Read the following project information. As you read, you may want to make notes about what project elements should be included in your report.
You work in the Information Technology department for a credit card/financial company. The company is getting ready to launch prepaid card services to the international market. They will be distributing the card in five more countries, which means that the IT system needs to support five more languages and two more currencies. You are the project manager for the project to take the card international. You are currently six months into the project, with the launch scheduled for three months from now, and you have spent 1,481,000.00. The marketing team has implemented their marketing strategy, and the sales team has started selling the new product and have several big clients in each country who are expecting to be able to start distributing the new prepaid cards in three months. Below is the project description along with details about the project's progress.
Your project sponsor is very busy and rarely takes more than ten minutes to read your project progress reports. But she needs to feel assured that the project will be finished on time since a competitor is planning to launch a similar product two weeks after your scheduled launch. She also needs to know the specifics for the how you're going to deal with schedule and budget issues. You distribute a project progress report once a week.
Excerpt from Project Charter
The purpose of Project International is to build an upgrade to the current ISS platform which will enable it to support international processing for the SPT prepaid card product. The current ISS platform processes all SPT card requests, personal data, transactions, computations, balances, and payments. However it supports processing only in the English language and only using the British pound. With the introduction of the SPT product into the international market, we need an upgrade to the system that will allow for currency conversion and multi-language functionality; the new multi-language functionality will include support of statements in several languages. In addition, in anticipation of an increase in data to the system, we will need more sophisticated archival and retrieval functionality. The customer service representatives have also asked for a more user-friendly user interface. The additional currencies that will be supported are the euro and the czech crown. The additional languages that will be supported are German, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Czech.
Following are the milestones for this project along with their scheduled completion dates:
- Project Definition 30/3
- Analysis 15/5
- Requirements definition
- Design 30/6
- Development 1/9
- currency conversion
- multi-language functionality
- archive and retrieval
- user interface
- Testing 15/11
- Implementation 30/11
Project Schedule and Budget
This project is a nine-month project which will start 1 March 20XX, scheduled to be completed 30 Nov 20XX, with the product ready to be launched 1 Dec 20XX.
The budget is 2,100,000.00.
Project Manager: Phillip Jones
Project Sponsor: Mary Taylor
Project Team: two systems engineers, five designers, eight developers (in Cold Fusion), eight business analysts, a technical writer, four testers, and a support team of ten. Two users from the customer service team have also been dedicated to the project part-time.
Schedule and Budget Status
It is the end of August, and the project is still in the development phase. The developers and designers estimate that they can finish the development within two weeks. In your experience developers and designers usually take about twice as long as they estimate. The system needs typically eight full test runs, the first three of which are scheduled to take seven business days each and the next five of which are scheduled to take a week each (five business days). However the business analysts and the testers are starting to test the new portions of the system that have already been developed.
Reasons for the delay:
The developers found that the software that had been bought to convert the currencies does not interface with your system as well as expected, which meant they had to build a new interface tool. This change cost an estimated 19,800.00 that was not budgeted for. Luckily you had already identified this as a risk at the beginning of the project, so your project sponsor is aware that it was a risk. Originally you built more time into the schedule because of that. But your project sponsor asked you to move up the completion date when she found out that a competitor would be launching prepaid cards in a similar market at the same time.
The following correspondence took place three weeks ago:
To: Phillip Jones
Subject: replacement card functionality for SPT product
I need to verify something with you. We had assumed as a sales team that when the SPT prepaid cards are lost or stolen, we support replacement cards. This has always been the standard for traditional credit cards and has become the new standard for prepaid cards. Accordingly we have been assuring our clients that the ISS platform will support replacement cards for lost or stolen SPT cards. However one of my sales staff indicated to me that he wasn't sure if our system actually supports this. Please verify one way or the other.
To: Gloria Stansford
CC: Mary Taylor
Subject: Re: replacement card functionality for SPT product
Thanks for taking the time to verify this important point. In fact the ISS platform does not currently support replacement cards for the SPT product. This is functionality we could build along with the Project International upgrade, but it would add two weeks to the schedule for one full-time developer and one full-time designer. We would also need an additional 1900.00 to bring on a new specialist designer for one day to consult with on the new functionality. The testing for the new functionality will integrate well with the full-system testing so only four hours would be added to the schedule for one full-time tester. As you say this is becoming the new standard for prepaid cards, so the investment seems reasonable.
Mary, what's your opinion?
To: Phillip Jones, Gloria Stansford
Subject: Re: replacement card functionality for SPT product
Please go ahead and add the replacement card functionality. I have informed finance that I have approved this change in the budget.
At the point when the development is finished and the first full system test has been run, the technical writer will only be spending 30% of her time on the project since she is writing the documentation along with the development.
During the testing, you will need to keep one designer who knows the whole system well and all the developers 50% of the time. This is what you had projected in the project plan. The business analysts could be let off the project or could help test. You could ask the testers to work longer hours to make the test runs shorter, but they should receive compensation especially if the product launch is successful. Otherwise you run the risk of losing your best analysts and testers to other more attractive projects or even other companies. Giving them reasonable bonuses would increase the budget by about 9,500.00 which you estimate is less expensive than keeping the business analysts, since in addition to their salaries you would need to provide more test computers. But in working longer hours there is high risk that there will be more errors, lower morale, lower productivity, and impaired communication. The developers have also indicated that the launch is feasible with only six test runs but that there is a much higher risk in that case that the system will be buggy. Another system upgrade in your company was released after only six test runs, but it was successful only because the support team worked extra hours for six months to fix the bugs and handle customer complaints. For these reasons you would rather keep six of the business analysts to help with testing and request ten test computers, where before you had only requested five.
Excerpt from Issues Log
We need a decision from the support staff concerning specific functionality, that is, on which screens the currency should be converted. The support staff has not yet responded, and without their response the decision will have to be made by the designers at the risk of providing functionality that does not meet business needs.
The sales team promised a client that their logo on the card would be raised, but the original requirements did not include raised logos. We need an answer from the company that supplies the plastic on whether or not they can raise the logos and how much it will cost.
During the initial testing of the statements functionality, the system has been sporadically printing the statements in mixed languages, for example Dutch and French on the same statement when it was supposed to print only in Dutch. The developer originally responsible for statementing left the company three weeks ago, and the problem was just discovered this week.