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Project Management Of IT Projects

Although computer systems have been employed since the 1970s in significant applications military, civil, government, finance, business and so on, unlike any other engineering discipline the success rate of ICT projects remains unacceptably low. Describe and discuss why ICT projects fail and what measures can be taken to improve the chance of success.

ICT Project is the development and forward of an ICT system where as an ICT system is a combination of computer hardware, software, input and output, activity data or information and the personal that have to use it.

ICT Projects can bring changes and improve organizational activities. Business and processes can become more effective and efficient by the use of information and communication technology (ICT) systems as in case with engineering discipline but unfortunately successful applicants in other field like military, civil, government is still questionable even they are employed there since very long.

Performance evaluation of the project can also direct the determination of victory or malfunction of an ICT project. Also such evaluations cannot be justified as good or bad without the successful execution of such project.

The core value of any of the ICT projects can be accomplished to figure out its capability to support the organization in finding right result to its troubles. The adaptability of ICT system and its overheads can only be logical if there are benefits accruing to it. Few of the benefits can be listed as below:

Escalating capacity of system

Efficient access to data

Improved efficiency and outputs

Transparency & Simplicity

Lessening of Cost

Quality Service

Enhanced and effective decision making

FAILURE OF ICT PROJECTS:

Regardless of the successful stories of ICT projects around the world, studies have proved high speed of ICT Project failure. These failure can be either project stakeholder expectations or correspondence failure where the project failed to meet the specified objectives such as enhancing efficiency, upgrading in resource utilization, superior output etc. It can be process failure which refers to plan overruns, resources blowouts and it may be interaction failure where new system may be or was used shortly and then terminate or occasionally used or not used at all. Although benefits of ICT cannot be disputed but there are several issues and points about its achievements as well as the approach in its implementation. Triumph of any project can be evaluated or measured on different factors but success of information and communication technology (ICT) project depends upon timely completion within budget, trustworthiness (bug-free), user friendliness, easy inexpensive alteration and maintenance in addition that it must meet specifications, goals and satisfaction of users.

In order to understand the extent of ICT failure, we need to categorized failures related to information systems which can be technical breakdown, project collapse, organizational crash, environmental breakdown, developmental stoppage and user disappointment

ICT failure can be categorized depending upon the degree of its achievement or usage. It can be total failure where initially the ICT was never implemented or in which a new system was put into action but immediately discarded. It can be considered as partial failure as major goals are unattained or in which there are major unwanted results. There is another class of sustainability failure where an initial implementation was first succeeded but is then neglected after a year or so.

REASONS FOR FAILURE OF ICT PROJECTS:

The failure factors which prevent smooth execution of ICT projects can either be Infrastructure, finance, poor data system, lack of compatibility, skilled personnel, leadership styles, culture, bureaucracy and attitudes There are certain factors which may not prevent the execution or implementation of projects and can the hinder system advancement and its sustainability. Among them are User needs, Technology, Coordination, ICT policy, and Donor pressure.

There can be a number of reasons, which require a detailed and careful review to fully identify. ICT projects are often too ambitious and too complex because of the combination of the political, organizational and technical factors lacking top management prop up, insufficient resources of project, lack of user input, poor project management, design problems, scarce training, unsuitable technologies, and many more including incomplete requirements, changing requirements, technology Incompetence, unrealistic expectation. Therefore Projects run into problems, they get far more expensive than budgeted, need more time than planned or do not deliver the intended results. Unfortunately, project failures can also be related to lack of post-mortem probes across all sectors (private and public). Organizations are neither interested to achieve organizational erudition for themselves nor are they allocate their difficult experiences with others.

Vision without substance and a budget without vision are two sorts of planning. Problems encountered encase of vision without substance are ambiguity of future vision, lack of organizational vision, current position and time. Budget without vision arises questions as to what problem is being solved, priorities and definition of the roles and responsibilities.

Poor Project planning in organizations are due to lack of risk management, business systems are not utilized and understood completely and also lack of concern & involvement from management.

MEASURES FOR THE SUCCESS OF ICT PROJECT:

Success or failure of any ICT project can be measured by identifying institution “where we they are now” and “where the new project is taking them”. Success factors are those whose presence or absence establish the success of an ICT project. They can be drivers or enabler. Some of these are vision and strategy, stakeholders support, external pressure and cooperation, consumer expectations, technological alteration, upgrading, and globalization in addition to efficient project coordination and good practices.

Degree of change is proportionally related to risk of project success. Bigger change might produces bigger organizational improvement at the cost of big risk of project disaster whereas small change might promise less degree of change at the price of less project risk. Thus we can say that there is a trade-off between threat and transformation.

ICT projects can be designed according to models of engineering and managerial concepts. Drafting of complex technical systems in much more perplex social surroundings through development of local knowledge base systems can lead to avoid failures.

Review by local sections and organizations to determine the extent of ICT failures can also be very useful and productive approach. These experts can make conclusive and detailed analysis and they can point out flaws and make recommendation for the improvement of ICT projects. Reports and lesson learnt should be available to other practitioners in other organizations for betterment of their projects.

Division of the project in smaller groups and controlling subsidiary projects is better approach as changes during the project are sometimes or often unavoidable and difficult to manage.

Information systems qualities which are achieved via efficient ICT projects affect the perceived benefits. An ICT project implementation can be considered successful if the perceived benefits are determined and understood. ICT services quality can be reviewed after vigilant assessment of the infrastructure to establish technical functionality. For instance with reference to networking different departments, the point to check is whether it may be has been achieved successfully or not. This in turn will involve a technical and user assessment of the efficient communication systems. Generation of information can be assessed to determine efficiency of Information system quality for budgeting purposes, the question might be whether the information system can generate exact and timely financial information and data or not.

Perceived benefits are the end products that can be used to judge the success of the whole system. If the perceived benefits like easier communication, networking, and system integration, timely, relevant, complete and useful information are not realized, then the system will be perceived to have failed. Attributes of each component are shown for clarity and focus.

A familiar maxim says, ‘if you cannot plan it, you do not do it’. Another maxim says, ‘I never planned to fail, I just failed to plan’. Project planning begins as soon as project planning activities determine the organization’s strategy and identifies the ICT projects. Under the few limitations, project plans evolve with the lifecycle. These limitations are time and money so each project should have a define deadline and a tight budget. Planning as a tool can be helpful in minimizing waste by classifying the pre-requites conditions for successful ICT implementation rather than rushing into a complex strategy. ICT needs careful planning, communication and coordination prior to implementation instead wise trial and error methods.

Clarify goals, targets and objectives shall be established. These goals may form major role in planning process and ultimately help in the successful implementation of ICT projects.

ANALYSIS

Improvement in the ability of those involved in the design, execution and management of IT related projects shall be enhanced to solve and tackle specific contextual attributes of the institute, division, country or location where such ICT projects will be implemented.

Strategy and support are the core areas which lead to success of any ICT project and at the same time finance and lack of fund in addition to weak infrastructure leads to failure of such projects.

Maximum benefits and output of ICT implementation can be achieved if there are no failure factors but it’s not possible but framework can be developed for the maximum output. This framework must cover and identify themes, prioritize activities develop program of action, categorize target groups and in the final stage implement solutions

ICT projects must be streamlined and established while focusing following approaches.

Never underestimate complex environment where ICT program evolves.

Get maximum output and benefits for the target group

Staff shall be re-skilled to cop up with changes

Identification and utilization of new technologies

How institute processes will fit in technology

Strong and supportive program management

Don’t underestimate the total cost of ICT project.

Part B

COMP1592 Organisation and Project Management

Tutorial for Week 1.5 – Introduction to ICT Project Management

Upload your answers in Week 1.6

List the problems you experienced when you carried out a recent assignment. Try to put these problems into some order of magnitude. For each problem consider whether there was some way in which the problem could have been reduced by better organisation and planning by you.

Risk management

Team management

Team collaboration

Schedule

Project plan was impractical

Identify the main types of personnel employed in an ICT department. For each stage of a typical ICT development project, list the types of personnel who are likely to be involved.

Business Analyst (who gathers requirements from client)

System Analyst (based on the requirements, design the software)

Solution Architect (application is designed on the basis of technical specification)

Software Developers (who develops the software)

Database developers (design and maintaining of DB)

Quality Team (who tests the developed software)

Configuration manager

A public library is considering the implementation of a computer-based system to help administer book loans at libraries. Identify the stakeholders in such a project. What might be the objectives of such a project and how might the success of the project be measured in practical terms?

Stakeholders

Following are the stakeholders for computer based library system:

Librarian

Library Staff

Administrator/ Technical Board

Book Suppliers/ Volunteers

Partner Universities

Friends of the Library (Providing funds and assistance to Library)

Educators/ Trainers (train the usage of the system)

Software House or company developing the computer based system

Library Users (those who lend the books)

Objectives

Cataloguing (classification and indexing books)

Compilation of books and the stuff

Control of books circulation

Track users

Efficiently confirm the availability of books

Automate the library loan system and make it computer based

System will be fully authenticated as it will be solely based on computer

Issue and return dates will be catered by the system which will ensure that no preference is given to any public user in case of late return.

Automation and authentication will be achieved.

Record of all the books will be managed and kept up to date

Success of the project:

Success of the project will be measured on the following parameters:

Productive system usage

System efficiency

Gradual rise in users will predict the success

Ease and comfort for public

Reduction of staff

Confidence of stakeholders on the system

Authentication and automation is an important factor

Authentication i.e. more authenticated the system is more will be its progress

4. A software house has developed a customised order processing system for a client. You are an employee of the software house that has been asked to organize a training course for the end-users of the system. At present, a user handbook has been produced, but no specific training material. A plan is now needed for the project which will set up the delivery of the training courses. The project can be assumed to have been completed when the first training course starts. Among the things that will need to be considered are the following:

Training materials will need to be designed and created;

A timetable will need to be drafted and agreed;

Date(s) for the course will need to be arranged;

The people attending the course will need to be identified and notified;

Rooms and computer facilities for the course will need to be provided for.

A. Identify the main stakeholders for this project;

Software House

Software developers

Trainers

End users/ Client

Customers of client (must not be an end user)

B. Draw up a statement of the objectives for this project;

Evaluation, planning and business handling in an efficient manner.

Identify and develop connections between sales, planning and purchasing (by using tools such as flow charts and activity diagrams)

Create business to business environment by creating link with customers.

Encourage staff input to identify problems and solutions.

Handling customer’s feedback.

C. for the objectives, identify the measures of effectiveness;

Evaluation, planning and business handling: efficient report generation and boost the business.

Identify and develop connections between sales, planning and purchasing: by comparison with previous records

Create business to business environment by creating link with customers: gradual rise of customers

Encourage staff input to identify problems and solutions: system improvement and staff satisfaction.

Handling customers feedback: customers satisfaction

D. For each objective, identify relevant sub-objectives or goals and who would be responsible for each of them

Evaluation, planning and business handling: company management is the goal and sales team is responsible.

Identify and develop connections between sales, planning and purchasing: sales team is responsible

Create business to business environment by creating link with customers: sales team is responsible.

Encourage staff input to identify problems and solutions: Human Resource department is responsible.

Handling customer’s feedback: Quality assurance department is responsible.

Organisation and Project Management

Tutorial for Week 1.6 – Introduction to Database Design

Upload your answers in Week 1.7

A company providing photo storage on the web needs a database to support the website. Visitors to the site can register by providing personal details including their email address, username and password. Once registered the user can create photograph albums into which they can upload their photographs (stored as files on the company server) along with a suitable caption and description. Users can add as many tags as they need to each one of their albums and their photos in order to classify them and enable meaningful searches. Design a database schema that fulfils these requirements.

visitor

username

password

Email address

Photograph

album

Album ID

name

caption

description

tags

photograph

photographID

name

tags

Username is foreign key in photograph album and albumID is foreign key in photograph

Convert your logical schema from question 1 into a physical schema identifying each attribute data type.

visitor

Username

Password

Email

address

Photograph

album

albumID

Name

Caption

Description

Tags

Photograph

photographID

Name

tags

A visitor has multiple photo albums i.e. 1-n relationship between visitor and photo album

A photo album has multiple photographs in it i.e. 1-n relationship between photo album and photograph

Write SQL statements which will implement the physical schema you created in question 2. Create some INSERT statements which will populate your tables with example data.

INSERT INTO `photograph` (`photographID`, `caption`, `tags`) VALUES

(‘photo1’, ‘caption1’, ‘tag1’),

(‘photo2’, ‘caption2’, ‘tag2’);

INSERT INTO `photographalbum` (`albumID`, `name`, `caption`, `description`, `tags`) VALUES

(‘album1’, ‘name1’, ‘caption1’, ‘description1’, ‘tag1’),

(‘album2’, ‘name2’, ‘caption2’, ‘description2’, ‘tag2’);

INSERT INTO `visitor` (`username`, `password`, `emailAddress`) VALUES

(‘visitor1’, ‘12345’, ‘[email protected]’),

(‘visitor2’, ‘12345’, ‘[email protected]’);

Using either the MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server database servers provided by the school implement your database using the SQL statements you created in question 3.

SET SQL_MODE=”NO_AUTO_VALUE_ON_ZERO”;

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `photograph` (

`photographID` varchar(30) NOT NULL DEFAULT ”,

`caption` varchar(30) NOT NULL,

`tags` varchar(30) NOT NULL,

PRIMARY KEY (`photographID`)

) ENGINE=MyISAM DEFAULT CHARSET=latin1;

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `photographalbum` (

`albumID` varchar(30) NOT NULL DEFAULT ”,

`name` varchar(30) NOT NULL,

`caption` varchar(30) NOT NULL,

`description` varchar(30) NOT NULL,

`tags` varchar(30) NOT NULL,

PRIMARY KEY (`albumID`)

) ENGINE=MyISAM DEFAULT CHARSET=latin1;

CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS `visitor` (

`username` varchar(30) NOT NULL DEFAULT ”,

`password` varchar(30) DEFAULT NULL,

`emailAddress` varchar(30) DEFAULT NULL,

PRIMARY KEY (`username`)

) ENGINE=MyISAM DEFAULT CHARSET=latin1;

Write a SELECT statement which will output all of the filenames in an album with a tag matching ‘punk’ created by a person called ‘Leibovitz’.

COMP1592 Organisation and Project Management

Tutorial for Week 1.7 – Critical Thinking

Upload your answers in Week 1.8

For each of the following questions you must explain your strategy and approach to answering the question. Simply providing an answer is not sufficient.

1. In these designs there is a particular shape and a particular colour such that any of the designs which has one, and only one, of these features is called a PHOG.

If the Blue Diamond is a PHOG, could any of these other designs be a PHOG?

Answer: Since Blue Diamond is a PHOG, it means that the particular shape is “Diamond” or the particular colour is “Blue”. Based on this observation, we can say that “Red Diamond” (because it has the shape but not colour) or “Blue Circle” (because it has the colour but not shape) are PHOGs.

2. Which of the hidden parts of these cards do you NEED to see in order to answer the following question decisively?

For these cards is it true that if there is a circle on the left there is a circle on the right?

If above is ordering of respective cards, we should check Card-A and Card-D. For Card-A, if there is a circle on the right side and for Card-D, there is no circle on the left side, we can conclude that: “If there is a circle on the left there is a circle on the right.”

It is useless to check Card-B, because even if there is a circle or not, it shall not affect the conclusion drawn. Similarly for Card-C, if there is a circle on left side, our conclusion shall be justified. And if there is no circle on the left side, it shall not affect the conclusion.

3. There is a truth teller (always tells the truth), a liar (always lies), and one who sometimes answers truthfully and sometimes lies. Each person knows who is who. You may ask three yes or no questions to determine who is who. Each time you ask a question, it must only be directed to one of the people. You may ask the same question more than once, but of course it will count towards your total.

What are your questions and to whom will you ask them?

Answer: Let us call them TT, AL and TL to symbolize. All of them shall say NO if they are asked if they are a Liar so: Ask TT: If I ask AL if he is a Liar, what would his answer be? If he says YES, TT is a Liar. If he says NO TT, is a Truth Teller. Then ask AL: If I ask TL if he is a Liar, what would his answer be? If he says YES, AL is a Liar. If he says NO, AL is a Truth Teller.

And then ask TL: If I asked TT if he is a Liar, what would his answer be? If he says YES, TL is a Liar. If he says NO, TL is a Truth Teller

4. Three boxes are all labeled incorrectly, and you must get the labels right. The labels on the boxes read as follows:

[Box 1] buttons [Box 2] coins [Box 3] coins and buttons

To gain the information you need to move the labels to the correct boxes, you may remove a single item from one of the boxes. You may not look into the boxes, nor pick them up and shake them, etc.

Answer: Since all labels are marked incorrectly, we know that the Box 3 marked with [Coins or Buttons] has any one of the two items and not both. Remove the label from this Box 3, pick one item from this Box 3 (it must be a coin or a button), remove the respective label (depending upon the item obtained) from other two boxes (Bow 1 or Box 2) and put it on this Box 3. Now we have Box 3 that has the right label on it.

Now there is one Box without a label and the other Box with incorrect label. Remove the incorrect label because it is on the box that must be having both [Coins and Buttons]. Put this label on the other Box and [Coins or Button] label on this box.

In this way we have done the right labeling.

COMP1592 Organisation and Project Management

Week 1.8 – Step Wise: An approach to planning software projects

Upload your answers in Week 1.9

What are the products created by the Step Wise planning process?

Which of the following are not SMART objectives and why?

Market research Research similar products

User acceptance testing Investigate product requirements

User training Test and Evaluate

Design database Implement middleware

Improve network performance Measure MTBF

SMART means Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, Time Framed

Market Research: It is not a SMART objective because it is Specific to a segment of market, product; and there is no time framed specified

Research Similar Products: It is not a SMART objective because it is not measurable with respect to other products. Also there are no time lines mentioned for it.

User Acceptance Testing: It is not a SMART objective because it is not time bound.

Investigate Product Requirements: It is not a SMART objective because the product is not specified; also there is no time line specified for it.

User Training: It is not a SMART objective because the User training is not measurable and also there is no time frame mentioned for it.

Test and Evaluate: It is not a SMART objective because there is no measuring parameter specified for evaluations. Also time frame is not available in which this testing and evaluation is to be done.

Design Database: It is explicitly specified that the database of application is to be developed. But it is not a SMART objective for there is no time specified for it.

Implement Middleware: This is a specific, measurable and realistic objective but not SMART because there are no timelines available for implementation.

Improve Network Performance: There are no measuring elements that are mentioned for this performance activity. Also time frame is not mentioned for it. It may be specific and realistic but not a SMART objective.

Measure MTBF: Measuring Mean Time between Failures is not a SMART objective because there is no time line mentioned to perform this task

For each of the objectives in Q2 which are not SMART re-writes the objective so that it may be considered as SMART. Explain your reasoning.

SMART means Specific, Measurable, Acceptable, Realistic, and Time Framed

Market Research: “Perform Market Research in next 2 weeks to check for need of a mobile phone that supports instant texting at university level and include students of age between 18-24 years.”

This is a SMART objective for it is specific about the work to be done, has time frame included into it, and is measurable, realistic and acceptable.

Research Similar Products: “Perform a Research Study among shop keepers of market in 4 weeks to check for competitors of Nokia 6300.”

This is a SMART objective for it is specific about the work to be done, has time frame included into it, and is measurable, realistic and acceptable.

User Acceptance Testing: “Conduct Software Testing with at least 50 students to check for newly developed Online Registration System in next 5 days.”

This is a SMART objective for it is specific about the work to be done, has time frame included into it, and is measurable, realistic and acceptable.

Investigate Product Requirements:

“Have minimum of 5 meetings with client and prepare SRS document of new Software to be developed by the end of this month.”

This is a SMART objective for it is specific about the work to be done, has time frame included into it, and is measurable, realistic and acceptable.

User Training:

“Arrange and ensure a single user training session for changes made in one of the modules. This training should not be of more than two hours.”

This is a SMART objective for it is specific about the work to be done, has time frame included into it, and is measurable, realistic and acceptable.

Test and Evaluate:

“Conduct thorough testing of new Recording solution after taking minimum of 100 calls in 15 minutes. Repeat this activity 10 times at different timings.”

This is a SMART objective for it is specific about the work to be done, has time frame included into it, and is measurable, realistic and acceptable.

Implement Middleware:

“Develop the Middleware of Patient Education module in 2 weeks and engage maximum of 4 available programmers.”

This is a SMART objective for it is specific about the work to be done, has time frame included into it, and is measurable, realistic and acceptable.

Improve Network Performance:

“Identify applications that have higher network usage and try to monitor and configure them for next 24 hours to gain 5% improvement in network performance.”

This is a SMART objective for it is specific about the work to be done, has time frame included into it, and is measurable, realistic and acceptable.

Measure MTBF:

“Execute parallel applications and determine MTBF within 2 hours after connecting 10 users to it.”

This is a SMART objective for it is specific about the work to be done, has time frame included into it, and is measurable, realistic and acceptable.

4. Amanda works for the Management Services department of a local authority. She has been active in organising the development of a computerised payroll processing system. The system is in the final stages of development. What products must exist before the activity ‘test program’ can take place?

Products:

Software:

Scope

Context (environment)

Information Objectives (input and output)

Functionality and performance requirements

Objectives:

Scope

Context

What products does this activity create?

Software Project Management activities are:

Feasibility Report

Planning & Monitoring

Execution & Production

Delivery

Closing & End of program

5. You are about to embark on an assessed group project as part of your degree programme. Draw up a list of the risks which may affect your assignment outcome. Individually classify the risks as high, medium and low. What can be done to reduce the impact of these risks on your project?

Following are the risks that can be faced during this project or academic assignment.

Scale: High Risk- H

Medium Risk – M

Low Risk -R

Project risks

Budget (H)

Budget risk can be reduced if the market value and demand of the project is marketed before.

Schedule (M)

Proper formal MS project plan will help reduce this risk.

Personnel (L)

Although it is an academic project and the personnel risk has low

COMP1592 Organisation and Project Manageme

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