Toys4Them is a small business selling toys in your local area. However, the business has grown to a greater extent in the last five years. Number of employees has been increased from 25 to 100 in the last 5 years and the turnover from £100k to £500k. It has been planned to open four additional branches next year. Part of the reason for the company’s success has been their strong work culture.
The company’s founders wanted to focus on using information technology and innovation to improve sales further. The current system works fairly well, however, only offline as the company does not have presence online. This is a major disadvantage for the company and hence the founder, John believes in e-commerce and wants to go online. After several weeks of consultations with his senior staff, John decided to implement a system for online sales to increase the business further and is ready to invest substantially. Davis, the head of Toys4Them IT department, which looks after their local network of computers, printers etc., is very optimistic that his IT department can setup and provide the necessary IT infrastructure. However, he is also aware of many solutions like outsourcing the whole system development and SasS (Software as Service) and HasS (Hardware as Service), which are part of cloud computing.
1. Write a short report by critically evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing of software development. [400 words]
2. Near accurate time and cost estimation are extremely important for any project to be successful. Assuming you have been asked to estimate the cost and time for this project, critically evaluate the applicability and suitability of different type of estimation methods. [400 words]
You have an important role to play as a team member of this project and should finish it successfully within budget and on time, not compromising any functional requirements for a typical e-commerce website. You promote the idea of working with highly talented and motivated individuals who can work well on self-managed teams.
After several consultations with John and staff at Toys4Them over 8 weeks, several functional and non-functional requirements have been identified and documented. These requirements have to be analysed and a solution has to be designed, implemented, tested and deployed. Some non-functional requirements like online security have become very important as online fraud has become very sophisticated.
Some of the functional requirements are, customers should be able to order several toys over the Internet, receive them via express mail, return via express mail, cancel the order before it has been dispatched, edit the delivery address, automatic email generation to confirm the order. Several companies already provide this kind of service. Market research and corporate values suggested your company focus on educational and sports-related toys in addition to general merchandise toys. You also plan to serve an international market, providing information on products in several different languages. This system must be very user-friendly, providing customers, the ability to search for specific toys, by different categories, age, gender appropriateness, customer reviews, sport (for sports-related toy), language, and so on. Registered customers must be able to track delivery and return of toys, pay online or via other payment methods (including credit card or bank payments, cheque, PayPal etc.), and provide reviews of their online experience with Toys4Them customer services. The system must also be able to track referrals to the site from corporate partners and customer referrals, display advertisements and track customer usage patterns.
3. Prepare a stakeholder analysis for this project, using the template provided on portal. Be creative in making up information about stakeholders. [500 words]
4. Develop a work breakdown structure (WBS) for the project. Break down the work to level 2 or level 3, as appropriate. In addition to the functional requirements listed in the scenario above, you can add suitable additional functionality as well. [300 words]
Part 3: Execution
Your project has been going well until now with no major challenges and your team is proud of it. It has been two months into the project since it has started, and you have another four months to go. One of the key staff members, Bill met with an accident and has been advised to take bed rest at least for four months. This is a big setback for you as you cannot afford to lose even a single staff.
5. How can the above unfortunate situation with Bill be solved? Write a short report with several alternatives and suggestions to meet up with John. [300 words]
Part 4: Controlling
Due to economic recession, John could not promise any extra funds to hire or replace Bill and his own work is being piled up. Three months into the project, your project manager and your team are very concerned about the progress of the project. After reviewing the progress, it has been decided to have a series of bi-monthly meetings with all affected staff.
6. After the first bi-monthly meeting and consultations with business experts, you have convinced John that the only way to finish project successfully is to compromise scope by having only absolute essential functionality. Critically evaluate what functionality and/or features can be compromised. [300 words]
Part 5: Closing
Its one week before your final project presentation. You have been successful in meeting time and cost deadlines. However, scope had to be compromised. You have been really helpful in making this project a success. Your project manager has recognized your project management skills and is recommending you to be a project manager for the next project, which is starting soon.
7. Prepare a lessons-learned report for the entire project. Include input from all stakeholders in summarizing the lessons learned. Use the template provided on portal.