the ability to gain access to many more customers, to enhance brand or company image and to generate interest and sales. BUT with the benefits on the other side of the picture there are some serious issues that could be threatening and due to which Xtra couldn??™t show up the required growth and the progress will be specified.
When we discuss about the duties then we should know that who is going to do these job for the companyHere the answer to question is the project manager. Yes he is the one who is responsible and should be capable of utilizing his skills and satisfy the company and the customer with the help of his team.
For achieving the targets, a project manager should use his experiences to solve the issues. In case of misappropriation the result is deteriorate. These could be:
Figure 1(pitfalls to the system)
It is must ensure that the time could be allocated for the productive task. If unable then the credibility of the project is in doldrums. It requires a strict vigilance on time schedule, progress toward tasks, aligning resources as per requirement. In short with a little time management the results will be as per demand otherwise it could affect badly the company, management, market and customer relation. Though the time may vary according to the complexity, size, content and the quality of the project.
? How can we predict the project cost What if company cross the budget limit and do not have funds. It means we can??™t calculate it until the project is complete. Here the role of project manager is to estimate the cost. For completing the project it requires finance to complete the work, pay for labors, materials and equipments are required to lay down the structure and think for a while if we have lack of funds then what happened Project remains doomed and the company will be in lost.
? It is necessary for the manager to estimate the cost after reviewing all the technicalities, the actual cost and variance will be verified after the completion of project. Poor estimate can not only affect the customer but it will hampered the stake of the organization but if the change required in project from customer then definitely it change the cost.
For example, if there is need of renovation in company an engineer designs a layout and provide the estimate cost for that after the final approval and execution of the project .If, in between, the owner doesn??™t like the design or structure and require modification from engineer then definitely the cost fluctuate. So the cost include that a project is completed on time within budget.
? Another serious issue could be of quality, it is must ensure that at every process the results meet the desired result for which the project is executed. The quality of output must be equal to the standard and in case of deviation immediate remedy must be taken and he ensures the best utilization of available resources to meet the quality. He must ensure that team members are working on same page and adherence to policies and procedure is maintained at every step.
Strategic planning is a systematic, analytical approach which reviews the business as a whole in relation to its environment with the object of:
* developing an integrated ,coordinated and consistent view of the route the company wishes to follow; and
* Facilitating the adaptation of the organization to environmental change.
The aim of the strategic planning is to create a viable link between the organization??™s objectives and resources and its environmental opportunities.
It is the efficiently and effectively use of resources in the organisation whenever needed. Resource management includes financial, inventory, human, production resources or IT. Time management and staff management is key elements of the resource management (Phillip, 2004)
All projects have risk because they involve new activities and innovative work. Risk analysis should be performed at the early stage to identify them and their potential impact. At Xtra following factors should be consider to minimise the risk.
Staff: do we have a right staff and skilled employee to carry out the project
All employees should know what to do and when to do. If we do not have experts should we have to hire them It should be done before implementation. At Xtra we should have right staff for the right job.
Equipment: is appropriate equipment available before implementation Are these equipments reliable Right equipment should be purchased with the consult of hardware and software engineers. We require server, clients, network equipments, printer, scanner, software and other IT equipments.
Dependencies on external suppliers: find out that how much success of project relies on external parties, suppliers deliveries. Make sure that deliveries should be come on time. At what extent does the project engage new and innovative work
Contingency Plan is a predetermine decision that will be performed if the project go awry (Phillip, 2004). At Xtra then we grade the risk as low, medium, high and probability of their occurrence. We can prepare contingency and containment plans for activities with a degree of risk associated with them, should be created which include any relevant adjustments to timescales and costs (Chapman & Ward, 1997).
Importance of Resource Allocation:
When we talk about the strategic planning and resource and risk management in projecting a plan for a company. It is equally important to understand the resource allocation and how it is link in making the project successful.
Resource allocation is all about ???understanding the human, financial and material resource requirements of the strategy, and ensuring that the resources are made available and their use is optimized???
Human Resource Management (HRM):
Human resource management is a strategic and coherent approach to the management of an organization??™s most valued assets ??“ the people working there who individually and collectively contribute to the achievement of its objectives for sustainable competitive advantage.
For the company to beat off the other companies and to stand for the international market, it is highly recommended to invest on human resources and new technology as their combine result will be the upturn in the growth but to make sure that employees should always given confidence, their ideas and hard work appreciated and rewarded so they can work productively and willingly, not by force otherwise the result will not be the 100% of their actual performance.
Cost and budget:
Another important resource to keep in consider is of cost and budget. All the cost should be realistic. Here the aims are that project should be carried out in such a way that it will not cross the actual budget estimated, expenditure within the limits of the budget. Expenditure monitoring and reporting should be built in the project plan. Estimate the cost of each activity and try to achieve the targets in limits. If these targets are not achievable then has to inform the management at Xtra and clarify that what actual cost required. Estimated cost should be realistic because if they invest less, then standard / quality of the project will reduce. Low standard may cause failure of the project.
With the best use of time scale and the division of time human resource management can show the attributes that bring consistency and coherence:
* to enable management to achieve it??™s objectives
* to utilize people to their full capacity and potential.
* to create conditions in which innovation, team working and total quality can flourish.
* to enable the company to make the best use of developments in information technology and integrated approaches to manufacturing such as just in time, cellular manufacturing and flexible manufacturing systems
* to satisfy the customer need and hand over the right product at right time
Here the bar chart showing the estimated time for each task of developing system through presenting this report jobs will be assigned to the concerned department or an individual over there to perform it fully according to their potential. Team work can also be assigned for the variation and for the excellent result that could be less time taken or more time required depending on the type of task (team wok discuss in detail in the next task)
Time Scale for Each Task:
Task 1: Buying Software
Task 2: Hardware installation
Task 3: Software development
Task 4: Software installation
Task 5: Staff Training
Task 6: Software Checking
Task 7: Monitoring
Task 8: Evaluation
(Figure 2) bar diagram showing task time scale
Time scale for each activity is different depending about the complexity of the task. Here it is important to learn that there are two ways to carried the task:
* Short Term Task:
This type of task is plan, design and carried out for a short period. Time scale set for these task is according to the complexity of the task assigned. As its mention above Software and hardware purchasing, software installation they all are a part of short time task.
* Long Term Task:
Long term tasks are those which are carried out throughout the years. There is no fix time period for it or there might be some other activities and tasks associated with them. Project Manager at Xtar has to be vigilant for the successful accomplishment of these because through long term tasks. Company could bring positive changes in his system and that brings the fresh air for the employees too. Evaluation is the best example of it.
Networking at Xtra:
Installation of hardware
Installation of software
Monitoring and control
Purchasing and developing software
Figure 3(networking at Xtra)
Definition of Leadership:
(Child, personal communication) Leadership is a force that creates a capacity among the group of people to do something that is different or better. This could be reflected in a more creative outcome, or a higher level of performance. In essence, leadership is an agency of change, and could entail inspiring others to do more than they would otherwise have done, or were doing.
Styles of Leadership:
According to Likert (1967), there are four styles of leadership to capture the management culture of an organization:
Styles of leadership
Figure 3(styles of leadership)
1. Exploitive authoritative. In this type it will be difficult to approach the leader. He uses threats and fears. Communication and understanding between the leader and the members are undesirable. He gives order than that of asking for suggestions as other members are just there for following the orders. In short his attitude is bossy and not friendly.
2. Benevolent Authoritative: Here there is a particular group of decision making in an organization who are the top most confident people. They communicate with the boss and others have to follow for the interest of the company. There are many people working under them. Though, employees are awarded for their better performances and participation but the communication is limited in that also.
3. Consultative. Management awarded and appreciated the work of the people and in this way they really gain respect and confidence to bring improvement in their work. They could only participate in limited discussions and not the entire decision making policy which is actually in the hand of top management of the company.
4. Participative. This style of leadership has a lot of variation in it. Here discussions and suggestions are highly appreciated and welcome by the management as far as it is for the betterment of the company and people are rewarded and awarded for this and for their work. They link the incentives for the goal achievements and promote the individual and the group work so that the people can independently and with their team work can show the 100% of their skills. Management and employees are psychologically close to each other and thus they all can show their true relation and involvement for the company.
The role of the Leader:
Shackleton (1995) makes the following observations about the leader??™s role in empowerment:
* The leader has genuine respect for the abilities and potential of team members.
* The leader feels secure, otherwise the empowerment of team members could be perceived as a threat to his or her position.
* Mobilise training to trap the latent potential of members and build their confidence, using coaching where appropriate.
* Create conditions where team members are keen to assme responsibility rather than being asked to do so.
* Allow sufficient time for empowerment to take root and praise and encourage people as they work their way through the implementation of this concept.
* Recognize that a side effect of empowerment is the need for more information.
* Use the reward system to support empowerment.
Leadership in context of Team Work is become increasingly effective and work out for the companies who really wanted to show remarkable output throughout. At Xtra it is the responsibility of the administration to select such leaders who clearly understand their job importance i.e. from a traditional role of the first line of supervision or management to the part of the team. According to Steckler and Fondas (1995) the team leader??™s role hinges on two major themes. One is facilitating the functioning of the team, and the other is managing the external boundary of the team.
1. Facilitating team functioning. Team leaders are trouble shooters; they help the team to analyze and solve problems, and obtain resources from outside the group (e. g secure help when the team is overburdened with work). They help with confronting conflict, and can assist with minimising the disruptive consequences of team conflict by asking the right questions, such as : What is the source of the conflict What issues are at stakes and who are the principal characters What avenues are open to the team to resolve the difficulties And what are their strength and weaknesses Team leaders act as coaches when they help team members to improve their work performance by clarifying of what is expected of them in the job and offering support. Later, there is reference to good coaching when commenting on effective team leadership.
2. Liaison with external groups and agencies. These would include management higher p the organisation, other teams within the organisation, customers, suppliers and others with whom contact is made in order that the team can function. With regard to the external contacts, the leader is acting in a representative role. He or she collects relevant information and shares it with members of the team, explains and clarifies the expectations other have of the team, and is instrumental in securing the resources required by the team.
At Xtra, the ideal leadership that could really bring competency and consistency in team work which will directly effect the companies condition and help in changing the scenario is the ???Participative??? leadership style .If the both parties management and the employees are participative in each other??™s genuine issues concerning the organization, team members can easily approach the leader whenever needed and easily discussed their problems and conflicts then surely the results will be sound.
Organizations are looking for more competitive employee to induct and part of their system and for attracting best candidates enormous efforts have been directed toward hiring and retaining best candidates. Organization success depends on how its individuals are performing and there is constant need to update the employee??™s skills along with update in technology.
Several programs have been executed to update the employee??™s skills and one form is through mentoring and coaching. These tow terms are sound similar to each other but as we explore them in depth we can easily find difference in both of them. Below is a comparison of both the term;
Mentor | Coaching |
Mentoring is done for personal and professional life. For e.g. mentor can be a family member or friend who inspired us or that person groom us in our personal life or help us to be a good professional. | Whereas, coaching is most link to enhance/build a specific skill in employee. Usually, new employee is hand over to senior employee for specific period of time for coaching. |
Mentoring focus is at macro level, for e.g. it is building the capacity of employee??™s skills and ability which help him building overall personality. | Coaching is link at micro level, for e.g. when a employee is consider for upcoming promotion, management consider him for building a specific skills like managerial or leadership skills and tag him along with senior to learn the tip and tricks of leadership. |
The relation between mentor and mentee is usually on formal or informal basis. There is no specific goal or plan against which progress is monitored. | Whereas, the coaching is concern, specific task/target is given to coach and individual. Their performance is continuously evaluated against the target. Its time duration is |
Mentoring is on one-to-one basis. It??™s a direct relation between mentor and the focus is no individual. | Hence, the coaching is focused on performance of individual as well as group. It??™s a relation between coach-student/ team. |
Mentoring is all about building the over all personality of an individual and impact lies on whole career/life of an individual. | Coaching is given to train some technical skills which are required for short term in effectively discharging the duties. Normally given by some experience or skilled person to novice. |
The relation is for long term between mentor and mentee and last for life time and there is no specific boundary of this relation. | Whereas, the nature of link is just for a specific time. As the skill(s) is develop/ transfer to individual the relation end and it process with in the confinement of organization or ground. |
Example to overcome technical problem:
In short, we can say both, the mentor and coach are guiding force who develops individuals and teams to perform well and effectively to achieve the targets. Below, we can exhibit some example of both:
As we have discussed that mentoring is all about brining something from individual or employee. Mentor is one who unleashes the potential from inside and being an experience person he foresee the talent which one cannot sense in him/herself. For example, every year organization carried out annual appraisal exercise in order to evaluate the individual year performance and based on the performance, increment and promotions were given. Here, the Human resource manger constantly focused on high performer and keeping in view the future demand of senior post. They spot the good performer and place the individual with senior managers for learning managerial or leadership skills from experienced managers. In this way informally without any specific time period those high performer were given a chance to equip them with rich skills to takeover future responsibilities. Here the top management act as mentor and junior employee being mentee grasp and groom their variety of skills like decision-making, leadership qualities, strategic management and many other skills to be an effective employee.
As far as coaching is concerned, its focus on specific group or individual for short term. For e.g. Mr.ABC after completing his graduation and during the last semester sent resume to various organization for some better opportunity. After the subsequent interviews process he got a good opportunity at media agency as entry level position in public relation department. After the joining, his manager quickly realized that Mr. ABC despite of good marks in university and clearing the tests. He is not very good in delivering the public speaking and that was basically due to lack of confidence and Mr. ABC has also realized the issue. To overcome his shaky confidence, his managers discussed the issues with him and nominate him for confidence building workshop. At that workshop the facilitator brief them about the importance of confidence, conduct various exercises among the participant to overcome third confidence level. Mr. ABC took part in workshop and actively involve in exercise and role playing which boost his confidence level. On way back to office, Mr. ABC finds himself in good position to give presentation to in-house and stake holder.
Here, we can say the end result of mentoring and coaching is to groom the individual and develop the skills required to perform better either in organization or in life.
Role of Communication in Project Management:
The role of Communication in project management is like the role of blood in human body. The moment supply of blood halt the malfunctioning of human body occurs. If we review the general definition of communication it clearly state that ???it is the process of transferring or exchanging the idea, thought among the two individual or among group.??? When we analyze the importance of communication in project management, it is clearly known that communication is playing the role of backbone in the project. The moment project commence or before the commencement this is the information/ideas which is communicated among entities of project and after the beginning the project manager keeps on communication the agenda, targets and information among the all team members of the project so that they can work accordingly. Here the effective communication is transfer from one group to other group as to precede the tasks and to update the team members about the accomplishment of the project. It is not mandatory for the project manager to communicate the nitty-gritty of the project but at macro level he needs to update all teams. This is necessary for him because the project manager is accountable for whole project and if he didn??™t update the teams about the deficiencies or any delays as per planned schedule so he must communicate that issue to the team so that effective measure will be taken to overcome the deficiencies which ultimately impact the successful completion of the project.
The exchange of information or fact among the various teams is also important because it is possible that the data required by a team was provided by another team so here the communication at horizontal level is also required among team members at every level of project cycle to make decisions and allocating the resources as per need. Being the project manager, his role is very critical in updating all the teams and members about any change in project requirement or updating the stakeholders about the project so he keeps bird eye on whole project.
Role of Communication in Alleviating the Issues in Information System:
???Most project fails, due to poor communication??? effective communication is very critical in successfully implementing the information system in any organization. Communication management is vital among the all element of project and due to global village we have witness that a project manager and its teams are not located physically at one place. Due to rapid growth in IT field the teams are working in different fragment and due to this geographical distribution it is necessary to update and communicate the information to all. Let??™s consider the role of communication in implementing and solving the issue in information system.
Information System demand the effective collection, its recording, manipulation and presentation of data and information which is required by organization in making the critical decision, planning , resource allocation and monitoring the performance based on manual and computerized system. When Information System is in developing or during implementation phase the role of communication become very critical, below we review some of them:
Teams Expectation: before actually implementing the Information systems it is mandatory for the project manager to ensure that all the members are well aware of their role, responsibilities and expectation from them. Here, if their responsibilities are well communicated to each member in written document so it is better their should be no ambiguity remain at the end of deadline or if any player is not playing the role so manager can ask him about his expected role and it also help during monitoring performance and overcoming the performance gap
Communicating deadline: Change in any deadline or amendment in project details, if not properly communicated to all this will end in turmoil. It necessary to informed them about the change in deadlines or expectation. Here, if any changes are expected then it is good to make them prepare in advance. If nay sudden changes were communicated to them then may be possible they can??™t meet deadlines and result will be not more than chaos. Here the role of manager is to properly communicate them about the changes in deadlines and any other expectation at right time so that teams are working and implementing their task as per schedule program.
Project Status: In implementing the Information System project, different teams are working in different areas to gather the data, organizing it, coordination and developing the infrastructure. Here each team is required information to make the best decision for further progress. If they are not communicated the information about he allied teams they will ask them or put their efforts in getting their status and it require extra time. To save the time and individual efforts it is good to update them about the projct completion status at regular interval so that harmony prevails among all teams about achievement in their targets.
Change in Resource Allocation: It??™s a common phenomenon that thing didn??™t happen as per our expectation or plan. During the implementation phase of information system it happened that project end requirements change and due to this change the resource allocation also effect. This can be occurring in change in dead line or addition/departure of team member. To avoid any miss-happening the role of manager is to describe the details of changes to its team member and ensure that they are satisfied. If they are poor communicated about such changes so chances are there that can??™t wholeheartedly focus on their work which affect the quality of their work.