GREEN COMPUTING RESEARCH PROJECT

 

Part 1: Project Integration Management

You are working for We Are Big, Inc., an international firm with over 100, 000 employees located in several different countries. A strategic goal is to help improve the environment while increasing revenues and reducing costs. The Environmental Technologies Program just started, and the VP of Operations, Natalie, is the program sponsor. Ito is the program manager, and there is a steering committee made up of ten senior executives, including Natalie, overseeing the program. There are several projects underneath this program, one being the Green Computing Research Project. The CIO and project sponsor, Ben, has given this project high priority and plans to hold special interviews to hand-pick the project manager and team. Ben is also a member of the program steering committee. The main purpose of the Green Computing Research Project is to research possible applications of green computing including:

  • Data center and overall energy efficiency
  • The disposal of electronic waste and recycling
  • Telecommuting
  • Virtualization of server resources
  • Thin client solutions
  • Use of open source software, and
  • Development of new software to address green computing for internal use and
  • potential sale to other organizations

The budget for the project was $750, 000, and the goal was to provide an extensive report, including detailed financial analysis and recommendations on what green computing technologies to implement. Official project request forms for the recommended solutions would also be created as part of the project.

Ben decided to have a small group of people, five to be exact, dedicated to working on this six-month project full-time and to call on people in other areas on an as-needed basis. He wanted to personally be involved in selecting the project manager and have that person help him to select the rest of the project team. Ben wanted to find people already working inside the company, but he was also open to reviewing applications for potential new employees to work specifically on this project as long as they could start quickly. Since many good people were located in different parts of the world, Ben thought it made sense to select the best people he could find and allow them to work virtually on the project. Ben also wanted the project manager to do more than just manage the project. He or she would also do some of the research, writing, editing, and the like required to produce the desired results. He was also open to paying expert consultants for their advice and purchasing books and related articles, as needed.

Tasks

  1. Research green computing and projects that have been done or are being done by large organizations such as IBM, Dell, HP, and Google. See www.greenercomputing.com and similar sites provided on the companion Web site or that you find yourself. Include your definition of green computing to include all of the topics listed in the background scenario. Describe each of these areas of green computing, including a detailed example of how at least one organization has implemented each one, and investigate the return on investment. Summarize your results in a two- to three-page paper, citing at least three references.
  2. Prepare a weighted decision matrix for Ben to use to evaluate people applying to be the project manager for this important project. Develop at least five criteria, assign weights to each criterion, assign scores, and then calculate the weighted scores for four fictitious people. Print the spreadsheet and bar chart with the results. Write a one-page paper describing this weighted decision matrix and summarize the results.
  3. Prepare the financial section of a business case for the Green Computing Research Project. Assume this project will take six months to complete (done in Year 0) and cost $750,000, and costs to implement some of the technologies would be $3,500,000 for year one and $800,000 for years two and three. Estimated benefits are $900,000 the first year after implementation and $4.0 million in each the following two years. Prepare a business case spreadsheet to help calculate the NPV, ROI, and the year in which payback occurs. Assume a 5 percent discount rate, but make sure it is an input that is easy to change.
  4. Prepare a project charter for the Green Computing Research Project. Assume the project will take six months to complete and the budget is $750,000. Assume that part of the approach is to select the project team as quickly as possible.
  5. Since people will request changes to the project, you want to make sure you have a good integrated change control process in place. You will also want to address change requests as quickly as possible. Write a two-page paper describing how you plan to manage changes on this project in a timely manner. Address who will be involved in making change control decisions, what paperwork or electronic systems will be used to collect and respond to changes, and other related issues.

Part 2: Project Scope Management

Congratulations! You have been selected as the project manager for the Green Computing Research Project. The company s CIO, Ben, is the project sponsor, and Ito is the program manager for the larger Environmental Technologies Program that this project is part of. Now you need to put together your project team and get to work on this high-visibility project. You will work with Ben to hand-pick your team. Ben had already worked with the HR department to advertise these openings internally as well as outside the company. Ben had also used his personal contacts to let people know about this important project. In addition, you are encouraged to use outside consultants and other resources, as appropriate. Initial estimates suggest that about $350,000 budgeted for this project will go to internal staffing and the rest to outside sources. The main products you will produce will be a series of research reports one for each green computing technology listed earlier plus one final report including all data plus formal project proposals for at least four recommendations for implementing some of these technologies. Ben also suggested that the team come up with at least 20 different project ideas and then recommend the top four based on extensive analysis. Ben thought some type of decision support model would make sense to help collect and analyze the project ideas. You are expected to tap into resources available from the Environmental Technologies Program, but you will need to include some of those resources in your project budget. Ben mentioned that he knew there had already been some research done on increasing the use of telecommuting. Ben also showed you examples of what he considered to be good research reports. You notice that his examples are very professional, with a lot of charts and references, and most are 20 30 pages long, single-spaced. Ben has also shown you examples of good formal project proposals for We Are Big, Inc., and you are surprised to see how detailed they are, as well. They often reference other research and include a detailed business case.

Tasks

  1. Document requirements for your project so far, including a requirements traceability matrix. Also include a list of questions you would like to ask the sponsor about the scope.
  2. Develop a scope statement for the project. Be as specific as possible in describing product characteristics and deliverables. Make assumptions as needed, assuming you got answers to the questions you had in Task 1.
  3. Develop a work breakdown structure (WBS) for the project. Break down the work to level 3 or level 4, as appropriate. Print the WBS in list form as a Word file. Be sure to Base your WBS on the project scope statement, stakeholder requirements, and other relevant information. Remember to include the work involved in selecting the rest of your project team and outside resources as well as coordinating with the Environmental Technologies Program. Use the project management process groups as level 2 WBS items or include project management as a level 2 WBS item to make sure you include work related to managing the project.
  4. Use the WBS you developed in Task 3 above to create a Gantt chart for the project in Microsoft Project. Use the outline numbering feature to display the outline numbers (click Tools on the menu bar, click Options, and then click Show outline number). Do not enter any durations or dependencies. Print the resulting Gantt chart on one page, being sure to display the entire Task Name column.

Part 3: Project Time Management

As project manager, you are actively leading the Green Computing Research Project team in developing a schedule. You and Ben found three internal people and one new hire to fill the positions on the project team as follows:

  • Matt was a senior technical specialist in the corporate IT department located in the building next to yours and Ben s. He is an expert in collaboration technologies and volunteers in his community helping to organize ways for residents to dispose of computers, printers, and cell phones.
  • Teresa was a senior systems analyst in the IT department in a city 500 miles away from your office. She just finished an analysis of virtualization of server resources for her office, which has responsibility for the company s data center.
  • James was a senior consultant in the strategic research department in a city 1,000 miles away from your office. He has a great reputation as being a font of knowledge and excellent presenter. Although he is over 60, he has a lot of energy.
  • Lee was a new hire and former colleague of Ben s. She was working in Malaysia, but she planned to move to your location, starting work about four weeks after the project started. Lee has a lot of theoretical knowledge in green computing, and her doctoral thesis was on that topic.

While waiting for everyone to start working on your project, you talked to several people working on other projects under the Environmental Technologies Program and did some research on green computing. You can use a fair amount of the work already done on telecommuting, and you have the name of a consulting firm to help with that part of your project, if needed. Ito and Ben both suggested that you get up to speed on available collaboration tools since much of your project work will be done virtually. They knew that Matt would be a tremendous asset for your team in that area. You have also contacted other IT staff to get detailed information on your company s needs and plans in other areas of green computing. You also found out that there is a big program meeting in England next month that you and one or two of your team members should attend. It is a three-day meeting, plus travel. Recall that the Green Computing Research Project is expected to be completed in six months, and you and your four team members are assigned full-time to this project. Your project sponsor, Ben, has made it clear that delivering a good product is most important, but he also thinks you should have no problem meeting your schedule goal. He can authorize additional funds, if needed. You have decided to hire a part-time editor/consultant, Deb, whom you know from a past job to help your team produce the final reports and project proposals. Your team has agreed to add a one-week buffer at the end of the project to ensure that you finish on time or early.

Tasks

  1. Review the WBS and Gantt chart you created for Tasks 3 and 4 in Part 2. Propose three to five additional activities you think should be added to help you estimate resources and durations. Write a one-page paper describing these new activities.
  2. Identify at least four milestones for this project. Write a one-page paper describing each milestone using the SMART criteria.
  3. Using the Gantt chart created for Task 4 in Part 2, and the new activities and milestones you proposed in Tasks 1 and 2 above, estimate the task durations and enter dependencies as appropriate. Remember that your schedule goal for the project is six months. Print the Gantt chart and network diagram.
  4. Write a one-page paper summarizing how you would assign people to each activity. Include a table or matrix listing how many hours each person would work on each task each week. These resource assignments should make sense given the duration estimates made in Task 3 above.

 

Part 4: Project Cost Management

Your project sponsor has asked you and your team to refine the existing cost estimate for the project so that there is a solid cost baseline for evaluating project performance. Recall that your original cost goal was to complete the project for under $750, 000.

Tasks

  1. Prepare and print a planned cost budget for the project. Be sure to print the weekly cost estimate for each week. You may add additional columns to the matrix from Part 3 task 4 to produce the budget for the project.   Be sure to document assumptions you make in preparing the cost estimate. Assume a burdened labor rate of $120/hour for the project manager, $148 for Teresa, James, and Lee, and $136/hour for Matt. Assume about $350/hour for outsourced labor.

 

  1. What is the BAC for the project?   What is your Planned Value at the end of 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 15 weeks?

 

  1. Use the cost estimate you created in task 1. Assume you have completed three months of the project and have actual data. The BAC was $750,000 for this six-month project. Also assume the following:

PV $292,000

EV $280,000

AC $319,000

Using this information, write a short report that answers the following questions.

  1. What is the cost variance, schedule variance, cost performance index (CPI), and schedule performance index (SPI) for the project?
  2. Use the CPI to calculate the estimate at completion (EAC) for this project. Use the SPI to estimate how long it will take to finish this project. Sketch an earned value chart using the above information, including the EAC point. Write a paragraph explaining what this chart shows.
  3. How is the project doing? Is it ahead of schedule or behind schedule? Is it under budget or over budget? Should you alert your sponsor or other senior management and ask for assistance?
  4. You notice that several of the tasks that involve getting inputs from consultants outside of your own company have cost more and taken longer to complete than planned. You have talked to the consultants several times, but they say they are doing the best they can. You also underestimated travel costs for this project. Write a one-page paper describing corrective action you could take to address these problems.

 

Part 5: Project Quality Management

The Green Computing Research Project team is working hard to ensure their work meets expectations. The team has a detailed project scope statement, schedule, and so on, but as the project manager, you want to make sure you will satisfy key stakeholders, especially Ben, the project sponsor, and Ito, the program manager. You have seen how tough Ito can be on project managers after listening to his critiques of other project managers at the monthly program review meeting. He was adamant on having solid research and financial analysis and liked to see people use technology to make quick what-if projections. You were impressed to see that several other project teams had developed computer models to help them perform sensitivity analysis and make important decisions. Most of the models were done using Excel, which Ito preferred, and you were glad that you were an expert with Excel, as was Matt. Ito was pretty easy on you at your first monthly review because things were just getting started, but he did give you a list of items to report on next month. You had Ben there to help answer some of the tough questions, but you wanted to be able to hold your own at future monthly meetings.

Tasks

  1. Develop a list of at least five quality standards or requirements related to meeting the stakeholder expectations especially for Ben and Ito. Also provide a brief description of each standard or requirement. For example, a requirement might be related to the computer model (that the computer model you create to analyze the 20 or more technologies be done in Excel ). Other standards or requirements might be related to the quality of the financial analysis and research you use.
  2. Review the Seven Basic Tools of Quality. Pick one and make up a scenario related to this project where it would be useful. Document the scenario and tool in a one-to-two page paper.
  3. Find a high quality research report related to the green computing. Summarize the report and why you think it is of high quality in a one-to-two page paper.

Part 6: Project Human Resource Management

You are five weeks into the Green Computing Research Project, and all of the full-time team members are together face-to-face for the first time. Recall that you, Ben, Matt, and Lee all work in the same location, but Teresa and James are based out of town and will do most of their work virtually. Lee is also new to the company and just moved to the U.S. She is currently staying in a hotel and looking for a place to live. She would like to buy her first home, but she wants to make sure it is a good investment and somewhere she would like to stay for at least five years. You get along very well with your project sponsor, Ben, and Matt is a great resource, even though he is extremely reserved. Lee is also very quiet, and you quickly discover that she is an excellent researcher and writer, but she is not comfortable speaking in public. Teresa and James are much more talkative and are excited to be working on this project. However, James seems to be reluctant to use much technology to share ideas and really enjoys face-to-face meetings and discussions. You have made preliminary agreements with two outside consultants to assist you with editing and the teleconferencing topic for your research. You have to prepare a monthly progress report and presentation for Ito, the program manager. You also have short meetings as needed with Ben, your sponsor, and send him a weekly progress report.

 

 

Tasks

  1. Before this first face-to-face meeting, you asked everyone to send a brief introductory e-mail, including links to their personal Web sites, LinkedIn site, etc. You also asked everyone to take a short version of the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) online and share their results with everyone else. Take this test yourself from www.humanmetrics.com and research how different MBTI types respond to work environments, especially for research projects and virtual teams. Summarize your findings in a one-to-two page paper. Also document what you would write in an e-mail to introduce yourself, assuming you are the project manager for this project. Be creative in your response.
  2. Prepare a responsibility assignment matrix in RACI chart format based on the WBS you created earlier and the information you have on project team members and other stakeholders. Use the template (ram.xls) and samples in the text. Document key assumptions you made in preparing the chart.
  3. Since everyone will be in town for most of the week, you want to make sure they develop good working relationships. You also want everyone to work together efficiently. You asked Matt to review collaboration tools he recommends the team use for this project. As Matt starts demonstrating some of these tools, including webcams and wikis, you notice that a couple of team members seem uncomfortable, especially James. He thought that he would be in charge of certain aspects of the research reports and didn’t know how he would feel about any team member being able to change what he wrote in a wiki. Lee did not like the idea of using a Webcam. She’d rather not have her face on video when communicating virtually. Discuss these human resource-related concerns and others that you think would be common in this situation. Include strategies for addressing them as well.

 

 

 

Part 7: Project Communications Management

Several communications issues have arisen on the Green Computing Research Project. Three months have passed since the project started. Your team had agreed to post all of their work on a shared site, but a couple of team members don t seem to like using that site and prefer to use e-mails and attachments. When they do that, other team members cannot easily see what work is done in one place or provide feedback using the wiki tools. It is also clear that some team members are better researchers and writers than others. When you have weekly conference calls with the Webcams, at least a couple of people don’t have the Webcam working and just use the audio. You also find that these meetings rarely end on time as some team members get very talkative. You also got grilled by Ito at the last monthly program review meeting. He thought you would be much further along in the project than you are and expects you to have one recommendation on a green computing project that looks very promising by next month. You haven t seen any great ideas yet. You want to start having face-to-face meetings at least twice a month, but you know it will make your project go over budget even more. At least the Excel model is going well. You and Matt have put a good deal of time into developing it. If only you had enough good data to put into it.

Tasks

  1. Create an issue log for the project. List at least four issues and related information based on the scenario presented.
  2. Research the use of wikis and address the concerns several team members have about using them, especially their fear of having others mess up their work. Document your findings in a one- to two-page paper.
  3. Write a two-page paper describing how you might approach two of the conflicts described above.

Part 8: Project Risk Management

Since several problems have been occurring on the Green Computing Research Project (see the case information in Part 7), you decide to be more proactive in managing risks. You also want to address positive and negative risks.

Tasks

  1. Create a risk register for the project. Identify six potential risks, including at least two positive risks.
  2. Plot the six risks on a probability/impact matrix and print it out. Assign a numeric value for the probability of each risk, and its impact on meeting the main project objectives. Use a scale of 1 to 10 to assign the values, with 1 being lowest and 10 being highest. For a simple risk factor calculation, multiply these two values (the probability score and the impact score). Document the results in a one-page paper, including your rationale for how you determined the scores for one of the negative risks and one of the positive risks.
  3. Develop a response strategy for one of the negative risks and one of the positive risks. Enter the information in the risk register and print out your complete risk register. Also write a one-page paper describing what specific tasks would need to be done to implement these two strategies. Include time and cost estimates for each strategy.

 

Part 9: Project Procurement Management

After a monthly program management review meeting four months into your project, Ito and Ben approved adding $200,000 and one additional month to the project. You provided strong rationale for the need for additional travel funds and more money for outside consultants to help you in finding good research information. You decided to have James go back to his old job since he didn’t seem open to sharing ideas with others. It would be best to have a consulting firm, one you were already using, pick up the work he was supposed to do, even though it would cost a lot more. The lead consultant, Anne, had done a great analysis of improving overall energy efficiency for the company that would save millions of dollars each year. Ben, your project sponsor, was disappointed that you couldn’t meet the original time and cost goals, but he wanted to make sure the final results were of high quality.

Tasks

  1. Draft a contract to have Anne s consulting firm perform the work that James was supposed to do for this project. Assume that the contract would last for three months and that Anne herself would be working about half-time, earning $350/hour. She would also have some other consultants do up to 100 hours of work at $275/hour. They would do most of the work virtually, but Anne would come in town at least once a month for face-to-face meetings. Limit the contract to two or three pages, and be sure to address specific personnel and travel requirements. Also make sure that all work produced would be owned and copyrighted by your company exclusively.
  2. Deb, the editor you hired for this project, has asked for your assistance in organizing the final comprehensive research report. Draft a one-page executive summary and a table of contents for this report.
  3. Although this is not really a procurement task, it is provided here for convenience purposes. Prepare a lessons-learned report for what you may have learned so far as project manager for this project.

 
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