Project management

13Case Study

Project Charter

  1. General Information:

Project Title:

Development of tools for decoding impaired voice

Project ID:

Sponsoring Organization:

Telstra and American OnlineLarge call centres providers:

Sponsor Representative:

Telstra and American Online Directors

Prepared by:

Version:

  1. Project Stakeholders:

Position

Title/Name/Organization

Representative

Large Call Centre Companies Directors; American Online and Telstra

+1 800-827-6045

+1 877-835-7475

. [email protected]

[email protected]

Program Manager

Company Senior engineer

+1 877-833-8727

[email protected]

Software leader

Company Senior Software Engineer

+1 877-825-2822

[email protected]

Hardware leader

Company Senior hardware Engineer

+1 877-865-6894

[email protected]

Customer / User Representative(s)

Call Centres providers companies: Telstra and American Online Directors

+1 800-827-6364

+1 877-835-7872

. [email protected]

[email protected]

  1. Executive Summary

Project management refers to the application of experience, processes, skills, methods, and knowledge to attain the objectives of the project. A project in this case refers to a transient, unique endeavour, carried out to attain planned objectives that could be described based on benefits, outcomes, or outputs. This paper describes a project management process for an impaired voice decoder, which is to be developed to assist in decoding impaired voices at large call centres in the world. The project is to be sponsored by the large call centres companies intending to use the technology after its development to enhance their services. The charter summarizes all necessary project requirements that include the purpose of the project, its business objectives, scope, assumptions, constraints, risks, requirements and deliverables, milestones, resources and personnel, roles and responsibilities, project budget, and the stakeholder structure. The charter provides all the necessary information that would be required by the project sponsor to measure the viability of the project before making any financial commitment.

  1. Project Purpose

    1. Business Need / Problem

The project focuses on resolving a problem of impaired speech in the call centres. It was established that 7.5 million individuals in the United States have serious problem using their voices. This makes it hard for them to use call centre services, since their message can hardly be decoded by the agents. This makes this group of people to be highly excluded from receiving quality call centre services, and thus, reducing the efficiency and reliability of call centres to a considerably large number of people in the country. This is what initiated the need for establishing the best tool that can be used to decode the impaired voice received in call centres, from individuals with voice issues. Thus, the project focuses on developing impaired voice decoder that can be employed in call centre to eliminate the problem of impaired voice, which has affected the service provision efficiency in those centres.

    1. Business Objectives

Strategic Plan Element

Project Business Objectives

Improving Services Efficiency to All

To develop a useful tool that will assist in impaired voice decoding to ease services provision to all

Easing Agents Operation

To enhance effective integration of the newly developed impaired voice decoder, to ensure successful interpretation of the message by the company’s agents involved in offering services at the call centres.

Maximizing earnings

To ensure all customers are served without exclusion of those with voice disability as a way of increasing the company’s revenue

  1. Project Overview

    1. Project Description

This project focuses on resolving the impaired voice issues in call centres to enhance services provisions to all, including those with voice issues. The project will involve the development of a useful tool for decoding impaired voice in the call centres. This will involve research for the available technologies that can be used to create impaired voice decoding tool. The engineering company will then select the most viable technology and employ it in the development of a tool that can be applicable in call centres. The development will begin from the scratch and thus, it will require the hardware or electronic development, as well as the software development to enhance effective running of the hardware part in the call centre set-up. The developed tool will specifically focus on two call centres; the American Online in America and Telstra in Australia. It will involve development, implementation, testing, and commissioning of the developed tool.

The project addresses individuals or customers with impaired voices at the call centres. It focuses on ensuring that individuals or customers with impaired voice can easily and effectively obtain call centre services without being excluded. This is intended to be done by developing a technological tool that can be used to decode the impaired voice to the call centres agent to assist them in understanding the message and providing the right response or guideline to solve the problem the customer is experiencing. The tool will be developed in the engineering company. It will involve leasing extra room in the industry building where some of the engineering work will be done. Testing will be conducted in the licenced testing institutions. The project is anticipated to take a period of two years, where both the hardware and software components are anticipated to be fully functional and ready for implementation. The project is anticipated to provide a solution for impaired voice decoding issues that are currently facing call centre agents.

    1. Assumptions

). Cleland & Ireland, 2006One of the assumptions made in this case is that the engineering company will specifically be able to create an impaired voice decoder tool for call centres with current available technologies. The engineering company has managed to make a research and identified various technologies that can be employed to eliminate voice impairment issues in the call centre. With this information, they have managed to convince the large call centre companies to sponsor the project as a way of obtaining the solution to the current problem. It is therefore highly anticipated that they will be able to effectively coin the currently available technologies to address the identified problem. Another assumption made is that the involved sponsoring companies will sponsor the project to its completion without fail, delays or withdrawing from the project. The engineering company has managed to convince large call centres to sponsor their project proposal to resolve the identified problem and they have accepted to take the challenge. It is therefore anticipated that these companies will pay for all project cost effectively from the start to the end without fail. It is also assumed that the engineering company will completely be able to address the identified problem effectively within a period of two years. The sponsoring company anticipate that the project will be completed in a period of two years and thus, they anticipate that the engineering company will manage to handle all risks to ensure successful completion of the project within the given period. This is after assuming that the sponsoring companies will fulfil their sponsoring duty without any of them withdrawing, or delaying. This means, it is assumed that the project will be a total success; without delays, budget overruns, lack of the required resources or raw materials, or any other form of failure that would interfere with the schedule or anticipated results. It is also assumed that the introduction of voice impaired decoder will completely eliminate voice issues facing large call centres in the region. This is the main reason as to why the sponsoring companies are ready to engage in this project (

    1. Constraints

). The project must also include the required personnel to enhance the employment of all legal standard measures required in the development of electronic components. This includes effective and workable design that considers the safety measures, and operational software that enhances successful execution of the project. The project should also adhere to environmental requirements of the country, which include controlled emission or pollution as per the laws of the country where the engineering company is operating. Newton, 2015, p.12The project main constraints include being able to resolve the identified problem. The project completion or success is measured by how well it can enhance the decoding of impaired voice in call centre and thus, the tool developed must be able to do this. Another constraint is that it must be completed within the stated deadline. The project is allocated a time period of two years. The engineers involved in special tool development must ensure there is a fully functional tool; with both functional hardware and software parts to address the current issue by the end of the second year. The engineering company will be required to create a budget which they must adhere to. The budget must be justifiable and must have to consider all risk factors to avoid delays (

  1. Project Requirements / Deliverables

). Letu.edu, 1999, p. 3The current project must be able to deliver a special tool to be used to capture impaired customer’s voice in a call centre and decode it for call centre agents to understand and respond to the customer as required, either by solving the customer’s problem or referring the customer to another agent. The special tool must contain both the hardware and software parts that are effectively applicable in a call centre. The tool must also be effectively integrated into the call centre system to enhance its full functionality. It must be able to capture impaired voice at real-time and decode it immediately to eliminate any form of communication breakdown for those with impaired voice. The project services include the design of the tool’s hardware and software components, the development of the tool’s hardware and software components, successful testing of the integrated hardware and software components of the tool in a call centre environment. Network analysis in the call centre to enhance successful implementation of the special tool into the call centre communication system. Other requirements include implementation of the tool in a real work situation, and testing of its functionalities in the real situation. The engineering company will also need to provide regular maintenance of the tool for a period of two months to ensure that all bugs have been handled and the tool is acting effectively before its final commissioning (

  1. Project Management Milestones and Deliverables

Milestone / Deliverable

Estimated Time

Responsible Individual

Research and identification of the most viable technology to employ to create a reliable impaired voice decoder for a call centre

Electronic and software engineers

Evaluation of the customers’ hardware and software system

Electronic and software engineers

Designing the impaired voice decoder hardware circuit

Electronic engineers

Assessment of the effectiveness of the designed hardware circuit and proposing changes

Electronic engineering department

Development of the hardware parts of the impaired voice decoder

Electronic engineers

Testing of the hardware part

Electronic engineers

Designing the software part of the impaired voice decoder

Software engineers

Re-evaluation of the design based on the customer requirement and making possible changes

Software engineering department and the customers

Development of the software part of the impaired voice decoder

Software engineers

Integration of the hardware part with the software part

Software and hardware engineers

First testing process

The entire engineering department

Network system analysis

Outsourced network analysts

Integration of the fully developed impaired voice decoder to testing call centre system in licenced institution

All engineers, technicians, and the customers

Making necessary changes based on testing results

All engineers

Retesting the adjusted tool

Implementation of the tool to the customer’s call centre communication system

Electronic and software engineers, technicians, and network analyst

Testing the functionality of the tool in the actual system

All engineers, network analyst, technicians, and the customers

Training of the users

Technicians in hardware and software departments

Maintenance

Technicians in both hardware and software departments

Commissioning

Project managers, project sponsors, and the company’s system senior technician

  1. Costs / Budget

Research and selection of technology

American Online and Telstra

Users system analysis and drawing of requirements

American Online and Telstra

Technical consultations

American Online and Telstra

Hardware design

American Online and Telstra

Software design

American Online and Telstra

Hardware development; purchase of necessary materials and development process

American Online and Telstra

Software development

American Online and Telstra

Hardware and software testing

American Online and Telstra

Hardware and software integration

American Online and Telstra

Network analyst consultation

American Online and Telstra

Implementation cost

American Online and Telstra

Training cost

American Online and Telstra

Possible risks

American Online and Telstra

Total Cost

  1. Personnel & Other Resources

Resources

Description

Project Team

Three Software engineers, two electronic engineers, one technician, project manager

Sponsors, system users or company’s employees, engineering company directors, licenced testing institution

Facilities

Electronic workshop/laboratory, extra room in the industrial building, computer laboratory

Equipment

Circuit board, electronic devices, computer hardware, internet system, electronic soldering/development tools, and hardware testing system.

Software Tools

Software development platform; java, software testing tools, electronic circuit development software tools; TinyCAD.

Outsourced network analyser and consultants,

  1. Project Risks

). Durkovic & Rakovic, 2009, p. 15Risk refers to a situation resulting to negative outcomes. It refers to possible approaching negative effect or uncertainties. They are problems that are highly likely to be encountered or to occur in the course of the project development. Each project has a possibility of experiencing risks. However, the magnitude of their effect is highly influenced by the measures taken to identify, mitigate and eliminate these risks. Like all other projects, the current project is also faced by a number of risks. Some of the initial risks of the project include lack of enough sponsors to support the project proposal. Although the engineers had identified the problem and possible solution, they still faced the risk of lacking enough sponsors to support the project based on the fact that they had not established their budget yet. The project is therefore experiencing financial risks. Another major risk is the technological risk. Although the engineering company had identified a number of available technologies that could have been used to create an impaired voice decoder, none of these technologies were tested and thus, the level of uncertainty is considerably high. The engineers had not evaluated whether the technologies available are compatible with the call centres’ system. In addition, they had not evaluated whether there was any of the available technologies that was highly viable for this kind of system. This means there is a possibility of failure in case the available technologies failed to yield to anticipated results. This also means, the project team may experience project delays before they test all the available technologies to identify the most viable technology for this situation (

). Arnuphaptrairong, 2011, p. 3The project team is also probable to face complexity risk. The engineering company is out to engage in the development of a new product that has never been in the market before. The product require both hardware and software development from the scratch. Thus, they have to face all complexities involved in the development of a new electronic product. They may encounter bugs, software and hardware integration issues such as incompatibility and system integration issues based on the fact that the design is created prior to network system analysis. This would result to unsuccessful development, even after employing so much resource to the project. This may impact the development time and the set operation budget. The involved engineers may require investing a lot of their time in research and testing to be able to come up with the required system. The inability to produce the actual system required by the sponsoring companies may result to user requirements mismatch risks. Voice decoder may also require recognition of different languages that can be used by customers from different regions, bearing in mind that the two selected company are located in different geographical regions, and with people from different culture. Ensuring that all dialect or the most common dialects have been represented and can be handled by the decoder is considerably complex (

). Hijazi et al., 2012, p.8Another possible risk is unavailability of the right individuals to consult. The company hopes that other than its engineers, it will get some individuals to consult and acquire more knowledge regarding this development. Nevertheless, this garget is being created for the first time and thus, there is no one with exclusive knowledge regarding the gadget. The lack of reliable consultants may increase the complexity of developing the required tool. This may also initiate more delays and increase the budget, as engineers try to troubleshoot to establish the best solution to the identified problem (

). Dey et al., 2007, p. 285Delay is another major risk facing the project. The project delays can be initiated by a number of factors. They include prolonged research period prior to identification of the right technology to apply, prolonged period before the right hardware design is acquired, and lack of required hardware development resources. It can also be initiated by lack of immediate knowledge to the gadget development, lack of reliable individual to consult, and the project complexities. All these subject the project into taking longer time than anticipated (

). Atkinson, 1999, p. 338Budget overrun is another possible risk. This is a new project that involves development of a gadget that has never been developed before. Thus, the project may involve a lot of trial and error approach, where some devices that were thought that would work may end up not working and new purchases may have to be made. More research work may also be involved than anticipated. Time delay may also initiate a constraint to the budget since the employed personnel may require extra hours of payment (

Another possible risk is resistance to change. Normally, organization users are highly attached to the system they work with. In this regard, most of them perceive any system based changes negatively and this may affect effective process of implementing the system changes. This may highly be experienced when the new changes are highly impacting the original system, altering most operation process. Users’ resistance to change may increase the training time and thus, causing a delay in full implementation of the project. This may create a delay in the project commissioning.

  1. Project Organization

    1. Project Organization Chart

) Bobera, 2008, p.6project management(

    1. Roles & Responsibilities

Stakeholder Title

Roles & Responsibilities

Sponsors

TelstraAmerican Online and

Financing the project and ensuring that the final product address the identified communication problem, final project assessment

Project manager

General senior engineer

Foreseeing effective execution of the project from funding, analysis, design, development, integration, testing and implementation. Project commissioning

Hardware leader

Senior hardware engineer

Foreseeing hardware design, development, testing and integration process

Software leader

Senior software engineer

Foreseeing software design, development, testing, integration and implementation process

Electronic engineer

Engineer

Taking part in hardware research, consultation, design, development, testing, integration and installation

programmers

Engineer

Taking part in system requirement analysis, software design, development, testing, integration, and implementation, users training

Technician

technician

Taking part in hardware development, implementation, testing , and integration, offering maintenance services, users training

Technical consultant

consultants

Offering technical advice regarding hardware and software development of the special tool

Network analyst

Offering assessment and network related guidance to enhance the project development process

  1. Approval Signatures

Position/Title

Signature/Printed Name/Title

Sponsor Representative

Program Manager

Project Manager

Answers to the Questions

  1. What do you think is it better to have a project manager who knew the department or outsider? Are there some potential problems with this approach?

).Munns & Bjeirmi, 1996, p. 82A project manager from the department is better than an outsider. This is because a department based project manager understands more about the department ability to handle the project, and aspects he or she may need external assistance. He or she understands the ability of every involved member since she or he has previous experience working with all team members. In this regard, it would be hard for this manager to assign any team member duties he or she cannot accomplish. Beside this, a project manager from the group also share considerable level of knowledge with the team members and thus, he or she can easily assist in various issues and make more viable technological decisions regarding the project. In addition, he completely understands resources that are available in the department and the resources that should be purchased or outsourced. In this regards, he or she is highly probable to make a more workable budget, and define more viable milestones compared to an outsider. A department based project manager also understands personality and characteristics of all group members and thus, it is easy to enhance communication and to employ the best conflict management measures to the team. He or she also understands the group culture, in this regard; this project manager can use it to his or her advantage to enhance a good relation among members and to foster teamwork (

Taking outsiders has possible problems that include inadequate information regarding the project, lack of human management skills that match the environment, lack of project commitment, and lack of technological knowhow required to enhance successful development of the project in this case. An outsider would also lack the passion that an insider would have with regard to the accomplishment of the project. An insider is more attached to the project due to the benefit it may bring to him or her as an individual and to the organization in general. Thus, he or she may be more dedicated into ensuring the project success than an outsider would be.

  1. Who else can be a sponsor of this project? Or by other words what has to be done if sponsor is not interested in project any more.

The current project would provide an answer to various call centres that have been experiencing voice impairment issues in the past. This includes both large and small call centres which focus on offering effective services to its customers. In this regard, successful development of the new special impaired voice decoder would provide the best solution to all call centres in the world. This simply means, the engineering company has a ready market for this gadget and thus, it can easily recover its development cost easily and make profit in case it manages to create a high quality and reliable product. Thus, with absence of the current sponsor, the engineering company should consider sponsoring the project with intention of recovering the development cost by maximizing on the product sale among the available call centres in the world. Thus, if the company has enough faith with its research results, it should be in a position to sponsor the project, in case the sponsors withdraw at any point in the process of the project development.

  1. From engineering point of view what is the most dangerous risk in similar projects.

Every project is normally unique in its own way. In this regard, similar project would experience different risks based on who is involved in the project development and how the project manager handles the entire situation. Nevertheless, the most dangerous risk in similar project is the technology risks. Engineering technology keeps on changing with time. In this regard, similar project conducted at different time may experience different technological challenges compared to the previous ones. Thus, it is considerably hard to apply technical knowledge employed to handle this risk in previous project for a new similar project. This risk can highly contribute to project failure, especially in cases where the project team members have not employed enough time to research on the changes that have taken place in the applied technology or have failed to consider them effectively.

References

, IMECS 2011, Hong Kong. Proceedings of the International MutiConference of Engineering and Computer ScientistArnuphaptrairong, T, 2011, “Top ten lists of software project risks: evidence from the literature survey,”

6, pp. 337-342.17, no.  vol. ,International journal of project managementAtkinson, R., 1999. “Project management: cost, time and quality, two best guesses and a phenomenon, its time to accept other success criteria,”

, vol. 3, no.1. pp. 3-9.Management Information SystemsBobera, D, 2008, “Project management organization,”

. McGraw-Hill Professional.Project management Cleland, D.L & Ireland, L.R., 2006,

, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 284-303.Industrial Management & Data SystemsDey, P. K., Kinch, J, & Ogunlana, S. O, 2007, “managing risk in software development projects: a case study,”

August, 2016].th [Accessed on 9http://www.letu.edu/people/jaytevis/Software-Engineering/Examples/SDP-For-NISBS.pdfLetu.edu, 1999, “software development plan (SDP) Nato interoperable submarine broadcast system (NISBS),” [online] Available at:

August, 2016]. th [Accessed 9http://www.free-management-ebooks.com/dldebk-pdf/fme-project-principles.pdfNewton, P, 2015, “principles of project management: Project skills,” [online] Available at

, vol.14, no.2. pp.81-87. International Journal of Project ManagementMunns, A. K & Bjeirmi, B. F, 1996, “The role of project management in achieving project success,”

Durkovic, O & Rakovic, L, 2009, “Risks in information systems development projects,” Management Information Systems, vol.4, no.1, pp. 13-18

, vol.45, no. 7, pp. 8-12. International Journal of Computer ApplicationsHijazi, H., Khdour, T & Alarabeyyat, A, 2012, “A review of risk management in different software development methodologies,”