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BT7073 Fundamentals of Project Management Assignment - Consultancy Report, BPP University, UK

Assessment Brief - The Fundamentals of Project Management course has TWO separate deliverables to be submitted as a single document:

Part 1 - Project Management Consultancy Report

This should be structured in four sections based on the Case Study - 3500 words.

Part 2 - Reflective Essay

Prepare an analysis into the challenges encountered throughout the Module and the difficulties producing the assessment. Identify clear personal development goals. Briefly from your research highlight the characteristics of a Good Project Manager.

Case Study - Automation Futures

Background - Automation Futures (AF) PLC which is shown in Fig.1 is a technology contracting, consulting and product/software development company with extensive experience in the design, manufacture, commissioning and delivery of a range of Electronic/Technology projects but specialising in Automation and New products for a range of clients including Bespoke Automation Factories. It operates out of a large Consultancy Practice in The Thames Valley (UK) and a Product Development factory in Ireland (ROI) which develops and manufactures automation plant and Prefabricated Factories for various clients largely in Europe.

The company's facilities and expertise allow them to offer tailor-made solutions that are highly competitive with other companies in this market. Margins on projects are good given the innovative nature of the business but clients are demanding and require competitive responses in a fastchanging world.

AF PLC has won a major contract to design and build a new engineering Automation plant for a major Train manufacturing client, TTF PLC, based in Germany which will deliver Electronic Component parts including a to be designed Inverter Product specifically aimed at Power Saving for new train fleets. TTF is itself a major supplier to various governments and train operating companies throughout the world. The contract is structured on a risk and reward basis with a target price of £58.5m with a shared bonus if finished early and a shared penalty if finished late. The target price is extremely competitive and reflects the belief that they have the capacity to improve on the delivery date and thereby earn the bonus. The AF PLC bid was based on a conceptual design provided to them setting out the outputs in terms of product attributes including power saving targets and product availability. AF Plc will have to complete the detailed design of the Inverter product from outline designs prepared by TTF along with the automated production line as part of the Contract and organise installation of the equipment in the New factory in Germany which they will also have to commission and Construct.

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TTF will manufacture the Inverter Product from the production line as part of its Train Manufacturing Process.

TTF have acquired the site for the New Factory but AF will have to:

i. Design and Construct of the new Factory to fit the automation equipment;

ii. Design and Develop the Automation plant including the production line software;

iii. Design the Inverter product including the control software.

There is also a standard retention clause inserted into the contract. In effect 10% of the contract value would be retained by TTF for a period of ten weeks after the delivery and installation of the module. If TTF's operations team detected any faults or problems with specifically the Automation Plant in the ten weeks after completion, then any additional costs incurred to rectify faults would be deductible from these retained funds.

The Factory Design will be Completed by AF and then the Pre-Fabricated parts will be manufactured in house and shipped to Germany for Construction on TTF's site. It is important that this links to the design, installation and Layout of the Automation Equipment.

AF PLC are currently very busy with work for other clients, but this contract represents a significant opportunity as it will enable it to showpiece its competences in a major growth area.

The Automation equipment is to be installed in modular units built in their factory in the ROI and then assembled at the new factory in Germany. The factory in Germany will need to be completed in time for the Automation Equipment to be installed.

You have been appointed as the AF PLC Project Manager.

Task -

Section A -

1. Project Definition/Parameters and Risks

(A) Discuss the relative importance of the various iron triangle parameters in setting the Overall Project objectives that will need to be managed by you as the AF PLC project manager over the course of the project, and how they may inter-relate to each other.

(B) Use the template provided to create a risk register, identifying a maximum of ten risks that AF PLC are likely to face with a construction project of this nature.

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2. Planning and costs

In preparation for the forthcoming work, the AF PLC project manager created the following data in Table 1:

Task

Description

Duration (weeks)

Predecessor/s

Fixed costs £M

Number of engineers

Number of Production/Technician staff

X

Project Initiation

1

-

.2

0

0

A

Commission Design of Factory

3

X

2.8

10

5

B

Commission outline Design of Automation Equipment

2

X

1.6

10

5

C

Commission outline Design-Inverter Product

1

X

1.5

10

5

D

Detailed design of Factory

8

A

3.8

10

5

E

Detailed design of Automation Equipment and Inverter Product

8

B, C

5.4

20

10

F

Commission and develop Software for Automation equipment and Inverter Product

10

E

3.4

10

5

G

Manufacture Automation equipment

10

E

6.5

20

50

H

Manufacture Modular Factory Units

9

D, E

4.0

30

40

I

Transport and Construct Modular Factory on site in Germany

8

H

3.5

10

60

J

Test Automation equipment.

6

F, G

2.2

8

20

K

Transport Automation equipment to New Factory

4

J

2.5

10

4

L

Install Automation equipment in New Factory

6

I, K

3.1

25

50

M

Install Software for Automation equipment

4

L

2.2

10

5

N

Install software for Inverter Product Line

5

F, M

2.7

10

6

O

Test Inverter Production line

6

M, N

2.1

6

20

P

Handover and Train TTF engineers in Automation process and Product production

6

O

1.2

6

16

PC

Project Close out

0

P

0

0

0

 

 

 

Total

48.70

 

 

Table 1 - project schedule

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There was to be a programmed review on progress after 17 weeks. There will only be an internal management cost for the review which will be incurred for this task outside the project cost.

To complete this project, AF has recognised that it needs to Contract for the additional resources indicated above. These will be contracted from TECHRES. The average (fully inclusive) cost of an engineer was estimated to be £69.00 per hour and for technician/production staff £39.00 per hour.

The company generally works a standard five-day week and eight-hour days. The Contract staff will all be on leave for 2 weeks over the Christmas period and will not be paid. This break also needs to be considered when scheduling the tasks.

Project Management support will be provided by an external PM Company on the following basis 2 Assistant Project Manager, 2 project planners - £5,500 per week until project review and then reduced to one project planner, 1 Assistant Project Manager through to completion at £2,000 per week and 1 Commercial Manager/cost engineer through to review and then 2 until 4 weeks after Contract Completion at a cost of £2,750 per week per manager.

A team of engineers working for TTF would be present at the AF PLC factory to supervise manufacture of the Automation Equipment- to ensure the intensive testing before they are transported from the AF PLC factory to the site. 10 weeks is allowed for this work (Task G in Table 1), and if any problems were detected, then delays could occur because TTF would be entitled to demand that the faults were rectified on the spot before the section was acceptable to them. AF PLC were accustomed to working with clients in this manner. The cost of this team will be borne by AF as a project Cost. It has been costed at £20k per week.

The main contracted Labour/Staff requirements and the fixed costs for each task are shown in Table 1 are in £m.

(A) Prepare a network diagram showing the critical path and planned duration of the project. Quantify the float on the non-critical tasks.

(B) Using Microsoft Project (or a similar package) prepare a Gantt chart for the project to a professional standard. Calibrate the timescale in weeks. If the project is scheduled to start on Monday 8 th July 2019 determine the planned completion date based on the constraints outlined in table 1 and the brief.

(C) Using the information provided, detail the overall Project Budget and the projected Net profit for the contract (i.e. revenue - costs) (including any bonus or allowing for any penalty) that the company will be aiming to achieve based on the projected completion date and the contract terms. You are also required to provide an indication of what budget components could impact the point at which in terms of days late the project could become loss making assuming no increases on the initial Project Budget. Show your workings clearly using a spreadsheet (You can submit as a separate spreadsheet file attachment, but the overall figures must be included in the main body of the report).

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3. Managing progress and spending

The project started on time, and after 17 weeks of work following on from the Project Review, an intensive analysis of the project was held at the AF PLC Factory. The following information was reported by the project team.

Task

Actual progress to date (%)

Total expenditure incurred to date (£m)

PI

100

0.20

A

100

2.91

B

100

1.72

C

100

1.53

D

80

4.08

E

100

5.97

F

35

1.32

G

35

2.76

H

50

2.75

No other tasks had started yet or incurred any expenditure.

Table 2 - actual progress and spending after 17 weeks

(A) Using the Gantt chart, determine the planned progress (%) for each task, after 17 weeks had been completed. Assume that progress is achieved on a linear basis for each task. For example, if a task is planned over the course of 4 weeks, then if 3 weeks have elapsed planned progress would be 75%. Then create a TABLE comparing the planned progress against the actual progress values from table 2.

(B) Enter the actual progress values for progress from the revised Table produced in answering Q3a into the Gantt Chart, and using Microsoft Project or similar software reschedule the project with effect from the review date. Produce a revised GANTT Chart AND IDENTIFY the new completion date and COMMENT on the outcome from a commercial perspective detailing any POTENTIAL effect on the Profit from the Project AND the budget cost.

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4. Earned Value Analysis and Acceleration

Earned Value.

(A) Create an Earned Value Analysis table showing ACWP, BCWP and BCWS values for every project task. Show all workings in a neat and professional layout. This is based on progress calculated at 1st November 2019 and the calculations in answer to Q3 above. Using EVA determine an overall planned % percentage Complete figure for the entire project and compare with an overall actual % percentage Complete figure for the project to that date.

Also provide the CPI and SPI figures to date and explain what these figures indicate regarding Project Performance.

Show all workings in a neat and professional layout.

(B) Create a projected completion date for the entire project using the Estimate at Completion (schedule) method derived from the Earned Value Analysis.

Create a projected final spend for the entire project using the Estimate at Completion (cost) method derived from the Earned Value Analysis. Show your calculations clearly.

Compare these values with the original contract value to determine the likely profitability of the contract as it now stands.

Acceleration.

Soon after the review, a daylong meeting was convened to discuss possible tactics to accelerate progress and avoid the prospect of any penalty charges. In response to urgent demands from the Chief Executive, the project manager has researched some acceleration options for the Directors to consider.

Task - Option

F - The software developers have indicated that they are able to improve the delivery by 3 weeks but at an increase in the fixed cost of £200k

G - The manufacturer of the Automated Equipment has identified a quicker manufacturing process which can save 3 weeks but at a net cost of £105,000 per week.

I - The Contractor for the transport and onsite factory installation has offered to work over-time to accelerate the installation schedule. This option can save up to 2 weeks at a cost of £75,000 per week

N - The AF PLC team required for the Inverter software installation have indicated that they are able to work evenings and weekends. This would save up to 1 week at a cost of £25,000 per week

P - TTF have agreed that they can release more of their staff so that the handover and training can be reduced by 2 weeks at a cost of £35000 per week.

Table 3 - possible acceleration options

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(C) Recommend which of the options should be accepted and which should be declined. Explain and justify your recommendations with reference to the project plan and critical path. If the recommended options are implemented successfully, analyse the commercial impact on the profitability of the project. You need to ensure you consider all the relevant factors in reaching your conclusions.

Part 2 - Reflective Essay

Prepare an analysis into the challenges encountered throughout the Module and the difficulties producing the assessment. Identify clear personal development goals. Briefly from your research highlight the characteristics of a Good Project Manager.

Assessment Structure -

A. Cover Page

B. Table of Contents

C. Executive Summary (or Abstract)

D. Introduction

E. Part 1. AF PLC case study

F. Project definition and risks (Question 1)

G. Planning and costs (Question 2)

H. Managing progress and spending (Question 3)

I. Earned Value Analysis and Acceleration (Question 4)

J. References

K. Part 2: Reflective Essay.

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