The efficient and effective management of a project’s operations and activities require clear understanding of the overall strategic objectives of the organization. This paper seeks to demonstrate the significance of project management and project planning and financial management in the transformation process of the “Rock ‘n’ Reggae Outdoor Summer Music Festival” project in a city in the state of Florida, to be implemented by Planners ‘R Us, a prolific project management firm.
There is no doubt that the work of a project manager is essentially technical, especially in deciding on how particular tasks will be tackled. As such, the “Rock ‘n’ Reggae Outdoor Summer Music Festival” project will be tailored along a clear vision and understanding of what the project management is setting out to achieve. However, this is not as easy to implement as it is to plan, especially in this particular situation where project management enjoy a high level of autonomy.
Much depends upon the capacity of internal organization as well as the vision and leadership qualities of the senior project management team. Therefore, the project management is striving to achieve quality work standards, respond to customer requirements with flexibility, and meet the set deadline – all within the cost constraints. Naturally, it follows that the effective and efficient management of the music festival project relies on the clear understanding of the overall strategic objectives of the project.
The successful completion of the summer music festival project is subject to the alignment of required inputs desired outputs relative to the functions of the project management that include research and development (R&D), purchasing, technical development, personnel and finance. As Vidler (2001) noted that the nature of transformation process will always be related to the particular form and relative importance of the inputs. All the functional responsibilities of the project management of the summer music festival project provide strategic links to the entire organizational objectives.
The fundamental aspects of project management are considered to be core in the execution processes of the summer music festival project. This discussion explores the fundamental aspects of project management decision making game which include planning, organizing and directing as well as the key aspects of facility finance management that include buy-lease considerations, building efficiency, cost control, leasing considerations and record keeping.
Project planning forms a core component in the transformation process of the “Rock ‘n’ Reggae Outdoor Summer Music Festival” project, with controlling, organizing and directing forming the key pillars of the project’s management processes. The element of organizing is governed by efficient management of personnel and financial resources. The entire summer music festival project will observe a full-scale personnel management scheme that provides for day-to-day supervision and optimized utility of the project employees.
The management of the project will further recognize the best performing employees through rewards that include bonuses and promotion. The project manager directs the daily activities of the music festival project in addition to holding the responsibility of personnel recruitment and training, as well as developing and maintaining interpersonal relationship so as to diffuse any likely tensions among the staff. The “Rock ‘n’ Reggae Outdoor Summer Music Festival” project manager can also contract consultancy services with the objective of increasing efficiency and cutting down on personnel costs.
It is expected that information processing and sharing will be based on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to automate the information sharing and data transformation processes. The project manager will place emphasis on the automation of communication processes and channels. It is through such innovative communication channels that efficiency is continuously achieved in the internal administration and operations of the summer music festival project. The deployment of technological innovations in organizational communication for the project can facilitate efficiency and effectiveness, thereby enabling the redeployment of key resources to core activities of the project.
Planning and control are equally important elements of the “Rock ‘n’ Reggae Outdoor Summer Music Festival” project as it is expected the project to completed two weeks earlier within the personnel constraints as provided for by the company. In this particular project, planning and control involve all those measures put in place to ensure that targeted results are achieved by availing high quality inputs at the right time and in the right amounts.
Planning involves adequately anticipating and preparing for the future whereas controlling involves imposing checks and balances for achieving high quality standards. Nokes & Kelly (2007) noted that planning and control ensure that inputs of the transformation process of a project are reconciled to the outputs of the project processes. The two authors further warned that “failure to observe the tenets of planning and control in project management may bring the transformation of the different phases of the project to a halt” (p 164).
The project manager of the “Rock ‘n’ Reggae Outdoor Summer Music Festival” project will endeavor to pursue goals that leverage the project’s capitalization against value addition. Installation of new facilities and equipments into the outdoor concert facility and acquisition of new equipment to maintain the facility represent the main categories of facility capitalization for this particular project. The project manager can also pursue alternative and cost effective methods of capital acquisition through buy-lease and leasing considerations.
The leasing option can enabled the project management to cut down on the acquisition costs for expensive capital supplies such as equipment. Financial reporting for the project will be based on weekly generated progress report with clear and precise presentation of the expenses on outputs and achieved or projected outputs. Financial reporting will also incorporate detailed reports of facility audits that portray the most updated status of the underway project.
Work Breakdown Structure
Activity A: Contract negotiation with selected music groups.
- Negotiate specific the timeline and lengths of the contracts.
- Spell out the terms and conditions of the project with the selected music group.
- Negotiate the mode of payments with particular emphasis to advance payments and future revenue shares.
- Negotiate for the copyrights of the performances that will be filmed and recorded materials.
- Sign a contract non-disclosure agreement with all the participating music groups.
Activity B: Find a construction firm and build the stage.
- Publish advertisement for construction firms to build the stage for live performances.
- Select the company offering the most reasonable and affordable bid.
- Contact the winning bidder to sign a contract and a commitment letter.
- Sign a binding contract with the winning bidder.
- Set a start date for the construction of the stage to last for a maximum of five weeks.
Activity C: Contract negotiation with roadies.
- Negotiate specific the timeline and lengths of the contracts.
- Spell out the terms and conditions of the services to be offered by the roadies.
- Negotiate the mode of payments with particular emphasis to advance payments, installments and final payments.
- Sign a contract non-disclosure agreement with all the participating roadies.
- Publish and distribute the list of approved roadies.
Activity D: Screen and hire security personnel.
- Invite security services consultants to assist in the screening of security personnel.
- Spell out the terms and conditions of services with the security personnel.
- Contract negotiations with the qualified security personnel.
- Sign non-disclosure agreements.
- Issue letters of appointment to the hired security personnel.
Activity E: Ticket distribution arrangements.
- Advertise for expression of interest from both physical and internet ticket distribution agencies in the state of Florida.
- Contact interested ticketing agencies to submit their tenders.
- Select qualified ticketing agencies to negotiate the percentage of the ticket revenues that will be allocated to them.
- Sign binding contracts with the qualified ticketing agencies.
- Distribute the tickets to the ticketing agencies for further distribution to the masses.
Activity F: Organize advertising brochures and souvenir program printing.
- Design and publish brochures and souvenir programs using computer AutoCAD and desktop publishing software programs.
- Present sample brochures and souvenir program to project organizers for approval.
- Purchase printing papers.
- Print the designed brochures and souvenirs programs.
- Store the brochures and souvenir programs at the main entrance and exit points from where they will be distributed to the music festival revelers.
Activity G: Logistical arrangements for music group transportation.
- Contact car hire firms for quotations for hire of vans.
- Select the car hire form providing chauffer services and able to transport musicians from various cities and towns as well as airports in the state of Florida.
- Confirm bookings for 24-hour round the clock hire of transport services.
- Make advance payments for the transport services.
Activity H: Arrangements for sound equipments.
- Advertise for tenders for sound equipments for hire.
- Compare the costs of offers for sound equipments made by prospective bidders.
- Inspect the quality of sound equipments made by the most affordable bids.
- Sign binding contracts for the sound equipments.
- Transport the sound equipments to the venue.
Activity I: Processing of travel visas for international groups.
- Contact the international groups to confirm their participation and the sizes of their entourages.
- Contact the specific country embassies of the international groups to inform them about the music festival concert invitation offered to the international groups.
- Track the international groups to ensure all the members of the groups have passports and other travel identification documents.
- Ensure that the entourages of the international groups meet the US requirements for visa interviews.
- List all the international groups that have successfully acquired travel visas to the US.
Activity J: Hire parking staff and make parking arrangements.
- Advertise for the position of parking staff.
- Interview and select qualified parking staff.
- Mark the parking sections for different categories of guests including VIPs.
- Allocate each parking staff a specific section to man.
Activity K: Distribute media passes and arrange for MTV recording.
- Compile the list of personnel from both local and international media houses as well as independent (freelance) media reporters who have confirmed to grace the music festival event.
- Design distinctive media passes to serve as identification for the media houses and their personnel as part of the measures for enhancing security.
- Distribute media passes through the United Postal Service as well as through other mail delivery agencies.
- Contact the MTV for their recording specifications.
- Conduct recording rehearsals with the MTV recording team to ensure that all equipments are properly positioned.
Activity L: Arrangements for concession sales and restroom facilities.
- Identify contractors willing to take up concessions and run the restroom facilities.
- Negotiate and sign contract agreements for the concession sales and restroom facilities.
- Sign non-disclosure agreement.
- Authorize the commencement of the concession sales.
In conducting a risk analysis for this particular project, it has been identified that failure to complete the project on time, exceeding the budgetary constraints, use of excess labour force for the weekly activities stand out as the main risks that may hamper the successful completion of the music festival project. The trick here is that each of these risks attracts fine. For example, the delay of the completion of the project within the stipulated limits of 10 weeks will see the project organizers lose an average of $2,000 per week while the use of extra workers on weekly project beyond the company’s recommended limits would lead to a fine of $300 per worker.
Similarly, the use of excessive workforce would lead to a rise in expenditures by $100 that will be needed for extra coordination efforts. Therefore, in order to overcome these challenges, the project manager will employ strict financial planning, technical planning and cost control measures to see to it that the successful completion of the project is not exposed to these particular risks.
Financial planning will serve as a fundamental strategy of the “Rock ‘n’ Reggae Outdoor Summer Music Festival” project because it forms the basis for anticipating expenditures and for accomplishing the goals of the music festival project. As Cotts (1999) pointed out, a business plan will always form the basis for covering all accounting functions in any project financial management and budgeting. As such, the management team of the summer music festival project will implement an overwhelmingly capital budget according to logical priorities dictated by the budgetary constraints. Strict adherence to budgeted plans is implemented by the project manager in conjunction with finance management committee. This fete is achieved by observing both horizontal and vertical flow through strategic work plans and the actual budgetary allocations.
The projects strict financial rules, benchmarking policy and chargeback strategy can contribute significantly to the cutting down of costs. Efficiency will be achieved and maintained through continuous R&D process so as to modify and find ways of making the existing plans more cost effective. R&D is a function that is pursued by the project manager with particular emphasis to the ethos and culture of the organization which aim at providing the best quality services to customers.
Technical planning is also a function that will rank high in this particular project. Given that project management is essentially a technical activity, technical planning ensures that particular quality standards are met at each and every phase of the entire project. The project manager sets out the outline on how particular jobs will be handled and ensures that the individual workers are equipped with the necessary experience and qualifications required for each phase of the music project.
The “Rock ‘n’ Reggae Outdoor Summer Music Festival” project will also prioritize the aspect of cost control since its inception. Cost control can particularly achieved through the observation of strict budgetary regulations and guidelines. The operating budget will be streamlined to ensure minimal expenses on routine project items such as salaries, stationery, utility bills as well as transport and maintenance of project equipments.
The project manager will ensure that inputs obtained are not only of high standards, but also affordable. The globolised markets have made easy the sourcing of quality project materials and equipments from anywhere in the world at the best rates. As Ghattas (2004) noted, a project which fails to adapt to new trends of globalization risks losing competitive advantage. Other aspects of cost control include hiring of temporary employees for the short term labour intensive phases of the music festival project.
As Cotts & Rondeau contended, “employment of performance-based contracts for such temporary human resource requirements ensures that acquisition of labor force is based on the extent of work to be performed and not arbitrary estimations of work,” (p. 267). This move can enable the management team of the music festival project to significantly cut down on the project’s labour costs. Costs can further be reduced by leasing equipments which are very expensive to buy.
An insight into the cost-benefit analysis demonstrates a positive correlation between value creation and the cost-effective financial management. Teichloz (2001) contented that project managers can employ unique cost-cutting goals that result to risk reduction, capital conservation, reduced operating budgetary costs, minimized turnover, and objective capitalization.
The project will employ a maximum of four workers per week at a cost of $200 per worker per project per week for a period of 10 weeks. This will bring the total cost of wages for the entire project to a maximum of $8,000. The total cost estimates for the entire project are summarized in figure 1.2 (see appendices).
Gantt chart Sequencing and Scheduling
The main planning and control techniques that will be employed for the “Rock ‘n’ Reggae Outdoor Summer Music Festival” project are sequencing and scheduling. This is because the project involves the production of a pre-designed output using varied resources. Sequencing will involve decisions as to the order at which tasks will be undertaken. Thus, different stages of the project phases will be prioritized according to amount of time and resources required. This project will further employ scheduling to determine the commencing and completion time spans for different phases of the music festival project.
The schedule of the project has been summarized into a Gantt chart so as to observe strict timelines for each phase of the music festival project. Figure 1.1 in appendices represents the Gantt chart that is being used in this project. The horizontal bars represent the time devoted to the completion of the various processes associated with implementing the project. The Gantt chart will be used in both planning and controlling the weekly activities music festival project, by facilitating the project manager to ensure that each stage is tagged to a given completion timeline. Therefore, each phase of the project can only be initiated upon the successful completion of the immediate preceding phase.
Project timeline and project finance management is routine but complex processes that require high degree of diligence and competence by the entire project team. The project manager will have the oversight responsibility for the entire project and therefore, holds the key to administrative, managerial and directive success of the project. The project manager can only meet the challenges of completing the music project within the set schedule and projected budget by observing the planning and control limits in addition to directing the activities of the subordinate personnel.
As such, the project manager will demonstrate initiative in the daily operational activities of the project by coordinating project priorities, observing strict schedule guidelines cutting costs on both the capital and operational budgets. Effective operations management for the entire project will also be achieved only if the project manager prioritizes the performance and establishes motivation mechanisms for the project personnel in order to decrease employee turnover and increase performance output. Advanced communication skills will also come in handy in developing interpersonal relationships among project employees and between the subordinates and the project management.
- Cotts, D. G. (1999). The facility management handbook. AMACOM Div American Management Assn.
- Cotts, D.G., & Rondeau E.P.(2004). The facility manager’s guide to finance and budgeting. AMACOM Div American Management Assn.
- Ghattas, R.G. (2004). Practical project management. Pearson Education Limited.
- Lock, D. (1993). Project management. Gower.
- Miller R.W. (1962). “How to control and plan with PERT”. Harvard Business Review, 14.
- Nokes, S., & Kelly, S. (2007). The definitive guide project management: The fast track to getting the job done on time and on budget, 2nd edition. Financial Times: Prentice Hall.
- Teicholz, E. (2001). Facility design and management handbook. McGraw-Hill Professional.
- Vidler, C. (2001). Operations Management. Heinemann.