A Sample Memo Assignment
Communication and Soft Skills
To : The Director, Project Support
From : Student Name, Project Manager
Date : November 5, 2016
Subject : Summary of Initial Findings and Recommendations
I would like to present my initial findings on the progress of the project as at March 31, 2016. The project has overshot the initial budget costs by 30,750 in the first three months. There are various reasons for the cost overshoot, which are listed below:
- The initial budget underestimated the hardware lease and maintenance costs by 4,000 a month, which accounted for 12,000 worth of budget overshoot. The initial budget underestimated software leases and maintenance by 4,500 for the three months. In addition, the hardware and software purchases were grossly underestimated in the initial budget, accounting for 30,000 worth of budget overshoot
- There were some cost savings in the staff salaries and benefits. Eight staff members were included rather than the initial nine, which saved the project 9,000 for each month, amounting to 27,000 in cost savings
- The data center services expense was unaccounted for in the initial budget, but in the actual budget, the project incurred 15,000 in data center services in the first three months
- There are indications that the contracted services were insufficiently projected since there is an increase of 10,000 after the first month of project execution. In addition, there is a projected 5,000-a month budgeted for the remaining three months of the project that was not accounted for in the initial project budget
- The findings suggest that there was little consultation with IT professionals on the cost of hardware, software and other supporting services such as data center services. There are no IT consultation costs in the initial budget. IT consultation could have led to more accurate cost estimations and budget oversight on hardware and software requirements
Based on the initial findings, the following are the next steps I plan to carry out to ensure that the remaining three months of the project are carried out within projected budget cost estimations and timeline:
- Hire an IT consultant to streamline the deployment of hardware and software licensing, lease and maintenance
- Delegate the remaining contracted services to the existing employees to reduce contracting costs
- Maintain the staff (salaries and benefits) costs for the project at 36,000 by continuing with the current eight staff members. The project budget recommends an increase of nine staff members, but the initial eight might be sufficient. The eight staff members were sufficient for the first three months of the project. Therefore, there is no need to increase the staff members to nine. This move will save the project 27,000 in payroll costs for the remaining three months
- Conduct a reconnaissance trip to the site to get a firsthand account of project progress from the employees
The steps outlined above are calculated to reduce costs and optimize project execution for the best outcomes within the initial estimated budget cost and timeline. I hope for the cooperation of all parties involved to ensure that the project is a success.
To: Upper-Level Management
From: Student Name, Project Manager
Date: November 5, 2016
Subject: Justification for Continuing the Project
In this memo, I address your concerns about the termination of the six-month project, currently halfway completed. I hope to convince you of the feasibility of the corrective mechanisms I have put in place to ensure project completion within the stipulated deadline and within the initial budget.
Termination of the entire project would suggest that the project was initially unfeasible, which is not the case. The project, as outlined in the initial budget and timescale, was feasible. However, there were some misinformed budget allocation and contracted services that could have led to increases in costs and reduced productivity. These problems were largely caused by inexpertly estimated software and hardware costs. In the next 3-month phase, the inclusion of IT consultation and the consequent reduction in software and hardware costs should make the project completion feasible.
Terminating the project at such an advanced stage would also lead to the loss of the 325,250 spent in the first three months of the project. I hope that the prior arguments for project continuation demonstrate that the loss is unwarranted if project completion is still a feasible possibility.
There are hardware and software installations, whose resale value if the project is prematurely terminated, would not recover the 66,000 already spent on hardware/software purchases, leases, and maintenance. If the project is terminated before completion, these hardware and software installations will become redundant. On the other hand, if the project is carried out to completion, these installations will continue to add value to the company.
Some of the negative consequences that could occur from project termination include system failure. The project was initiated to upgrade the company’s servers and databases. Terminating the project means that the company’s databases will be running on faulty hardware and software since the upgrade was not completed. Faulty systems and databases could lead to management inefficiencies since the company’s databases comprise a major source of information for strategic decision-making. Therefore, terminating the project might lead to more negative consequences than the projected cost and timeline issues associated with completing the project.
I hope the analysis of the feasibility of completing the project and the negative consequences of terminating it are sufficient to justify project completion. I hope to work together to make the project a success. The management will receive weekly project progress reports.
SITE VISIT AGENDA
Date: November 9, 2016
Time: 8.00 AM
Location: Project Site
- To check the hardware and software installation and assess progress
- Liaise with staff members and ask for opinions about the project progress
- Review project documents for any reports of system failures, budget oversight issues, and employee recommendations about progress
- Check for redundancies in employee duty allocation and potential cost-reduction measures
- Review the duties and responsibilities of the employees to find out any payroll redundancies that could be redirected or culled
- Hold joint meeting with employees to appraise them of the potential termination of the project and the urgent need for cooperation to finish the project on time and within the allocated budget
- To acquire an adequate assessment of the situation on the ground, the feasibility of completion within budget and cost constraints, and a firsthand diagnosis of the problem
- Establish a working rapport with the employees
- Assess the potential damages if the project is terminated
- Acquire an adequate assessment of potential cost-cutting measures and efficiency improvement measures from the employees and direct observation
- Prepare a report of damage control measures if the project is terminated
- Include a prognosis in the report for upper-level management consideration, including hard facts about the project from the site
To: Mark and Joyce
From: Student Name, Project Manager
Date: November 5, 2016
Subject: Communication Problems between Technical and Business Personnel
Coordination between the technical and business personnel is particularly important for the database and server to upgrade process. The business personnel understands the strategic importance of efficient enterprise systems while the technical personnel understands how to leverage technology to facilitate the accomplishment of strategic business objectives. Therefore, the two groups of personnel are not mutually exclusive. They are both equally important for successful project completion.
To deal with the identified communication problems, I intend to take the following measures in coordination with the technical and business personnel:
- Open communication lines between IT and business personnel in order to manage the business personnel service expectations in terms of access to data from the servers and the IT personnel’s ability to deliver on these expectations. The communications problem appears to be an expectations management issue
- Establish common goals and objectives for business and IT personnel – I will structure the goals and objectives of the project to be inclusive of the IT and business needs of the company. There could be a disjunction between the personnel’s goals and objectives in the completion of the project. Shared goals and objectives establish a common base for communication
- Help the IT personnel understand the overall strategic mission and vision of the company in relation to the deployment of information technology to support business processes – the IT personnel might not have a sufficient understanding of the overall strategic objectives of the company as the business personnel. This can create miscommunication
- Advice IT personnel to create easily understandable metrics for measuring how effectively they are using IT to assist business processes, then share it with the business personnel. This might reduce the antagonism, miscommunication and misplaced expectations between IT and business personnel