Managing Projects: A Team-Based Approach Sample College Essay

Different Types of Evaluation Options

What are the different types of evaluation options for achieving project goals for both team-based and financial analysis?

According to Brown and Hyer (2010), the first evaluation type is process evaluation which is used to select the best project that delivers the best value at individual and project levels, based on the strategic goal and mission of the organization. It helps to determine project attributes such as productivity, organizational reach, degree of certainty, degree of complexity, expected outcomes, changes that need to be introduced and to assess whether project activities are on track (Heerkens, 2002). The second type is the impact or outcome evaluation which measures the extent to which the project is aligned to short-term and long term project goals based on project milestones and project success factors. Success factors include unfailing customer orientation and efficiency (Subramaniam, 2009). The underlying factors include physical and financial outputs, performance measures, time, operational, and cost factors. The third type is the summative evaluation. This option is for evaluating the project as a whole to determine project milestones, areas of success and failure, and whether to proceed with the project or not. It informs the project manager whether the project has made the impact it was intended for, project scope creep, the critical factors to be sustained, and emerging recommendations.

Portfolio Map

How does an organization benefit from having a portfolio map? Explain how this process continues to help the team reach its project goals.

Brown and Hyer (2010) argue that the portfolio map enables project managers to optimize investment decisions, assess, review, and ensure that the project remains on course and complies with the project goals. The PPM provides the project manager with the graphic and charting tools and techniques to identify project risks and to efficiently select and allocate resources to projects aligned to the strategic direction and enables a disciplined project selection process. The PPM framework enables managers to provide effective team governance, communication and helps identify the best approach to align project progress with the corporate strategy (Ciliberti, 2005). The PPM process enables managers to identify and change priorities, and establish the best approach to use to identify areas to introduce changes. PPM enables low-value projects to be easily identified and removed from the portfolio and new and existing projects to be aligned to the project goals. It provides a clear and comprehensive picture of the projects being undertaken, correctly ranks projects, accurate understanding of project progress, and correct identification and assessment of projects. It enables capacity planning, identification of existing opportunities and capacity planning, determination of return on investment, project performance and value assessment, and work scheduling (Ciliberti, 2005).

Teams

What are possible sources of conflict within a project team? What approach can a project manager use to keep the project on track and not be negatively impacted by such conflicts?

According to Brown and Hyer (2010), the sources of conflict include scope creep, communication breakdown, personality clashes, poor time management, lack of agreements on project goals, lack of understanding of project schedules, poor project priorities, and interpersonal issues. Project managers can manage conflicts within teams by identifying the root cause of the conflict to ensure that the conflict does not recur (Subramaniam, 2009). According to Brown and Hyer (2010), recommended conflict resolution methods include soothing, the give and take strategy, and the compromising situations technique, which compels interested parties to keep away from areas of conflict. According to Subramaniam (2009), the best approach to keep track of project progress includes using the principle of consistency to encourage people to debate on different sides of issues to encourage them to give their opinions about an issue that is causing conflicts, encouraging project team members to share different opinions about issues, and encouraging all sides to respect the opinion of others (Stanleigh, n.d). It is also important for the project manager to arbitrate between the parties engaged in a conflict by emphasizing the urgency to resolve the conflict, and the benefits of a conflict-free environment (Holahan & Mooney, 2004).

Motivation

Why is it important to keep the project team motivated? In your experience, what factors have been implemented to keep a team motivated? What benefits did you see as a result of these motivating factors?

Brown and Hyer (2010) argue that it is important to keep the project team members motivated to ensure team synergy, improved creativity and productivity, shared technical expertise, personal learning, and organizational development, and increased motivational energy. A motivated team will learn how to reduce the time required to make corrections, avoid errors, and work efficiently together. Motivated team members seek the best methods to improve processes and procedures and reduce overlapping work. It is possible for a team to generate different ideas that can make positive contributions to the success of a project. Brown and Hyer (2010) argue that motivated teams encourage members to work harder to achieve project goals and objectives by improving the working environment (Lewis, 2006). The factors that motivated team members include clear goals, strong customer orientation, better communication mechanisms, clear roles and responsibilities, satisfactory management support, and effective leadership. A motivated team builds confidence in members which leads to job satisfaction and trust among team members. Research by Lewis (2006) shows that team member who trust the project manager easily commit to the decisions and actions arrived at as a team. Team members should focus on making achievements that reflect collective results (Kerzner, 2009).

References

Brown, K. A., & Hyer, N. L. (2010). Managing projects: A team-based approach. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Ciliberti, R. (2005). Using project portfolio management to improve business value. Web.

Heerkens, G. (2002). Project Management. New York: McGraw-Hill

Holahan, P., & Mooney, A. (2004). Conflict in project teams: Gaining the benefits, Avoiding the costs. Current Issues in Technology Management, 3 (8), 1-8. Web.

Kerzner, H. (2009). Project Management: Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling. New York: Wiley & Sons.

Lewis, J. (2006). The Project Manager’s Desk Reference. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Stanleigh, M. (n.d). Optimize organizational performance. Dealing with conflict in Project teams. Web.

Subramaniam, A. (2009). Project portfolio management, holistic approach to Manage strategic initiatives. Web.

The Rescue Of General Motors Canada Interface

Introduction

The day-to-day affairs of a corporation depend highly on various people. It is important to note that a corporation has an influence on all these people, either directly or indirectly. However, each category of stakeholders in any corporation has diverse needs and expectations of the corporation. It is human nature that anybody will put his or her interests first in any given circumstances. As such, there are bound to be a conflict of interests whenever any scenario unfolds in a corporation. From the case study, the motor industry was on a verge of collapsing and all had to be done to revive the industry. However, ethics demand that each stakeholder should compromise a bit in such a scenario. Nevertheless, this was not really what happened in this case. Employees had to bear the larger burden while shareholders did not compromise in any way.

Main Body

It should be noted that employees, as stakeholders of a corporation, expect to be treated well. For them to give maximum output to the corporation, their remuneration should be commensurate to the work they do. Their needs should be satisfied first before anything. It is of importance to note that employees earn a living from the work they carry out. Moreover, whenever an employee feels that he or she receives less than his or her input, they are bound to reduce their output. On the extreme, they may choose to quit the corporation in search of better places to work.

On the other hand, shareholders expect their investments to earn them high returns. These can be achieved when a firm makes high profits because then it means that their dividends are high. For somebody who is concerned with the welfare of shareholders only, the main focus will be on how to increase return on investments. This is what Friedman advocates for. According to the theory by Friedman, the main reason why corporations are in existence is to increase the wealth of stockholders. It, therefore, follows that Friedman wants every resource of the organization to be directed towards enhancing the welfare of the shareholders even if it means shelving the interests of other stakeholders. Nonetheless, every stakeholder of the corporation needs to be considered when making any decision.

By all means, the motor companies in the industry are required to be bailed out because of the immense advantages they have to society. If they were allowed to go down, the impacts on the economy were bound to be massive. On the same note, the government could not just dump taxpayers’ money somewhere without first getting the commitment of the corporation in question. All avenues available for the corporation had to be exhausted before the government could come to its aid. But there needed to be a balance among the stakeholders as regards commitment to reviving the corporation. It is very unethical for an organization to heavily incline in one direction. All that was done was pushing employees to relinquish some of their financial benefits in order to save money to direct in different projects. This is against Freeman’s theory which requires that all stakeholders should be treated equally. Employees were in the end sacrificing their benefits for the sake of the company.

The process that was followed by the management in arriving at the solution as per the requirements of the government is commendable. To begin with, the management does not tyrannically impose decisions on employees regarding the reduction in various financial benefits. On the contrary, they engage the workers in negotiations through their union. It is important to note that involving employees in the decision-making process increases their confidence in the organization thus encouraging them to remain in the organization for a longer period. On the same note, the decision was about reducing the financial benefits that employees received. Unfortunately, there is no person who is happy with the downward movement in financial income. As such, involving an employee in negotiations ensured that any possible negative reception was averted while at the same time it enhanced transparency in decision making.

Employees need to know what is happening in the organization especially when it affects them. Arguably, involving employees in the decision-making process is a good way of showing them that they are valued by the organization. As Freeman argues, it could have been immoral and of utmost selfishness, if the employees were just informed of the cut in financial benefits through an internal memo long after the decision had been made. On the other hand, the employees union acted in good faith as was expected. The company was in a critical financial condition that required immediate solutions. These had to start from within the company itself. Acceptance of the cut in financial compensation that employees received depicted the goodwill the union had to the company. It could have been immoral if the employees could have insisted to have their financial benefits maintained while the company was on the verge of collapsing. It is not only the company that is supposed to care about the stakeholders, but also the other way round.

For the sake of the shareholders, the majority of whom are common taxpayers, the government decides to bailout the company. It should be noted that this was also for the good of employees who would be assured of a job after the financial crisis. Much as shareholders require dividends from the company and their assets safeguarded, employees also need to have an income in the long term. To achieve this long term goal, a balance can be made among all stakeholders. To address the prevailing financial crisis, shareholders could be urged to forfeit their dividends. Bonuses to directors and other senior staff also needed to be reduced after negotiations. This would act as an indicator to employees that they are not the only ones losing. Treating every stakeholder equally and with respect is critical in ensuring that a good relationship is maintained. The government was acting to save the assets that were bound to be lost in case the company went down.

In this regard, the action of the government was prudent at that particular point in time. The move was not only beneficial to the shareholders, but to every stakeholder including the public at large. Though there are people who do not directly depend on the company in question, the businesses they own indirectly benefit from the company. As a result, managers being morally responsible had to find ways of keeping the company afloat.

However, the problem with the approach taken by the management and the government is that they have prioritized the affairs of shareholders over other stakeholders. It seems that they have taken the approach proposed by Friedman as opposed to Freeman’s approach. It is the argument of Friedman that shareholders’ needs must be satisfied before anything else. Organizational resources are there just to cater to the needs of shareholders. According to Friedman therefore, corporations have no ethical or moral obligations to society and other stakeholders.

It goes without saying that shareholders’ resources have to be safeguarded, it is wrong to do so by sacrificing the benefits of other parties. Sadly, this is what was done in this case. The government indirectly compelled employees to give up their financial benefits for the sake of the company and by extension shareholders. Nobody else was considered here. Managers’ pay was reduced while at the same time they were compelled to accept lower bonuses. Similarly, the government did not give the company any option other than to reduce the financial benefits that employees received. Interestingly, shareholders were not even mentioned in any of these strategies. They were left out as if they did not exist yet they were the main beneficiaries of the measures being taken. Freeman’s theory is absolutely disregarded. The measures are totally unfair and unethical.

Conclusion

It was the role of management to ensure that the company made it through the financial crisis. On the same note, the government has a moral obligation to assist in any situation to protect a company from going bankrupt. Nonetheless, this should be done while keeping in mind that all stakeholders are equally treated. The sacrifices taken by each group of stakeholders should be considered. Compelling only one group to bear the entire burden is completely wrong.

ABC Healthcare Cyber And Computer Network Security

Describe your technical recommendations to address the security requirements in the overall technical design of the ABC Healthcare network

The detailed response below includes both internal and external aspects of security requirements. It includes both ‘untrusted’ and trusted aspects of the requirements. Untrusted security requirements will include user connectivity to the internet. The “trusted” aspect of the network plays a major role in supporting the business functions of known entities. The known entities, in this case, include such stakeholders as partners, suppliers, and customers. All of these stakeholders have a specific business relationship with the company.

It is important to note that the overall design of the ABC Healthcare network is very broad. In addition, technical solutions aimed at addressing the security of computer networks are numerous. A given organization has a wide variety of solutions to choose from. However, it is essential to note that before embarking on technical solutions for the identified problems, users of ABC Healthcare computer network should know their roles. Different users have different roles to play as far as the security measures are concerned. Their role in the security system reflects, to some extent, their role in the overall organizational structure. To this end, end-users, such as employees, have different roles compared to the developers of the system. It is also important to note that approximately 10% of the security requirements in any given organization are technical in nature. What this means is that this 10 percent needs to be handled by individuals who have the necessary skills to handle online security. The remaining 90% of security requirements for the network rely on the users. As such, the users have a very critical role to play in network security. In this case, the users include mainstream employees, customers, suppliers, and others. The users enhance security by, among others, adhering to proper computing practices. Such computing practices include safeguarding the passwords required to access the network and using the network resources responsibly.

As already indicated above, some aspects of network security are ‘untrusted’. With regards to ABC Healthcare network, this level poses the greatest risk to the organization. In essence, external stakeholders, such as suppliers and customers, pose the biggest threat to the security of the company’s network resources. As such, it is important to secure this network. The first step towards securing the network involves the elimination of, among others, physical vulnerabilities. Such vulnerabilities are brought about by physical applications used by the network, such as computers. To this end, physical communication media, such as servers and routers, should be located in secure locations. The servers should not be physically accessible to unauthorized parties. The areas where these physical media are located should have restricted access. In addition, such “acts of God” as earthquakes, lightning, floods, and mudslides should be put into consideration. The media should be secured such that it remains steady even when under assault from the elements. In addition, the media should be located away from areas prone to these calamities.

There are other features that should be put into consideration at the untrusted network level. Such features include enhancing the security and confidentiality of information relayed over the network. The need for passwords and such other codes comes in at this juncture. Confidentiality entails the encryption of data transmitted over the insecure network. The data is encrypted in such a way that it cannot be accessed by unauthorized parties. Another feature is the integrity of the information, which should be upheld at all times. Integrity involves identifying and dealing with any signs of alteration during transit.

There are a number of hardware components that can be used to secure the company’s network. For example, network firewalls are some of the major hardware components to use when securing ABC Network. The hardware is used to safeguard ABC Network from invasions carried out from other external networks. Cisco firewall hardware equipment would be essential for the protection of this level. However, it is important to note that firewall hardware has a number of inherent limitations. For example, such hardware only reduces the risk of intrusion. As such, there is a need for the inclusion of corresponding firewall software, such as Internet Security Systems’ BlackICE PC Protection. The software-based firewalls should be installed on individual computers used in the organization. When combined with the hardware component, software firewalls will minimize the risk of intrusion from external networks, such as the internet.

Screening routers can also be used to secure the network. The screening procedure facilitates effective protection of the internal or local area networks (LANs) from internet attacks. Routers are important as they are needed to establish a connection to the internet. As such, additional security configurations in such systems would be very important. The normal routers used in the organization can be transformed into screening routers. Such a transformation can be achieved through the installation of the Drawbridge software. As such, the use of Drawbridge will enhance the security of the ABS Health network.

It is a fact that the use of screening and firewalls can almost eliminate all the risks associated with the internet network. However, it is important to note that the sensitive nature of the information held by ABS Healthcare calls for much more. One such additional measure is restricting users’ access to the internet. Such a measure will make the system much secure.

In addition, installing such software programs as SmartFilter would regulate the internal users of the ABC Healthcare computers. The users will be prevented from accessing particular websites on the internet. The filter restricts access to a number of websites that are regarded as high risk. For example, some of these websites, such as pornographic sites, increase the vulnerability of the ABC Healthcare network. The vulnerability is increased through the introduction of viruses from the internet via these sites.

The operations of ABC Healthcare require the organization to interact with a number of trusted networks. Such interactions involve stakeholders like suppliers and customers. The organization may interact with the suppliers via the network by placing orders. It may also engage potential and existing customers through correspondence. However, it is important to note some of such interactions with the stakeholders are carried out over the unsecured network. Such interactions expose ABC Healthcare network to a myriad of security risks. It is important to address this problem in order to enhance the security of the network. The solution is not curtailing the interaction between the organization and the stakeholders, given that such engagements are crucial to the operations of this firm. However, the introduction of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) significantly eliminates this risk. The network refers to a particular mode of transmitting data securely over an unsecured network.

A number of strategies can be adopted to integrate Virtual Private Networks into the ABC Healthcare network. One of the strategies includes a combination of various encryptions, tunneling, and authentication techniques. Such measures call for the introduction of various protocols into ABC’s Healthcare network. There are a number of protocols commonly used in Virtual Private Networks. They include Point-Point-Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) and SOCKS protocol. Others include Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and Internet Protocol Security (IPSec). The suggested Virtual Private Network needs to be implemented through server-to-server configuration. To this end, the servers used by ABC Healthcare network are configured with those used by the stakeholders with the help of the various VPN protocols. Such a configuration will effectively enhance network security in the organization.

There are other strategies used to safeguard computers from both internal and external intrusion. One of the major strategies commonly applied to achieve this involves the use of Anti-Virus software. To this end, ABC Healthcare can invest in such software to protect its network against external intrusion from the internet and internal intrusion from the users. However, such a measure calls for an effective and updated version of Anti-Virus software. If this is not ensured, such efforts go to waste.

Internal and remote users of the ABC Healthcare computer network can easily expose the system to a number of risks. They can do this by introducing viruses or worms into the system through media accessories. Such media as flash disks, compact disks among others can be used to transmit these malicious soft wares. The transmission can either be deliberate or unintended. Whichever the case, the security of the network should be enhanced. Up-to-date Anti-Virus software can easily address this problem. The software can be used to scan these media and eliminate any malicious software in them before they are used in the system. The action would take place with or without the intent of the users.

The measures proposed above for safeguarding and improving the security of ABC Healthcare network will ultimately enhance the effectiveness of the system. However, the proposed measures will require the company to update its computer networks on a regular basis. New threats to computer network security emerge every day. As such, the importance of updating the network’s security systems cannot be underestimated.

Discuss the way you will address requirements for system monitoring, logging, and auditing, including complying with any legal regulations

Any organization operating in contemporary society is required to adhere to a number of rules and regulations in its operations. Compliance with these rules and regulations remains a major issue in these organizations. ABC Healthcare is no exception. The organization does not operate in a vacuum. Rather, its operations have to comply with a myriad of procedural guidelines put in place. For example, the company needs to comply with, among others, the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) regulations and the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Organizational survival in any given industry is partly determined by adherence to the various regulations.

Logging focuses on the information collected and recorded by the IT systems. Such information gives rise to records known as logs. Logs result from information that is generated by monitoring activities conducted over the IT systems. Such logged information needs to be reported. Reporting entails the presentation of the information in a specified format for regulatory purposes. The information is used by developers and regulators or the system to determine whether any security threats are evident.

There is a need to adhere to the regulatory requirements of logging, monitoring, and reporting. The need for adherence gives rise to major issues. The organization needs to come up with a number of control measures for logging, monitoring and reporting. Such measures are very important since the information held by the ABC Healthcare system is very sensitive. Access protocols would greatly facilitate logging, monitoring, and auditing purposes.

Information touching on logging and monitoring is collected from a wide range of ABC Healthcare system users. The users include employees, managers, and suppliers. What this means is that the various stakeholders cannot be regulated at the initial phase of entering the information into the system. As such, the need for central servers for the storage of the information collected becomes apparent. The servers would then be backed up in various locations. Back-up is a security measure put in place to ensure that the information in the servers is not lost in case of any unforeseen eventualities. Consequently, the privacy of information is upheld by requesting users to authenticate their details before they can access the databases.

There is a need to formulate additional policies to regulate the collection of information and regulate access to ABC Healthcare databases. The policies will regulate the actions of both internal and external users. The regulation will greatly enhance compliance requirements.

Describe how the system will identify and authenticate all the users who attempt to access ABC Healthcare information resources

Accessing the information contained in ABC Healthcare network systems is a very sensitive issue. As already indicated, the information contained in this system is very sensitive. It touches on, among others, the health status of the patients, which should be treated with the utmost confidentiality. Access by unauthenticated users of the system, as well as misuse of the accessed information resources, can jeopardize the operations of ABC Healthcare network systems. Therefore, a combination of authentication mechanisms would be very effective.

There are various basic user-authentication measures that can be used to enhance system security. Such measures include, among others, the use of usernames and passwords to access information in the database. Such measures, however, would be for low-level information, which is not very sensitive. Such information can be accessed by middle and lower-level system users. For the more sensitive information, biometric measures would be used to authenticate users accessing the resources.

Biometric measures fall into two major categories. The first is physical characteristic recognition (PCR). The second is behavioral characteristic recognition (BCR). Both categories are very essential in the identification and authentication of users. However, the suitable category of biometric measure to apply in ABC Healthcare would be PCR. PCR would rely on the physical characteristics of the users seeking access to the organization’s information resources. The physical characteristics entail scanning the retina or the iris. It also involves a fingerprint scan, facial geometry, and voiceprint identification and authentication. The PCR system is almost incorruptible, except for hardware or database failures.

Discuss how the system will recover from attacks, failures, and accidents

Attacks, failures, and accidents are bound to affect ABC Healthcare network. The eventualities are likely to occur in spite of the measures taken to safeguard the system. Therefore, planning and incorporating recovery mechanisms into the system in case of any failures is very essential. A combination of recovery strategies would be more effective in the case of the ABC Healthcare network. The first recovery mechanism includes making sure that recovery and backup servers are independently located from the main servers of the network.

Backup servers ensure that in case of any failure or attack, the operations of the ABC Healthcare network can go on uninterrupted. Their capacity to achieve this may be limited. However, their functionality can be sustained until the main network system resumes service.

The recovery method is the best choice for the system. It allows for time to troubleshoot the main network without halting the operations of the healthcare center. In addition, the likelihood of the main networking and backup systems succumbing to attacks or other forms of failure at the same time is reduced.

Discuss how the system will address user account management and related security improvements

User account management, as outlined earlier, falls under regulation. The management depends on the information’s level of sensitivity. System user policies developed under these security management upgrades would be fully implemented. However, all users of the system must have access credentials, including usernames and passwords. Every time a user accesses the network, the system would record their credentials. Furthermore, records of the information accessed and the duration of time spent logged into the system are archived.

A number of system administrators will share responsibility with regard to the maintenance of the network system. The administrators will be under the supervision of top-level managers and selected auditors. A combination of various security codes will be shared between the group members to curb sabotage. The team’s main task includes twenty-four-hour surveillance of the network’s hardware and software components. The surveillance function will also be automated.

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