Management

PROJECT MANAGEMENT ISSUES IN ACCENTURE

Project Management Life Cycle

Project Management Sample Assignment

Executive Summary

Global Organisations have many kinds of Strategic Issues in their Premises. To stay competitive in the market it is very necessary that the Organisation look into these issues seriously and take steps to mitigate them. One such Organisation which has a strategic Operation issue is the Accenture. Accenture is a Global Company working on consulting, outsourcing and technology services and was founded way back in 1989. It is widespread to over 120 countries and employees working in the Global Accenture are nearly 266,000. The Operational issue encountered in Accenture is the Project Management issue. This issue has got direct connection which the client. Bad communication with the clients, improper requirement listing, short deadlines for project completion etc is some Project Management issues which are discussed in detail in this report. Also, the effect of cost on the operational parameters are discussed and lastly a list of few realistic recommendations are given which may help the Organisation to avoid the issue related to Project Management.

  1. Introduction

The Organisation chosen for the discussion of one of the Strategic Operation issues is Accenture Limited. Accenture is a Global Company working on consulting, outsourcing and technology services and was founded way back in 1989. It is widespread to over 120 countries and employees working in the Global Accenture are nearly 266,000. The net revenue of Global Accenture is nearly US $2.79 billion. Accenture products include SAP, Oracle, Smart grid, Java, Microsoft, open source etc. The biggest competitors for Accenture are the IBM and Capgemini. (Accenture, 2014) The Strategic Operation issue which is mainly found in Accenture is the Project Management issues. Accenture being such a big Organisation has always been facing issues related to management of projects. Due to this, the teams faced lot of issues from the client side and few projects got terminated before their completion. Lack of technical skills, lack of communication and lack of planning for project completion are few smaller issues related to the Project management.

  1. Project Management

The process which involves achieving the objectives of the project such as performance, budget and schedule by following a set of activities which start and end at particular points in time and build qualifiable and quantifiable deliveries of project. (Project Management Methodology Guidelines, n.d)

Project Management Life Cycle is the process which every manager in an Organisation follows during the duration of a particular project. The Project Management Life Cycle comprises of the following components:

  1. Initiation: in this stage the project goals are set and once the goals are set the focus is shifted to project scope.
  2. Planning: This stage is the most important in the life cycle of a project and it includes time and the resource estimations, execution schedules, order of tasks to be completed, analysis of risk and lastly the communication systems.
  3. Execution: Once the planning is approved the next step is to execute the project by completing the set objectives.
  4. Control: The project manager should have a feasible and flexible project controls so as to avoid any issues during the life cycle of project.
  5. Wrap –up or Closing: After the project completion when the client is completely satisfied with the product delivered by the Organisation the last step is wrap-up. The summary of the project including the complete details of the project such as the resources used, budget etc should be well-documented for any future use. (Kasia Mikoluk, 2013)

Figure 1 shows the Project Management Life Cycle.

Project Management Life Cycle

Project Management Life Cycle

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) described the major nine areas of expertise required by every Organisation’s manager in the Project Management. They are: Scope Management, Risk Management, Communications Management, HR Management, Cost Management, Time Management, Procurement Management, Integration Management and Quality Management. Figure 2 shows the Knowledge areas as per PMBOK in Project Management Life Cycle.

Knowledge areas as per PMBOK in Project Management Life Cycle

Knowledge areas as per PMBOK in Project Management Life Cycle

Project Management Issues in Accenture

Following are the Project Management issues under the Operational issues in Accenture:

  1. Unrealistic Deadline: once a big project is grabbed by Accenture Organisation, in order to deliver the product on or before the agreed deadlines, the managers go for designing an Unrealistic deadline which put the team and the employees under pressure to complete the work. The employees tend to lose interest in the project and continuous pressure from the upper management has even spoilt the quality and efficiency of the product they were working on. Figure 3 shows the Unrealistic deadline for a project completion. As the figure 3 depicts, the task 1 was still not completed but at the end, immediately task 2 was initiated. Simultaneously, to complete the project soon, the task 3 was started with task 2. This affects the team workers and also the quality of project.
    Unrealistic deadline for project completion

    Unrealistic deadline for project completion

    1. Lack of Clarity in Project Scope: This is the biggest challenge faced by the Accenture. Once the objectives and the project scope are set, it forms the base for the completion of the project and in other words, this serves as a criterion to determine if the project is completed successfully or not as per the client needs. But, there is lack of understanding in the project scope and as the project advances it is usually found that the product or the model which the team is working on does not match with the one mentioned in the project scope and thus, project change management comes into picture. The reason for this is the lack of communication between the managers of Accenture Organisation and the clients. The communication gap and proper maintenance of documents is very necessary in order to get a clear idea on the project scope.
    2. Improper Management of Project Changes: It is not necessary that once the project scope is designed and approved, it will remain the same throughout the project completion. There can be changes in the project design and flow as the client demands and these changes have to be adopted effectively. Most of the Managers in Accenture fail to collect the updated requirements from the client and end up in developing a product which is different from the client requirements. The whole team does not realize any changes which are occurring during the project progress and they do not handle the changes well. Another reason for change request from the clients is the insufficient number of options given by the team to the client. Figure 4 shows the errors in project whenever there is change request from the client. (Bia.ca, 2014).
Change Request flaws

Change Request flaws

From Figure 4 it is clear that:

  • When there is change request from the clients, the requirements are not gathered correctly by the teams. Thus, bad requirements occupy the highest percentage (27%) of error
  • Bad requirements lead to bad coding. (25%)
  • Design flaws are seen in the product which do not match with the client requirements (19%)
  • More often it is possible that, after the client quotes for change request, the team ignores it and thus lead to late requirement collection (16%)
  • Due to insufficient deadlines, the product developed is not tested well to check its purpose and thus, leads to insufficient testing (13%)
  1. Lack of skills of Project Management: In Accenture, after the initial training for freshers, no much scope is given for project management skills. Thus, even the Managers at high level do not have sufficient knowledge about how to handle clients and projects. In-house training is very necessary for all the employees at every level in an Organisation.

Overall, the major causes for project failure due to improper Project Management can be shown in the Figure 5. (IT Cortex, 2013)

Major causes for Project failure due to improper Project Management

Major causes for Project failure due to improper Project Management

3.1 Constraints need to be considered

The constraints which should be considered for the successful Project Management are: Scope, Quality, Budget and Schedule. Figure 6 shows the Project Triangle.

Project Triangle

Project Triangle

For the successful completion of any project, the manager has to take into consideration the four basic constraints as mentioned above. Project success is dependent on the Project Manager; the way he applies his skills and knowledge into the project and considers all the constraints and come up with a plan for project completion and keep these in balance throughout the project. All the projects in general, are implemented using few estimates and the schedule and budget are established on these basis. Any kind of changes in the project may affect the budget and thus, the Project Manager has to negotiate with the resource allocators and make the changes to project according to the requirements from the client (Cognitivedesignsolutions.com, 2014)

Analysis

Performance objectives of Operations Management:

The five main Performance objectives of Operations Management are:

  1. Quality
  2. Dependability
  3. Speed
  4. Cost
  5. Flexibility
Five main Performance objectives of Operations Management

Five main Performance objectives of Operations Management

  1. Quality: The performance parameter, Quality, plays an important role because the clients believe that Quality is the first priority in any project. One can say that the quality and deadlines are directly proportional to each other. It means, the more is the deadline, the high the quality of project output will be. Accenture has always been providing unrealistic timelines for project completion so there were consequences where the projects were rejected.
  2. Speed: This parameter is also known as ‘Speed of Response’. It is the time when the client demands any product and the team completing it and submitting back to the clients. Speed and Quality parameters are connected very closely as the Client needs quick response and also a Quality product. Accenture has been satisfactory in responding to clients needs and submitting the product to their clients efficiently. Speed is important externally as it helps in responding to clients quickly and internally the speed response helps in cost reduction for the developer teams. Because, fast output of information or delivery means cost reduction as the inventories and risks are reduced.
  3. Dependability: This also means ‘Being on time’. Each and every client wants the teams to respond to their queries or any clarifications cleared on time. This helps the Organisation gain the confidence of the clients and also makes a good impact on them. Externally it keeps good impression on the client and they may come up with more business in future. Internally the costs are affected in three broad ways: saving time, money is saved directly and Organisation gain stability and help in improving their efficiencies. Accenture has been serving their clients very efficiently and are good at dependability parameter.
Dependability factor

Dependability factor

  1. Flexibility: This is the most difficult parameter as it is difficult to understand the level of flexibility needed by different clients. In general flexibility means any sudden changes demanded by the clients are to be incorporated by the Organisation’s team and produce the product on time. Accenture is not too flexible to changes when the clients demand it and thus it has some bad impact on the Project management. Being flexible helps the Organisation to give efficient products and satisfy their clients. Flexibility is interconnected to three different parameters and they are: flexibility saves time and thus money is saved, flexibility helps in speeding up response and being flexible helps in maintaining dependability. Also, as the project progressing the flexibility is less to reduce the costs.
Cost and Time relationship curve to show the Flexibility parameter

Cost and Time relationship curve to show the Flexibility parameter

  1. Cost: Cost parameter is one of the major revelations in the Operations management in all the Organisations from past two decades. If the above mentioned parameters are managed well then they contribute in managing cost internally. Accenture by high level experience has been managing cost very efficiently in most cases and thus stands among the top Organisations globally. (Pearson Education, 2010)

Resource Cost Estimation:

Consider a project which requires 20 Java skill developers, User Experience Professionals 4 in number, one Team lead and one Project Manager. Table 1 shows the Total Resource Cost of a Project in Accenture. (Rupen Sharma, 2013)

 

Designation Hours of work in total Project Cost/Hour (in $) Total Cost
Project Manager 120 120 $14400
Team Lead 100 100 $10000
User Experience Professionals 90 95 $34200
Java Developers 100 90 $180000
Final Resource Cost: $238600

Table 1 Resource Cost Estimation

Interconnection in Operational parameters

Interconnection in Operational parameters

Figure 10 shows the interconnection of few operational parameters. Demand and Quantity are related to the Flexibility of the Organisation because the client demands for more quantity of products and also new demands are added and these are linked to the cost analysis of the Organisation which is: old and new marginal revenue.

Changes to Performance

This can be addressed in other way as Change Management. It can be defined as adoption of a set of tools, processes, principles and skills to manage required changes in the project (Change management.com, 2014). In order to make changes in the project management to improve the skills and performance, the factor ‘Cost’ is affected. This is explained as follows:

  • Accenture faced issues in delivering good Quality because of unrealistic deadlines given for project delivery by the Project Manager and also the flexibility issues were seen in some projects. The client requirements were not collected on time and thus, the implementation of change took lot of time and Quality of work was diminished. To adopt the change management, Accenture has to compromise on cost internally and give Project and Time Management training to all the teams at all levels.
  • Training on how to meet the client requirements, the approach to be used, the efficiency and also how to be flexible to client requirement changes should be given.
  • The cost investment internally is only for a while and once this is achieved, more number of Clients can be gained and thus revenue can be increased, the quality of work can be delivered to clients on time, high output and productivity are the outcomes. The Productivity and output might take some amount of time to adopt among entry level developers.
  1. Recommendations
  1. The three basic dimensions of a successful project are to be adopted which are: Quality, Cost and Time
  2. The Objectives of the project have to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, Time-bound) and this is achieved by good communication with the clients
  3. Accounting for the project changes (Flexibility) by giving proper training to the teams
  4. Choosing employees with right technical skills for right project. This adds to the quality of work and also saves time
  5. Continuous training on Project Management skills are to be scheduled and Project Manager should be provided with good Project Management skills and knowledge.

References:

Accenture.com, (2014). About Accenture. [online] Available at: http://www.accenture.com/in-en/company/Pages/index.aspx [Accessed 7 Aug. 2014].

Project Management Methodology Guidelines (n.d) [online] Available at https://www.chandleraz.gov/Content/PM000PMMethodologyGDE.pdf [Accessed 7 Aug. 2014].

Bia.ca, (2014). The Top Project Management Challenges. [online] Available at: http://www.bia.ca/articles/TheTopProjectManagementChallenges.htm [Accessed 7 Aug. 2014].

Mikoluk, K. (2014). Project Management Life Cycle: The Basics. [online] Udemy.com. Available at: https://www.udemy.com/blog/project-management-life-cycle/ [Accessed 7 Aug. 2014].

Cognitivedesignsolutions.com, (2014). Project Management. [online] Available at: http://www.cognitivedesignsolutions.com/Information/ProjectMgt.htm [Accessed 7 Aug. 2014].

 It-cortex.com, (2014). Project Failure Statistics. [online] Available at: http://www.it-cortex.com/Stat_Failure_Cause.htm [Accessed 7 Aug. 2014].

Change-management.com, (2014). Breaking down the definition of change management. [online] Available at: http://www.change-management.com/tutorial-definition-2010.htm [Accessed 7 Aug. 2014].

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Steve Jones

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