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Connection between Risk and Variation

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Module 5: Connection between Risk and Variation

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In a control chart, risk looks at the decision-making process where all potential outcomes or their likelihood to occur are known to the one making the decision. It can also be expressed as an exposure to known dangers (De Meyer, Loch, & Pich, 2002). Risk refers to the likelihood that a given outcome or situation might differ from what is expected in terms of returns or outcomes. Therefore, risk could include the risk of loss of a part or all of the expected outcomes. There is a notable relationship between risk, uncertainty, and variation. Variability is the inherent diversity or heterogeneity of information/data in an assessment (Chenarani & Druzhinin, 2017). Variation, therefore, represents a quantitative description of the spread or range given values. Uncertainty, on the other hand, is the lack of data or the incomplete understanding of a risk context in an assessment decision (De Meyer, Loch, & Pich, 2002). Uncertainty may take a qualitative or quantitative form. These two, uncertainty and variation, are forms of risk because they represent potential outcomes based on known or unknown information that inform the decision making process.

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A control chart is a useful tool in managing projects. It shows and assesses how processes change over time. The plotting of data in control charts follows a time order with central lines for averages, upper lines for upper control limits, and lower lines for lower control limits. Control chats help a project to determine whether it is in a controlled statistical condition. In a control chart, project metrics allow the determination of success and assists in the evaluation of project status, foreseeing risks, and assessing team productivity as well as the work quality. For example, metrics such as delivery time in logistics, productivity, cost variance, and return on investment can be measured in a control chart.

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References

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Chenarani, A., & Druzhinin, E. A. (2017). A quantitative measure for evaluating project uncertainty under variation and risk effects. Engineering, Technology & Applied Science Research, 7(5), 2083-2088.

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De Meyer, A. C. L., Loch, C. H., & Pich, M. T. (2002). Managing project uncertainty: from variation to chaos. MIT Sloan Management Review, 43(2), 60.

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Module 6: Client/Customer Expectations

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The three major considerations for a given project include quality, money, and time. They form a critical part of the expectations that a manager has on a project. For example, a manager expects that he/she will manage a project to be complete in time and to meet the quality demands of the project. Expectations are important because they create clear and concise goals for a project, thus increasing the likelihood for better productivity and outcomes (Nicolae, Tănăsescu, & Popa, 2013). Expectations are important in order to perceive a project as a success. It is an important way to measure attainment of goals.

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Some customer expectations in a project include solid information, flexibility, options, engagement, trust, fairness, and complaint management. These expectations also include the three considerations inclusive of money, time, and quality. The role of customer expectations in a project is to define objectives and success measures, clear any confusion regarding due tasks and expected time of execution, helps to focus priorities, reduces time wastage, increases productivity, and enables tam engagement. Customer expectations change as the project progresses. The conditions for change include communication, new expectations, new knowledge, and the relationship with the project and the management. For example, a project may have clear goals and expectations, yet these may change as a client begins to better understand the project through new knowledge, communication, or previous experiences.

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To manage customer expectations in a project, Nicolae, Tănăsescu, & Popa (2013) advice that it is important that the scope of services is defined, realistic goals and objectives set, a detailed plan created, agreeing on a budget before commencement, explain setbacks and risks, and communicate regularly to keep the client engaged.

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References

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Nicolae, L. I., Tănăsescu, D., & Popa, V. (2013). Customer Expectations Management. Valahian Journal of Economic Studies, 4(3).

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Module 7: Nothing is WrongThe experiences of the customer in a project do not begin or end with a single engagement or sale. There are other component encounters that occur in other areas such as communication, flexibility, complaint management, delivery, value for money, support, and other services that are not outright defined in the plan or goals. A situation where a project is completed and delivered on time, within the budget, and scope yet the customer fails to return is common. The problem is that some of the finer components of the projects including communication, flexibility, complaint management, delivery, value for money, and support may not be delivered to the satisfaction of the customer. It is likely that the customer may have had expectations greater than what was delivered in terms of other metrics such as quality, information, flexibility, options, engagement, trust, fairness, and complaint management.

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The correct analysis I would conduct following a loss of a customer would include an assessment of their needs and expectations versus feedback on what was delivered. An important step is receiving feedback in order to understand their decision making process in relation to why a project perceived as successful led to loss of business. Feedback would be the only way to understand why the customer decided to leave. Their experiences during a project, including what they hoped and expected to get, must be used as a yardstick to determine future course of action (Mazur, 1997). Working on improving services and customer experiences using feedback is a vital quality improvement procedure. A nothing wrong approach is not necessarily enough to retain a customer. Quality function deployment would be applied through feedback attained to specifically target the satisfaction of customers for future projects.

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References

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Mazur, G. H. (1997). Close encounters of the QFD kind. In sixth annual service quality conference (Vol. 20).

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Module 8: Prioritizing Customer Needs

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In my projects, however much I try to meet all of my customer needs, I cannot fully match their expectations and needs and therefore, I have to make a selection. The needs are not all equal and I have to constantly perform a balancing act. For example, the budget is usually the main determinant of what will be included in a project scope. A customer who lacks the right budget to meet a specified quality level will have to compromise on certain deliverables such as time and quality. Similarly, one with a sufficient budget can demand other deliverables and even choose to remain flexible to make changes whenever possible. I found that balancing the needs of the customer and a project is important to avoid displeasing clients and causing losses.

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I prioritize customer needs based on the three main components of time, money, and quality. I first allow the customer to set out what they expect from a project and to what extent they want to be involved. Then, I explain the constraints and limits that are associated to the budget, time, and quality. I then create categories for the different types of request versus the risks and expected outcomes. Thereafter, I allow the customer to choose from the categories created in order to be actively involved in the prioritization of needs to improve on satisfaction. In my organization, the subjective ranking approach is used here the stakeholders assign priorities value from a scale. To avoid conflicting priorities, a risk assessment and possible outcomes are then created. The analytic hierarchy process would be useful in selecting and prioritizing projects in a given portfolio (Vargas & IPMA-B, 2010). The process gives a clear, objective, and a mathematical criterion that reduces risks and uncertainty.

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References

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Vargas, R. V., & IPMA-B, P. M. P. (2010, October). Using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) to select and prioritize projects in a portfolio. In PMI global congress (Vol. 32, No. 3, pp. 1-22).

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