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7.301 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROJECT MANAGEMENT
CASE STUDY: RELIABLE REAL ESTATE
The Reliable Real Estate is a privately held company incorporated in 1983 in Wellington, New Zealand. It provides real estate services like houses for sale, rentals, commercial and businesses for sale, auctions, and home loan options etc. Reliable grew rapidly in its first decade, and by the late 1980s it opens its 26 branch offices in Wellington and with 250 employees. In 1990, Reliable expanded its business to Christchurch and by late 1990s it opened its offices in in Auckland and Hamilton.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Client’s registration, management, appointment and billing procedures are a hodgepodge of manual and computer-assisted methods. Reliable uses a combination of Excel spreadsheets, an Access database, and antiquated custom-developed client registration software running on personal computers. Reliable agents uses this software to enter customer information received on form or by telephone conversation. The system has become increasingly unwieldy as it was hard to search clients with preference of their choices and confirming the timings to view properties or other related work. Billing system has also become inefficient as more and more services become available from Reliable and also some of these services are only available in specific regions of the country. The company that developed and maintained the billing software has gone out of business, and the office staff has had to work around software shortcomings and limitations with cumbersome procedures. In 1999 Reliable revenues leveled off at $4.5 million, and profits plateaued at $5.5 million. By 2003, revenue was declining approximately 3 percent per year, and profit was declining at over 7 percent per year. Several reasons for the decline included the following:
- Lack of Information management system available online via secure link.
- Increasing competition from various real estate companies
- Inefficient operating procedures, which haven’t received a comprehensive review or overhaul in almost two decades
The CEO, Courtney Wills, believes that a major effort is required to automate the operating procedures and service. He asked the Reliable’s management team to spend a month in developing a strategic plan that can help in streamlining operations to improve service and reduce costs. Managers see this effort as their only hope of surviving in a future dominated by huge number of real estate agents and companies. They plan to have an integrated, efficient web based information management system to recoup its costs and increase economies of scale.The new information systems must support its internal as well as external operations, clients and management. The main features required are as follows:
- Web-based application to connect Reliable services with agents and clients.
- It must automate the basic operations that handles customer registration and management.
- Information must be secured and authentication is required to access the system.
- Secure online payment gateway.
- Share/Update information and link its processes closely with its clients.
- Enable clients register, update their information.
- Enable clients to choose one or more services.
- Enable agents to look for clients and their preferences.
- Streamline processes for both Reliable and its clients
- Provide useful query system for the clients.
- Provide FAQs.
- Provide an “Ask the Expert” feature to help build relationships with current and future clients and share knowledge.
- Appropriate security to make the entire system accessible to public except certain sections that are only to internal staff.
- Allow clients to provide feedback.
A preliminary estimate of costs for the entire project is $175,000. This estimate is based on the project manager working about 20 hours per week for eight months and other internal staff working a total of about 60 hours per week for eight months. The initial cost estimate also includes $18,600 for purchasing software and services from suppliers. After the project is completed, maintenance costs of $40,000 are included for each year. Projected benefits would be approximately $200,000 per year.
Courtney would like to sponsor this project which she thinks could be completed within eight months and the new system will have a useful life of at least four years. However she also realize some potential issues like security, manage client and property information and payments and so on, that can cause serious problem in the success of this project.She decided to appoint Matt Schorer, head of Reliable operations and management, to manage the project. She asked Matt to work with his team and other employees who have some development experience. Courtney understands the importance of the good project team and she trusts Matt’s ability to be a project manager for this project. After a brief discussion on the project they decided to include David Wilcox and VijenSubermanium as key developer and programmer for this project. Because this project involves web based system that requires involvement of technical staff, they decided to take RyojiYoneyama from IT department. It is further decided that the testing of the site will be done by IT department and themselves.To get the feedback and input from clients, they decide Winnie Chang and Lien Chi who are the company’s long term clients to act as client representatives.
- Company website is www.reliablerealestate.co.nz and the staff email is <lastname followed by the first letter of first name @reliablerealestate.co.nz>
- Read and Analyze the case study carefully and answer the following questions.
- Form a team of a maximum of 3 members and sign the team agreement in Appendix A.
- Prepare a Stakeholder Register for the above project. Prepare Stakeholder Management Strategy for two key stakeholders. Present your answer in the following format. (20 Marks)
Prepare a Project Charter for this project using the following template. (22 Marks)
|Project Start Date||Project Finish Date|
|Project Main Success Criteria|
|ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES|
- Prepare a team contract according to the following format. Minimum two points under each topic are expected. (10 marks)
|Code of Conduct: ·
- Analyse financial projections and perform financial analysis for the project management using following format. Refer to figure 4-5 in text book for more information.
|Discount Rate: 8.00%|
- Prepare project scope statement according to the following format. (20 Marks)
|Project Summary and Justification:
|Product Characteristics and Requirements: – minimum 5 each
|Project Deliverables with estimated delivery dates: minimum 5 each
|Product Deliverables with estimated delivery dates: minimum 5 each
- Identify and justify the appropriate SDLC model for this project. Relates and justify the phases of your chosen SDLC model to project management process. (15 Marks)
- Prepare the work breakdown structure (WBS) for this project at appropriate level. Refer to figure 3-3 in you text book for more information. WBS should be based on the project charter, scope statement, and other relevant information in the case study. (10 Marks)
- Using the WBS from the previous question, prepare a Gantt chart for this project that covers the following:
- Estimate activity durations
- Allocate activity resources
- Sequence activities
- Apply Critical Path Method (CPM) to find the earliest possible time by which the project can be completed. Display critical path in your Gantt chart. (10 Marks)
- Use the critical path from previous question to make Schedule Trade-Offs. Find the float for at least five activities? (10 Marks)
- Prepare a communication management plan for this project according to the following format? (20 Marks)
|Stakeholders||Document Name||Document Format||Contact Person||Due Date|
- Consider the following situations:
- You came to know in week 18 that the project developer had a minor accident and cannot work for 10 days. (Assume that you have other developers but not as capable as Ann Bills).
- During the testing phase, on second day of testing, one of the required server experience a malfunction. After all the efforts, team decided to buy the replacement of the faulty part of the server which costs $850.00 and requires a minimum of two working days to arrive. Moreover, it is essential to take backup of the server before replacing the faulty part (just in case). Backup usually takes 4 to 6 hours and replacing server part job requires 1 to 2 hours.
Manage the above situations in your project and make the necessary changes to the Gantt chart without changing the deadline. Propose the required changes using the following format. (34 Marks)
Change Request Form
|Title of Change Request|
|Change Category||Scope Schedule Cost Technology Other|
|Description of Change______________________________________________________________________
|Events that made this change necessary or desirable______________________________________________________________________
|Justification for the change______________________________________________________________________
|Impact of the proposed change on______________________________________________________________________
|Suggested implementation if the change request is approved:______________________________________________________________________
- Identify fivepotential risks in the project and prepare Risk Register for this project according to the format provided in Appendix C. (35 Marks)
- To monitor and control the project success, Prepare weekly status report of the project according to the following format. One report per team member is required. This report must be in context of the case study and assuming your group is part of development team.
|1. Work completed this reporting period:______________________________________________________________________
|2. Work to complete next reporting period:______________________________________________________________________
|3. What’s going well and why:______________________________________________________________________
|4. What’s not going well and why:______________________________________________________________________
|6. Project Changes:______________________________________________________________________
- Individual Presentation: Each team is required to present the project work in the submission week. The presentation duration is 12 to 15 minutes. Teams will be marked according to the criteria in Appendix B. (48 Marks)
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