Project Selection

On Monday morning I start my new job as a Project Manager. In this role I will be in charge of business reviews for different directors across my organization, as well as process improvement, and acting as a systems expert/liaison for my group. This will be my first project management role in my career and I am very excited about it. One of my first on-boarding duties is to be the point person for capital purchases prioritization. This will be my first time dealing with prioritization of capital purchases. Given this fact, I decided that I needed and wanted to look more into selection of projects in general and specifically capital purchases to get up to speed on best practices within my industry.

In our first class, we went over project selection techniques from chapter two of our book. Some of the models that were discussed were:

  • The Payback Model
  • Net Present Value (NPV) Model
  • Checklist Model
  • Multi-Weighted Scoring Model

After learning more about these methods in class, I definitely believe that using just one of these methods to select a project would not be a good idea. However, a mixed approach would be the best course of action in making the best choice for all stakeholders involved. I believe it really comes down to aligning the criteria with the strategic plan of the organization. Some organization’s project selection criteria are going to vary a great deal from others. For example, a nonprofit hospital’s criteria may not value financial criteria as much as other nonfinancial criteria. Obviously, the institution still has to keep the lights on, but the organization may want to do that while providing the best care to all demographics in their community.

So at this point I wanted to take a look at what resources were available online regarding this topic in addition to the guidance our book gave. At first I found multiple presentations and articles regarding systems that could be purchased in order to make the whole capital purchasing selection process run smoother for organizations:

Then I found a link or two for consultants who could help in the planning or implementation phase of capital projects.

Finally I came upon a link that gave me some great information regarding what some folks in my industry are currently doing versus what they should be doing regarding capital project selection.

After taking a look at the various resources available online, I have come to several conclusions regarding the best capital project selection process. First and most importantly, there must be an overall company strategy that Senior Management has set for the company to strive for. Secondly, there are no silver bullets or one process works for all in the capital project selection process. Third, this process should be a living thing that gets discussed throughout the fiscal year, not just when budget season rolls around.

Connected cars: what is it and are they safe?

The wireless technology and connectivity is making news out of Detroit because GM just announced that they will offer wireless connectivity in 15 vehicles. In addition GM CEO spoke at Boston College on the plans GM has around wireless and connected car application development.  The trends, features and safety concerns require extensive management by teams at the carriers and manufacturers.

The statistics outlined in the article show how the trends in wireless and car industry are crossing paths. Smartphone usage is up to 2.5 hours a day which exceeds the amount of time people spend in the vehicles. According to JD Power study two-thirds of people who buy a new car have a smartphone. GM sites that 80% say that connectivity “strongly influences” their car purchasing decisions. Smartphone penetration is well above 95% the wireless companies will develop and new ways to connect customers. This is adjacency move by the wireless carriers while the car manufacturers are enabling features to sell more cars.  The carriers are investing billions of dollars in their wireless infrastructure and the connected car is the next generation of products to utilize the technology. It requires strategic partnerships between industries and ongoing management. It is a strategic decision by the carriers and car companies that is of high importance to both industries. According to ABI Research, the percentage of new vehicles with factory-install telematics globally will increase from around 10% in 2011 to 53% in 2016.

Customer’s lives are digital and connected car is more than getting children watching movies in the back seat. The articles reference connected car but do not say what it means to have a connected car so it is worth mentioning some of the connected features.  There will be vehicle to vehicle connection to send an alert if someone is in an accident.  There will be connectivity exchanges about operational and safety data between vehicles and highway infrastructure to avoid accidents. Customers will be able to purchase music on the go from the console. The features and connectivity are extensive and project managers for the connected car test the features before it is released to the customer.

The experience in a connected car is hands free and the carriers and car manufacturers believe makes driving safer.  The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that proliferation of hands free devices in vehicles increase drivers distractions. As connected car reach the market there will be ongoing monitoring by project teams to investigate accidents related to distracted driving.

Questions: Is connectivity in your car influence your purchase decision? Does a connected car make the driver more or less distracted?