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BS4D03 Management Project – Part 2

Kanishka Sauis
Abstract ...................................................................................................................................... 1

1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 2

2. Assumptions ....................................................................................................................... 3

3. Values and Ethics ............................................................................................................... 4

4. Time Management .............................................................................................................. 5

5. Learning from Experience and Moving Forward ............................................................... 6

6. Concluding Remarks .......................................................................................................... 8

References: ................................................................................................................................. 9

This reflective portfolio (Part 2 of the assessment) is aimed to summarise the
experiences and insights of my learning practice from the course assignment “BS4D03
Management Project”. It summarizes my experiences I have been through acting as a
business consultant for a client who needed a feasibility study on capability of the UK
supply chain for their project. This report also summarizes how my personal ethics,
beliefs, values and experience affected my decision making in identifying objectives
and requirements of client and suggesting an approach of solution. It finally reflects on
my past learning and experience by putting them into practice and moving forward.

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1. Introduction
The Module ‘BS4D03 Management Project’ is aimed to explore theories, practices and
concepts of consultancy and applied project management. Throughout the program the course
participants have gone through many modules to equip them with vital skills required for
decision making in a business and organisational context. The assessment of module required
the participants to act a business consultant to empower their business thinking. The students
participated in this module were asked to act as a business consultant and choose a project that
is of interest to them. They were asked to provide a bid report for the client of their choice and
provided a platform to guide them throughout completion of their report from week 1.

Some examples were provided for the students to choose a project if they could not suggest
a project of their own. In this instance, I chose to provide a bid report for the Project Swansea
Bay Tidal Lagoon. In this project the client is looking for a consultant to provide a feasibility
study if the UK supply chain is capable of delivering 50% of the contract value of the project.
The construction of 6-mile seawall of the Tidal Lagoon project is awarded to a Chinese
company. However, to contribute to the economy of the country and deliver a project that is
Britain-made, they are considering the UK supply chain to deliver at least 50% of the contract
value. I have been a civil engineer and worked as programme and Project scheduling engineer
for several years. So, considering my background and future career in construction industry I
choose this project as I feel more confident with field experience and the nature of the project
(construction). According Rothwell and Sullivan (2005), a consultant must have a deep
understanding of the industry. However, the contribution of my past industrial experience was
partially useful throughout the completion of the Management project report, while I have
gained significant applied management knowledge that can boost my career in future.

In this reflective portfolio the steps towards completion of the report are discussed on how
my business consultancy skill are empowered by acting as business consultant. Upon starting
this module, I expected to learn the consultancy skill required in business. I was expecting that
I will be learning applied business problem solving techniques.

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2. Assumptions
While working on the management project for this module, a few examples were given
at the beginning to let the course participants have an idea of what is required of them to do.
However, I, being a civil engineering got attracted to the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project.
after reading the project brief, I understood that I have to provide a feasibility study outline to
assess if the UK supply chain is capable of delivering 50% of the contract value of the project.
The aim of the project was clear, however, setting out exact objectives and approach for the
project were very vague. In this instance, the provided example was of no use as the project I
have chosen is completely different in nature and execution.

Setting out the aims and objectives of the study and clearly identifying the needs of
client is important for a business consultant. Because business consultants help their clients
with problem solving, developing strategies and helping them develop their business
knowledge and skills (Brown, 1943; Banai and Tulimieri, 2013). Being a business consultant,
it is crucial to understand what a client wants, and their objective should be clearly defined.
However, defining the exact requirement of the client was a challenging task because Rothwell
and Sullivan (2005) assert, that a consultant must have a deep understanding of the industry.
While I do have experience in construction field, I have never had any direct involvement in
procurement activities and supply chain of the projects nor I had consultancy experience.

According to Burstiner. (2001), to conduct a successful analysis for a business the

consultant must invest sufficient time and energy to make sure they understand the needs of
their clients. And to fulfil the needs and objectives of a client, consultant is required to
understand the requirements such as: technology requirement, stakeholder requirement,
solution requirements and approach requirements. Therefore, to properly understand the need
of the client I have started searching for the goals of the organisation and read a few articles to
understand why the client wants a business consultant to conduct this feasibility study. At the
beginning of writing the management report I have outlined a number of objectives then as I
started developing the report, I had to do further research to polish the report to meet the exact
requirement of the clients. Bringing changes to the report was consistent throughout the end
which is considered as Double-Loop learning (Cartwright, 2002).

Double-Loop learning was created by Chris Argyris. As a business consultant it is

crucial to do the right thing for the client. Which Double-Loop learning suggests by changing

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methods to obtain the correct objectives and improve efficiency (Argyris, 1993). Double-Loop
learning suggests changing the objectives of an assumption. The learning method does not only
suggest changing the objective, but it “involves questioning the assumption about that
objective, the ways of discovering and inventing new alternative, objectives, and perceptions,
as well as ways of approaching problems” (Cartwright, 2002). Keeping this in mind, initially I
started to look at the objectives differently, as an instance, one of my objectives was to perform
a political feasibility to assess the influence of politics on supply chain in the feasibility study.
When I continued structuring my report, I realised that it is not necessary to be a main objective
of the report. I changed my assumption and reconsidered that effects of politics in supply chain
can be assessed in risk analysis.

For the learning purpose it is important to be open to grasp new ideas and question your
assumptions. For managers, who worked in a hierarchical and bureaucratic organisation for
their entire career, are most likely to develop a mindset which is linear, analytical and non-
learning. According to Cartwright (2002), these types of managers may be willing to learn new
techniques and methods only to support their current practice of management. However, if their
assumption, that provide the foundation of their current practice is questioned, they become
defensive. Double-Loop learning helps leaders convert their tacit knowledge to explicit, it helps
leaders better understand the working world and go beyond the limitations and presumption
that we constructed unconsciously for ourselves. I believe that, this module and assessment
provide me with skills to be open, to question my assumptions and accept what is ‘the right
thing’ to do.

3. Values and Ethics

People’s attitude, behaviour, motivation and perception is affected by values. People’s general
beliefs are shaped by values if something is desirable or undesirable. In addition, people have
specific values to a particular situation or event (Ueda and Ohzono, 2012). According Rokeach
(1973); cited in Thomas (2013), “values are stabilized beliefs about personally or socially
acceptable behaviour or end states of conduct”. These beliefs are an individual’s view of what
is good, righteous and desirable. Individual in their professional work, tend to rely on their
beliefs, goals, actions, choices and perception. Additionally, they make a decision and
judgement based on their personal values (Schwartz, 1999; Rohan, 2000).

According to McCoy (2008), organisations and the individuals who are part of organisation
must be intertwined into a common belief and have a preconceived behaviour towards what is

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valuable and correct. The same concept applies for business consultants and their clients. Both
the client and consultant must have a common approach and assumption of what is right to be
done. This is what I found challenging whilst working on my Management project. The reason
was having no contact of any sort with the client directly so we could share our beliefs and
values. However, not reconsidering my personal values I had to do intensive research to come
up with aims and objectives for the study that was right in light of industrial practice.

Because attitude and values are key factors in individual’s decision making, I have
considered an approach that I perceived to be righteous in respect to industry and academic
practices (Posner and Schmidt, 1993). Also, during client’s requirement identification I was
influenced by key ethical drivers suggested by Taibi Kahler in 1975. In order to provide a study
which is on-time, action-oriented, aggressive and perfect – I consistently kept changing the
approach and objectives to deliver a study in the sake of client’s interest.

4. Time Management
As mentioned earlier, I have been a programme and project scheduling engineer for several
years. So, I value enough and recognise the importance of time management in a project.
Preparing a project schedule, means there is a clear path and timeframe towards completion of
a project (Demeulemeester and Herroelen, 2006). Preparing a schedule in the form of a Gantt-
chart is insurance of having a plan for the future. Furthermore, for successful completion of a
project, a schedule is a tool that lets you make sure you are doing everything that you need to
do. It also helps, in effectively allocation and management of resources. As the process of
scheduling requires to work out the time and resource each activity needs.

The project schedule which is provided to the client, will assist them understand the
procedure of study. While there are several tools for scheduling such as MS Project, Astra
PowerProject, Oracle Primavera, etc. some organisation use Microsoft Excel for this purpose.
However, it is not advisable, because tracking the work progress becomes very difficult using
an application which is not designed for the scheduling purpose. The Gantt-chart provided to
the client can be used in future as a baseline to track the progress, if the study the study falls
behind the schedule it can be easily tracked. For which a recovery plan can developed as
instance, if the project falls behind the schedule using famous methods of recovery ‘Crashing
and / or Fast Tracking’ consultant can recover the project and get it back on track (Larson and
Gray, 2015). According to Oberlender and Oberlender (1993), if a project delays, there are

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certain risks associated with that delay and can cost an organisation a fortune. Therefore, it is
not only important to have a schedule at the beginning of a project, but to also manage the
schedule properly throughout the project life cycle (Newitt, 2005).

I once worked for a construction company as project scheduler where I was assigned to a
number of projects. One of the projects was construction of a water well and a well house
within a military compound. The original duration of the project was estimated to be 90 days
by the client. However, for the contractor, to ship the Boring Machine to the site as the machine
had to be delivered from Turkey to Afghanistan would have taken longer time. As a result, we
requested the client to extend the contract duration to 120 days. As per approved baseline
schedule, the project started and machine was delivered and installed on site. However, there
were problems while drilling, as the ground conditions were not as the geotechnical engineers
suggested. It was hard and broke the blades of the drilling machine several times, which again
had to be delivered from Turkey. The client and contractor even agreed to try on several
locations other than the designated area for the well, but the result was the same as the ground
condition was the same for the whole area. So, the project was delayed from 120 days to 384
days. This costed the contractor a significant amount of loss not only because they had to
purchase replacement blades for the machine, but also to pay administration costs, pay salaries
to the engineers, site staff, office staff including myself and whole project team. Hence, I can
conclude that a project schedule is a crucial tool in controlling a project which has to be
managed properly throughout the project life cycle.

5. Learning from Experience and Moving Forward

As mentioned earlier I have worked for several years as programme and project scheduling
engineer for a number of companies and organisations. Considering my recent position as
scheduling engineer at Capital Region Independent Development Authority (CRIDA),
Afghanistan, I was involved in developing the vision book of the organisation where the
organisation’s strategic plans were reflected. While as an organisation the strategic plans for
building Kabul New City is ambitious and large in size, the organisation is still struggling to
implement the programmes and projects, due to lack of supply chain in the country caused by
political instability and insecurity. Therefore, I was attracted and chose the Tidal Lagoon
Project to assess the capability of supply chain.

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Working on the chosen project for the client during my management project for this
module, helped broadening my understanding of the subject. And I realize now that preparing
a master plan for a new city, without properly assessing the capability of supply chain can lead
to halt and dead-end. While I no longer work for CRIDA, I strongly believe that a proper re-
evaluation of the supply chain, specifically, identifying supply chain within the country could
lead to a progress in organisation’s strategic plans. As Hinett (2002) says, reflection of our past
and present will direct us to brighter future. So, reflecting on my past experience and learning
form the approach and methods I used in my management project for the client, I will do the
same and before embarking on a project I will assess the feasibility on the capability of supply

The management project did not only equip me with consultancy skills and writing a bid
report, but it also helped me in identifying a problem and creating and changing assumptions.
Considering Dirscoll’s ‘What?’ model, and reflecting on my past experience, I realise what
went wrong with CRIDA’s approach of implementing their strategic plans. As Kolb (1984)
says that “Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of
experience”. According ot Illeris (2015), while learning, we cannot choose an exact method of
learning among many types of learning methods. He asserts, that a good learner is the one who
adopts, a learning practice that is relevant to the learner given in the context of the situation.
The learning methods is chosen unconsciously by the learner based on motivational conditions
and prior knowledge (Illeris, 2015). Keeping this in mind whilst I was working for the client’s
project, I now realise that I have chosen transformative learning approach. This is because
transformative learning suggests that putting into practice what is learned. This is also because
transformative learning happens when we learn new experience and knowledge that are not in
compliance with our existing knowledge perception.

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6. Concluding Remarks
This course overall changed the way I see things. I have learned about the important steps
and factors of starting a business or a project. The Module ‘BS4D03 Management Project’
explored theories, practices and concepts of consultancy and applied project management.
Throughout the programme, modules equipped me with vital skills required for decision
making in a business and organisational context. I have gained significant applied management
knowledge that can boost my career in future. Whilst working on this module assessment, I
have gained knowledge to better understand the working world and go beyond the limitations
and presumption that I have constructed unconsciously for myself. I believe that, this module
and assessment provide me with skills to be open, to question my assumptions and accept what
is ‘the right thing’ to do. Additionally, I have learned how my personal values and ethics can
affect my decision-making skills. Because individuals in their professional work, tend to rely
on their beliefs, goals, actions, choices and perception, I have learned to overcome my personal
values and belief and do the right the thing. By questioning my assumptions and beliefs, I
understand what I did incorrectly in the past and how will I continue in the future.

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