HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
Learning Outcome 3
Present the project and communicate appropriate recommendations based on meaningful conclusions drawn from the evidence findings and/or analysis.
Performance Phase
This is where we look at the actual performance of the project – what has happened?
Key elements involved in terminating projects and conducting post-project appraisals
All projects need to be terminated whether they come to a successful conclusion or not. Sanghera (2010) suggests that there are completed projects and terminated projects.
Completed projects have met their completion criteria from the perspective of implementation (the project could still have ‘failed’ with regards to success criteria regarding outcomes). On completion of the project, there is a need to consider the projects aim – what it was going to deliver for the organisation and consider the extent to which it has been successful. To what extent has it helped the organisation achieve its objectives?
Terminated projects are those which are closed before the project has completed and can happen for a number of reasons including
 Resources have been exhausted
 The project is not going to be successful eg the quality criteria cannot be achieved
 The project needs to be postponed
 The project is no longer required perhaps due to external environment changes such as competitor activity
Project closure requires the Project Manager to formally close the project and also ensure that administration such as procurement and payment of suppliers is completed satisfactorily.
Closure of the project includes
 Ensuring activities have been accepted by the Project Sponsor
 Confirm that the project requirements have been met with regards to what the actual project was going to produce / provide (applicable success criteria have been met).
Initiation phase
Preparation Phase
Development Phase
Execution Phase
Performance Phase
Completion Phase 0
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
 Ensure any exit criteria have been met eg operating procedures if applicable have been provided
 Review of project to ensure that lessons learned are documented and shared
 Close procurement – ensure all invoices are paid, supplier disagreements etc are settled
And Wysocki (2009) suggests that a further important step is to ensure that successes are celebrated. The overall project could have been terminated or been a failure but that does not necessarily mean that those involved did not perform and so successes should be celebrated.
Project Appraisal
The post project appraisal or review of lessons learned is an important part of project management and an element which is often missed, especially if contractors have been used and their contracts have terminated because they were for the duration of the project only or personnel have been seconded from other departments to help with elements of the project. It could therefore be that project appraisals may need to be conducted as people leave the project in order that a review of that part of the process is undertaken and is then incorporated into the final project audit.
What else might the project appraisal include?
 Staff appraisals
 Risk registers along with details of what risks were realised and which were not
 Performance against timescale, budget, scope and quality
 Project organisation and structure including whether procedures were appropriate
 Other lessons learned which could include good suppliers for example
The Project Manager and team need to consider what went well from all phases of the project and where improvements could be made so that these recommendations can be incorporated into future projects.
The administration of project closure needs to be considered so that there is an appropriate audit trail for quality management and external project evaluation purposes.
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
The methods used to measure project performance
All findings/outcomes should be convincing and presented logically where the assumption is that the audience has little or no knowledge of the project process. All secondary and primary data should be critiqued and considered with an objective mindset.
Key milestones are often points where the project and progress is reviewed. How should reviews take place? Formal progress reports to be presented by project team, meetings with key people present? Who should update progress of the project? Should it be updated in between progress meetings or at progress review points? Many of these decisions will also depend on whether a manual or computerised project management process is being utilised and on the complexity of the project. How the purchase of a new photocopier for the office will be monitored will be very different to the adaptation of a production line for a new product range or a building extension to enable the administration office to expand.
Often at the key stages, the earned value of a project is calculated. This is where a value is assigned to the work which has been completed so far.
Planned Value (PV): This is the Budgeted Cost of Work Scheduled (BCWS). When you create a project schedule, you assign a Total Budgeted Cost (TBC) to each separate task. For long-term tasks, this cost may be spread out over multiple periods and may not always be linear, so the Earned Value Management Template lets you indicate the budgeted cost for each period and it calculates the TBC for each task. The Planned Value is the baseline that you will be comparing to.
Actual Cost (AC): The Actual Cost of Work Performed (ACWP) is the amount you have spent, including labor and materials and other costs. The Actual Cost alone does not tell you anything about how much work was actually completed, but it’s still a very critical number to report.
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
Earned Value (EV): This is the Budgeted Cost of Work Performed (BCWP), or in other words, the value of the work completed. The project manager must come up with rules for how to assign the value. In the Earned Value Management Template, the EV is calculated by multiplying the % Complete by the Total Budgeted Cost (TBC) for each task.
What is critical is that the project is evaluated to determine that it is to plan in terms of time, cost and quality. For example, at the first key milestone has that concluded when it was planned to conclude? Is the project still within budget? Are the deliverables of the quality originally specified? Does the scope of the project remain the same? If not, corrective action may need to be taken to rectify.
If the project has exceeded its time plan then the Project Manager may need to look at how to ensure the project will be brought in on time. This may require additional resources in terms of people but that is then likely to cost more.
Can more activities be undertaken at the same time? Here the network diagram which shows dependencies would need to be evaluated. If the budget has been exceeded what has been overspent? How can savings be made on future items? Would this have an impact on quality or on time? If quality has been impacted upon, consideration needs to be given as to how this might affect the scope of the project. For example, if building a house, if a lower grade plasterboard is used, this is unlikely to impact on the overall quality of the finished product. But, if foundations are not dug to the correct depth then this could impact on the whole building leaving it structurally unsafe and the project a failure. It could be that the scope of the project has changed, ie what the project includes. Here, consideration would need to be given as to whether this will require additional physical or financial resources and the impact that this would have on time and be confirmed to the project sponsor IF not already done so under a change control process.
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The time / cost / quality / scope is often referred to as the Iron Triangle
If you imagine moving any one corner to increase the amount of time devoted or cost for example, the angle for the remaining elements will change because all angles in a triangle add up to 180 degrees. In the diagram above of an equilateral triangle, all angles are the same at 60 degrees. Should the budget need to be increased, if we make that angle 90 degrees, then the scope and time need to narrow to 90 degrees between them. Sometimes, some elements of a project are fixed. Eg if an organisation is arranging a conference then that date could not be changed and so adjustments would need to be made to other elements such as the cost, the quality or what will be happening at the conference (scope) to ensure that the conference is delivered on time.
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The risk assessment needs to be reviewed. Have any of the risks identified been realised? If so, have the contingencies been effective? If not, what further action is needed? Have any further risks been identified which need to be managed? Can they be mitigated or not? If not, what impact could they have on the project in terms of cost, quality, time or scope?
On conclusion of the project a formal evaluation of the project, processes and outcomes is recommended. Often this is referred to as a Project Audit or Review.
In addition to considering how the project has performed in terms of time, cost and quality whether the project has met its intended original objectives – the scope – are also considered.
Scope – has the project delivered what it was intended to deliver? Often the project initiation document or specification is referred back to here. What had been advised the project would deliver? Be it increased sales, savings, improved safety in the workplace etc. If a quantitative assessment had been agreed at the start such as an increase in sales by a certain percentage, then there would be a check to see if the project had achieved that increase. If a qualitative assessment had been given such as making a works canteen look fresher, then the same qualitative subjective assessment would take place. Often, especially for more subjective measures, it is in the eyes of relevant stakeholders and so for freshening up a canteen, a number of personnel could be asked their opinion. Some projects such as the installation of new IT hardware might have numerous stakeholders – the IT dept, finance dept, individual managers and end users and so each of their opinions and feedback would need to be sought. Often, this would be through a sample basis.
The project and how it was planned and managed would also need to be reviewed. Starting right at the very start, how well was the project initiation document prepared? Did it give sufficient information for the Project Manager and Project Sponsor to finalise a project scope which was workable and achievable? Were the original estimates of time, cost and resources required reasonable when the project was planned out in detail? How well was the project planned? Did procedures for aspects such as quality control, health and safety, purchasing etc work effectively? Were there any issues of note which need to be recorded? This could include suppliers which the team were not satisfied with or even perhaps very satisfied with and wish to recommend for future projects and / or regular supplies to the organisation. Was the risk assessment sufficient? Was any risk mitigation effective? Were the contingencies which were planned sufficient?
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Ideally, all members of the project team should contribute to the project audit / review as well as stakeholders in the project so that a complete picture is obtained. If personnel are leaving and moving on to new projects before the completion of this project, then their feedback regarding relevant aspects should be sought before they leave.
How can the project be evaluated? Meetings with project team, surveys of stakeholders and project team, review of paperwork, review of actual versus planned performance at the key milestones, review of risk assessments and their updates, review of change requests made and decisions taken, completion of staff appraisals etc are all methods which can be used to evaluate the project once completed and to determine what learning may be required for future projects and to ensure that this learning happens.
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Project change control procedures, evaluate the completed project
Change as mentioned above, can cause havoc with project plans, budgets and resource requirements. Even a simple change alike changing a supplier for a specific material or colour of paint, if it is going to take longer to deliver or cost more will affect the time scale and / or the budget. Often though, requested changes are more significant. For example – how a new bespoke piece of software will operate or look, who is to be included within the training of a new piece of equipment, changing the speed at which a new machine can operate at or requesting that a new PC has the latest operating system now rather than the latest one when the project was agreed etc. Whilst these may seem like straight forward and simple changes to those requesting them, the impact is often not realised.
The diagram above shows a typical change control process. The change needs to be requested so that it can be considered. The Project Manager needs to consider the benefits of the change versus the costs and impact on the schedule. The Project Sponsor may need to be approached for a decision. If approved, then the anticipated impacts to the project schedule, quality and budget need to be formally integrated into the project plan so that monitoring takes place against the agreed change. As part of the change evaluation, in addition to the impact to the time, budget and quality elements, a risk assessment would need to be undertaken also. The change could bring additional risks; equally it could eliminate currently identified risks and could be considered an opportunity as opposed to a risk.
If changes are not incorporated into the project plan then when the completed project is evaluated against time, cost, quality and scope then differences could be noted and questioned. If the Project Manager is contracted to an organisation to produce an agreed specification which has not been adhered to, then ultimately they risk not being paid for the project.
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
Project Evaluation
Needs evaluation is typically used in project planning. This evaluation helps determine which project aspects or activities (e.g., use of technology) are most needed and for which population. Generally, this method is used to help develop new projects (e.g., introduction of technology) or justify existing project components (e.g., use of software).
Process evaluation explores the implementation process of a project. This approach is useful to evaluate the current processes of the project (e.g., training sessions in introducing new technological tools) and any improvements or changes that might be necessary.
Outcome evaluation (as above) is used to determine the overall effects or outcomes of the project in relation to the intended project objectives (e.g., improved learning caused by introduction of new technology). This method may not only provide whether the project objectives were met or not, but also any recommendations for improvement. As highlighted above, there are qualitative and quantitative measures which can be used to evaluate the project and it would need to be evaluated from all stakeholders perspectives including the project team. Often the original project scope is referred to determine whether the original intentions of the project have been met.
The project evaluation in terms of needs, process and outcome along with the evaluation of the performance of the project team in undertaking said project effectively are often referred to as ‘lessons learned’. Lessons learned need to be documented, ideally shared amongst stakeholders they are relevant to and ideally considered and incorporated into future projects which the organisation undertakes. For example, if a particular supplier proved to be unreliable, a note could be made in procurement / purchasing that they should not be used. If a particular person showed strengths in terms of communicating project expectations and impacts on stakeholders during implementation, it may be considered a good idea to allow that person to hold a similar role again in the future. It could be that the project team as a whole was weak with regards to negotiation skills and so appropriate training might need to be arranged. If the review concludes that the project would have benefited from using project management software to improve accuracy of plans then again, consideration could be given to that and training of appropriate people on software undertaken prior to the commencement of the next project. It could be that changes to processes and / or procedures might be required to improve the project team performance and project review could highlight issues such as this which are needed.
Needs Evaluation
Process Evaluation
Outcome Evaluation
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
The formal evaluation of the project and how it determined the Project Sponsor and stakeholder needs, how it undertook the implementation of the project and how well it delivered what was agreed up front is an important stage of project management, often overlooked, but instrumental in giving opportunity for process corrective action to be implemented before the next project commences.
This stage is also the moment in which a blueprint can be made of the project process, which can possibly be used as a manual for the next occasions.
The Marketing and Communication Track
After discussing the content aspects of a project and the organisation into the phases above, we now turn to a brief description of the marketing and communication track.
Every organisation, whether it is a permanent organisation or whether it works as a project organisation, satisfies the needs or solves the problems for other people or groups outside of the organisation. Every organisation’s right to exist, therefore, is anchored in its environment. To become attuned to the environment, organisations make use of (marketing) communication.
Communicate: Why, With Whom and About What?
An organisation needs to secure public support in its environment. On the foundation of that fact, an organisation can formulate its own mission statement. Through its mission statement the organisation can indicate what it represents and for whom it is important. Through the mission statement the organisation positions itself in its environment, i.e. the permanent organisation distinguishes itself from other companies and institutions, or the project distinguishes itself from other projects.
The mission and core value (of a project or a company) is the most essential part, or the core, of every organisation.
Communicative activities arise from the necessary adjustment of any organisation, hence also a project organisation, to its environment (which could include one’s own permanent organisation). It is therefore about external communication. Concerning this issue, there are great uncertainties at the start of a project. Is the project result indeed interesting enough and will it sell, what image will the environment have of the project and how will the environment respond to the project, what effect will the publicity have, etc.?
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In order to influence this, the communication will also have to be managed (guided). After a company or project has positioned itself with respect to content through a mission statement, the question can be posed: ‘Which perception or image do we want the environment and the client to have of our company or product (stressing the distinctive features and core values)?’ In other words, what is our image or the character of the company or project and how can we bring this image across? This is sometimes also referred to as image- positioning. For the communication function of a company or project the following questions are important: Do we know our client? What is the profile of the client or the target group, what does their purchasing and consumption behaviour look like? Is he satisfied with our product, with the pricing and with our service? Does our promotion of the company or product reach the potential client, and if not, which means can we put to use to improve this aspect? What is implicit in the communication function, moreover, is the need to take care of public relations (pr), and to be alert to opportunities and threats to one’s own organisation and products as a result of external developments.
This marketing and communication function, as mentioned before, applies to both the permanent and the project organisation.
There are several different mediums which can be used to communicate the outcomes of a project:
 Verbal – e.g. presentation / team meeting.
 Non Verbal – formal reporting – see guidance on report writing within Moodle.
The correct selection will be influenced by the project research and its intended audience.
Effective Project Team Meetings
Meetings have a central role in the management of a project. They can account for a significant amount of resource consumption and must be managed for results. The intended result should dictate the agenda, who needs to attend, and who just needs to be copied on the outcome.
Meetings have a multitude of purposes as listed below. Each requires different agendas and participants, and has expected outcomes unique to its purpose. Each requires a different style, ranging from consensus building to problem solving.
The checklist shown below can be used for most types of projects, in most business sectors – with
1. Review the checklist when creating your project’s overall communication plan.
2. Review the checklist with your team at an early project meeting and discuss how to most effectively run your meetings.
3. Update this checklist accordingly.
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4. Also review the checklist before key meetings and before meeting types that have not been done before or done often.
5. In addition, remember the importance of “soft skills” such as listening, conflict resolution, negotiating, obtaining buy-ins, heading off issues with pre-meeting triage meetings, engaging reluctant participants, and a myriad of other people skills.
6. If you are a new project manager or you want to improve on these skills, seek out coaching and training from mentors and successful peers.
Overall Success Factors
 Know the overall goal of the meeting within the sequence of work you’re trying to get done. Plan a workable sequence of activity with the right balance of off-line work vs. in-meeting work.
 Articulate the desired objectives and outcome of each meeting in concrete terms. At the end of the meeting you should be able to tell whether or not the objective was achieved.
 Invite the right people. Keep stakeholders informed on information such as issues, actions completed, etc. if they aren’t needed in the meeting.
 Get people properly prepared. Take responsibility for getting them materials, giving time for preparation, reminding them, etc.
 Use the right process and tools in meeting, e.g. brainstorming, use of flipcharts, etc. (You have to plan ahead for what will be effective. Don’t run the meeting by the seat of your pants!)
 Manage people during the meeting.
 Manage people, issues, and actions before and after the meeting. What happens before and after the meeting can be just as important to the overall objectives as what happens in the meeting itself.
Preparation: Determining the Purpose and Designing the Meeting
The overall objective of the meeting will determine what preparation is needed, what materials are needed at the meeting, whether you should use approaches like brainstorming, whether you will need a facilitator, etc. For instance, you don’t generally need a facilitator for information exchange but a facilitator is a really good idea for a decision-making meeting, where the conversation may be more free form and need some extra guidance.
1. To determine the objective, put this meeting in context.
 What has gone on before this meeting?
 What needs to happen at this meeting?
 What will happen after this meeting?
 Do we really need this meeting? Or should this work be done offline?
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2. Articulate the specific purpose of this meeting within the above context.
 Decisions this meeting should produce
 Buy-in this meeting should get
 Deliverables this meeting should produce
 Action plans this meeting should result in
3. Structure the meeting to match its purpose.
 Creation: Team creation of a project vision
 Planning: Action planning for resolution of a problem, planning of a project schedule
 Technical Review: Design reviews, documentation reviews, specification reviews
 Problem Analysis: Generate possible alternatives for solving a problem, analyze viability, prioritize possible solutions
 Decision-making: Based on previous analyses and investigations, reach a decision on an issue
 Presentation/Informational: Convey information to a group. Info transfer versus interactive
 Status: Share project status, discuss project issues
4. Determine who to invite.
 Who has pertinent information?
 Who has authority to act?
 Who has a stake in the outcome?
 Who has pertinent expertise?
 Who has functional responsibilities?
 What people are necessary to reach the goal?
 Who needs development in this area and could get some by attending as an observer?
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Effective Meeting Roles Role and Responsibility Checklist
The person who calls the meeting. Owns the content.
Will often need to participate in the discussions. Makes decisions.
The leader invests time in planning the meeting.
 Establish content and desired outcomes.
 Work with facilitator to determine meeting processes.
 Determine correct attendees, assign roles.
 Prepare/gather/distribute materials.
 Handle logistics.
 Issue an agenda.
 Kick off the meeting positively.
 Maintain the tone – respect always.
 Summarize points – make sure everyone has the same understanding.
Makes sure the group is using the most efficient methods for accomplishing their goals in the shortest period of time.
Responsible for all meeting procedures, to allow meeting leader to concentrate on content: discussion, issues, and decisions.
 Control the process but not content.
 Make sure success conditions are there, including buy-in and communication.
 Maintain direction, move the group toward conclusion.
 Maintain time limits on agenda items, take minority discussions off-line.
 Solicit input from quiet people; watch for suggestion squashing.
 Acknowledge competence, keep emotional level low; maintain the tone … respect always.
 Suggest adjournment if not enough information to continue, or serious disruptions or conflict.
 Ensure proper breaks are taken.
 Summarize points, get consensus, have minutes taken.
Documents action items, Key Decisions, Critical Issues, attendees; provides to leader for publishing.
 Capture necessary information without disrupting or slowing down the meeting.
 Capture information neutrally, objectively.
 Capture information with fidelity to preserve intent, details, clarity, and ultimate buy-in to decisions and actions.
Contributes expertise
Participates in discussions and decisions
 Contribute your information
 Keep it at the right level of detail for the goals of this meeting
 Discuss any major issues with leader before meeting
 Be positive. Be proactive: state your position.
 Listen. Contribute. Don’t interrupt. Stay on the subject.
 Don’t get personal. Acknowledge the competence of others.
 When convinced of a new position, say so.
 Help the group work together well. Possible roles:
o Harmonizer: Bring calm when things are tense. 0
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
o Motivator: help deal with frustration.
o Gatekeeper: helping silent people speak.
o Summarizer: help focus, clarity of progress.
Leader DON’TS While Running the Meeting
Don’t exercise too much “position power”
 Don’t over-control the meeting process.
 Don’t squash other participants by dominating the discussion. Be or use a separate facilitator & preserve neutrality when necessary to solicit group inputs, disagreements.
Adverse affects that can occur from leader over-dominance
 Ultimately will lose support for decisions if they were forced.
 Creates an “unsafe” environment where team members are frustrated and even afraid to contribute.
 Will result in low participation by team members.
 An ultimately in incomplete data and discussion, poor decisions, and team disharmony.
Other behavioral tips for a meeting leader
 Praise in public, criticize in private.
 Deal with problems quickly, directly, diplomatically.
 Watch your tone of voice!
 Periodically pause and ask or solicit input on progress.
 Adjourn the meeting and reconvene if needed.
Closing the Meeting
1. As the meeting progresses, get closure on each item.
2. At the end of the meeting, review all action items and:
– Ensure there is a single assigned responsible owner for each action.
– Ensure the owner has committed to an established completion date.
– NOTE: If action is required from a non-attendee, seek their commitment before publishing minutes OR note alongside the item they have not been consulted as of publication. The action item remains yours until accepted.
3. Give a final summation of the meeting results.
4. Discuss the need for any follow up meetings and schedule if possible.
5. Leave on an upbeat, energized note.
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Meeting Follow Up
1. Publish minutes promptly.
2. Congratulate contributors – thank them for their efforts, energy, participation.
3. Do not ignore warning signs of team trouble that may have surfaced in the meeting.
4. Check on action item work progress to commitment.
5. Seek feedback and coaching on your meeting management skills as necessary.
6. Focus on growing the meeting skills of all your team members.
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Charts and Graphs
Choosing the right format
“A picture is worth a thousand words.” This is certainly true when you’re presenting and explaining data. You can provide tables setting out the figures, and you can talk about numbers, percentages, and relationships forever. However, the chances are that your point will be lost if you rely on these alone. Put up a graph or a chart, and suddenly everything you’re saying makes sense!
Graphs or charts help people understand data quickly. Whether you want to make a comparison, show a relationship, or highlight a trend, they help your audience “see” what you are talking about.
The trouble is there are so many different types of charts and graphs that it’s difficult to know which one to choose. Click on the chart option in your spreadsheet program and you’re presented with many styles. They all look smart, but which one is appropriate for the data you’ve collected?
Can you use a bar graph to show a trend? Is a line graph appropriate for sales data? When do you use a pie chart? The spreadsheet will chart anything you tell it to, whether the end result makes sense or not. It just takes its orders and executes them!
To figure out what orders to give, you need to have a good understanding of the mechanics of charts, graphs and diagrams. We’ll show you the basics using four very common graph types:
 Line graph
 Bar graph
 Pie chart
 Venn diagram
First we’ll start with some basics.
X and Y Axes – Which is Which?
To create most charts or graphs, excluding pie charts, you typically use data that is plotted in two dimensions, as shown in Figure 1.
 The horizontal dimension is the x-axis.
 The vertical dimension is the y-axis.
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When you come to plot data, the known value goes on the x-axis and the measured (or “unknown”) value on the y-axis. For example, if you were to plot the measured average temperature for a number of months, you’d set up axes as shown in Figure 2:
The next issue you face is deciding what type of graph to use.
To remember which axis is which, think of the x-axis as going along the corridor and the y-axis as going up the stairs. The letter “a” comes before “u” in the alphabet just as “x” comes before “y”.
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Line Graphs
One of the most common graphs you will encounter is a line graph. Line graphs simply use a line to connect the data points that you plot. They are most useful for showing trends, and for identifying whether two variables relate to (or “correlate with”) one another.
Trend data:
 How do sales vary from month to month?
 How does engine performance change as its temperature increases?
 On average, how much sleep do people get, based on their age?
 Does the distance a child lives from school affect how frequently he or she is late?
You can only use line graphs when the variable plotted along the x-axis is continuous – for example, time, temperature or distance.
ABC Enterprises’ sales vary throughout the year. By plotting sales figures on a line graph, as shown in Figure 3 , it’s easy to see the main fluctuations during the course of a year. Here, sales drop off during the summer months, and around New Year.
While some seasonal variation may be unavoidable in the line of business ABC Enterprises is in, it may be possible to boost cash flows during the low periods through marketing activity and special offers.
When the y-axis indicates a quantity or percent and the x-axis represents units of time, the line graph is often referred to as a time series graph.
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Line graphs can also depict multiple series. In this example you might have different trend lines for different product categories or store locations, as shown in Figure 4 below. It’s easy to compare trends when they’re represented on the same graph.
Bar Graphs
Another type of graph that shows relationships between different data series is the bar graph. Here the height of the bar represents the measured value or frequency: The higher or longer the bar, the greater the value.
ABC Enterprises sells three different models of its main product, the Alpha, the Platinum, and the Deluxe. By plotting the sales each model over a three year period, it becomes easy to see trends that might be masked by a simple analysis of the figures themselves. In Figure 5, you can see that, although the Deluxe is the highest-selling of the three, its sales have dropped off over the three year period, while sales of the other two have continued to grow. Perhaps the Deluxe is becoming outdated and needs to be replaced with a new model? Or perhaps it’s suffering from stiffer competition than the other two?
Of course, you could also represent this data on a multiple series line graph as
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shown in Figure 6.
Often the choice comes down to how easy the trend is to spot. In this example the line graph actually works better than the bar graph, but this might not be the case if the chart had to show data for 20 models rather than just three. It’s worth noting, though, that if you can use a line graph for your data you can often use a bar graph just as well.
The opposite is not always true. When your x-axis variables represent discontinuous data (such as different products or sales territories), you can only use a bar graph.
In general, line graphs are used to demonstrate data that is related on a continuous scale, whereas bar graphs are used to demonstrate discontinuous data.
Data can also be represented on a horizontal bar graph as shown in Figure 7. This is often the preferred method when you need more room to describe the measured variable. It can be written on the side of the graph rather than squashed underneath the x-axis.
A bar graph is not the same as a histogram. On a histogram, the width of the bar varies according to the range of the x-axis variable (for example, 0-2, 3-10, 11-20, 20-40 and so on) and the area of the column indicates the frequency of the data. With a bar graph, it is only the height of the bar that matters.
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Pie Charts
A pie chart compares parts to a whole. As such it shows a percentage distribution. The entire pie represents the total data set and each segment of the pie is a particular category within the whole.
So, to use a pie chart, the data you are measuring must depict a ratio or percentage relationship. You must always use the same unit of measure within a pie chart. Otherwise your numbers will mean nothing.
The pie chart in Figure 8 shows where ABC Enterprise’s sales come from.
Venn Diagram
The last graph we will cover here is the Venn diagram. Devised by the mathematician John Venn in 1881, this is a diagram used to show overlaps between sets of data.
Tip 1:
Be careful not to use too many segments in your pie chart. More than about six and it gets far too crowded. Here it is better to use a bar chart instead.
Tip 2:
If you want to emphasize one of the segments, you can detach it a bit from the main pie. This visual separation makes it stand out.
Tip 3:
For all their obvious usefulness, pie charts do have limitations, and can be misleading. Click here for a thoughtful argument against use of pie charts. (Thanks to Anne Chappuis for the reference.)
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
Each set is represented by a circle. The degree of overlap between the sets is depicted by the overlap between circles.
Figure 9 shows sales at Perfect Printing. There are three product lines: stationery printing, newsletter printing, and customised promotional items such as mugs.
By separating out the proportions of the business’ customers that buy each type of product, it becomes clear that the majority of the biggest group of customers (55% of the total) – those who have their company stationery printed – are only using Perfect Printing for stationery. It’s possible that they don’t realise that Perfect Printing could also print their company newsletters and promotional items. As a result, Perfect Printing should consider designing some marketing activity to promote these product lines to its stationery customers.
Customers who get their newsletters printed by Perfect Printing, on the other hand, seem to be well aware that the company also offers stationery printing and promotional items.
A Venn diagram is a great choice to use when you are trying to convey the amount of commonality or difference between distinct groups.
Key Points:
There are many chart and diagram formats you can choose from when representing information graphically. Selecting the right type starts with a good understanding of how each is created.
When you are clear about the specific sort of data the main types can be used to represent, you will be much more comfortable using the different types of chart in your analysis. This will add great value and improve the clarity and effectiveness of your communication.
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
The Control-Oriented Track
The control-oriented track is concerned with the six control aspects, namely Quality, Organisation, Facilities, Time, Information and Money.
Carrying out of projects is often accompanied by great uncertainties. Many questions cannot be answered at the start of a project. How much is the project going to cost? How much profit will we make? Is the project feasible? How will it be funded? Are the necessary people and means available (on time)? Will the project be completed on time? Is there a suitable venue? Will we be able to achieve the quality demanded?
The control cycle
The principle of controlling something, whether it involves money, time, or something else is simple. Just as in the development process, for example, of a building or an event, the control process is cyclical. A number of steps can be distinguished in this cyclical process, as shown here:
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
Below the steps in the figure above are described briefly.
 Planning: this entails the points of departure or standards that are established Step 1a at the beginning of the control process, for each of the six control aspects mentioned, for example in the form of a control aspect budget, or a deadline (Control Aspect Time), all of this possibly including the necessary margins.
 Actual Realisation: during the activities of the ongoing project, time is expended
Step lb money is spent, quality is achieved, teams are formed, etc.
 Progress Check: in this case the measurable facts are monitored. This check proceeds step 1c with the use of the norms, points of departure and preconditions which were established earlier in Step 1. Planning which has been used as a gauge. When deviations are detected in regard to one or more of the control aspects an analysis will have to be made to find out what the cause is. On the basis of these conclusions, a decision will have to be made as to whether the execution needs to be adjusted or the planning needs to be adapted.
 Comparing: that is that during and after the completion of each phase step 1d receipts that have been obtained up until now in regard to the control aspects are checked. In this way the progress of the work can be monitored (Control Aspect Time), but also the process of costs and profits should be closely checked (Control Aspect Finance) and the cooperation should regularly be evaluated (Control Aspect Organisation).
 Making Adjustments: this involves adjusting the norms and preconditions Step 2a which were established during the first step Planning (Step 1). This could entail, for example, that cuts in the budget will have to be made, or that the deadline will have to be extended in the time schedule or the quality norms will need to be adjusted.
 Steering: it might be decided to maintain the norms, but to steer how the project is carried out. It might also be decided, for example, to hire more people in order to meet still the deadline that was originally set.
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The six control aspects
At the beginning of the project, it should be agreed who will be authorised to adjust the standards and/or to make the actual adjustments at the various levels. In many cases, those who have been given this responsibility will report to the project leader.
It will have become clear that the six control aspects are linked very closely to one another and when monitoring and steering one of the control aspects, the consequences for all of the others aspects will need to be checked. If, for example a deadline threatens to not be met (Control Aspect Time), it can be decided to hire more people (Control Aspect Organisation), which however can have consequences on the budget (Control Aspect Money). In addition, it might also be decided to solve the timing problem by making a concession in regard to for instance, the level of performance (Control Aspect Quality).
None of the six control aspects can stand alone.
Below the control objective is described for each controlling aspect. Quality control is intended to make sure that:
 The quality level of the product or result being developed can be controlled intermediately, for instance by establishing quality norms or quality procedures, at the start of the project, for the assessment of the quality.
 All project activities are executed in accordance with the objective.
 The quality of the end product lives up to the quality standards set by the customer/client, possibly through intermediate adjustment.
 The necessary manpower and means are available.
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
Organisational Control is intended to make sure that:
 Everyone knows in each phase what his or her tasks, responsibilities and powers are, for instance by establishing the organisational set-up of the project. Often it is necessary to adjust the set-up of the project organisation for each phase, because new disciplines are constantly added or dropped; especially when many volunteers are used, and there is a high turnover.
 The communication and cooperation between the people connected with the project runs smoothly, for instance by setting up a proper structure for consultation.
 The product of the project can be turned over to the initiator, user, or client; this refers to for instance the organisation of the premiere of a stage or film production, the opening of a fair or exhibition, or the completion of a (building) project.
 The personal leadership of the project leader is effective.
Control of facilities is intended to make sure that:
 The standards for the facilities are clearly formulated.
 There will be a venue or location available on time, which lives up to the standards formulated, including the necessary connections, permits, insurances, etc.
 All the other facilities necessary for the realisation of the project result are available on time, for instance technical equipment, catering, surveillance, cleaning, transport and waste collection. For this necessary inventories are made, quotes are requested, and contracts are looked into.
 The relevant legal preconditions are charted (think, for instance, of copyright etc.).
 The necessary permits are available on time and all the legal conditions have been met (take, for example, a licence to sell spirits, a licence that complies to Safety Measures, etc.).
 All the necessary financial means and manpower is available.
Time control is intended to make sure that:
 The progress of project activities are monitored, for instance by time planning, scripts and ‘to do’ lists and by regularly holding meetings about the progress.
 The project result can be delivered on time or can function on time, possibly through intermediate adjustment.
 The necessary capabilities (people, money, space, and means) are available.
HNC HND Business Unit 6 – Managing a Successful Business Project Learning Outcome 3
Information control is intended to make sure that:
 The correct project information is at the right place, at the right time.
 The project activities are executed in an unambiguous manner and the project result is always formulated unambiguously.
 Guidelines are formulated for internal project information. Among other things, these serve to record the intermediate results of the project coherently in reports and to approve of decision documents according to previously made arrangements.
 The decisive documents, reports of meetings and other carriers of information are available at the right time and at the place and that it is always clear which ones are most up to date.
 The distribution of the information carriers has been arranged. The internet provides possibilities to streamline the internal dissemination of information.
 It is clear by whom and in which way documents can be changed.
 The necessary legal documents (think of contracts/terms of delivery/legal procedures and regulations etc.) are drawn up.
 In complex projects the enormous quantities of information are effectively managed. The need for (central) distribution of, among other things, reports, guidelines, frameworks, norms, procedures, checklists and plans, is often expressed by a cluttered pile of paperwork.
Financial control is intended to make sure that:
 An estimate of the expenses of the project is transformed into a budget.
 The development of the expenses during the process can be monitored, by making a new budget after every phase and by setting up budgetary control systems.
 The expenses of the project will remain within the budget and/or supplementary financing is organised, possibly through intermediate adjustment.
 The planned revenue/financing for the covering of the expenses of the project is reached.
 The planned level of output of the end product is reached (if so desired).
The Decision-Making Track
The end of each phase of a project is marked by a moment of decision. At every moment of decision, depending on the situation, a decision document can be drawn up as the result of the phase in question.
It should be clear that when the decision to proceed to the next phase can be taken by the project team itself, less attention has to be paid to the writing of a decision document, than when the decision has to be made by the board or an external client.
For each decisive moment a decision document
The three real decision documents are respectively, the initiative report (also referred to as the project proposal), the project plan, the production programme (also referred to as the performance programme). At the end of the production phase, there is still the operational programme to be set up and then to wrap up the project an evaluation report is also made, including the financial closing statement.
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Each decision document consists of five parts
 Part one contains the core data of the project.
 Part two provides a description of the product of the project, as far as it has been developed at that moment (project content). As the project draws near to completion, the description will become more concrete.
 The third part is a description of the project trajectory and the project approach, which includes all the activities that still need to be undertaken to realise the product. For the next phase the description is detailed, but for later phases it is more general. In the production phase of for instance a festival, this description can take the form of a scenario.
 In the fourth part, this is followed by a description of the communicative plans as they have developed up to that point and of the communicative activities that still needs to be completed. These are also detailed for the next phase, but they are more general in the next phases. It involves not only all of the public-oriented and client-oriented activities, but also the activities aimed at sponsors, funds and subsidisers.
 In the fifth and last part, the control plans are presented for each of the control aspects Quality, Organisation, Facilities, Time, Information and Money. In these control plans, for each control aspect a standard is provided for the next phase. For instance, for the aspect of time a time schedule is given, for the aspect of money an approved estimate or budget is included, and for the aspect of organisation, the organisation chart or the assignment of tasks is shown. Here, also, everything is worked out in detail for the next phase, and more general descriptions follow for the next phases. Next to the standard for each controlling aspect, the control activities are described that still need to be undertaken in the control plans. Thus, it will have to be made clear who (in what way, with which frequency, and with what means) is responsible for checking the progress and who is entitled to make the actual adjustments.
Often, after each phase, the interim phase result is sent to the client. This is often the board of directors of one’s own company, but it can also be an external client.
Sometimes, the client delegates the authority to the project leader to make the decision himself, at the end of a phase and within agreed upon parameters, on whether or not to proceed. The arrangement could be, for instance, that feedback will only be submitted when the set margins are exceeded, or only just before the production phase sets in.
This is sometimes referred to as the ‘go/no-go’ moment, because it is the last moment that the project can be stopped without major consequences.
These are agreements that have to be explicitly stated in the briefing of the project to avoid misunderstandings.
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If the project leader himself determines whether or not the project will proceed to the next phase, there will be less of a decision moment during the transition to the next phase. In that case the phases will succeed each other more naturally.
Overview of Event Project Management Process
Maylor, 2012, Project Management, 4th ed, Prentice Hall, Harlow Northouse, 2010, Leadership, 5th ed, Sage Publications, London Project Smart, 2015, available online at
Sanghera, 2010, PMP In Depth, 2nd ed, Cengage Learning Wysocki, 2010, Effective Project Management, 7th ed, Wiley