New product development requires multiple projects and in some cases it can be one project with several sub-projects. For a successful product launch it is important that all stakeholders are involved. This being a new product in the market, it is important that the project team ensures that it is launched at an appropriate time within the given budget allocation. The Low-Calorie ice cream is targeted to be released during summer when people will be rushing to get a food product that is healthy but at the same time refreshing for the hot weather. The product will also take advantage of the Olympics London 2012 since there will be many customers and because we are an established brand, it is also important that the new product matches our high classification in the frozen food manufacture. Techniques that are useful for the realization of the Low-Calorie ice cream launch on time are described below.
Work Breakdown Structure
Work breakdown structure (WBS) is a tool that is used as a definition of the group and the work elements to ease the organization and define the total scope of the project. A WBS also gives the required framework for estimating cost and control in addition to giving guidance for development of the schedule and control. A work breakdown structure makes it easier to manage a complex project through breaking it down in a hierarchical structure. Tasks that can be completed independent of other tasks are defined making it easier to allocate resources and responsibilities. It therefore acts as the foundation of project planning. Precaution to take when creating a WBS is the level of details because very high level of detail could result into micro-management while very low level of details makes tasks too large to be managed effectively.
In new product management, the kind of breakdown structure used in project management is product breakdown structure. PBS works to analyze, document and communicate project outcomes in form of a tree structure. The PBS puts across a statement on what the project wants to deliver. The first step in a new product development project is to define the desired outcome which is to launch a new low-calorie ice cream brand followed by defining the areas that the team is going to handle (manufacturing, distribution, initial sale and launch marketing). The breakdown of each process takes place to a level that is manageable ensuring that level of detail is maximized to enable better project management. The WBS in this project is presented in an outline format which is used especially when entering data in project management software packages in addition to saving space.
A Gantt chart includes information on task and the schedule. Tasks are numbered and listed vertically while a bar is used to show the start date and projected date of completion for each task. It is a useful management and communication tool in project management. In most cases new product development tasks do not finish on time because time estimation was not done accurately while some of the reasons are unavoidable. The Gantt chart makes it easier for the project manager to foresee the schedule slips so that they can be corrected on time for the product launch. A Gantt chart allows for allocation of resource planning which are needed to complete the project on time making it easier to work out a critical path for the project that dictates that the project must be completed by a particular date. Some tasks depend on other activities being completed first and so they need to be completed in a sequence, completing one stage before beginning another task. Other activities however do not depend on other tasks and they may be executed at any time before even a particular stage is reached.
In this project the Gantt chart numbers the tasks and lists them vertically. Each task is then assigned the time that it should take for completion giving additional information on start and finish dates. To come up with a Gant chart there are computer software that can be used because it is something that cannot be done manually.
This is the most often forgotten procedure in many projects because may think of risk management assessment as useless. For the project on low-calorie ice cream, risk assessment is an important part of the project because it will guide the project towards knowing how to act if something happened so as not to overspend beyond the budget allocation or not to lag behind in project completion. It shows that the team members know what the project entails without having to go to the extremities to have it done. It is important that the product is finished on time for the summer because it will attract more customers then and any delays could have the competitors steal the show and make our loyal customers shift preferences. It is a health season because of the Olympic Games thus the concept of health has to be emphasized.
Risk management activities in project management involve planning how to manage the risks in the project. This includes budget, activities, responsibilities and risk management tasks. It is also important that the team members come up with a risk officer who will be responsible for foreseeing potential problems in the project and advice the team on how to avoid the problem accordingly. This does not mean that other members cannot contribute when they foresee a risk in the project because each member should be a team player. A database for the project risks should be put in place that will have information like date, title, short description, importance and probability of each risk attribute. Each risk attribute should also have the person that is responsible to resolve it including the date it is presumed to be resolved. For each risk, a mitigation plan should be put in place that describes how the risk is going to be handled if it occurs by who, when, how and what to avoid it or reduce its effects especially if it is a liability. Qualitative analysis of risk is best for determining the impact of the risk on the objectives of the project while quantitative analysis focuses on delivering the consequences and likelihood of the risks on project objectives. The process that will be sued for risk management is:
- Identifying the risks that threatens to delay the launch of the new low-calorie ice cream
- Assessing qualitatively the probability that the risk could occur.
- Assessing qualitatively the magnitude of the impact is the risk occurs
- Selecting the most significant risks likely to occur and classify them on the basis of whether they are external or internal risks.
- Making plans on how to avoid them or how to minimize the damage if they cannot be avoided.