Project Management Case

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Background As a consultant you have been asked by the Global Retail Solutions Group (GRS) to develop an implementable project plan for a point of sale and stock control system for a proposed chain (DSE) of retail outlets across Australia. You have been supplied the following information, information not available maybe assumed, this will be a competitive bid targeting the dual goals of quick implementation and low cost. DSE is an aggressive player in the growing DIY electronics market with a plan to open a chain of retail outlets to further their growth in the market. Outlets will be located in major cities in seven states. The larger cities will have more than one store. Critical to sales is monitoring sales and stock turn to ensure adequate stock is available when demanded. Each store will be responsible for day-to-day operations, however, there is a strong central management structure at the national level. The services provided by the organization include volume buying to gain discounts, pricing, merchandising strategies, and consolidation of performance reporting for the corporate management. The Information Systems Department at DSE’s corporate office has been given the assignment to develop a transaction processing system that will apply modern RFID code scanning at the point of sale and provide automatic inventory control. The system will also relieve the store personnel of the tedious task of generating sales and performance reports as required by the head office. An earlier project has successfully defined the store level hardware that will be used at the points of transaction plus the communications network that will connect the stores with the state offices. This hardware consists of standard PCs plus the scanning equipment and any other specialized interface hardware needed. The communications facility consists of a polled network and will be based on dial-up lines from the head office to the individual stores. The stores have no requirement to communicate with each other.
At this point in time, consider yourself a consultant who has to bid for the software development piece of the project upon which this system is based. You will have access to several DSE employees to execute the various tasks that your project proposal will guide to a successful conclusion.
You have selected Microsoft Project as a software tool to assist in the development of your proposal.
Five major activities have been defined, each of which contains a number of tasks. The tasks have been defined such that each task requires only one resource. Since there is a limit to the number of resources available to the project, a resource will probably be assigned several tasks throughout the duration of the project. However, for best efficiency the team has decided that it is best to schedule the completion of one task before the next task is started by the same resource. Your project design has divided the work into sufficiently small increments that this strategy can be successfully applied. Since the software development is being done on standard platforms with standard operating environments and well-known development tools, there are no restrictions on the assignment of resources to tasks. This means that you can reassign tasks among your resource pool as required to make the most efficient schedule. From the information supplied by DSE (below) you have to develop a design for the project. Your next task is to transfer the entire design to Microsoft Project so that you can clearly establish a timeline for the project based on detailed planning and costs associated with your preferred choice including
resource utilisation. A concise business proposal including outputs from Microsoft Project will be required to make your case. Transaction processor
 User Interface – Driver code to display individual transaction data, including item name and price to both the customer and the operator. Richard – 3 days
 Peripheral Interface – Driver code to accept input data from the UPC scanner, scale and keyboard. Richard – 2 days
 Price Look-up – Inter-process communication to send item identification to the database and retrieve price information. Elizabeth – 3 days
 Order Control – Application code to accumulate item totals, accepting multiple quantities and calculating total price. This module also assigns items by tax category and maintains a total for each tax rate. Elizabeth – 10 days
 Payment Resolution – Application code to accept cash and debit transfers as payment for the order total. Note: Requires communications facilities with banking network. Harry – 4 days Transaction Resolution – Application code to update inventory, accumulate sales amounts, account for taxes collected by category. Harry – 5 days
 Receipt Printing – Application and driver code to print itemized receipt for cash sales and authorization form for debit transactions. Richard – 4 days
Price and inventory file
 Database Design – Schema design to include full description of each item and associated data to support price look-up and inventory management functions. Also includes tax rate by category and application of specific state tax rules. Sam – 5 days
 Database Access Library – Library applications that accept queries from the transaction processor and return data requested by the transaction. Includes inventory adjustment based on sale quantities. Jenny – 12 days
 Database Maintenance Library – Library applications that accept and apply price updates, add new items, change tax categories and update inventory status with new receipts. Ellie – 12 days
 Database Report Generation – Library applications that support database search for specific input criteria for product movement studies etc. Sam – 10 days
Inventory management
 Daily Status Report – Application code to search the database for all items that have been flagged as low stock status, sorted by supplier and displayed on a PC in the store manager’s office. Elizabeth – 5 days
 Item History Report – An interactive query transaction to display on the manager’s terminal the sales pattern for a selected item over the last two months. Jenny – 4 days
 Order Generation – Application code that accepts as input a specific item and returns the economic lot quantity and other pertinent vendor data. Also allow the manager to select and process an order to replenish stock. Harry – 7 days
 Order Communication – Application code that collects the decisions made in the Order Generation process and prepares an order for transmission to the head office. Harry – 3 days
 Receipt Processor – Application code that accepts input from the receiving dock via either scanner or keyboard to signal the receipt of stock. Richard – 3 days
 Inventory Update – Application code access the database library to update quantities in stock after receipt of shipments. Richard – 5 days
 Banking Network Interface – Driver code to initiate connection to local transaction switch and submit account and charge amount. Includes confirmation transaction and error recovery. Elizabeth – 7 days
 State Network Interface – Driver code to control incoming calls from the head office on the dial-up network. Handles automatic answer, message transfer in block mode and error recovery. Harry – 12 days
 Communications Command Interpreter – Application code to recognize incoming requests from the head office for various store performance reports. Jenny – 5 days
 Report Generator – Applications code to respond to a request from the communications interface to generate specific reports and return data as a file for sending to the state office in block mode. Each report is saved at the store and may be sent during the same communications session as the request or in a later session. Ellie – 10 days
 Help for Transaction Processor – Richard – 5 days,
 Help for Price and Inventory Modules – Jenny – 5 days
 Help for Inventory Management – Harry – 5 days
 Help for Communications – Ellie – 5 days
Alpha test
 This test is conducted by a resource obtained from the head office. The objective is to verify that all of the functions are operational and that the results of each transaction are accurate and reliable. Barry – 20 days
 Developer support is provided as follows: Richard – 5 days, Jenny – 7 days, Harry – 6 days, and Ellie – 5 days
Beta test
 This test is to be conducted by actual users in several of the retail outlets. No development resources are allocated to this test. The duration of the test is 60 days.
Start roll-out
 This milestone marks the completion of the project. The rate at which the product is actually installed and delivered to operating personnel depends on the availability of resources and plans from the individual stores. Each of these is the possible subject of a project plan.
Resource costs
Outside Contractors – Sam
Transfer pricing – other internal resources
Task You are required to present your project plan to the project sponsor that shows how you propose to implement this project. As a minimum you should provide your plan as a business report including typical plan components such as objectives and goals, risk assessment and other elements you feel are important to support this project, and required to obtain approval from the project sponsor.
You must also incorporate, as a minimum, the following specific project software outputs:
 project summary
 gantt chart
 cash flow/budget
 network diagram
 resource sheet, and
 any other content you feel is appropriate.
The assignment will be marked on the basis of the sponsor’s understanding of how you plan to complete this project in the most effective manner. This means value for money, timeframe, presentation, understanding of your approach and consistency and accuracy of the plan. As you prepare your report, don’t forget to format the software so that reports (eg. Gantt chart) are easy to read and can be handled (ideally on 1 page) as part of a meaningful project plan. You are presenting your plan to the project sponsor who needs to understand your project plan, have confidence in you as the project manager and have the appropriate supporting documentation to back up your approach.

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