Project Case Study Overview: Construction of New Learning Facility in Exeter Business School

Date:  2021-03-30 02:40:52
7 pages  (1726 words)
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Carnegie Mellon University
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Project Case Study Overview

The project presented in the case study examines the construction of new learning facility in Exeter Business School. The case presents the contract between the school and the developer, Turner, and Townsend (T&T). The case further presents the project success and some of the factors behind the success. Some of the factors include proper coordination and consultation of the stakeholders in the organization. The project that was supposed to begin in December 2007 and expected to run for three years was completed on time and was launched in January 2011 as was expected. Quality was one of the core factors that the project developer examined and ensured to achieve despite experiencing challenges like increase of budget. The project's objectives include improving the status of Exeter Business School at the international rank. Another objective is to improve and enhance learning and teaching experiences of students and teachers in the school. The project is also aimed at expanding the market of Exeter school so as to attract more students that will guarantee the school more and increased revenue income.

Application of Concepts and Principles of Management

The project worth 14 million is expected to depict the value for such a huge investment. Therefore, the concepts applicable to the project include time, cost expectation and quality. Quality is the main factor used to determine and measure value for the product (Kerzner 2013). The kind of investment placed in a project will determine the quality; however, the developers must also play their role effectively so as to ensure that the project does not only become successful but also achieve the quality that reflects on the value of input investment. The project is designed with objectives that are expected to be achieved at the end of the project period. Like it is stated in the case study material, the Exeter project was designed with the aim of increasing the value of the school so as to attract more students. This aim can only be achieved with the expected quality of the new construction. Therefore, quality is a core factor that determines the achievement of the objectives (Kerzner 2013). Time is another concept applicable in Exeter project. Time involves the ability to achieve the objectives of the project at the expected time. The Exeter project was completed on time as expected; by January 2011 the project had already been completed. Cost-expectation is another concept that is applicable in the Exeter project. The cost-expectation can be a challenge to the project managers, especially when the expected budget does not meet the objectives as planned. Budgeting is done at the planning stage in which it is expected to run the project until the completion of the project. The construction of the new building at Exeter Business School project was expected initially to cost 13 million but the budget increased to 14 million.

Project management is guided by the 4ds and 4ps life cycle project management principles. The 4ds principles include define, design, develop and deliver as the final stage (Mahaney & Lederer 2011). Define principle involves coming up with proper project objectives or goals. Proper and effective objectives are set with a timeline that shows when the project should end. The Exeter project defined its projects including elevating the rank of the school. The design is another core principle that involves looking for information about the project to help identify the factors that might affect the success of the project. The mock-ups adjustments are also carried out at the design stage (McGeorge & Zou 2012). Develop is the implementation stage where the actual construction is carried out. This stage is the most crucial stage in the 4ds model as almost every activity at this stage determines the success of the project. Delivery is the final process in the 4ds model that involves launching the project on time. The delivery of the project depends on its success which must be evaluated by the client.

The new construction of Exeter learning institution involves the 4ps principles; for example, people, product, process and project. The project cannot exist without the people that facilitate the process. Therefore, the people form the core part of the project success; the coordination and relationship between the people involved will determine whether the project becomes successful or not. The people include every stakeholder in the project from the developer to the clients (McGeorge & Zou 2012). The product is the main action that needs to be undertaken by the people. In the case of Exeter project, the new construction to be constructed is the product. The product should reflect the value of investment invested in the project. The process is another core principle that involves the methods and techniques or ways that the developer chooses to use so as to achieve the objectives. It is also understood as a framework that the developer chooses to deliver the product. The project is the final element of the 4ps principle that the project manager should consider. The project involves controlling the resources in the project to ensure that the project success is achieved.

Gant chart

Gant chart is one of the project management tools used to show and illustrate graphically the tasks to be undertaken and how long each of the tasks will take (Maylor 2001). Gantt chart shows the tasks that need to be completed in a project at a particular time. The figure below shows a sample of Gantt chart and how it is used to show tasks in a project and when they need to be completed. The information presented below is used to design a Gantt chart (figure 1.0).

Task Name Months Duration End Time Days

Meet with client 3-Dec 4 4-Dec

Create a framework 10-Dec 3 10-Dec

Design detailed framwork 20-Dec 2 20-Dec

Review the framework 30-Dec 3 30-Dec

Present the framework to client 10-Jan 2 10-Jan

Develop the construction process 20-Jan 1 20-Jan

Finalize the process 30-Jan 1 30-Jan

Identify the construction site 2-Feb 2 2-Feb

Gather the requirements 10-Feb 1 10-Feb

Deliver the material to construction site 20-Feb 2 10-Feb


Figure 1.0: Gantt chart sample

The figure (1.0 above) shows information of task presented in a Gantt chart. The chart presents the tasks and when they are expected to be completed. The chart shows step-by-step process of tasks and how the duration they are expected to take.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) chart

Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a chart that shows and illustrates the tasks to be undertaken in a project in a hierarchical order (Haugan 2008). The chart provides the layout framework on how the tasks are undertaken. WBS shows the organization of work into smaller units that can be easily managed by people in the organization. The breakdown of tasks helps the organization achieve its objectives on time as it ensures that resources are managed effectively and reduces mismanagement of resources as well (Haugan 2008). WBS can be used to analyze the cost and time elements in a project as shown.

The flow chart shown above illustrates the tasks to be undertaken in a project in a hierarchical order. This structure simplifies the work so that every aspect of the project is carried out successfully. Work breakdown structure is designed from the first stage of planning so that everyone understands his/her role in the project. The work breakdown structure presented above has three levels; level 1 provides the main task to be undertaken in the project. Level 2 provides the units of the tasks to be undertaken; this process involves breaking down the main tasks into a smaller unit. Level 3 provides the subunit of the main task by breaking down the units further into smaller and manageable units.

Payback period

The payback period can be understood as the time needed for an investment to start returning the profits back to the organization (Bragg 2012). People invest, and the investment value should be reflected back in the profit or returns. Payback period is expressed in years (Bragg 2012); for example, the years that the business or a project might take to start returning the benefits to the investors. For example, in the case study presented about the project undertaken by Turner and Townsend (T&T), we can calculate it will take the University of Exeter to start benefiting from the investment in the new construction. The table below shows the cash flow for the school in the project.

Year Cash flow

1 500,000

2 500,000

3 500,000

Table 2.0: Cash flow in Exeter project

The case study presents the cash flow invested in the project by the institution annually to be 500,000 and the initial budget to be 13 million. Therefore, payback period can be calculated by summing up all the cash flow and dividing into the initial budget.

Therefore, payback period =13,000,000/ (500,000 + 500,000 + 500,000)

= 8.67 years. It will take the University of Exeter Business School 8.67 years to start retuning their investment.

Quality Management Plan

Quality management plan provides the background of describing the quality of a project (Burke 2013). Quality is determined by the expectation of customers (Pressman 2005). The quality of a product will attract more customers; therefore, the project developers should try to focus on the quality rather than just focusing on completing the work on time. The table below shows a sample of quality management plan.

Activity Description

Select AQMP team The staff should consist of experienced personnel in various issues.

Create an advisory council This group provides expertise that is not available within the staff. They also assist the team understand that they are being listened to.

Draft, develop plan and implement the AQMP plan The drafting process involves creating the actual document describing the quality

Table 3.0: Quality management plan

Quality management plan as described in the table (3.0 above) consists of key processes and project deliverables required to determine the satisfactory quality level.

Communication plan

Communication plan shows the communication structure within the organization. It defines the processes and techniques that the communicator uses to communicate their message to the recipient (Vos & Vos 2004). According to Vos and Vos (2004), proper communication in the organization is important for the effective and successful achievement of organizational goals. Quality products can also be produced in the organization when there is a proper coordination and communication channel that ensures that every stakeholder is involved in the process. The table below provides a sample of proper communication plan that can guarantee success as that witnessed in Exeter University.

Deliverable info Recipient Delivery method Schedule Who is responsible

Project information Team SharePoint or conference calls As needed Project manager

Status Planner or project director Email By 4.00 PM every Monday Project manager

Agenda Project team Email Weekly Project manager

Table 4.0: Communication plan

The table presented above shows a sample of communication pla...


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