This business report stipulates the approaches that the New Zealand Transport Agency can utilize to enhance its project management. This report is based on the successful project management of the Manawatu Gorge Project to ensure that the company maintains the same level of efficiency in the days to come. The report analyses the company’s approaches to manage its stakeholders, which include engaging with them and building positive relationships with stakeholders. It also stipulates project selection methods such as the Checklist Model and the Analytical Hierarchy Process, which will ensure that the decision-making process in project selection is efficient and bias-free. Lastly, the report recommends methods that the company can use to ensure sustainability in its project management. These methods include ensuring that the project deliverables are sustainable for society and that the project benefits all the stakeholders equally.
Project management is key to the success of the New Zealand Transport Agency. Hail (2012) points out that project management requires the utilization of processes, and experience to accomplish the company’s goals. During this process, NZTA needs to define why the project is a necessity, prepare a business case to justify why it is a good investment, develop a project management plan and engage with both internal and external stakeholders in ensuring that the project is sustainable (Svejvig & Andersen, 2015). The above necessities were met during the Manawatu Gorge project, ensuring its success. In light of this, NZTA has asked for recommendations on how they can better improve their project management. This report, prepared by the Senior Project Manager for NZTA’s Manawatu Gorge Project, stipulates the company’s approaches to improving its project management, specifically in managing stakeholders, selecting projects, and ensuring sustainable project management.
Approaches to managing stakeholders
Engage with Stakeholders
Constantly engaging with stakeholders is the first step to building an aura of trust with them and ensuring that they back the company in ensuring that the project reaches its full potential. Therefore, the New Zealand Transport Agency needs to start having conversations with stakeholders as early as possible to build trust from the onset (Stosich & Bae, 2018). During the Manawatu Gorge project, stakeholders were consulted as soon as the planning process began, and their feedback was incorporated into the strategy. The company can then set up a means of communication and a schedule of when and where the consultations between the company and the stakeholders will ensure punctuality and avoid unnecessary reschedules. NZTA should always be honest and transparent with the stakeholders during these engagements. O’Haire et al. (2011) ascertain that the company should not compartmentalize information as this will lead to a breakdown in the relationship between the company and the stakeholders. The company should also provide means of communication through which the stakeholders can provide their feedback. This mode of communication should be easily accessible and available for use at any particular time. They can accomplish this using a telephone or an online messaging platform.
Establish a Relationship with Stakeholders
For a project to run smoothly, NZTA needs to have a positive relationship with its stakeholders. To accomplish this, the company needs first to group the stakeholders based on their decision-making to develop an approach of engagement that best fits the group. The company can group the stakeholders based on those who have an interest in the project and the stakeholders that will be touched by the project. According to Shams (2015), the company can then establish a means of communication with the stakeholders. In the Manawatu project, communication with the stakeholders was done through meetings, open days, and personal one-on-one engagements. Lock (2019) mentions that NZTA should communicate the project’s scope to the stakeholders and make them understand the benefits they stand to gain from the project. With this understanding, the stakeholders are more likely to offer support and commit to trade-offs on the issues they disagree with. This will ensure that they are happy all through the process, consequently maintaining a positive relationship with the company.
Project selection Methods
To select which project the New Zealand Transport Authority will undertake, the company needs to use various models of project selection to ensure that the process is ethical, transparent, and free of bias. Turkmen & Topcu (2021) ascertain that these methods would make the decision-making process efficient. When choosing which selection model to apply, the company should make sure that the model they choose is realistic, capable, cost-effective, flexible, and easy to use. They should also ensure that the criteria they use in this model align with the objectives the company would want to achieve from the project (Agrawal & Vinodh, 2022). During the Manawatu Gorge Project, the criteria used in the selection process were based on the investment objectives laid out by the company and various stakeholders, the environmental and social impact the project would have on the community of Manawatu, and the various factors that would influence the implement ability of the project. Some of the project selection models that the company would apply include:
The Checklist Model
The Checklist Model is one of the simplest project selection methods that NZTA can apply. To use this model, the company needs to create a list of criteria relevant to the projects. The New Zealand Transport Agency can then compare the projects based on this list by checking whether each project meets the specified criteria. When making the checklist, the company needs to make sure that the criteria chosen are based on the company’s vision and objectives. During the Manawatu Gorge project, the criteria chosen were based on the investment objectives. The company can include stakeholders when selecting the criteria to ensure no bias in the selection process. This would also ensure that no criterion determining the viability of a project is left out (Guidy-Oulai, 2012). Once the projects are assessed through the checklist, the New Zealand Transport Agency can select the project that meets the most criteria.
Analytical Hierarchy Process
The Analytical Hierarchy Process is a powerful but relatively simple process that would help the New Zealand Transport Agency decide on the most viable project. In this process, the company needs to evaluate the goals they need to accomplish and transform them into a set of weighted criteria that would aid them in the selection process (Ishizaka & Labib, 2011). In this model, some criteria are more vital hence the term weighted criteria. NZTA should involve stakeholders in determining which criteria are more important than the other to remove any aspect of bias in the selection process. The projects then need to be scored against the set-out criteria, and then NZTA can calculate the weighted score for each project. Ho (2008) points out that when the company puts together the weighted criteria with the individual project scores, they will develop the weighted score for each project. From the weighted score, the company can now select the project that will best lead them on a path to attaining their goals.
Sustainable Project Management
Ensure that the Project Benefits all Stakeholders Equally
To ensure that all the stakeholders are fulfilled, the company needs to ensure that they all reap benefits from the project (Ray & Mukherjee, 2007). The New Zealand Transport Agency should engage with the stakeholders in the planning process to accomplish this. During the Manawatu Gorge project, stakeholders were engaged in the planning process, and a Derailed Business Case was put forth, and it outlined that the investment to be made was to be in line with the desires of all the region’s stakeholders. Cottrell et al. (2015) affirm that engaging Stakeholders during the planning process will give the company a chance to learn what each stakeholder expects from the project. Although giving all the stakeholders what they want would not be feasible, the company can use these suggestions to devise a project that would benefit all of them in some way or another. The company should also ensure that they are transparent, honest, and ethical in this process to be rid of bias and favoritism.
Integrating Deliverables that are Sustainable to Society
When strategizing on how to deliver on its projects, NZTA should ensure that they consider the sustainability of the community that resides around the project site. Silvius & Schnipper (2014) mention that the company should commit itself to ensuring that they uphold its commitment to maintaining environmental sustainability in the project site to ensure that it remains so even after the project is complete. The company should also ensure that the footprint of the project site is minimal so that they do not extensively disperse the people living nearby or create unnecessary interference to their way of life. The company should communicate with the external stakeholders on the space they need for the project and ensure they stick to their specified area. The New Zealand Transport Authority should also try its best to ensure that they do not build their projects on agriculturally viable land unless it is a necessity. They should only do it as a last resort to ensure they do not disrupt the community’s source of livelihood. Additionally, NZTA should ensure that they maintain the water quality of the potable water sources around the project, and if they are to use it, they should ensure that they do so responsibly (Lim & Yang, 2007).
Project management at the Manawatu Gorge project ensured that the project was a success. The New Zealand Transport Agency can draw lessons from the project to ensure that all future projects are effectively managed. When it comes to managing stakeholders, the company needs to engage the stakeholders in matters pertaining to the project constantly. They can accomplish this through open and honest communication. This will go a long way to creating a good relationship with the stakeholders that will be crucial to the project’s success. The company also needs to apply project selection methods such as the Checklist Model and the Analytical Hierarchy model to decide which project to undertake efficiently. NZTA should maintain sustainability in its project management by ensuring that the project benefits all the stakeholders equally and that the deliverables of the project are sustainable for society.
- NZTA should engage with its stakeholders through honest and transparent communication from the project’s onset. The company should establish a means of communication and schedule when the consultations will occur. Honest and consistent communication will help the stakeholders understand the project’s scope. This understanding will go a long way to creating a positive relationship with the stakeholders.
- The New Zealand Transport Agency should utilize project selection models to ensure that the selection process is fair, effective, and free from bias. The project selection model chosen needs to be realistic, cost-effective, capable, and easy to use. The company can use the Checklist Model or the Analytical Hierarchy Process to determine the projects it will undertake.
- To ensure sustainable project management, NZTA should ensure that the projects benefit all the shareholders equally. To accomplish this, they need to hear what the stakeholders hope to benefit from the project, and the company can devise a way that ensures that they all help.
- The New Zealand Transport Agency should also make sure that the project maintains the sustainability of the society around it. The company needs to ensure that they retain the water quality of any potable water sources around the project, take up as little space as possible and only utilize arable land for a project when necessary.
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