MANAGING PROJECTS

MANAGING PROJECTS

Post 253 ⇒   by Gautam Shah  →

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A project is a unique endeavour undertaken to form a concept, create a product or render a service. Projects take diverse shapes, ethereal ideation or conceptualization, forming a strategy to actualize an idea, recollection of a happening, reproduction of an experience, a search for a match or fit, scaling an effort and detailing for an outward expression. A project is something distinctive from traditional, routine and ‘bureaucratic means’. A project must emerge out of circumstances, but aided by all kinds of debate and analysis and policy formulations. It always deals with fairly complex environment to address social, business and organizational issues.

Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first atomic bombs during World War II.

Projects have finite amounts of Time, Money, People, and Resources, and conditioned by technology, legal, social and such obligations. A project is perceived as an exclusive entity, but with a fair chance of it being re-enacted.

Projects usually have a dual personality, technical, and procedural, but not exclusively one or the other. While managing a project situation what is unfamiliar and non routine, invariably necessitates all kinds of learning, adaptation, problem solving.

Columbus coming to Americas

Projects have four interdependent parameters, Scope, Time, Cost and Quality. Projects are so Scope or extent dependent that an increase in size may delay a project, increase its cost, or compromise the quality. A Time dependent project when delayed impacts the benefits or losses out of it. With early or accelerated execution, extensive benefits could be derived. Cost generally determines the extent of a project in the early stage, but costs are extremely variable and can change the perception of extent. Quality parameters are likely to be the prime casualty, when conditions are abnormal and survival of an individual or the society is threatened, such as during war, natural calamities, catastrophes etc. Though best or most challenging projects planning methods have emerged in such acute conditions.

Constraints

These interdependent parameters can make a project critical. As a planning and forecasting tool, projects are hypothetically made critical by ‘tweaking’ one or few parameters. A project in critical mode reveals its weak points or inferior sections. A project is considered as weak as its most inferior section, but the project achieves a strength equivalent to the average strengths of all its sections. Project management systems entail recognition of such dependencies as risks, and provide means for dealing with them.

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VALUATIONS

Post     -by Gautam Shah 

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In any professional practice one often deals with real and probable assets, advantages and rights. These accrue to a client as a result of not only a professionals’ actions, but often intentions and presence.

Professionals and Clients on their own and together try to assess the cost and value of things they deal with. Professionals have to operate within certain limits. These limits are monetary requirements and non-monetary obligations such as the laws, social confirmation and professional ethics.

Monetary requirements are largely defined by the costing of the action or involvement. The professional, however, would go beyond the costing process and justify the professionalism by Valuation. In functional sense the value shows how much professionalism has helped a client gain something beyond the nominal cost of acquisition. Whereas, a Client wants to know, if the intervention of a professional, translates into an advantage.

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Valuations determine, what one would gain by acquiring, or disposing something. Value reflects an addition or deduction to wealth. Cost at the moment of transfer of ownership or usage rights may or may not reflect the Value of an item, but it helps in a better judgement of the Value.

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Cost, Value and Design Practice: In design field valuation is made for all types of properties to assess their wealth. Whereas, the Costing is done to determine the expenditure (actual or probable) and thus the immediate Value of an object. Often people (connoisseurs) need to know, if an entity means wealth in the Cost or Value Terms, and in what proportion, and, so may carry out both. Routine jobs have a predictable Cost. However, jobs with substantial intellectual effort accomplish more than the cost of implementation. So, a dilemma occurs, should one charge a Professional Fee on the total Cost of the job, or Value accruing out of the job? Authors of creative efforts must know how to Value their accomplishments, and thereby demand fair compensation or ‘Commission’ for it. Designers need to know both the Cost and Value of their professional services.

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There are two types of Valuations. Valuation of monetary nature, and Valuations of Non-monetary nature. Both together provide to true assessment of a possession.

The Danish Royal Library Wikipedia Image

Valuation of Monetary nature

Monetary valuations are not very different from Costing exercises. Though here utility, desirability, scarcity, availability and marketability etc. of an item are assessed in Monetary Terms, rather than Market equivalent Costs of such items. Value Assessments are very subjective, and so may not seem rational. It is the experience of the Valuer that imparts some degree of objectivity and also reliability to the valuation.

QueueValuations of Non-monetary nature

Valuations of non-monetary nature, are made to check the adherence to values, customs, traditions, ethos, rules, regulations, laws, etc. Greater adherence to these issues results into higher Value application to the product. Non monetary Valuations have a relevance only to people who are concerned with it in some way. Often negative or repulsive aspect of an entity, such as Hitler’s memorabilia, blacks magic tools, due to their rarity, invites a connoisseur’s favour. Non monetary Valuation based on one aspect or few concerns are not very useful, desirable, or even reliable. Non monetary Valuations based on too many factors are not comparable, so must be scaled into some economic or monetary component. These, makes Valuation, a very complicated process.

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Evaluations

Quantity estimates deal with actual measures and real life conditions but, in some situations do not serve much purposes. Quantity estimates to be meaningful are correlated with other values. With quantity estimates remaining constant, the co-related values are considered as the variables. The most common is the ever changing monetary value. Many such Values are measurable and realistic that, compared to other difficult to measure and abstract values like the ecological or social relevancies.

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Differentiating COST from VALUE -Interior Design Practice

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Interior Design practice involves dealing with works of art, artefacts, craft pieces, and many other precious things. It not only involves identifying objects, judging their true worth, for acquiring, and sometimes even disposing off such articles.

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At another level interior designers also help create entities of such merit. The benefits accruing to the client could be several times more than the real cost of creation or acquisition. It is very important for a design professional to be able to differentiate between the cost and value.

Routine jobs have a determinable cost (and by adding a customary margin of profit, etc. one can derive the price). However, jobs with substantial intellectual effort accomplish more than the cost of implementation. So, dilemmas occur, should one charge a professional fee on the total cost of the job, or value accruing out of the job? Authors of creative efforts must know how to value their accomplishments, and thereby demand a fair compensation for it. Designers need to know both the cost and value of their professional services.

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The understanding of Cost versus Value of an entity helps a designer at TWO distinct levels:

1 Determination of Fees

2 Helping a client for the value-assessment of their possessions.

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1a.       Determination of Cost-based Fees

Interior Design practice follows age-old traditions of Architectural practice. Jobs are generally executed by appointed contractors or selected vendors. These third party (away from the Architect and the Client) entities present an invoice, which reflects the nearly true cost of the job. Architects base their fees on this foundation after adding certain percentage amount to account for miscellaneous expenses, (such as on power, water, etc.). Substantial part of Interior Designer’s work follows a similar path.

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1b.       Determination of Value-based Fees

Jobs like renovation, extension, addition, conservation, etc. make substantial change to the existing environment, upgrading the commercial value, or advantages deriving out of it. A unique concept that costs very little to implement, provides a substantial benefit to the client. Should one charge a fee on the cost of a job or on the value of the completed job? Here determining an appropriate cost base for fees is very difficult.

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2.         Value assessment of possessions

In design field valuation is made for all types of properties to assess their wealth. Designers help their clients acquire or dispose off entities. Value is specific, there cannot be a general fall or rise in value of all the things. Value of a thing goes up, when we can acquire or aspire for more or superior things in exchange, and goes down, when we can acquire or hope for less or inferior things in exchange. Value is relative, referred in terms of something else.

Value of a thing, cannot be always measured in money. Value has many different connotations, and it has relevance in terms of, emotions, remembrances, associations, ageing, maturity. heritage, rarity, ecological, environmental, social, etc.

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