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1

PROJ 410 Week 8 Final Exam
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2

PROJ 410 Week 7 DQ 2
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One of the most frustrating aspects of contract management to customers/clients is the length of time that it commonly takes to close out a project (from an administrative standpoint) after most or all of the contract scope of work has been completed. The closeout is the fourth phase in the generic project life cycle where all outstanding contractual issues are completed and documented in preparation for turning over the product or service to the customer. What are some of the activities that need to be performed as part of the contract closeout functions? What do you think are some of the factors that cause such a length in delay in the closure of the project/contract?

Closeout is completed when all administrative actions have been completed, all disputes settled, and final payment has been made.

Who do you think typically drags out the close-out process, the owner or the vendor? Support your answer.

Another problem that often arises is that the Project Manager is assigned to a new project/contract during the close-out phase, and naturally he/she becomes more preoccupied with the new assignment. Have you heard the term “Close-out Managers” in any of your PM courses? If yes, what do you recall is the role of these managers? If you have not heard the term before, what do you think it refers to?

What is a close-out function or responsibility (i.e., something that needs to get done) that is often overlooked or forgotten?

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3

PROJ 410 Week 7 DQ 1
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More often than not, it is more desirable to renegotiate a contract than to terminate one. What do you think may be some of the effects of a contract termination from the buyer’s perspective? What about from the seller’s perspective?

Termination of a BPO contract will cause each of the parties to incur additional costs. The question to ask would be if the additional cost outweigh the risk or cost of not terminating and How much are the costs and can they be mitigated. Examples of such costs may include additional fees to the vendor for providing termination services, such as maintaining parallel environments and training of customer employees.

Do you think that the contract structure selected for the contract can help reduce or avoid the need for renegotiations or terminations? Support your answers – elaborate!

Other than price/cost, why would one renegotiate a BPO contract?

Can you give examples of the absolute need for termination?

In your opinion which contract pricing structure better facilitates a contract renegotiation?

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4

PROJ 410 Week 7 Case Study
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5

PROJ 410 Week 6 DQ 2
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PROJ 410 Week 6 DQ 2
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There are several ways to benchmark. The two most common benchmarking tools are performance benchmarking and best-practice benchmarking. Consider a nationwide bank that has contracted with a seller to assess its current staffing and facility locations. The goal of the contract is for the seller to produce a strategic plan that creates cost efficiencies for the bank by recommending (and implementing) areas to consolidate among staff and facilities. (One recommendation may be to close down a bank branch that is located within three miles of another bank branch.) This is a long-term contract stretched out over five years. If you were the project manager in the bank, to what benchmarks would you compare your seller? Are they performance benchmarks or best-practice benchmarks?
Benchmarking is a term that has often been used to represent “the best of the class” performance. Your text implies a slightly less “perfectionist” performance threshold, whereby you assess the performance measures for other similar vendors or services relative to your BPO services, and use these samplings to define performance measures for your project/contract. Which of these two inferences do you feel is more appropriate for supporting the development of performance measures? State your arguments in support of your selection.
Is it realistic to use a “perfectionistic” metric for benchmarking? Is there a human factor involved in project implementation there?

Here is a different way to view the discussions we are undertaking here: Do you want to benchmark using a perfectionistic metric that may not be achievable, or do you want to work with a best in the class metric that, by definition, will be continuously changing (in other words, the bar will always be subject to be raised)?

Would it not be difficult to set the “perfection” bar, since, in theory, no one has achieved that level of performance?

It has often been said that a problem with benchmarking is that too little time is spent ensuring that the entity or practices being benchmarked are appropriate, applicable, or directly comparable. Do you believe this is indeed the case?

Do you think most people lack this motivation for ongoing improvement? If yes, why? If no, why not?

What are some of the repercussions that can arise from choosing benchmarking practices or entities that are not appropriate or applicable?

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6

PROJ 410 Week 5 DQ 2
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For most industries, globalization is arguably one of the more common business trends of the last decade. As your text indicates, there are several considerations that must be evaluated from a contracting standpoint relative to multi-nation operations and contracting agreements. Let’s take the various contracting considerations presented in your text (and outlined in this week’s slides), and discuss how they can affect U.S.-based firms seeking a BPO or subcontracting agreement with a foreign company on a region-by-region basis, including: Canada, Europe, Asia, South/Central America, Canada, and Mexico. Based on your understanding and/or experiences in these other regions of the world, what do you think are contracting considerations that should be considered and addressed in the BPO contract?

Which region do you feel has a culture that is most different from the U.S.? Cite an example of how it is different.

Can you expand on some of the differences in banking industry that may exist as we expand overseas?

How often do you think companies fail to understand the business culture of the foreign countries they work in?

I believe that at first many firms fail to understand the culture of the foreign countries that they are contracting with – and vice versa. However, if a firm can weather through the initial learning curve – and is OPEN to change – then contracting overseas can be a viable option. What are some of the specific terms and conditions that you might want to include in a contract that you are establishing with an international firm? How can you work some of the cultural issues into your contract?

Do you feel that most other countries are as emphatic about using detailed contracts for conducting business? How do you try to introduce a 60 page BPO contract to a foreign firm that believes in doing business with a handshake?

How do you enforce the terms of a contract in a country that has an unstable government or where the laws contradict or as a minimum, do not support all the terms in your contract?

Is it advantageous for a firm to outsource to another firm who is evenly matched (i.e., revenues, profit, organizational structure, etc.)? Can you think of a situation where this is true? Can you think of a situation where this is not true?

What are some of the ethical differences for conducting business in various countries? If you feel comfortable doing so, pose a situation that would challenge ethical business behavior and how you might “step up to the challenge”.

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7

PROJ 410 Week 5 DQ 1
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PROJ 410 Week 5 DQ 1
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As your textbook indicated, business process outsourcing has become an emerging trend in most small- and large-size corporations. This has been particularly true during the last year and a half, as many companies have turned to outsourcing in order to reduce overhead costs during these recessionary times. Identify some companies with which you have been personally associated, or companies that you have read about which have gone through the outsourcing process for some of their business operations. How did affected employees react to the outsource process?

With all of the things that can go wrong with outsourcing do you think that there should be better laws in place to regulate outsourcing? For example, do you think there should be a law that says that a company can not outsource to another company if that company has had minimum wage or safety violations?

In this emerging economy, we hear that a lot more jobs are going overseas, yet at the detriment of the U.S. work force. We always heard of manufacturing being a sector that has looked to overseas for purposes of reducing costs. What are some of the newer business processes that are being outsourced?

Tacit knowledge is based on personal experience, rules of thumb, intuition and judgment. It includes professional know-how and expertise, individual insight and experience, and creative solutions that are difficult to communicate and pass on to others. Explicit knowledge may be equated with “knowing about”; whereas tacit knowledge is equated with “knowing how”. As much as 80 percent of an organization’s valuable knowledge may be tacit knowledge that is not easily captured and transferred. What are your thoughts?

What are some of the issues that may arise (and how are they resolved) when companies try to transition employees? (As an example, think of an employee being transitioned to a company that has a health care program that is inferior to the one presently provided by the current employer).

What are your thoughts on the outsourcing of the HR function? This is one are that is typically responded to by employees with a lot of skepticism and discontent. What are some pluses for outsourcing it, and some minuses?

Let’s suppose you have chosen to outsource a major division of your company (one that employs 20% of your workforce). The employees will either be transitioned to the vendor, transferred to a different division within the firm, or terminated. What do you think are three critical considerations that you must include in the implementation plan for this outsourcing transition? Describe why you would include each of the considerations you identify.

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8

PROJ 410 Week 5 Case Study Do it Yourself Outsourcing
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9

PROJ 410 Week 4 Midterm
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PROJ 410 Week 4 Midterm
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10

PROJ 410 Week 4 DQ 2
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PROJ 410 Week 4 DQ 2
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How do you go about defining the proper duration for a bid procurement? Consider the time that it takes to plan for the procurement, draft an RFI and/or RFP, receive responses, and make a decision. What could you do if you needed to fast track this bid duration?

The bid procurement process can stretch as much as one to two years in the federal government, especially on “mega” procurements. Often times this is due to the multiple committees, meetings, and layers of contract administration that a RFP, bid selection process must go through. Can you think of any ways to make the process more efficient?

Using a short list of pre-approved sellers is one way to eliminate a lot of the time and effort of the bid process. Are there any reasons you can think of why using a short list is NOT a good idea? When might you want to go through the entire bid process?

It is said that the project manager is a vital part of the project procurement process. However, the bid duration stretches over weeks, months, and even years. During that time, the project manager is not “managing” the project on a day to day basis. What else is the project manager doing? If he/she is assigned to manage another task, how can they devote enough time and energy to the bid process for this new contract?

What are the factors are largely determined in negotiations in a BPO agreement?

In contract negotiation, should the project manager or the contract manager be the leader in negotiation process?

Is it critical to have a contract negotiation strategy in a BPO process?

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11

PROJ 410 Week 4 DQ 1
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The formulation of evaluation criteria has long-lasting implications throughout the life cycle of a contract. The result should be picking the right seller for the contract. In fact, the development of evaluation criteria has often been debated to be one aspect of contract procurement that needs to be closely coordinated with both the contract administrator and project manager. What are your thoughts on the role that the contract manager should have in the development of evaluation criteria? What about the project manager? Who else should be involved in establishing and applying the evaluation criteria?

It is very common to find customers/clients that fail to identify the RFP evaluation criteria during the procurement planning process, and in fact do not define the evaluation criteria until after proposals have been received and the evaluation process is set to begin. What do you think the risk of waiting is until bids have been received to establish the evaluation criteria to be used to select a preferred vendor?

Do you think that clearly defining the evaluation criteria as part of the procurement process also locks in the Client to making his/her selection based on the specific criteria identified, thus reducing the potential for a client making a selection purely on subjective criteria (even through the ranking of proposals on a pre-defined set of criteria could in itself be subjective)?

Once the evaluation criteria are agreed upon by the outsourcing team, the customer should rank the vendors based on their fulfillment of the criteria. Please Identify the five common steps involved in the evaluation of vendor proposals.

do you think that procurements are rarely protested due to unclear or unspecified evaluation criteria, or do you feel it happens more often than we think? Do you feel a vendor is likely to protest a selection process for the sake of getting the decision overturned and possibly even getting selected, regardless of what it does to the relationship with the client/owner?

Should vendors be aware of the evaluation criteria during the procurement phase, or after they have submitted their proposals/bids?

Why do you think some owners do not like to define the selection/evaluation criteria as part of the request for proposals?

is it bad to have a vendor developing his/her proposal based on the evaluation criteria provided in the RFP or RFQ?

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12

PROJ 410 Week 3 DQ 2
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PROJ 410 Week 3 DQ 2
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It is very common to find buyers who fail to identify the RFP evaluation criteria during the project procurement planning process, and in fact, do not define the evaluation criteria until after proposals have been received and the evaluation process is set to begin. What do you think is the risk of waiting until bids have been received to establish the evaluation criteria to be used to select a preferred contractor?

Besides evaluating the risk of waiting until bids are submitted, also consider the question from the potential vendors’ point of view. Should vendors be aware of the evaluation criteria during the procurement phase, or after they have submitted their proposals/bids?

Finding buyers that fail to identify the RFP evaluation criteria during the project procurement planning process would hurt schedule and scope. Besides, if you get the proposals and read them before you create evaluation criteria, you run the risk of consciously or subconsciously creating evaluation criteria based on what you’ve read which could create a bias towards one of the proposals. Finally, without having your criteria set ahead of time, there is a high risk of setting yourself up with a bias opinion on proposals and not having an even playing field for others that come in.

Qualifications are important, but so are the fees. So many companies are focused on savings, how could you not consider fees as much as qualifications?

Give an example when you had a bad experience in choosing the lowest-priced contractor or vendor, if ever you experienced one.

Price is one of the main evaluation criteria in most proposals. But from your experiences or from the knowledge you’ve gained from this week’s lecture, what are some other criteria that customers use to evaluate various proposals?

Please pick one of them and elaborate on it. If you can add other criteria, that will be also great.

List five commonly used evaluation criteria listed in a RFP and explain why a buyer would want this information before selecting a vendor?

Three commonly used evaluation criteria listed in a RFP are overall cost or financial proposal, reputation, and experience. What can the buyer glean from this information and how can the buyer use it to make a decision on a particular seller?

Do you feel a seller would have the right to protest a bid selection if he/she feels that the lack of information regarding the buyer’s evaluation criteria contributed to the seller’s proposal being non-responsive?

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13

PROJ 410 Week 3 DQ 1
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Consider again the dream retirement home that you were building as part of the Week 2 Discussion. Assume that you are working on the request for a proposal to be bid on by some local general contractors. Using the outline of the RFP sections discussed this week, what are some specific questions or areas of detail that you would put in your RFP? What are some ways that you’d tailor your RFP to make sure that you knew if the local general contractor whom you choose will meet all of your success criteria?

You would definitely want to know specifically what services will and will not be provided in this situation. I would want to have a clear understanding of what will be provided and what the cost is so I can see that difference between contractors. I can then better evaluate my budget and whether I am on track.
I would also like to know what the contractors background is and what their experience level is in building a house like mine. I would also like to understand the talent level of the team that will be involved in my project. What is their experience and track record. I think these things would help you achieve success in getting house done on time.



Given the content of an Request for Qualifications (RFQ’s) versus a Request for Proposals (RFP), do you feel that RFQ’s and RFP’s should both be a part of a procurement process (e.g. issue an RFQ, receive responses, shortlist bidders, and then issue an RFP to the short-listed vendors) or is one of these (either the RFQ or the RFP alone) sufficient for selecting a vendor?

All the requirements for project completion are needed in the RFP in order to have a successful project. But I think the most important ones are the following: Background, Scope of Services, Management and Control, Pricing, Termination clause Contract terms, and Terms and Conditions. So, pretty much they all have major part in a project.
When selecting a general contractor, just like any other purchase you would want to do a little homework such as how long they have been in business, what type of project they have done, list all the right questions till you feel it’s the one you want, and asking abut the references.

How do you go about deciding what is the proper bid duration for your RFP? What factors might influence this decision?

In a case that a property owner wants to hire a contractor to remodel a building, what are the risks or the limitations associated with a fixed fee contract for this situation?

Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem… Sometimes a firm will issue an RFP with no intention of actually having a contractor complete the work. Instead the firm used the RFP to validate their own approach to completing the work or come up with some ideas to complete the work. If you are a potential seller, how can you effectively respond to an RFP without giving away free consulting? Are there specific questions that might be asked in an RFP that you would hesitate to answer?

assuming you were to choose the path of issuing an RFQ, and then providing to potential vendors with an RFP, what three things would you request from prospective vendors in the RFQ? What 3 things would you request from the short-listed vendors through the RFP?

Other than the things mentioned above, are there other items that you think would be needed in an RFQ or RFP to best help you decide which vendor to choose?

The optimal outcome from a well written RFP is to develop a short list of potential sellers to evaluate. One way the federal government advertises various RFPs is through the website: fedbizopps.gov. What are some other tools and techniques used in procurement management to “get the word out” about your RFP?

Please tell us more about government bid process. Do research on the internet if you must.

do you feel that the adequate selection of a contract structure, based on the circumstances in place at the time, can help you limit your risk?

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14

PROJ 410 Week 3 Case Study
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15

PROJ 410 Week 2 DQ 2
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PROJ 410 Week 2 DQ 2
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What are the differences among a fixed-price contract, a time-and-materials contract, and a reimbursable contract in terms of how well defined a contract needs to be relative to price, scope, and schedule prior to the commencement of any work? How much control over the project scope, price, and schedule should the contractor have under each contract type?

How difficult is it to handle out-of-scope work with the 3 contract types (fixed price, time and materials, reimbursable) after an agreement has been executed?

What do you see as the more common mistakes made by customers/clients or their procurement representatives as it relates to project planning and contract formulation?

Now that you know the differences among a fixed price contract, a time and materials contract, and a reimbursable contract, let’s discuss some of the finer points to consider. Do you think a fixed price contract requires less management attention than a reimbursable contract? Why or why not?

We typically hear of clients looking for the lowest price, and rarely does the term value come into the picture? Is it assumed that the value is there and is that a fair assumption most of the time?

How do you differentiate a project plan from the project definition?

To continue with the relevance of the project definition and project plan (schedule) to contracts: what components of the project definition and schedule have a role in the contract aspects?

How many companies today do you feel take on projects (or business operations) without first developing a comprehensive and detailed project plan? Do you think this will change as the new generation of middle managers (many of which have MBA’s or other post-graduate management degrees) are promoted into project management positions? What are some industries that you feel could continue to operate without much project/business planning and what are some industries that will become increasingly more dependent on this aspect of business management in order to be successful?

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16

PROJ 410 Week 2 DQ 1
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Assume that you have made the final payment on a one-acre residential lot that you purchased years ago to build your retirement home. You are now ready to build your dream home. This will be your ongoing project for the next couple of years. Which contract structure (fixed price, unit price, reimbursable) do you think that you would use to proceed with your project? Explain your choice.

What are the four basic contract pricing options?

What are five options of cost reimbursable contracts?

In what situation a company is best to use a unit price contract? In what situation, a company is best to use cost-plus-percentage-fee contract?

What are the differences among a fixed price contract, a time and materials contract, and a reimbursable contract in terms of how well defined a BPO contract needs to be relative to price, scope and schedule prior to the commencement of any work/services?

Class, do you feel the length of the contract also has some influence on the contract type you choose? Why or why not?

What are the challenges for an owner in tracking a reimbursable contract?

When does a contract manager prefer a fixed fee contract over a reimbursable contract (or vice versa)?

How many companies do you think go through outlining their business objectives, and then use these to guide the selection of a contract structure, rather than letting financial objectives and risk factors alone determine the decision?

If your company decided to make you a manager for your division, but began outsourcing all the personnel that work beneath you, which contract type would you recommend they implement?

What are the key contract issues? Pick one of them and elaborate on it.

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17

PROJ 410 Week 1 DQ 2
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PROJ 410 Week 1 DQ 2
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A project manager and a contract manager are both needed to administer a procured project or process. If you were the project manager, how would you work with a contract manager to ensure a successful procurement? In answering this question, consider such issues as, at what point you would want to get the contract manager involved in the project, what areas of the contract you would want to be his or her responsibility, how much and what types of communication you would want the seller (i.e., the contracted firm) to have with the contract manager, and who would handle conflicts that might arise with costs, schedules, or scope. Please remember to answer all components of the question.

What are the differences between the project manager and contract manager?

What knowledge should a project manager have and what knowledge should a contract manager have to perform the jobs?

What do you think about hiring a project manager (PM)?

What steps might you take to find the right contractor and project manager?

Price used to be the main object, now we want a “buy best value” concept where price is just one factor. We also look at past performance, management, etc. What examples do you have about the way you contract your work?

What are the six steps you would take in the project procurement management?

In this era of cost containment and reduced budgets, we have seen a movement towards awarding projects based on lowest cost as opposed to best value. And many times it goes without saying – “you get what you pay for.” What can the contract manager do to make sure he/she is fiscally responsible without falling into this trap? What about the project manager?

Do you think that the cost associated with project planning is a key reason why firms do not undertake the important element of project and contract management? Or, do you feel it’s just that project planning is a new part of business/operations planning and management is not totally familiar with?

One way to stay on “overhead” is to have the project manager play both the PM role as well as the role of the contract manager. What are some of the potential problems with this scenario? Does size or complexity of the contract matter?

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18

PROJ 410 Week 1 DQ 1
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PROJ 410 Week 1 DQ 1
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There are many reasons to pursue business process outsourcing and project procurement, including flexibility, improving methodologies, and increasing productivity. Taking into consideration budget, scope, schedule, and risk, what are some of the other reasons to contract part or all of a project or business process? What are some of the drawbacks to outsourcing? Again, consider this question from the budget, scope, schedule, and risk standpoint. Please remember to answer all components of the question.

What is Business Process Outsourcing?

What are the common areas that business process would outsource to other companies or organizations?

What are the common reasons for outsourcing business processes?

What are the benefits of outsourcing processes?

What are key components in the project procurement management process?

Do you feel that the adequate selection of a contract structure, based on the circumstances in place at the time, can help you limit your risk?

Organizations want everything for less! Is this because they have to make a profit? We’ve talked about qualifications, fees, price, quality, etc. What about profit? What role does it play? Is it always good for the company to pay least price for contract job or product procurement?

As a private entity, do you feel government regulations are good in promoting fairness and the selection of the best vendor, or are they an overkill (or simply inadequate)?

What is Make-or-Buy Analysis? Can you give an example of Make-or-Buy Analysis?

What are the advantages of making products in house and outsourcing product manufacturing to another company?

What is plan procurement process?

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19

PROJ 410 Entire Course
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PROJ 410 Entire Course
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PROJ 410 Week 1 DQ 1

PROJ 410 Week 1 DQ 2

PROJ 410 Week 2 DQ 1

PROJ 410 Week 2 DQ 2

PROJ 410 Week 3 Case Study

PROJ 410 Week 3 DQ 1

PROJ 410 Week 3 DQ 2

PROJ 410 Week 4 DQ 1

PROJ 410 Week 4 DQ 2

PROJ 410 Week 4 Midterm

PROJ 410 Week 5 Case Study Do it Yourself Outsourcing

PROJ 410 Week 5 DQ 1

PROJ 410 Week 5 DQ 2

PROJ 410 Week 6 DQ 1

PROJ 410 Week 6 DQ 2

PROJ 410 Week 7 Case Study

PROJ 410 Week 7 DQ 1

PROJ 410 Week 7 DQ 2

PROJ 410 Week 8 Final Exam (2 Papers)

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