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Executive Summary

In this report a feasibility study of the one-day conference on Project Management by ABC LLC is presented to the reader. The report commences with the overview of the brief overview on the project followed by the detailed analysis on the business case. The business case analysis is followed by the project plan and cost analysis for the project. The project cost analysis has revealed that the project break-even point can be accomplished easily through effective marketing campaign and communication. The overall project cost including the fixed costs was then calculated. Finally the project control and monitoring is discussed in the report followed by the identification of the potential risks to the project.

1.0: Introduction

Project planning for conference is becoming increasingly popular with the need to accomplish the goals of the conference as argued by Keith G Lockyer and James Gordon (2005) 1 . In this report a feasibility study for a one-day project management conference for ABC LLC is presented to the reader.

2.0: Project overview

The project overview furnishes with details on the approach to the project, business case and the identification of a team of personnel to accomplish the project.

2.1: Approach

In order to effectively complete the feasibility study a results based step-by-step approach is deployed in this report. Keith G Lockyer and James Gordon (2005) further argue that this approach is a logical method where the costs and time durations are assumed to conduct the feasibility study. Furthermore, the fact that this approach to the feasibility study is not only step by step but also provides a comprehensive analysis on the case through the feedback

1 Keith G Lockyer and James Gordon (2005), Project management and project network techniques 7 th edition, UK: Prentice Hall Financial Times

using the results from the steps conducted make it clear that the results-based step-by-step approach is a successful approach to the study.

2.2: Team

In order to accomplish the project effectively the following members of the team are identified for the project.

a. Project manager or team leader: The role of the project manager is to supervise and plan the overall project from the conception to execution on the final day. Alongside, the control of the activities and the maintenance of the risk log are also the responsibility of the project manager. This is apparently because of the size and duration of the project, which restricts the appointment of a separate analyst to maintain the controls and risk log. Furthermore, the project manager also has the role of reporting to the managing director of the company (Mr. Smart) with regular updates on the progress of the project and the review of the status.

b. Content Organizer: The content organizer is the person in charge of organizing the contents for the conference. The role of the content organizer includes the identification of the presenters for the conference as well as providing efficient management information system to develop the welcome pack for the registered candidates and the conference day handbook with the presentation materials to the attendees.

c. Facilities Organizer: The facilities organizer performs the role of organizing the conference halls and the other required facilities like amenities requirements and supplies. The facilities organizer is also in charge of organizing the dining requirements like the tables, chairs, plates and other related equipments for catering services. The facilities organizer works with the catering organizer whilst organizing the catering facilities.

d. Catering organizer: The catering organizer is in charge of the catering menus and deciding the costs associated with the contracting of the food services for the conference. The catering organizer is also responsible for deciding the menu for lunch and the drinks as well as any special diet requirements of the attendees.

All three organizers report to the project manager who in turn reports to the Managing director with the status report and the progress of the project.

2.3: Business Case

The project management conference is aimed to provide a one-day course to aspiring enterprising project managers and coordinators to gain valuable information into the intricacies of the project management in the real world scenario through the blended presentation by academic and industry presenters. The conference aims to provide key information to the attendees through efficient use of time and resources in order to provide valuable services to the customers. Before reviewing the three scenarios of the venture namely the worst, central and best cases, the assumptions for the feasibility study are presented below.

2.3.1: Assumptions

The following assumptions (Table 1) on costs and duration are deployed throughout the project in order to support the feasibility study. Table 1: Assumptions

Resource

Cost/Rate (£)

Fixed/Variable

Project Leader

£ 75 per day

Variable

Content organizer

£ 50 per day

Variable

Facilities Organizer

£ 8 per hour

Variable

Catering Organizer

£ 7.50 per hour

Variable

Conference Hall rent (for 200-250 people)

£ 10,000

Fixed

Catering contract

£ 75 per meal

Variable

Fees for the presenters (5 @ £ 1250 per person)

£ 6,250

Fixed

A fee of £300 per head is charged from every attendee with a special offer of £1000 per four members of the same organization.

2.3.2: Worst case: The conference does not generate enough revenue

With the above mentioned assumptions the conference will not generate enough revenue when the number of individual attendees is below the threshold level. In this case the company even though faces monetary loss, will gain the confidence of the customers through the quality of service and the effectiveness of the content of the conference. In this case the overall success of the conference is under question since the number of attendees attending the conference not only attribute to the revenue but also to the quality and effectiveness of the management in organizing such events.

2.3.3: Central Case: The conference meets the break-even

In this case the effectiveness of the project is realized since the company has met its costs through the revenue generated. The fact that the company did not make any profits might affect the extent of efforts spent by the company but in this case it will be question of refining the marketing tactics and communication strategy to generate profits. If the conference meets this case then the chances of the company to accomplish profitable income through organizing conferences are high. Furthermore, through meeting the breakeven point the company not only neutralizes its expenses but also achieves marketing communication technique that has resulted in the company to accomplish the break even of the conference.

2.3.4: Best Case: The conference generates profit

In this case the project has accomplished the goal (i.e.) the project has efficiently communicated its objectives to the target market and accomplished effective marketing communication. The best-case scenario even though envisaged, one should always remember that the project should be prepared for the worst case in order to meet the capital invested.

The fact that the fixed costs are high for the conference including the venue and the fee for the presenters is the critical element that affects the project feasibility. Hence assuming that the venue can provide a smaller hall (capacity of up to 200 people @ £6500 per day) in case of a lesser number of attendees with a £250 administration fee for the cancellation of the big conference hall the const overhead reduces considerably with the reduction in the fixed costs for the rent to conference hall.

The breakeven analysis for two cases namely small conference hall and large conference hall is presented below

Case 1: Small Conference Hall

Total Fixed cost = £ 6500 + £ 6250 + £ 250 = £ 13,000 Total Variable Cost = £ 75

Hence Break even in number of attendees = £ 13,000 / (£ 300 - £ 75) = 57.77 = 58 attendees approximately

(Note: The wages for the personnel are not included in this calculation since the working hours and the duration are not decided yet.)

Since the capacity of the hall is 200 people the conference can accommodate the break even level of attendees in the conference hall to conduct the conference.

Case 2: Big Conference Hall

Total Fixed cost = £ 10,000 + £ 6250 = £ 14,500 Total Variable Cost = £ 75

Hence Break even in number of attendees = £ 16,250 / (£ 300 - £ 75) = 72.22 = 73 attendees approximately.

In this case also the company can accommodate the break-even level of attendees in conference hall.

The fact that the break-even point is very low to the estimated number of attendees justifies that the conference can generate profit in both the cases. Alongside, it is also interesting to note that the low level of break-even point for the project allows less room for loss and the

project to hit the worst-case scenario. Furthermore, the arguments by Kevin Jetton (2005) 2

makes it clear that the demand for the conferences in the UK especially in the professional

areas like Project management is very high thus justifying the investment and the viability of

the business case.

It is important to note that the aforementioned calculation has not accounted the costs

involved with the human resource and the addition of the human resource costs will only

increase the break-even point for the project. This makes it clear that the project should

accomplish effective marketing communication and planning to reduce costs in the project.

3.0: Project Plan

3.1: Work Break down Structure

In order to develop the work breakdown it is essential to identify the tasks involved with the

project in order to effectively identify the sub-tasks or the work breakdown for each task as

argued by Harold Kerzwer (2005) 3 . The tasks identified for the project are

1. Develop Business case

2. Agree upon the contents of the one day conference

3. Identify the presenters from academic and industry and confirm their availability

4. Collate the presentation material from the presenters

5. Fix the conference hall for 250 members

6. Marketing campaign

7. Print the handbook with presentation notes and welcome packs through estimating the number of delegates registered

8. Send welcome pack to the registered delegates

9. Lunch Menu and identification of attendees with special diet requirements

10. Monitoring the conference progress and risk management

The work breakdown for the project is presented in Table 2 below

2 Kevin Jetton (2005), AITP National Collegiate Conference Planning Update. Information Executive, May/Jun2003, Vol. 7 Issue 3

3 Harold Kerzwer (2005), Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling & controlling., UK:

Weily,

Table 2: Work Break Down Structure

Work

Owner

Task category

Duration

Identify the business

Project Manager /

Develop Business case

1 day

case

leader

Identify the break even

Project Manager /

Develop Business Case

1 day

point and estimate the

team leader

costs

Contents identification

Content Organizer

Agree upon the contents of the one day conference

0.5

day

Presenters

Content Organizer

Identify the presenters from academic and industry and confirm their availability

3

days

identification

 

Discussion of the

Content organizer

Identify the presenters from academic and industry and confirm their availability

2

days

contents with the

 

presenters

Agreeing the dates and

Content organizers

Identify the presenters from academic and industry and confirm their availability

2

days

fee with the presenters

 

Compiling the contents

Content Organizer

Collate the presentation material from the presenters

1.5

days

given by the presenters

Agreeing upon the

Content Organizer

Collate the presentation material from the presenters

3

days

content format

 

internally and with the

presenters

 

Fixing the Venue

Facilities Organizer

Fix the conference hall for 250 members

5

days

Send promotion

Project Manager

Marketing Campaign

5

days

leaflets to corporate

 

organizations and

potential customers

Send tailor made

Project Manager

Marketing Campaign

5

days

advertisement to the

 

news papers targeting

on potential project

managers

     

Prepare the hand book

Content Organizer

Print the handbook with presentation notes and welcome packs through estimating the number of delegates registered

1 day

for presentation

Agree upon the design

Content Organizer

Print the handbook with presentation notes and welcome packs through estimating the number of delegates registered

1 day

and print the required

number of copies

Prepare welcome pack

Content organizer

Print the handbook with presentation notes and welcome packs through estimating the number of delegates registered

1 day

Send welcome packs

Content organizer

Send welcome pack to the registered delegates

1 day

Prepare lunch menu

Catering Organizer

Lunch Menu and identification of attendees with special diet requirements

1 day

and agree with project

manager and Mr Smart

Arrange the catering

Catering Organizer

Lunch Menu and identification of attendees with special diet requirements

1 day

services to supply the

menu and agree upon

the price with the

 

contractors and the

managers

Using the above mentioned work break down structure the Gantt chat is prepared for the

project. From the Gantt chart it is clear that the content organizers work predominantly lies in

the critical path whilst the catering organizer and facilities organizers function in tandem with

the content organizer once the business case is approved.

This approach saves time as well as provides control over the project through analysing the

results of each task in the work breakdown structure.

3.2: Procurement Strategy

Procurement unlike the work break down is the plan to identify the time scales required to procure the necessary resources to accomplish the project. The Office of Government Commerce (2003) 4 , states that the effective procurement planning and strategic implementation of the plan is essential for the successful completion of the project without any delays. In this case the tasks associated with the procurement are listed in Table 3 below Table 3: Tasks and Procurement

Task

Procuring resource

Duration

Reserve the halls for conference

Conference hall, dining hall and associated facilities

3

days

Agree the dates and time slots with the presenters

5

presenters

7

days

2

from academic background

 
 

2

from public sector and

1

from Private sector

Fix the catering resources

Lunch menu, contractors for supplying the food on the day of conference and facilities for dining like tables, chairs etc.,

2 days

It is interesting to note that the procurement can occur simultaneously with other project tasks as well as part of a project task itself In this case the catering services can be procured as part of the tasks for catering in the work break down whilst the reservation of the halls can occur as a parallel event. Since the halls are the critical element for the marketing campaign, it takes precedence over the other procurement tasks. This is apparent in the Gantt chart from the procurement of the resources in the project. The fact that the personnel are treated as resources in the project does not affect the material resources used by the project, which are mentioned in this section. This hierarchical approach to the procurement strategy is in line with the approach to the project (i.e.) result-based step-by-step strategy.

4 Office of Government Commerce (2003), Managing Successful Projects Using PRIJNCE2, UK: The Stationery Office

3.3: Project Cost estimation

Form the allocation of the resources and the assumed costs for the resources the costs involved with the tasks is presented in Table 4: below Table 4: Cost Analysis

Work

Total Cost (£)

Baseline (£)

Identify the business case

75

75

Identify the break even point and estimate the costs

75

75

Contents identification

25

25

Presenters identification

150

150

Discussion of the contents with the presenters

100

100

Agreeing the dates and fee with the presenters

6350

100

Compiling the contents given by the presenters

112.50

112.50

Agreeing upon the content format internally and with the presenters

206.25

206.25

Fixing the Venue

10,320

320

Send promotion leaflets to corporate organizations and potential customers

375

375

Send tailor made advertisement to the news papers targeting on potential project managers

375

375

Prepare the hand book for presentation

50

50

Agree upon the design and print the required number of copies

68.75

68.75

Prepare welcome pack

50

50

Send welcome packs

50

50

Prepare lunch menu and agree with project manager and Mr Smart

60

60

Arrange the catering services to supply the menu and agree upon the price with the contractors and the managers

60

60

Conference

249

 

The total fixed cost for the project thus amounts to £ 18,751.50.

With this fixed cost calculating the break even point we get the following results

Variable cost = £ 75 Break Even Point = £ 18,751.50 / (£ 300 - £ 75) = 83.34 = 84 attendees approximately

The above analysis has justified the calculations in business case section thus validating the approach to the project. Alongside, the lower level of break-even point further justifies the arguments of Kevin Jetton (2005) on the market demand for conferences on professional areas.

The cost analysis presented above further justifies that the investment by Mr Smart in the one-day conference is a feasible option to accomplish profitable results. 4.0: Controls and Risk Management

4.1: Project Control

The Office of Government Commerce (2003) argues that the controls and monitoring of the project execution is an essential element especially in conference planning. This is further justified by Bruce Pollack Jackson (2005) 5 who argues that the project plan can be effectively implemented only through appropriate controls in a conference scenario. This is mainly because of the short duration of the project and the final output of the project being the efficient performance during the conference itself. This further increases the need to effectively identify the project controls as well as monitor the progress of the conference.

In this case, the project control and monitoring progress task is given to the project manager. The project manager or the conference organizer is expected to maintain the controls list and monitor the progress during the day of the conference. In order to effectively accomplish the monitoring and control, it is recommended to utilise the skills of the organizers to provide constant feedback on the status of their activities in the conference thus making it easier for

5 Bruce Pollack Jackson (2005), PROJECT PLANNING UNDER UNCERTAINTY USING SCENARIO ANALYSIS. Project Management Journal, Mar2005, Vol. 36 Issue 1

the project manager to monitor the progress. The controls identified in this conference are listed below

Control over the time utilised by the presenters

Control over the transition between presenters with short description of the presenter prior to his/her presentation.

Control over the time spent for intermediate breaks and the lunch break

Control over the abuse of facilities

Control over the use of emergency exits in case of emergency

The organizers as discussed below can monitor the aforementioned controls effectively.

Content Organizer: The content organizer can monitor the time duration by the presenters as well as effectively monitor the decorum of the conference. Furthermore, the content manager can also monitor the transition between the presenters and accomplish the process of introducing the presenter to the audience.

Facilities Organizers: The facilities organizer can monitor the use of the facilities and the emergency exits. It is also recommended that the attendees are aware of the emergency exits on the start of the conference in order to identify them in case of an emergency. It is also advisable to mention about any fire drill in place to distinguish between the real fire alarm and the testing.

Catering Organizer: The catering organizer can monitor the duration of the breaks and work with the facilities organizer to maintain the decorum of the conference.

The timely reports of the organizers to the project manager or the team leader will enable the smooth transition through the conference.

4.2: Risk Log

Risk Management is an essential element for the effective control of any project. The fact that the risk management is not only for the effectiveness and safety of operation of the management but also for the safety of the personnel and the resources makes it further critical as argued by Keith G Lockyer and James Gordon (2005). The main factors of risk for this project are tabulated below in Table 5 below.

Table 5: Project Risk Register

Risk Register

                   
 

Risk Derails

Assessment

 

Who?

When?

Quantifica

Project

 

tion

Plan

(PP)

Ref

Risk Description What Can Go Wrong?

Mitigation Do We accept Manage or Mitigate Risk?

Prob

Impa

Who will

Where

High

Include

abilit

ct

under

possible

Number

Mitigation

 

y

(VH,

take the

include

High Risk

in PP?

 

(P)

H, M,

mitigation

the data

(P*I)

L, VL)

?

for

completi

on of the

mitigatio

n

Project Risk

Undertake Mitigation (Y/N)

(H, VH, M, L, VL)

   

Time

Cost

(Y/N)

1

Disaster in venue - If any event like fire or damage that cannot be repaired occurs to the venue booked

Verify with the venue about its status and if the risk has occurred, reserve a new venue

Y

L

VH

Project

-

5

£

Y

manager

days

2000

and

appr

Facilities

oxim

Organizer

ately

 

to

acco

 

mmo

date

any

extra

char

ges

in

the

new

venu

e.

Determine alternative venue whist planning the project that is nearby the selected venue in order to reduce the travel hustle to the attendees.

Y

-

-

         

2

Staff Shortage - If one of the three organizer falls sick or leaves the project in the middle

Identify alternate human resource to meet the shortage of staff

Y

H

H

Project

Review

3

£500

Y

Manager

at the

days

and Mr.

completi

Smart

on of

   

every

action

3

Catering Issues - If the catering service is not available for the right

Identify

Y

L

H

Project

Review

1

£1,0

Y

alternative

manager

before

day

00

catering services

and

the

price at the right time

as well as dining facilities

Catering

conferen

Coordinat

ce day.

 

or

5.0: Recommendations The project feasibility study was conducted using assumed values. In order to effectively identify the feasibility of the project and the break even point, the use of actual values wherever possible is required to accomplish the project successfully.

Furthermore, the fact that the project management for a one-day event is predominantly the pre activities for the project further justifies that the feasibility study for the project is a critical element for the conference-planning project and hence it is strongly recommended to adhere to a specific Project Management standard in order to effectively accomplish the goal.

6.0: References

Books

Keith G Lockyer and James Gordon (2005), Project management and project network techniques 7 th edition, UK: Prentice Hall Financial Times

Harold Kerzwer (2005), Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling & controlling. UK: Weily,

Office of Government Commerce (2003), Managing Successful Projects Using PRIJNCE2, UK: The Stationery Office

Journals and reports Bruce Pollack Jackson (2005), PROJECT PLANNING UNDER UNCERTAINTY USING SCENARIO ANALYSIS. Project Management Journal, Mar2005, Vol. 36 Issue 1

Kevin Jetton (2005), AITP National Collegiate Conference Planning Update. Information Executive, May/Jun2003, Vol. 7 Issue 3