Interview With Project Manager
According to Modesto and Stephen (2009), a project is an activity or an enterprise that is carefully planned and executed, with one or more objectives to be achieved at the end of the implementation phase. Project management is the activity of overseeing the project being carried out as planned from the planning stage, through the implementation stage, up to the monitoring and evaluation stages. Project managers are, thereby, the personnel who oversee the whole process of the project from inception up to the implementation stage, and the monitoring and evaluations phases, to ensure its success.
Jansen (2012) asserts that project managers are in charge of the project planning, execution and coordination of roles of all project players and resources committed within the scope of the project, so as to attain the intended objectives of the project. Responsibility and authority of project completion and delivery is within their mandate.
Mr. Brown is a manager in the Standard Chartered Bank. A few years ago, he was mandated to oversee the implementation of a program to upgrade consumer experience and retail banking by adoption of new technologies to aid easing bank transactions.
Mr. Brown established a program of installing automated teller machines (ATM) on the banks branches to replace the initial conventional teller method that had served the banking industry for long. Since the inception of the ATM and the beginning of commercial uptake by banking institutions in the 1970s, many banks have rapidly been installing and upgrading their systems to support ATM services for seamless transactions and more improved customer experience (Sullivan, 2003).
In the uptake of ATM banking services, a bank has to examine many aspects of it, especially the customer base and transaction volumes adequate to support the operation of an ATM network (Sullivan, 2003). In Standard Chartered Bank, the process of adopting ATM machines to replace bank tellers and drive though payment options were guided by the large customers the institution was receiving in its banking halls, with a large number there to make withdrawals.
ATM machines were the best option to give a round the clock cash dispensing service. Despite getting access to cash on a 24 hour basis, ATM operators could have access to other services such as an opportunity by some ATM to make cash deposits, making cash transfers and airtime top ups, among other services.
Before the bank installed the ATM service outlets, there was a feasibility study of customer activity carried out and regions singled out. This helped determining customer numbers and transaction volumes. Mapping was then carried out to determine the number of ATM outlets each region would require. This study also aided in determining other areas outside the banking premises where ATMs could be installed to ease traffic at the banks premises.
This also would improve access to cash in various areas. After the mapping, the required spaces were acquired for ATM installation. This included construction of new structures, remodeling of existing premises and acquisition of new ones in new areas. The machines were then installed, after which the program was instituted to maintain the premises and monitor the operation of the outlets. So as to inform decisions on adding more machines, changing the locations among other maintenance and evaluation components.
Mr. Brown implemented the project successfully by adopting change management tactics as informed by Lidell (2012) who advocates for minimization of negative impacts of change and optimization of positive effect of a change. These are realized through strategizing for change, planning for the change, executing the change through implementation, countering resistance to the change and putting in place reinforcements to support the change and minimize negative impacts. He accomplished this by forming sub-groups in the team and delegated responsibility by the principle of specialization and division of labor to achieve all the aspects of change management.
To bring all these changes, the project manager put in place a team which he headed and divided tasks among the team members to spearhead various sections of the program. The research team did preliminary feasibility studies that informed program decisions. IT section dealt with the installation of the machines, procurement coordinated acquisition of spaces and equipment necessary for the project, and the maintenance team carried out any breakdowns and repairs of ATM.
After the implementation of the project, ATM machines were located in various strategic locations, mostly in urban areas, commercial districts and institutions. Effectually, the roll out of this program managed to cut significantly the queues previously experienced in banking halls. Many could do transactions on the ATM machines. Many branches had more space to carry out branch operations and the tellers in the branches were relieved of the gross workload.
Bank customers could access cash for 24 hours a day, convenience in transactions, few or no errors, privacy in banking services for clients, and preference by clients for the improved access to cash in any location at the time they needed it. On the other hand, the card operated ATM transactions became a target for fraudsters who could skim and access clients money without their consent. This security breach was costly to the business.
In conclusion, there are a lot of lessons learned from the project. So as to carry out a project successfully, every project manager must ensure he controls all the resources at his disposal aptly to deliver the project within schedule, and put in place a good mechanism to carry out monitoring and evaluation. After project conclusion, the sustainability of a project is critically dependent on the measures put in place to maximize actualization of project objectives and eliminate to the furthest extent possible the negative and undesired impacts upon the project.
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