The case study involves Larry Gravill who is the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) chief. Larry evaluates the implementation of an integrated information system, known as the Common Information Management Systems (CIMS), which involves WRPS and seven other police organizations. Larry has had records of success in the implementation of similar information systems in his career. Integrated Technologies Group (ITG) was the contracted vendor tasked with the installation of the system. Some of the crucial components of the system included Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and the Records Management System (RMS). At the time of choosing ITG as the vendor to install the system, there have been no suitable vendors as compared to the current situation, where the market is full of vendors that are more appropriate than ITG. The CIMS is composed of the following modules: RMS CAD, mobile workstation environment, mapping, and lastly, the CPIC module. The CAD was tasked with recording calls and assigning work to police officers. On the other hand, RMS is the primary system, tasked with information maintenance based on offenders and crimes. Mapping, on the other hand, helped the dispatched officers identify addresses that they had been sent to by generating maps. The mobile workstation environment is the system installed in the patrol cars to ease communication. Lastly, the CPIC module integrated the CMIS with the Canadian Police Information System. The CPIS is a federally managed Computer-based information system that provides information based on crime nationally. The importance of information system includes improving management, enhances the process of decision-making, and aids in risk mitigation. Therefore, it is important for the WRPS to employ the CMIS in their operation.
Project Methodology Used in the Case Analysis
Project management is a discipline that involves planning, initiating, controlling, closing a team’s work, and executing preset objectives to achieve particular success (Kerzner, 2013). A project, on the other hand, is defined as an endeavor temporarily designed in an attempt to produce services and products that are considered unique (Burke, 2013). Normally, projects have a clearly defined process that shows the beginning and the end of the project. One of the biggest challenges in project management lies in achieving the objectives of the project within the stipulated timeline. According to Schwalbe (2015), different projects require different management methodologies to succeed. One of the most suitable methods to evaluate the success of a software project management is the Agile Project Management (APM). The method allows a careful and thorough scrutiny of the project to ascertain its success in regards to the expected performance standards.
Project Characteristics That Show that Agile Process Methodology (APM) Was Used
According to Patwardhan, Kidd, Urena, & Rajgopalan (2016), one of the major characteristics of APM is the fact it continuously evaluates cost and time required to implement a project. In the process of implementation, the chief of the WRPS feels that ITG may not be able to implement the project within the stipulated timeline. He also accuses ITG of having realized that the profit accrued from the project would not be as high as expected. During the implementation process, Larry felt that they should change their business model to fit the designed system that was one of the features of the agile methodology.
According to Patwardhan et al. (2016), another feature of the agile methodology is that it offers a chance to look for alternate routes, and Larry feels that ITG may not be in a position to deliver the system that they have been tasked to provide. Therefore, he proposes that the WRPS should cut their losses and consider employing services of other products available on the market that would offer better services as compared to ITG. According to Kerzner (2013), the agile methodology also considers workspace at some point during the development of the software; the WRPS realize that rather than changing the system, they could change their business model to fit that of the software.
Area of Success in the Case Analyses
One of the notable success of the project is the fact that the chief of police has been able to realize that the WRPS need an information system to ease the operation of the police department in the Waterloo area. After this, the department chose ITG as the vendor tasked with the installation of the system. This was based on the fact they felt ITG was the best seller at that moment. However, ITG managed to integrate some part of the software successfully. Another important successful part of the project is the fact the government has already funded the project.
Current and Potential Issues with the Project Management
One of the problems facing the implementation of the project is the wrong choice of vendor. After having formulated the first request for proposal (RFP) and having had no applicants, the WRPS should have learned how delicate the project was (Patwardhan et al., 2016). Despite the fact that after reformulating the second RFP there was a successful candidate, they should have seriously evaluated the vendor ITG. This could have been done by considering the history of the projects that the supplier had undertaken and completed successfully or even failed (Hwang & Ng, 2013). As a result, they could have been capable of determining whether the provider was right for the job or not. The initial source of funding for the project can also be considered as an issue towards the project implementation. The chief of the WRPS proposes the adoption of a new vendor after having felt that ITG is not in a position to implement the system as required. As Kerzner (2013) puts it, the new vendor should be vetted carefully to ensure that the previous mistakes are not repeated. This will allow for a smoother running of things with minimal disruptions.
A stakeholder is defined as an individual who possesses an interest in specified undertaking (Weiss, 2014). In this project, the stakeholders involve the WRPS who are the clients that benefit from the system. ITG, as the vendor, is tasked with the installation of the system. The Canadian government is the one that funds the project. Other police agencies are some of the parties that will benefit from the system, as it will ease communication between the agencies. Therefore, the key stakeholders in this project are the WRPS, the ITG vendor, and the government, for without the three the project would not take place.
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Communication Channel Between the Stakeholders
Communication channels dictate the flow of information within an institution. One of the most efficient ways to allow communication is to make sure that information flows both from the seniors to the juniors and vice versa (Hwang & Ng, 2013). One of the best channels to facilitate this is the use of e-mails. E-mails are useful due to the fact that one message can be relayed to a large group of individuals within a very short time. Another channel, which is as effective as the email, is the intranet channel. The intranet provides an opportunity for the storage of the information that can be accessed at one's convenience timeline. A team meeting is also an active communication channel that would provide a platform, through which the interested stakeholders would exchange notes and discuss the challenges at each level. As a result, the stakeholders will be able to address the problems at hand and come up with solutions to the challenges.
Potential Communication Challenges and Resolution
Plausible measures that can be undertaken to take care of any communication breakdowns would be installation of quality backup servers and the adoption of new technology that enhances video communication (Schwalbe, 2015). The back-up servers will allow a seamless use of the email communication that would ensure there is no delay in receiving or sending communication. The back-up servers will also ensure a continuous running of the intranet channels with no communication disruptions. Thus, the adoption of video communication technology will facilitate the conduction of team meetings even when the stakeholders involved are not at one location.
Project Management Knowledge Areas
Hwang and Ng (2013) are of the opinion that the success of a project depends on the ability of the manager to manage the project and integrate all of the involved processes. The project management knowledge areas include integration management that involves ensuring that all the processes participating in the project execution are aligned to facilitate a successful project implementation. Before the project began, WRPS identified what they needed to be integrated into the system before its implementation. Further, scope management is the next element of the project management knowledge areas (Cameroon & Green, 2015). This feature clearly outlines what the project is supposed to deliver. In this case, the project is intended to provide a system that automates the operation of the WRPS.
However, during the project execution, some changes, which were not in the initial contract with ITG, were made. As a result, the project failed to meet this knowledge area. Time management was the next element, as the installation of the automated system was supposed to take place between 1997 and 2006. The knowledge area such as cost control outlines the cost to be incurred in executing the project. The project meets this area in that its cost went over $8.5 million. This knowledge area was unsuccessfully approached, considering that the project cost was more than the anticipated cost. In addition, quality management is another knowledge area; the vendor was not able to deliver the required quality of the system (Schwalbe, 2015). As a result, the police chief advised the adoption of another system. Hence, this area was not met by the project. As Cameroon & Green (2015) indicate, human resource management knowledge area demands that a team is put in place to facilitate the smooth execution of a project. In the case analysis, the WRPS has a team, which is evident from the fact that in his report, Larry mentions multi partners from the side of the police who are involved in the project. The team realized that ITG was not capable of delivering the system as agreed earlier. Therefore, the project meets the knowledge area of human resource management.
Burke (2013) mentions communication control as another knowledge area that is essential to the success of a project. Through discussion, the WRPS staff had realized that rather than changing the software they ought to change the model of their business to fit the software. Risk management offers an opportunity to be in a position to prepare and mitigate risks before they appear. During the execution of the project, the requirement of the CIMS changes, and they are not in the initial contracts with ITG, which makes it hard for the company to meet these demands within the stipulated cost.
As stated by Burke (2013), procurement management was important during the beginning of the project as the WRPS formulated the first request for proposal where they did not get any parties interested. This prompted the team to come up with a second request for proposal, where ITG was the only applicant. Stakeholder management is the last knowledge area, and for a project to be successful, it is essential to identify the stakeholders and their roles and see whether one can adequately provide what they need. Thus, ITG did not deliver what it promised despite the government and the WRPS providing the resources required. As a result, the project failed to meet this knowledge area.
One of the recommended methodologies in the management of the project is to change management methodology. This method works well when preparing for change and risk during the execution of the project (Cameroon & Green, 2015). This method would have been suitable mainly because the project requirement changed while the execution phase was in progress leading to risks that had not been foreseen, for example, increased cost. This methodology would have offered the right solutions towards the successful completion of the project.
If I were the project manager, I would have considered waiting for more applicants to the project when the request for proposal was issued rather than rushing to choose the only vendor that applied. This would have provided me with the alternatives to compare. I would also have considered evaluating the past records of the seller before hiring them.
Information systems are crucial for the automation of day-to-day operations of any entity. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right vendor for the execution of a project involving the information system. A proper methodology should also be determined to ensure that the project is monitored from the start to the end. Failure to choose the right vendor and monitor the progress of the system running may result in the emergence of challenges that could disrupt the entire project. Continuous assessment of the effectiveness of the information systems is important to ensure that any risks that had not been considered before can be factored in later to mitigate any possibility of further risk exposure.