Project management is one of the most integral constituents of the contemporary international economics and the related scientific and business areas. In other words, almost any initiative of the modern rushing forces is framed into a project. To illustrate, when Microsoft launches the newest version of Windows or related products, it starts the new project. Adopting a new bylaw in the United States of America Congress is nothing but a project. Projects are everywhere nowadays, and their importance must not be undervalued by both the scientific and the business communities under any doubt. When the specific element of the project structure has been deliberately or inadvertently omitted by the project managers and project executioners, the repercussions for the project and for the entire enterprise, as well, may occur to be lethal (Connor 1989).
Naturally, it is a well-established fact that nowadays, it is almost practically and theoretically impossible to anticipate everything in beforehand. One of the most disturbing malevolent factors that can easily distress the performance of any project is force majeure. To be more exact, a great variety of factors both scientifically technological and of natural origin are not accentuated by project manager when the project is being projected and the stages of the project scheme are being outlined.
Project Management Stages and Points of Accentuation
Each project is developed in a strict accordance with the universally recognized algorithm. Deviation from this algorithm always leads to the conversion of a detailed project into the set of chaotic and unsystematic actions, and the ultimate outcome of the operation is very far from that was initially projected by manager. In this section of the essay, the four major stages of the project management will be analysed and the most common failures inherent to the internal and external environment will be considered.
- Project Concept
At this stage, the idea of the project emerges on the horizon, and the frames of the future project are formulated by the project managers, and the idea of the project is insulated from the list of the similar ideas. In other words, the boundaries of the future project are set. The most frequently encountered mistake in this very case is the wrongful determination of the project limits, both internal and external. In other words, the future project is defined either too narrowly or too broadly.
- Project Planning
At this stage, those, who compose the project, exercise the detailed and meticulous planning on the basis of the limits, set in the first stage of project management. The main elements of the effective process involve the determination of the deadlines of the project objectives, project agents, third parties and the sequence of the project stages. In this section, the internal and the external factors which are often left unconsidered by managers are reviewed.
Factors of the Internal Environment
- First and foremost, the scope of the rights, responsibly of those involved into the implementation and processing of the project (the so-called “project agents”) are not determined substantially enough. The outcome of the failure to denote the rights and the responsibilities of the project agents is the disruption of the project and the ever-growing policy of the “responsibilities” shifting and the “rights” claiming.
- Secondly, the deadlines of the project must be fixed precisely and undeviatingly. The ubiquitously faced problem is that the only ultimate deadline is fixed, whereas the intermediate deadlines are often omitted and their importance is disregarded by project managers.
- Thirdly, the lack of professionalism, which is common among managers who just begin their careers, often leads to the improper definition and denotation of the project objectives. Another side of this issue is that the owners of the enterprise and project managers see the outcome of the project differently. In order to reach the unanimity, a vast number of specific actions, including project coordination and the system of concepts and categories are to be critically elaborated. Absence of these sections in project management often leads to misunderstanding and ultimately to the project non-fulfilment.
Factors of the External Environment
Cultural peculiarities of the specific geographical area, where the project is expected to be implemented. To illustrate it, it is highly undesirable to promote specific commodities in the countries of the Islamic religious family, because the Quran, the sacred book of all Muslims, strictly prohibits this policy. It is particularly necessary to accentuate all cultural peculiarities of the project at the stage of the project planning, because when the project implementation stage is under way, it is highly improbable for the necessary changes to be introduced.
Moreover, it is necessary to accentuate the fact that namely the cultural peculiarities and particularities of the project are most frequently among those, which are routinely disregarded by the managerial department of all enterprises. To illustrate it, the chocolate produced by one of the Swiss companies was widely commercialized in India, and a cow was used as a commercial model for the advertising campaign. The tremendous cultural blunder was perpetuated: the cow is a sacred animal for the Indians, and the decision to utilize it in commercial means was really ill-conceived, and the policy backfired to its creators.
A famous United States’ proverb says that nothing is certain in this world except for death and taxes. Following this assumption, political courses of the particular state are often indefinite in their natures. The Democrats replace the Republicans in the White House, the political inclinations of the global communities, as well as the political preferences of the singular nations are always volatile, whatever the political analysts say and however stable the political situation of the specific country may seem to be (Wiedemen 1990).
To illustrate it, while Honda facilities were erected across the Japanese Empire at the outset of the 20th century, no one could have easily anticipated that the nationalization of the factories may take place. The newly erected facilities were sequestered and the proprietorship was momentarily attributed to the state of Japan and to the Japanese Emperor’s family. Naturally, no one of the managerial team expected that such results may hypothetically or theoretically happen, and the entire project has been frustrated completely.
More specifically, the implementation of the unforeseen political decision always has a significant impact on the taxation environment of the company project. Nowadays, even the socially oriented projects are always subjected to the extensive taxation policy imposed by the government authorities. As far as the United States of America is concerned, the Republicans are known for being more tax friendly than their democratic colleagues and opponents.
Therefore, while projecting an effective business or social project, one will always meticulously and thoroughly accentuate the current and the anticipated political trends of the specific government formation. The flexibility and amortization fund must always be well-considered by the project managers team, because the changes in the taxation policy of the government may play a lethal role of a specific project.
Under the scope of this category, the one shall closely stick to the economic peculiarities of the geographical area in where a specific business project is designed to be launched (Rau 1990). Although this area is often among the most well-considered and well-planned by the managerial department, the flaws of the economic and finance spheres are often among the most frequently encountered. To illustrate it, miscalculations or wrongful calculations are the most dramatic mistakes which are perpetrated by the bookkeepers and by the financial counsels of the project.
For example, when Coca-Cola was planning the opening of its facilities, the costs for the local advertising campaign have been simply forgotten by managers and, as a result, the costs for the entire campaign have been calculated wrongfully.
Traits of the Effective Manager
The following traits must be inherent to any manager who claims to exercise an effective project management. Most importantly, these traits are especially cultivated and developed in the cases when the unforeseen situations of the aforementioned character arise (i.e. the cultural, political and economic miscalculations and ill-considerations).
Cooperation and Communicational Skills
Cooperation and communicational skills – these abilities of the professional manager are particularly important when the situation dictates that the project manager must react quickly to the volatile character of the market and to incorporate the newly elaborated changes.
The importance of these skills becomes evident when project manager has to negotiate the previously unsaid changes (Connor 1989) with the authorized state authorities and with the strategic and tactical partners of the enterprise.
Sagacity and the Ability to Anticipate the Relevance of the Projected Project Modifications
To be more exact, an effective manager is capable of detecting, identifying and analysing the project sections and areas which are to be closely analysed and reviewed by the team (Lewis 2002). He or she must be capable of defining that the situation has not happened, but that the situation is very likely to happen, and what actions are to be implemented in order to diminish the negative repercussions of the project poor performance.
Stamina and Ability to Withstand Stressful situations
This mandatory trait of effective and highly productive crisis management dictates that the project manager or other authorized person is fully required to work the indefinite number of extra hours to ensure that the project will be corrected or that the negative consequences will be mitigated by the management team.
To illustrate, the Wise and Case International Law Firm in Tokyo premised have been highly damaged by the earthquake and by the accompanying natural calamities. As a result, the lawyers were naturally impeded to access the necessary documentation to protect their clients in the courts of law of Japan. As a result, the lawyers in a close cooperation with the managerial departments had to work up to 50 hours non-stop to ensure that the necessary documentation has been restored and that the firm is capable of carrying out the taken obligations. In this case, namely, the stamina of the workers was the factor, which played a vital role in the rescuing of the business project.
Sense of Reality
The project must be aware on how to identify whether he needs to concentrate on the further development of the project or he is obliged to take all possible measures to mitigate the negative outcome ensued from the failure to perform the project in the proper way. To be more specific, the project manager is mandated to have a close look and to exercise a meticulous research and analysis in order to find out whether the project must be frozen, processed or mitigated.
Apart from possessing a strong gut instinct, roject manager is to be highly professional and skilled to guarantee that the situation has been all-roundly analysed and that his managerial decisions are neither ill-conceived nor they are pre-mature. In other words the project is allowed to be frozen and mitigated only in the event where the rest of the remedies have already been implemented by project managers.
Excellent and Outstanding Skills and Professionalism of Project Managers and Performers
This requirement prescribes that the project manager who is trying to rescue a project of any failure, blunder or miscalculation perpetrated by the rest of the team must be outstandingly skilled, professional and qualified in order to guarantee that he or she are capable of producing and projecting the wide set of non-standard an non-trivial managerial decisions. In the crisis situations, it is natural to assume that only non-standard approaches and techniques may contribute to the save the situation.
Having encapsulated the information outlined below, it must be highlighted that the miscalculations and project failures are usually of external and internal character. Whereas, the internal are easier to be detected, analysed and remedied, the failures of the external environment are always considerably more influential, and they easily endanger the performance of the processed business project.
Naturally, apart from outlying the purely theoretical framework, one must always be aware that managers of the company, especially those managers who have been assigned to eradicate the negative repercussions of the specific miscalculations of the specific business project must be extra professional and must possess a vast number of other professional traits to ensure that the project can be either saved or it can be maximally mitigated.