Project Management

Project Management


Case Study (see below), this assignment requires you to produce an essay that will:

• Analyse the current operational position of the project and its contribution to the organisation.
• Evaluate the various options available to management to ensure the project is a success. Determine an appropriate project plan, taking into account risk, control and uncertainty

Referencing Requirements:
Book for references important
Maylor, H. (2010) Project Management, 4th Ed. Pearson, Harlow.
Burke, R. (2003) Project Management – Planning & Control, 4th Ed. Wiley, Chichester.

Dwyer J, Stanton P, Thiessen V (2004) Project Management in Health and Community Services Routledge

Gardiner, P (2005) Project Management – A Strategic Planning Approach Palgrave Macmillan

Lock, D. (2007) Project Management, 9th Ed, Gower

Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M. and Sutton, M. M. (2011) Project Management in Practice, 4th Ed. Wiley, Asia

Melton, T (2007) Project Management Toolkit , Elsevier Science & Technology

Meredith, J.R. and Mantel, S.M. (2012) Project Management: A Managerial Approach: A Managerial Approach, 8th Ed. Wiley, Singapore

Pinto, J. K. (2010) Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage, 2nd Ed. Pearson, NJ

Schwabe, K (2009) Introduction to Project Management Cengage Learning

Project Management Journal
International Journal of Project Management

Web sites,uk

Project Management
Weighting: 100%
Learning Outcomes Assessed: 1,2 & 3

Assignment task(s)

For the given Case Study (see below), this assignment requires you to produce an essay that will:

• Analyse the current operational position of the project and its contribution to the organisation.
• Evaluate the various options available to management to ensure the project is a success.
• Determine an appropriate project plan, taking into account risk, control and uncertainty
• Respond to questions with clear answers, justifying any assumptions made;
• Identify and evaluate both the internal and external factors impacting upon the project, the stakeholders involved and the contribution of the project to the organisation;
• Examine the current position of the project and be able to evaluate potential options to ensure the project is a success
• Determine an appropriate project plan to completion, providing an assessment of risk, control and uncertainty.
• Provide evidence of relevant reading in relation to both the analysis and the organization
• Develop and present your arguments both logically and persuasively
• Provide references to all the sources of information.




Background to the project

The North England Health Procurement Agency (NEHPA), headquartered in Halifax, West Yorkshire handles the procurement of a vast range of items for numerous health authorities, hospitals and other NHS Trusts in the north of England.

The roots of NEHPA can be traced to the Leeds General Supplies Authority for the NHS formed during the 1980’s to handle the procurement of all goods and services for Leeds General and its three satellite hospitals. It discharged its purchasing duties reasonably efficiently for a number of years, keeping a relatively low profile until its General Manager met and formed a working friendship with the current Head of Purchasing servicing the three main acute hospitals in Manchester. Both had a passion for the public service ethos of the NHS and became interested in taking advantage of levering increased purchasing power in order to obtain lower prices and better conditions with key suppliers.

An informal partnership was formed, key supplies contracts were defined, let under competitive tendering and measurable commercial benefits were delivered. A key factor was the personal professional input of both managers, which ensured equity of input and benefit.

Within a few years, the main Liverpool and Hull hospital trusts were included in the scheme, and real benefits (primarily cost savings and delivery times) flowed with numerous suppliers very keen to secure business with the partnership.

At this point the founding principles of the scheme – based on goodwill, informal structures, close collaboration and a personal senior presence from each hospital – began to lose priority. Nevertheless other hospitals and NHS organisations were keen to join the scheme, and by 1990, a number of significant trusts covering Tees-side, Newcastle, Blackpool and Wakefield were participating.

A turning point occurred in 1995 when the group decided by a majority vote (in the face of opposition from Leeds and Manchester) to form a separate procurement organisation. This was to be independent of the participants but serving the interests of all it’s “clients”.

As a result of this decision “NEHPA” was formed the following year with human resources drawn from most if not all participating trusts. Rather than appoint the Chief Executive from one of the participants (and risk accusations of partisan interests) a senior civil servant from London (Edward Bunyan) was recruited to head the Agency.

New offices, new systems

At the time the Department of Health heralded NEHPA as a leading example of NHS and public sector efficiency harnessing large scale purchasing power for the benefit of all. A £40 million office complex in Halifax was designed and built specifically for the business. NHS participants in NEHPA were pressured at the highest levels to commit all major procurement requirements through NEHPA, and Government Ministers briefed journalists confidently that it would be only be a few years – if not months – before other regions of the UK rushed to adopt NEHPA style centralised procurement techniques. Suggestions were made that NEHPA could, eventually, manage the entire procurement activity for the NHS with massive benefits for the nation.

The Halifax operation had been achieved with the help of a team of management consultants from Norris-Benson & Partners – who specialise in advising health service organisations.

Part of their set of strategic recommendations for NEHPA was the procurement of an integrated purchasing system for use by all staff to streamline purchasing operations, improve workflow management and internal communications, control finance streams more effectively and deliver improved procurement management. They came up with a name for the proposed system – PEPS – a suggestion which lasted for the lifetime of the project. A multi-million pound budget was anticipated. Their key contact at NEHPA was Catherine Bone, Associate Director for IT Resources, an enthusiastic supporter of the PEPS proposal. It was envisaged that all 172 NEHPA staff would have access to PEPS.

Norris-Benson expressed complete confidence to the NEHPA Board that they were best placed to lead and deliver the PEPS project. However it was clear that they had little experience of similar IT development/integration projects and the Board decided to negotiate with more experienced contractors. After a detailed tender process an experienced North American IT development company, Syntigration-XB Inc. (S-XB), was eventually awarded the contract. Norris Benson were retained as QA consultants to the project.

Things did not quite work out as anticipated………………..

The PEPS project approach

Following initial analysis work by Norris-Benson and two consultants from a major UK IT consultancy, the scope of the PEPS project was deemed large enough to warrant a three phase approach.

The project was consequently defined in three phases:

? Phase 1: project initiation and management

? Phase 2: financial management

? Phase 3: contract management

Following reasoned business advice from the Norris-Benson consultants, each new NEHPA procurement activity was to be regarded as a specific “project” – a concept intended to enable visibility, control, tracking and expedition where necessary. The PEPS system would be at the heart of the new business model – electronically recording and tracking each purchasing project – and generating a wealth of valuable management information at each stage of the process.

Phase 1, scheduled to take no more than 9 months, was to put in place the essential project-based tools to support the business philosophy outlined above. The Phase 1 deliverables were to consist of three integrated modules:

Module P1-1: Project Initiation
A bespoke Visual Basic application initiating the project by creating a new record in the MIS database (SQL Server) and a blank Microsoft Project file

Module P1-2: MS Project
A customised version of the basic Microsoft Project application – with all the standard MSP functionality but tailored to enable a periodic transfer of summarised data to the MIS module.

Module P1-3: Management Information system (MIS)
A bespoke Visual Basic application which would store the following data items for each project: planned start, planned finish, expected start, expected finish dates, % complete, £ budget, £ expected. A series of graphical and tabular reports at the project and programme level would be available.

Phase 2 was to be based on an Oracle application with an interface from the MIS to develop a financial spend profile for each project and an overall schedule of financial commitments for NEHPA. Phase 3 was to comprise of a contract/legal software package to support the drafting of complex contracts. The entire project was estimated to take no more than 16 months.

Although the ‘vision’ of the overall system was articulated reasonably well by the Norris-Benson team the specifics of the design were not set out in any detail. It was assumed that the detailed design would be finalised during the course of the project lifecycle.

For example, in Phase 1, the fields in the MIS database were not fully detailed, no screen designs were submitted, the system of calculating project % complete values was not specified, and no report designs included. It was assumed that all these details would be determined at a series of joint development workshops to be chaired by the successful contractor.


The PEPS Contract Approach

Given the paucity of specific design requirements and the participatory approach envisaged by Norris Benson and NEHPA, it soon became clear that credible bidders would be unable to offer a fixed price contract. An alternative mechanism of reimbursement based on bidders quoting a schedule of man-hour rates was preferred as the main instrument of reimbursement for the contract.

Bidders were subsequently required to quote inclusive man-hour rates against the following grades of personnel

• The project manager
• Management level staff
• Discipline specialists
• Senior development staff
• Development staff

An upper limit of no more than 25 contractor staff assigned to the project at any point was stipulated, unless sanctioned in writing by NEHPA. The structure of the project team would be left to the successful contractor.

In addition to the schedule of man-hour rates, NEHPA decided to add a further financial inducement to the contract. Wary of past project failures in the NHS, and keen to build in a commercial incentive and element of risk transfer, NEHPA decided to incorporate the following terms based on the following high level plan:

Delivery of each Phase
If all phase modules are delivered on time according to the project timeframe, and are accepted as fully fit for purpose by representatives of the NEHPA user community, then a bonus of £250,000 will be paid to the contractor. If delivered within one calendar month of the agreed handover date, then a £100,000 bonus will be payable.
This additional clause was considered to be innovative and extremely astute by the senior NEHPA executives and expected to influence the chosen contractor is exactly the right direction. No penalty clauses for under performance were considered appropriate.

A further contract decision was to come back and haunt the NEHPA management: the original Norris-Benson recommendation was to make the contractor responsible for the entire system, except for the prevailing network infrastructure which was modern, fast and confirmed by the IT Consultants to be more than adequate in terms of increased PEPS traffic across the network. However, following protests by Stuart Dickson – the NEHPA IT Manager, it was decided that the contractor be tasked only with the development of the system software and that Dickson’s NEHPA team would procure, configure and deliver all the new hardware required. A budget of £200k was estimated by Dickson to be more than sufficient for this element.
Syntigration-XB: proposals and realities

Following an exhaustive tender evaluation process involving scrutiny from NEHPA managers, Norris Benson and the two IT Consultants, the clear preference was for the Syntigration-XB proposal. Despite American ownership, the bid was clearly based on a cohesive team of experienced British and European IT professionals operating from their Manchester office. Many of the proposed S-XB team – including the nominated project manager, Harry Wickes – were from Yorkshire and Lancashire, and all got along very well with the key NEHPA staff at a series of pre-award meetings. Although the majority of S-XB reference sites were in the States, at the time of contract award, NEHPA were very comfortable with their choice of partner for the strategic PEPS project.

As part of the overall S-XB had submitted an overall project plan which reflected the recommended project schedule and three phase structure developed by NEHPA and Norris-Benson. This was another positive factor for S-XB as several of the other bidders had expressed doubts that the 16 month timescale was feasible. A copy of the plan (Gantt chart) is attached as Appendix A.

The rates submitted by S-XB in their bid were as follows:
Grade Inclusive man-hour rate
The project manager £95.00 /hr
Managerial staff £75.00 /hr
Technical specialists £65.00 /hr
Senior development staff £55.00 /hr
Development staff £45.00 /hr
Following the formal contract award on Jan 10, the parties met a week later to discuss the start-up phase and mobilisation. Bunyan, Bone and the other senior NEHPA executives were somewhat disconcerted when the senior representative from S-XB, an American VP from Seattle, explained that Wickes had been assigned to a new project in Oman and that Cal Riggs from Boston was to be their PEPS project manager. Riggs, a young and earnest American, was duly introduced.

Of the other Manchester based S-XB staff, only one (David Field) had survived the transition from the bidding process to the actual project. All the rest were new faces to NEHPA, most of whom had been transferred from the US Eastern Seaboard after the completion of an undisclosed S-XB project in Boston. These included Joey O’Donnell who was introduced as the ‘Commercial Manager’ for the project.

Further discomfort surfaced when Riggs enquired where his PEPS team would be accommodated within the NEHPA Halifax complex. Bunyan raised an eyebrow and looked at Bone who had led the contract negotiations on their side. A lively discussion ensued with Riggs and O’Donnell insisting that their understanding was that NEHPA would provide accommodation for the team, whilst Bone’s view was that this expense was for S-XB’s account.

O’Donnell produced a well-thumbed photocopy of the PEPS contract document and found the relevant sections. It became clear to both sides that this issue was somewhat ambiguous. O’Donnell then referred NEHPA to the S-XB proposal which stated explicitly that the man-hour rates quoted excluded all other expenses other than for personnel costs. Bunyan then summoned the NEHPA Estates and Facilities Manager who confirmed that she had no spare room whatsoever in the Halifax building.

The difficulties were somewhat diffused by O’Donnell offering to investigate options and find out the cost for project accommodation as an exceptional expense. He had noticed some empty office space nearby which he suggested would be ideal for the PEPS team. The NEHPA team felt they had no option but to agree to this constructive suggestion.

Accommodation for the Project

Just two days later Riggs presented Bunyan with the ‘very good news’ that suitable accommodation for the PEPS team, within walking distance of the NEHPA offices, was available for just £950 per day. This did not seem unreasonable to Bunyan but when he enquired which estate agent his NEHPA colleagues should contact to finalise the deal, Riggs confirmed that S-XB would handle all the necessary paperwork and that the expense would be included on their monthly invoices. Much simpler for all concerned – and Bunyan was content to sign the written contract amendment to effect the change.

There was also the matter of suitable office furnishings and telephony which O’Donnell had estimated at no more than £25,000. Naturally these were required urgently to ensure the project did not fall behind in the first month. Did Mr Bunyan want to handle this? No, Mr Bunyan did not – and the additional £25,000 was approved. Ownership of all the furnishings would revert to NEHPA after the project was concluded.

This left only the simple matter of computer resources for use by the PEPS team.
Understanding the sensitivity of the situation, O’Donnell had come up with another suggestion. Why not ask Mr Dickson to provide all the IT resources for the team – and these same PCs and printers could be deployed later as a part of the total PEPS hardware? Thankful that he was not being asked to approve any more unexpected expenditure Bunyan was keen to agree – at which point Riggs handed over a list of their requirements. ASAP was the order of the day.

The PEPS project office became operational the following week. The 30 high quality PCs that Riggs had specified, plus printers, networking technology and LAN cabling came to £88,700. BT charged another £8,000 for a dedicated 2 year link to the NEHPA network which Riggs had pointed out was essential to the project. After signing off these invoices for payment, Dickson was soon having a bad feeling about his gut feel estimate of £200,000. All this expenditure and not one item bought specifically for the use of NEHPA staff. The only thing that made him feel better was the size of the PEPS project office: it was miniscule and furnished with second hand desk units: the entire PEPS team were expected to work together in a small open plan environment. There was only a tiny meeting room separate – even PM Riggs was expected to work outside with the “troops”. Dickson himself enjoyed a large personal office, complete with meeting table and various pot plants. It also soon became clear that the PEPS team were all working very long hours.

With the PEPS office operational Riggs had lost no time in mobilising his project team – refer to Appendix B for the initial organisation structure. The speed impressed the NEHPA managers, even if they were a little surprised by the ‘top heavy’ management structure. Furthermore, all the Phase 1 developers were surprisingly young – graduates just a year or two out of university. Nevertheless the PEPS team spirit was lively and positive: they were certainly buzzing and keen to make progress.

Phase 1 Project Planning

David Field, working in liaison with Chris Hunt (a NEHPA employee tasked to work with the Phase 1 team), produced a detailed plan for the execution of Phase 1 work as part of the normal pre-project preparation work. . This was not considered sensitive by Riggs or O’Donnell and the Microsoft Project Network Diagram was circulated widely in NEHPA even though a clear majority of the recipients were unable to understand the format.

A copy is attached as Appendix C.
Issues arising during Phase 1

Things progressed relatively well until the first Phase 1 workshop which took place exactly as scheduled on Monday 21 March. The purpose of the workshop, in line with the participatory approach to the project, Clearly the PEPS Phase 1 development team had clearly worked hard on the initial Modules P1-1 and P1-2, and had prepared a well rehearsed workshop, chaired by Field, to demonstrate their work and to seek feedback. The workshop was well attended by a range of NEHPA staff, who by and large seemed to be comfortable with the P1-1 Project Initiation prototype demonstrated during the morning.

Around 11 a.m., the P1-1 demonstration was concluded and Field summarised their development approach – and asked for constructive criticism from the NEHPA panel. He was met by a stony silence. When he queried whether this meant NEHPA was completely satisfied with the design and development of P1-1 several present were quick to dispute this. One NEHPA manager summed up their collective feelings with the comment:

“For heaven’s sake, you can’t expect us to give an informed opinion on the same day. We need to sound out our colleagues and carefully consider a clear response. That could take weeks as getting this system right is absolutely crucial for us.”

Somewhat taken aback, Field deferred to O’Donnell who was seated quietly at the back. O’Donnell explained politely that the development process required an immediate input from the NEHPA workshop panel. That feedback would be minuted by the PEPS team and despatched to all attendees by email later the same day – and the attendees would have 3 working days to confirm or dispute the accuracy of the workshop minutes. A process taking weeks was not possible in the context of the overall project timetable.

Despite this explanation the NEHPA staff would not be persuaded into giving any specific, constructive feedback at that point, and O’Donnell advised Field to complete the workshop as best he could.

The following morning, Riggs and O’Donnell were ensconced in a meeting with Bunyan and Bone. The S-XB managers explained that although they fully understood the valid point made by the NEHPA staff, technically NEHPA could be regarded as being in breach of contract.

They argued – very politely – that the viability of their bid had been based on achieving the delivery bonus, and that by delaying workshop feedback NEHPA were making it impossible for S-XB to achieve the set handover dates. Bunyan felt obliged to agree – and the meeting resulted in an amendment to the planned handover date for P1 being moved back from 23 September to 31 October. Both parties agreed in writing that they could accept this change.

Progress during Phase 1

In addition to summarised weekly reports, David Field was required to submit a written monthly progress report to his senior S-XB colleagues on the first working day of each month. This information, doctored as deemed necessary, would be incorporated into a formal project report for general release to NEHPA. His report for 1 June contained the following percentage progress figures.

Phase 1 task %Plan %Actual
P1 systems analysis 100% 100%
P1 documentation 100% 0%
P1-1 and P1-2 design 100% 80%
Workshop 1 (P1-1/P1-2) 100% 100%
Feedback period 1 100% 100%
P1-1 and P1-2 redesign 100% 66%
P1-3 design 100% 25%
Workshop 2 (P1-3) 100% 0%
Feedback period 2 100% 0%
P1-3 redesign 100% 0%
P1-3 reports 100% 0%
Workshop 3 (all P1) 100% 0%
Feedback period 3 0% 0%
P1 final redesign 0% 0%
System testing 0% 0%
Data Migration (NEHPA) 0% 0%
User testing (NEHPA) 0% 0%
P1 Handover 0% 0%
These were Field’s best estimate as the state of Phase 1 as of 1 June.

Appendix B
Appendix C

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