Project Management Essay

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.....project management approach is increasingly becoming popular in today's workplace. Organisations are ever more recognising the benefits of accomplishing tasks and activities as projects -- better task coordination, quicker task execution, and so on (Larson et al., 2013). The author's organisation, a renewable energy firm with operations in Australia and beyond, has particularly been shifting to the project management approach in recent years. The organisation is currently interested in acquiring or merging with a suitable rival to improve its market share and competitive advantage. The merger or acquisition process is often not an easy undertaking. It requires proper planning and execution. With the application of project management concepts, however, the process can be easier. This report analyses the relevance of various project management concepts to the merger or acquisition process. Attention is particularly paid to the project environment, project definition, time and cost estimation, project plan, risk management, resource scheduling, project team issues, and project performance management.


Organisational Setting and Project Environment



The organisational setting is a publicly listed renewable energy firm with operations in Australia and the UK. The organisation also has joint venture agreements with entities in Germany, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The firm is involved in generating renewable energy, mainly from solar, wind, and water. Through strategic partnerships, the firm is also involved in the manufacturing of renewable energy equipment such as solar cells and wind turbines. The firm was established in 2006, and has made tremendous progress in the short duration it has been in operation. With a current capacity of 190 megawatts (MW), the firm is one of the major producers of renewable energy and suppliers of renewable energy equipment and infrastructure. The firm has recorded fairly positive performance over the years, and has been commended severally for its significant impact on the renewable energy market, both locally and internationally.

Objectives and Importance of the Project



The firm has recently been exploring ways to increase its production capacity and competitive advantage in the wake of increased demand for renewable energy and increased competition in the marketplace. Acquiring or merging with a suitable option presents an ideal opportunity for the organisation to achieve its strategic goals and objectives. However, the process of identifying an appropriate acquisition target or merger partner is not an easy one. Without proper planning and implementation, the intended outcomes may not be successfully achieved. Indeed, poor planning and implementation is a major cause of project failure (Larson et al., 2013). The success of the merger or acquisition process will ensure that attractive returns are made from the time, effort, and resources that will be invested. Failures may not only cost the organisation time and money, but may also hinder the organisation from attaining its long-term goals and objectives.


Project Definition



An important step of the project management approach involves defining the project. This particularly involves identifying the scope, objectives, deliverables, as well as participants of the project (Project Management Institute [PMI], 2013). Defining the project essentially sets the foundation for all its other aspects. It serves as a basis for determining costs and duration, singling out risks, identifying key stakeholders, and so forth. The project's scope in this case entails acquiring or merging with a well-established local renewable energy company. The specific objectives of the project are:



1. To identify an appropriate acquisition target or merger partner



2. To obtain all the approvals and agreements necessary for initiating the merger or acquisition



3. To mobilise the resources and support required for executing the merger or acquisition



4. To develop a risk management plan for the project



5. To develop a stakeholder management plan



6. To develop a project execution plan



The following deliverables will be integral to the achievement of the above objectives:



Objective



Deliverables



1



• Agreement with the selected acquisition target or merger partner



• Memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the selected firm



2



• Approval from shareholders and the board



• Approval from the relevant regulatory authorities



3



• Management support



• Budget



• Staff awareness and training



4



• Risk Management Plan



5



• Stakeholder Management and Communication Plan



6



• Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)



• Project team structure



• Project timeline (Gantt chart)



• Budget



• Change control plan



The objectives and deliverables of the project are outlined based on the assumption that the selected firm will show interest in the acquisition or merger.
More importantly, the attainment of the identified deliverables will be dependent on the following factors:



1. A dedicated project team



2. Timely acquisition of the necessary approvals



3. Effective engagement and involvement of key stakeholders



4. Strong commitment from both the organisation and the selected partner

Time and Cost Estimation



Time and cost constitute two of the most important aspects of project management (Larson et al., 2013). A successful project must be delivered on time and within budget. Therefore, changes in these two aspects may be detrimental to the success of the project. The process of acquiring or merging with another firm often involves a substantial amount of time and resources. The process may usually take several months or years as it entails processes such as evaluation of various prospects, negotiation, due diligence, legal procedures, shareholder and management approval, stock purchase, as well as staff awareness and training. The process may also involve restructuring the organisation, establishing new offices, as well as marketing, branding, and public relations efforts. These processes often involve millions or hundreds, or even billions of dollars. Accurate estimates of the amount of time and financial resources required to accomplish the project must be made. This is crucial for avoiding unexpected costs and delivering the project within the required timeline.



The project manager can choose from a number of techniques as far as time and cost estimation is concerned. These include relying on historical data or previous experiences, expert judgment, as well as bottom-up and parametric estimating (PMI, 2013). Historical data or previous experiences may not be relevant in this case as the project is the first of its kind in the organisation. The organisation has not undertaken any mergers or acquisitions in the past. Parametric estimating involves estimating the time and cost required for each deliverable, and multiplying it by the total number of deliverables (Kerzner, 2009). For instance, if it takes one day and $100 to build one square foot of real estate, then it would take approximately 5 days and $500 to build 5 square feet. This approach may not be relevant in this case as it is usually applied in contexts such as construction.



Bottom-up estimating involves breaking the project into smaller tasks and then estimating the amount of time and resources needed to accomplish each task (Kloppenborg, 2015). In this case, for instance, time and costs may be approximated for tasks such as negotiations, regulatory approval, consultancy, and legal procedures. This approach may be applicable in this case, but important aspects may be left out due to lack of experience in merger and acquisition projects. Expert judgment entails bringing in experts to determine the time and cost required to execute the project (Kloppenborg, 2015). This would be the most appropriate technique for time and cost estimation. There are experts and firms that specialise in mergers and acquisitions. They deeply understand the unique features of merger and acquisition projects, and are therefore better placed to determine the time and resources required. This option may, however, involve significant costs as experts have to be paid.


Project Plan



It is imperative for the project manager to come up with a document for guiding the execution of the project. This is referred to as the project plan. The project plan helps the project manager in directing and controlling the project (Larson et al., 2013). In addition to the scope of the project, the project plan includes contents such as the project team structure, WBS, project timeline, financial plan, stakeholder management plan, as well as the change management plan. Aspects that will be particularly important for this project include the project team structure,….....

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References


Berkun, S., 2008. Making things happen: mastering project management. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly.

Kerzner, H., 2009. Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. 10th ed. Hoboken: Wiley.

Kloppenborg, T., 2015. Contemporary project management. 3rd ed. Boston: Cengage Learning.

Larson, E., Honig, B., Gray, C., Baccarini, D. and Dantin, U., 2013. Project management: the managerial process. Australia: Mcgraw-Hill.

Meredith, J. and Mantel, S., 2011. Project Management: A managerial Approach. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Project Management Institute (PMI), 2013. A guide to the project management body of knowledge. 5th ed. U.S.: Author.

Young, T., 2013. Successful project management. 4th ed. London: Kogan Page.
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