Sample Management Research Paper on Ford Motors

Ford Motors

 Module 1

The organization that I selected is ford motors that was started and initiated by Henry ford in the year 1903. The company is associated and specialized in manufacturing and selling automobiles with a brand known as ford. The vehicles ranges from personal to commercially used automobiles. It has established a number of outlets in many countries which helps in the distribution and sales of these products to world clientele. Some of the companies it owns include Brazilian SUV, FPV (Australian manufacturer) and Troller.

One of the project management activities that the company was engaged in is development of Ford.com. The project involved collaboration between the Ford motor company’s internal development organization and Microsoft consulting services. Thus, it was a joint project that would help consumers access and buy products from the company website. It was commissioned in the year 2000 in the month of august where preliminary meeting took place between the two institutions. Subsequent meeting happened later on especially in September 2001 (Wideman, Max, 2001). The site is accredited for the provision of navigation services that enables consumers to access information useful in making decisions. The content management server provided the following features: Built-in workflow system, dynamic server load balancing, ease of development, custom properties, connected pages and web-based authoring. The out-of the box features would enable the entity integrate extra features such as vehicle recall information, links for email communication with the company, search engine and a shopping guide. These features are important in guiding and helping a consumer make critical decision.

The table below shows some features.

XML nodesMSCMS Custom Properties
<pagename>Posting. Display Name
<metakeyword>Keywords
<description>Posting. Description
<faqsection>FAQ Section

Table 1 represents customized features for ford.com

From the table above, the development and integration of the site to previous system was to take place within a period of 13 weeks. This took the effort of a determined and dedicated team of experts from both sides. At the same time, the company was running ford data center alongside the site because it would host the new system. Microsoft on the other hand would provide the solutions framework that would complement existing methodologies. The project was implemented through phases (Lavell & Waddell, 2016). The first phase was the envisioning phase that included the preparation of project charter and risk assessment document. The second phase which started at the start of week three through four to five was determined at constructing or structuring the deliverables. These deliverables included ford.com functional specification, architecture document, project schedule, revision of the risk assessment document, technical specification and testing environment effects. This stage was critical in the development and called for intensive lobbying for expert advice. The third phase was the development stage that came later between week six to nine. Some of the things dealt with at this stage included: MSCMS implementation, content tweaking and migration, testing and developer training. Lastly, the stabilizing phase which took place between week ten to thirteen saw the implementation and testing of the site. The activities carried out at this stage includes: integration testing, environment audits, deployment testing and stress and load testing (Duncan Haughey, 2014).

The architecture is as follows:

Description: https://i-technet.sec.s-msft.com/dynimg/IC88771.gif

            Figure 1 represents MSCMS-based architecture for Ford.com

            From the figure above, consumers gets into the system and navigate what they need and request for guidance from the company. The advice provided either lead to purchase decision or more navigation by consumer. The entity will also store information by the entity for future reference (Microsoft, 2016).  Internet users access information from the website which is characterized by web server, MSLMS data storage, application data and ford.com center. These features are supported through the files that are stored in various galleries. The galleries on the other hand contain files holding the same format and structure hence able to assist or ease the process of retrieval.

            The outcome of this project was to build ford brands, improves the company mark values and drive traffic to the site. This increased customer base for the entity an action that is central to the sales and marketing activities.

References

Duncan Haughey. (2014, December 24). A Brief History of Project Management | Project Smart. Retrieved from https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/brief-history-of-project-management.php

Lavell, D. S., & Waddell, J. M. (2016). Project Requirements. Project Management ToolBox33(2), 81-110. doi:10.1002/9781119174820.ch4

Microsoft. (2016, January 14). Content Management Server – Ford Motor Company Technical Deployment Guide. Retrieved from https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb676164.aspx

Wideman, Max. (2001, March 2). Expert Project Management – First Principles of Project Management – Part 1. Retrieved from http://www.maxwideman.com/papers/first_principles/intro.htm

Module 2: Planning Phase

Name:

Institution:

Module 2

Ford started by convening a meeting with stakeholders in this project. This would help plan for the implementation and actualization of the documented plan. The planning phase includes the following activities that were geared towards the overall success of the project.  It happened or took place between the third week and fifth week of the thirteen weeks set for the project (Emond & Steins, 2011). Some of the particulars in this stage are provided in the figure below.

Figure 1 represents planning steps followed in coming up with a website structure

First, Functional specifications were developed and documented. The website required functional features that would help clients and administrator communicate effectively. The second step involved working on the architecture document (Hurtado, Smithwick, Sullivan, & Savicky, 2008). This is because some of the information regarding network, quality assurance, production environment, security architecture and server were scanty and required detailing. Then, the developers would go ahead with technical specifications. It involve coming up with a detailed design and application architecture that would assist in building the website. All features were detailed and separation of specifics design so as to focus on each item as an item (Wideman R., 2009). Then, the master project schedule that outlined the roles and duties of team members was structured. Each and every process called for specialized and experienced individuals.  After assigning specific roles to the team, the committee then revised the risk assessment paper that was developed initially. This was helpful in categorization of risk into various groups (Mark, 2009). Thus, the necessary measures were undertaken to ensure that proper mitigation strategies are put into place. Lastly, we have the provision of testing and development environment (Melton, 2007).

The major success factors for the projects involved the integration of Application programming interface and running of the system. These were key determinant that the process/ plan have sailed through successfully. In regards to the integration of various features, Microsoft Company played a key role in ensures that all files were imported successfully. In addition, customization of features that would help the company addresses the specific needs of its clientele. This would mean that the institution had the mandate to oversee the utilization of its resources optimally as well as improve sales both in the short run and in the long run period. Various programming interface and files were imported from the company system that existed before. They had to be converted from java based storage system that was applied by the entity previously to MSXML platform. This would mean that the institution invested in technical advice and workforce hence oversaw the success of its endeavor. In addition, the institution was able to run the system as intended by the developers. At the same time, the costumed features were running as well.

In conclusion, the system would see the light of the day due to the investment done by the two institutions. In addition, consultation and brainstorming helped Ford.com come up with out-of-the-box ideas that would help promote the ideologies and business of the institution. Thus, the end result was success in the provision and articulation of the system. Moreover, Ford.com incorporated information and data from external sources that the links to these sources needed to be provided. This would enable individuals compare prices and features as outlined by manufacturers.

References

Emond, J., & Steins, C. (2011). The Project Life Cycle. Pro Web Project Management12(4), 1-3. doi:10.1007/978-1-4302-4084-6_1

Hurtado, K., Smithwick, J., Sullivan, K., & Savicky, J. (2008). Design and Implementation of a Practice-Based Course in Contracting and Project Management. 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings34(5), 200-260. doi:10.18260/p.26671

Mark, Scott (2009, January 3). ProjectManagement.com – Transforming the Culture with OPM3 (Part 1 of 3): An Overview. Retrieved from http://www.projectmanagement.com/articles/249694/Transforming-the-Culture-with-OPM3–Part-1-of-3—An-Overview

Melton, T. (2007). The project life-cycle. Project Management Toolkit44(3), 7-12. doi:10.1016/b978-075068440-8/50006-0

Wideman R. Max. (2009, February 27). PPM Strategic Risk Management. Retrieved from http://www.maxwideman.com/issacons/iac1004c9/sld001.htm

Module 3: Challenges in the Activation

Name:

Institution:

Module 3

The project was activated during the sixth and ninth week of the milestone. This was known as the developing phase and included a number of key elements that were structured and put into practice. First, MSCMS implementation where folders, web Author customizations, templates and channels were created and tested to ensure they functioned effectively. In addition, content migration from existing websites to MSCMS took place as well as cleaning any anomalies observed. All the features are integrated to ensure that they function and are applicable. This goes hand in hand with the training of Ford employees expected to handle the site and unit testing also took place (Sullivan, Kashiwagi, & Chong, 2009).

The site was then ready for the users to apply in carrying out various activities that they needed to perform. The automation of web content enabled Microsoft consulting services migrate extensible markup language files (XML) to MSCMS. This saved on time that the company would have used in performing these activities manually. Previously, the institution or Ford Company was using Java-based content management system storage. This presented some challenges because the content had to be exported into an XML files. However, with a team of dedicated and experienced developers, the importation of script and content was made easier due to the application of MSXML object that enabled the transfer of each XML document. The hypertext markup language (HTML) and content thereof was stored in <content> node. This was in the XML document that was created for the sake of content importation (Sullivan, Kashiwagi, & Chong, 2009).

Finally, the site was now ready for use. Content management server applied for the site would run on all servers as well as interact with diverse database server. Some of the components that were customized for the site so as to serve the needs of the target market will be outlined below. The first item was the shopping guide which helps store critical information from the database. The feature is helpful in the sense that data stored in it can be used later through retrieval. The second item is about vehicle recall which is achieved through the application of Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) calls. This is a business-to-consumer kind of website where clients can learn more about their vehicles and seek guidance on maintenance issues. The search feature is also integrated into the system and it is a very important component of the website (Sullivan, Kashiwagi, & Chong, 2009). Then, we have the E-mail and Reporting features that help communicate with the entity in regards to any matter that concerns the site, content provided or inquiries (Ward, 2008).

            The major challenge that was experienced in the implementation or activation of the system is transfer of files from a java based system to a MSXML platform. The reason behind this is that these files could not be important in their original form, thus, the intervention was to change the files to XML format. This made it easier to overcome the challenge that the company had to undergo through in their implementation of the system and creation of various features for the site.

            In conclusion, Microsoft consulting services were helpful in overcoming some of the technical challenges that the project presented to the public. This is because of the fact the company selected some of the most experienced developers who would oversee the implementation of the process so as to meet the desired outcome.

References

Sullivan, K. T., Kashiwagi, D. T., & Chong, N. (2009). The Influence of an Information Environment on Construction Organization’s Culture: A Case Study. Advances in Civil Engineering2009(2), 1-10. doi:10.1155/2009/387608

Ward J. LeRoy (2008, October 22). Expert Project Management – Ten Essential Steps to Delivering Successful Programs. Retrieved from http://www.maxwideman.com/guests/essential/intro.htm

Module 4: Project Controls

Name:

Institution:

Module 4

Project control took place at different stages in the development and implementation of the entire project. This was geared at preventing any misunderstanding that would occur during the operation and implementation of the project. Some of the challenges that were experienced by the entity includes: inadequate resources, poor communication, lack of good coordination and low team spirit. Ford.com files and folders follow a defined hierarchy that defines the control path from authoring, editing and organization of site. The mitigation strategies in each stage are outlined below. The first step in the control process is the structuring of navigational architecture. Team work was lacking during this stage where workers intended to perform these activities on their own. This led to the delay in the formation and utilization of resources by member of the joint committee. The second item in the control process is about resource gallery. It is like a container that is responsible for the organization, control and grouping of resources (Hubbard, 2008). The organization of different resources such as images, content and information make it easy for the users to navigate through the site. However, this process was allocated less funds that would see some steps delayed. Thus, the completion of this project would be hastened to meet the deadline hence led to commission of errors and many omissions. These resources needed to be organized in such a manner that they attract players would access easily and in the right amount.

The next control strategies involve the template gallery which provides management for the content found on the site. Poor communication would lead to improper or unhealthy relationship between members. Thus, the setting of the site required good communication from players which was not forthcoming. Communication challenges affected the structuring of various components in the development of Ford.com. The content templates found on Ford.com gallery helps integrate different pages. These templates ranges from content well normal, content well simple to Vehicle details. The first template is applied for the standard pages found on the site. Some of the characteristics of this template includes display name, generating a header and background color. The second template is concerned with the provision of options for users. It is similar to the first template but does not have related or topics bar. Lastly, vehicle detail template contains information about various vehicles on the display (Kozak-Holland & Procter, 2014). The image goes hand in hand with the content of the vehicle and the features that the vehicle holds. This will help a client make critical decisions as well as compare various vehicles based on his/her needs. Lastly, the external link gallery houses the external templates. Pages that are found or associated with these templates are stored in this gallery. If a user wants to connect to an outside site, he/she will be able to utilize this feature and access information about other dealers in automotives in the industry.

            These measures are effective in the delivery of services that the site was meant to provide to consumers. The control measures that the institution implemented helped meet the needs of protecting the site from anomalies as well as grouped various features in the right place. Thus, consumers were able to compare and use the site with easiness without necessarily opening or visiting many sites to search for information. This is because of the fact that ford.com contained information that could be used for comparison. Poor coordination came in at this point as members of the two institutions were not getting along. Coordination is a central issue to the development of the plan. After the brainstorming meeting, many resulted to reservation in service delivery. This involves selected pages for competitors and dealers in the market offering the same services. By doing this, the company saw an increase in traffic into the site an experience that proved that the initiative was a success (Lavell & Waddell, 2016). At the same time, the galleries helped store similar files at the same place where consumers could get them without necessarily struggling over the site. Thus, the control strategies were effective and met the goals intended to.

            Effectiveness of their Projects

            From conceptualization, the project has been a success due to the planning that was conducted by the two institutions. One of the factors of success was effective planning for the project management activities. First, Ford engaged partners such as Microsoft in the conceptualization stage where they were able to come up with a formidable structure for the site. This meant that information about the site could be formulated by experts from both sides and the best alternative undertaken. At the same time, the involvement of Microsoft consulting services at the initial stages would help the entity not only develop a customized site but also have a clear architectural document that was purposeful as well as took care of all needs of the institution (Niinimäki & Lassenius, 2008). The project charter was the primary document for planning for the entire project. The documents contained information about customers and stakeholders. This meant that information about the needs and wants of stakeholders were captured in this document an action that helped maintain and come up with a formidable plan that would be implemented for the benefit of members. The second document in the planning phase that was very critical is risk assessment document. The risk document would capture all the information about the risks associated with the project. This helped point out those activities that were venerable to changes in the architectural development. At the same time, the institution developed some strategies that would help mitigate these risks so that the entity could be able to avoid some of the most expensive or costly risks while hedge others.

            Thus, in the process of developing the website, the company will be aware of the risks that they faced and the things or the actions they needed to undertake as a way of mitigating these risks. Additionally, the risk document was also revised at the planning phase to ensure that information contained was free from errors that would render it ineffective. Testing is a critical component of project success. This is because a project cannot be implemented or used by visitors or clients without being first tested for all the functions. In case all functions are working properly, then, the site is availed to consumers who benefits from the initiative. Thus, testing took place at every stage in the development of the project. This is because of the diverse nature of the system and files involved in the development. The company was able to integrate testing at every stage hence ensured that all processes and steps were followed.

            However, there are rooms for improvement in regards to the development and customization of features. First, the company may improve its features by adding data about review by customers who have purchased from the entity. This is because company uses these reviews to promote their sales activities. In most cases, consumers are able to purchase or gain confidence to buy from the company due to positive reviews that consumers leave on the site. This will promote business for the ford.com which is determined at driving traffic that will be converted to sales. At the same time, reviews are mark of quality and the goods will be branded as quality products. Thus, the institution will leap the benefits of engaging in the internet marketing where consumers review good feedback left. I therefore recommend that the entity provide this feature.

References

Hubbard, R. P. (2008). ATST systems engineering: project update and lessons learned. Modeling, Systems Engineering, and Project Management for Astronomy III22(3), 139-167. doi:10.1117/12.790102

Kozak-Holland, M., & Procter, C. (2014). Florence Duomo project (1420–1436): Learning best project management practice from history. International Journal of Project Management32(2), 242-255. doi:10.1016/j.ijproman.2013.05.003

Lavell, D. S., & Waddell, J. M. (2016). Project Requirements. Project Management ToolBox23(3), 81-110. doi:10.1002/9781119174820.ch4

Niinimäki, T., & Lassenius, C. (2008). Experiences of Instant Messaging in Global Software Development Projects: A Multiple Case Study. 2008 IEEE International Conference on Global Software Engineering14(5), 138-180. doi:10.1109/icgse.2008.27