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Project Plan Overview

Project Plan Overview

Friar Tucker International (FTI) is a hospitality services chain that manages 35 entertainment and cuisine establishments. The company employs approximately 1,200 individuals and generates revenue in excess of $300 million. The vision for FTI is “to be among the top ten hospitality service providers in the family entertainment business, based on our superior service levels and innovative marketing”. The corresponding mission is “to attract more visitors and customers through food and entertainment facilities, and ensure a great family experience.”

The key focus areas for FTI over next three years are as follows:

· Establish their presence in the entertainment hospitality segment

· Consolidate their presence in the cuisine business by expanding into specialty cuisine establishments

· Expand into the corporate entertainment segment

Under the leadership of the new CEO, FTI has entered into agreements with several hotel chains to manage their businesses and execute diverse projects for them. The results have been phenomenal – business is booming. FTI was convinced by its clients to accept some projects such as the two hotel chains for which they do subcontracted work – projects that do not directly link with the company’s strategic objectives. The goal of project manager is to select one project out five that will be best suitable for FTI.

Kalimpong entails setting up a chain of 10 specialty franchises on the East Coast. Each restaurant would be the last word in luxury and fine cuisine. FTI would need to design and set up the oriental specialty cuisine restaurants with Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese sections. With an initial investment of just $9 million, company can expect to break even in less than five years, and by year 10, and their revenues can be as high as $20 million a year. This is an excellent opportunity to expand FTI’s cuisine business.

There is a historical building in Washington D.C. that can be converted into a 50-room hotel with deluxe suites. FTI could add business communication and meeting facilities to attract corporate visitors as well. While this project might take a year to complete, the long-term gains are big – with an investment of $18 million and break even in five years.The returns can be tremendous – it can even hit $25 million after eight years. Even though owning a hotel chain does not directly fit in with FTI’s current focus establishing a chain of hotels will build their own brand and earns more revenue.

These project suggests to tie-up with the promoters of Braithwaite Green, a mountain resort in North Carolina, and convert it into an up-market country club. The resort has 40 deluxe suites and eight luxury cottages. FTI could refurbish this and add recreation facilities such as golf course and health spa. Considering the infrastructure is already in place, FTI can execute this project in just six month with an investment of $7 million and break even in four years, Revenues can go up to $20 million in year 10 and this project also enhance FTI’s brand name.

This is a good opportunity to develop a huge office complex with a full floor dedicated to corporate entertainment. This will be a new area for FTI and it will give company an entry into the lucrative corporate entertainment area – indoor sporting facilities like bowling, pool, gymnasium, and more. Since this is a new business, the initial investment can be as high as $18 million or higher. It may take seven years to break even, but after that, sales can really be high – as high as $30 million in year 12.

This project entails setting up an entertainment hub with multiple-screen theatre, sports facilities, and may be even a shopping mall. Sporting facilities would include bowling alley, some pool tables, and maybe even fitness center. To complete the entertainment experience FTI may create a cafй and a couple of showrooms. Initial indicators are that this might break even in five years with an investment of about $11 million. Revenue can be expected as high as $35 million in year 10. Galleria could help FTI hit the big time and establish them in the entertainment hospitality segment.

Galleria project is the most suitable for FTI, it fit in well with the strategic plans for the company. Also, Galleria fared well on the critical success factors defined at FTI. Getting a steady flow of revenue quickly is important as well, because it helps company see returns on the project faster. A quick break-even is imperative to start generating cash flow faster. And Galleria project can accomplish both of those factors. Building new competencies is important to FTI to help achieve their vision of being among the top ten hospitality service providers and the corresponding mission statement of attracting more visitors and customers. Galleria is a right project to achieve these objectives.

Defining the project scope sets the stage for developing a project plan. Project scope is a definition of the end result or mission of the project – a product or service for a customer. The primary focus is to define as clearly as possible the deliverable(s) for the end user. Project scope is the keystone interlocking all elements of a project plan. The high level of project scope includes project objectives, deliverables, milestones, technical requirements, limits and exclusions, and review and signoff with customer. A clear project scope definition is the most important step to ensure the success of the venture. All these attributes could be applied to FTI’s Gallery project. The project objective is to set up an entertainment hub with multiple-screen theatre, sports facilities, and shopping mall. For deliverables, FTI has to design and finalize the architecture of the center, select a vendor, etc.

Evaluation and control are part of every project manager’s job. In larger projects informal control is difficult, and formal control is a crucial necessity. Project evaluation and control require a single information system that measures project progress and performance against a project plan that supports delivery of a product or service on time, on budget, and in the form requested by the customer.

Any system for monitoring project performance should provide answers to the questions such as:

· What is the current status of the project in terms of schedule and cost?

· How much will it cost to complete the project?

· When will the project be completed?

· Are there potential problems that need to be addressed now?

· What and where are the causes for cost or schedule overruns?

· What have we gotten for the dollars spent?

· If there is a cost overrun midway in the project, can we forecast the overrun at completion?

· Can potential problems be identified before it is too late to correct them?

A major goal of progress reporting is to catch any negative variances from plan as

early as possible to determine if corrective action is necessary.

There is no shortage of ideas on how to manage projects. An Internet search on Google comes up with hundreds of sites. So with this much help, how can anyone go wrong? It is easy. Although all projects have some similarities, there are tasks and issues unique to each industry. So what are the best practices in project management?

Portfolio planning comes from the financial world but works well in project management because it lets managers view several projects that could draw on the same resources. A manager overseeing 10 projects, for instance, should understand how they are interrelated and where there may be resource constraints. Unfortunately, most project-management tools let managers plan and start as many projects as they can conceive. Some companies use separate tools for portfolio planning and project management. A best practice uses a unified software tool that integrates both the current project execution and portfolio planning data.

A project charter, another best practice. The charter states in detail the company goals, its principles, and what it's working toward. Company projects should contribute to the project goals. This practice definitely applies to the project success.

A project-success evaluation gives managers indications of whether a project will succeed or fail. "An executive should be able to see, for example, that there are 15 products in the pipeline and how they rank in terms of economic advantages," says Andy Michuda, CEO of Sopheon. (Best practices for managing projects , 2003) An effective evaluator, he adds, should also tell how the projects improve the company's competitive situation.

Recognize the difference between planning and execution

Planning programs have at least one flaw: They often handle only one project at a time. What is more, planning programs often do not take into consideration that team members might be geographically dispersed and need to update and view the plan in real time once a project starts. Team members are always swapping data and updating documents, and project managers get frustrated trying to see who is updated what. And it is good for the rest of the team to see what being done, particularly when there are dependencies and relationships from project to project. Workers in downstream activities may not want to be notified to act on something until all of the precedent tasks are resolved. Applying this practice not only will take a burden off the project manager but also ensure the success of the project.

The strategic management process is applied to identify and prioritize projects aligned to an organization’s strategic plan. Negotiating personal preferences and organizational politics is one of the learning points I will apply as a Program Manager. Another learning point would be to evaluate project using the project screening system based on priority of projects by using a common definition – critical success factors for organization.


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