October 16, 2007 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Plan Development
Work Breakdown Structure Time Phased Budget
By Guy McCord
All Star Cable Project Plan Map
With the deregulation of the cable industry, All-Star Cable emerged as a small time player in the cable television industry. The small cable company, which consistently provided inexpensive cable television service in South Texas, utilized the transmission lines and equipment of the larger cable providers, allowing All-Star to offer great, simple service at a better price than the larger cable companies. Unfortunately, in the mid-1980’s the companies growth stopped and the company was faced with bankruptcy, and All-Star quickly realized the this downturn was due to:
Its customer base doing better economically and therefore wanting more options than All-Star could offer.
All-Star began to be perceived as a “cheap” company.
Its competitors began to gear their sales efforts at All-Stars established customer base. The changes in the cable television market, forced All-Star Cable to reexamine their strategy, and in an effort to survive, All-Star’s newly hired marketing manager and information technology manager remapped the company’s strategy, which helped All-Star survive. All-Star’s first move was to focus on increasing volume business, by contracting its premium channel companies to offer premium channels that their customer’s were seeking. All-Star’s second move was to reduce its operating expenses, by implementing an automated billing system. Finally, All-Star’s third move as to invest in new equipment, upgrade its current equipment, and expand its Information Technology department, so that it could support the addition of a Pay-for-View service. With each strategic change, All-Star quickly expanded its market and eventually became the largest cable television provider in South Texas. Project Definition
The new direction for the company is to introduce a Movie-on-Demand service, which allows customers to select and view movies when ever they want, as oppose to the pay-for-view option, which broadcasted movies globally at set intervals. The movie-on-demand project required All-Star the create an information technology solution which need to go live in six months, and provided: The ability to store digital movies, A menu system which provides customers, the ability to scroll and select movies based on title, actor/actress, or genre using their controller box, the ability to select and purchase movies using their controller box, a billing system, which included the addition of a $6.00 per movie charge for the movie-on-demand service, and additionally, there will be no discounts for large volume purchases.
The first stage of the definition stage is to perform a thorough feasibility study. This is required to make an unbiased decision on how to proceed or not as the case maybe, and typically defines the high-level needs of a project, the mid term expectancy of a project and the smaller details (Evalica, 2004). The feasibility should be broken into four sections:
- Technical: can the system be developed
- Operational: can the organization absorb the change
- Economical: can the expense be justified
- Schedule: can the system be implemented in the prescribed time (Alvarez, 2004).
The project is further defined by creating a work breakdown structure, which is a tree-like list of sections and modules of the system with general functionality and interaction descriptions. This helps defines the projects functionality specifications and detailed descriptions of system features and integration, which will be used to develop the project scope, schedules and cost (Evalica, 2004).
Once the project’s feasibility is determined, the Execution phase can begin. In this phase, the majority of the Movies-On-Demand (MOD) project will materialize. Prior to hardware/software procurement, a System Requirement Specification (SRS) is complete to verify alignment of project requirements with that of the software developers (Cygnet, 2004). After thorough investigation of recently hired IT staff in the prior project phase, it is deemed highly likely that the in-house staff can create a working system to implement the project.
They will begin by modifying the billing system and refining the viewer menu options. Presently, the system allows the viewer to access their billing information, select Pay-for-view movies, as well as access the internet. New menus must be created to offer the new MOD service and bill appropriately. Since the present controller box will continue to be used for the new offering, the end-user hardware cost does not change. Thus, this basic software development (menu & billing system) will have a test by day 30 of the execution phase.
Procurement ($9,100) of the three (3) servers ($1,250 ea.), the back-up software for each server ($1,500 ea.), and the software/digital movies ($450,000) is complete within the first month (M1) at a total cost of $467,350.
Installation proceeds as Month 2 of the project begins. This phase is scheduled to last through month 4. The working system and software will be tested throughout each phase of the project. Software development and the system integration will bear the majority of labor. Once the rights to offer and purchase the movies, installation, and software configuration phases are complete, another thorough test will be administered to insure the software is functioning properly.
The control measures are set to identify project progression. Initially, the programmers will create a new menu system. Then they will integrate the old system with the new offering. This allows the viewer to scroll, select and purchase movies for $6.00 each. Communication between the IT manager and the Project manager continues on a daily basis. As the project surpasses expected milestones, the Project Manager updates the Marketing Director to ensure alignment of the timelines. This will insure there is no wasted time from project completion to the advertising campaign.
The new software is installed on the servers. Full system’s testing is conducted. Proper testing to verify the ability to handle the potential magnitude of use must be followed. A simple system’s test with low volumes will not suffice as a “green light” to proceed. Once the system effectively handles the high volume testing, a final analysis and report are created and delivered to the President and Marketing director.
Cygnet-infotech pvt. Ltd. Copyright 2000– 2004 @ Cygnet Infotech Pvt. Ltd, India Retrieved January 18, 2005 from the World Wide Web: http://www.cygnet-infotech.com/pdf/projectmanagement. PDF Alvarez, P.M., 2004. Feasibility analysis for a software project. Retrieved January 19, 2005 from http://delta.cs.cinvestav.mx/~pmejia/softeng/1 Boehm, B., 1981. Project management. Retrieved January 19, 2005 from www.bit.umkc.edu/burris/pl/project-management/ Evalica, 2004. Retrieved January 19, 2005 from http://www.evalica.com/cm/about/methodology/feasibility_phase
Guy McCord, MBA, CBC an experienced small business turnaround specialist working with clients in HR, Staffing, Payrolling, Payroll, Temp to Hire, Temp-Hire, group benefits and property and casualty insurance needs, consumer driven health plans, annuities, investments, Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antonio.
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