The ABC Company is a highly successful fashion company which has sustained profitable revenue growth for the last decade. To mark the 30th company anniversary, a high level fashion show was held over summer for several weeks on a Caribbean island. The Fashion Director invited some 86 models and 71 photographers. While the fashion show was a great success and was covered widely in fashion magazines, the final accounting report was received with shock by the board of directors. The total cost of the project was still not clear as invoices are still incoming, but the agreed budget of £1,000,000 was exceeded by £3 million for extra hotel costs for the families and friends of models, rental of boats, and cost for evening entertainment. The news that the responsible fashion director has already left the company for a New York fashion retailer was an additional bad surprise.
After the board of directors discussed the situation, it was decided to start a cost control project, and you are the Senior Project Office. Background of this project is to avoid similar losses, and to put in place cost control measures to plan and control projects in the future in a much improved way.
The implementation of the new cost control approach
The implementation of the new cost control approach is time critical for a 3 month (60 working days) duration before presenting in front of the board of directors of The ABC Company.
Work for your report should start on Monday 05 February 2018. All days quoted are actual working days and do not include weekends (5 days = 1 week). Similarly a week implies 5 working days. Please discuss the following issues:
Identification of current cost control practices (15 days): you need to meet with project managers of The ABC Company to identify best practices and project weaknesses. This should take no more than 20 working days. This should include information about current projects, measures to control processes, and current project planning and evaluation techniques.
This should be followed by Detailed Analysis of Cost Control Improvement practices (5 days) and Outline of cost control initiatives (15 days) – these activities can run at the same time in parallel.
As soon as both of these activities are completed, you can start Detailed Description of the new Cost Control measures (5 days), followed by Selection of Cost control software solution (10 days), and Proposal of cost control changes (10 days) should be discussed internally and can be done in parallel.
Then, the following activities will follow in order:
*Meetings with suppliers
*Discussion of report with CFO
*Writing-up of final report
[Durations of these three activities with asterisk (*) have not be fixed, as the Senior Project Officer you are expected to decide the duration of each of these three activities. Your decision should be made based on overall duration of the project; costs of recourses sign up with each activity and the total project budget.]
Finally, Presentation of final report will take 1 day; followed by Presentation Completion as the final milestone.
Please check for public holidays during the project duration.
A total project budget of £300,000 is considered appropriate and sufficient by the CFO. This sum is intended to cover all costs to finish your report including all consultant and travel costs, and new hardware and software if necessary.
The only costs this budget would not cover would be the salaries of any project or product managers of The ABC Company who are seconded full or part-time to support you. They would draw their salaries exactly as usual from their unit which does not impact on your budget.
Personnel allocated for your study are: two secretaries with a salary at £1,250 p.c.m. (per current month) per person, and two consultants at £800 per day per person.
When asked about who works on what tasks, the following information was handed over to you (the letters in brackets stand for: S1 and S2 = Secretaries, C1 and C2 = Consultants).
Please note that durations of those three activities with asterisk (*) have not be fixed, as the Senior Project Officer (SPO) you are expected to decide the duration of each of these three activities. Your decision should be made based on overall duration of the project; costs of recourses sign up with each activity and the total project budget.
Identification of cost control practices (15 days) (SPO, C1, C2, S1)
Detailed Analysis of cost control practices (5 days) (SPO, C1, C2)
Outline of cost control initiatives (15 days) (SPO, C1, C2)
Detailed Description of the cost control standards (5 days) (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)
Selection of cost control software solution (10 days) (SPO, C1, C2)
Proposal of cost control changes (10 days) (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)
*Meetings with suppliers (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)
*Discussion of report with CFO (SPO, C1, C2)
*Writing-up of final report (SPO, C1, C2, S1, S2)
Presentation of final report (1 day) (SPO)
Presentation Completion (final milestone)
In your role of the Senior Project Officer on project cost control, you are required to develop a report (including academic references), structured along the following lines:
Part A – General overview (60%) – approx. 1,600 words [LO1; LO2; LO4]
Critically evaluate the relationships between project cost control and financial project results (including academic references):
What are the key strengths of different project control measures?
What are the key project control measures and strategies to implement a new project cost control approach?
How can cost plans be analysed?
What steps can be taken to improve the financial performance of projects at The ABC Company?
Part B – Gantt Chart Report (20%) – (approx. 200 words of added explanation) [LO1; LO3]
Given the importance of your report, develop a one-page project plan in Gantt chart form using Microsoft Project. The chart should clearly indicate the start date, the critical tasks, milestones and the planned end date. Include the Gantt chart in the content of your report.
Part C – Budget creation (20%) – (approx. 200 words of added explanation) [LO1; LO 2; LO3]
Assuming that the project will run perfectly to the schedule outlined by you in Part B with all contract personnel working as defined on the tasks indicated, generate an overall budget planning for your report using Microsoft Project, include your own salary at £ 3,250 p.c.m. (per current month), 2 secretaries and 2 consultants, and accommodation costs at £120 per day per person; all new PC hardware (total fixed cost: £4,000) and project cost control software (total fixed cost: £5,000), and total miscellaneous fixed costs of £10,000. Create budget positions for meetings, travel costs, trainings and other activities at your discretion within the overall budget limit.
Show all calculations and totals via suitable report formats.