Category Archives: PROJ 410 (Devry)

PROJ 410 Week 6 DQ 1

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Conflict resolution and conflict management are common day-to-day activities in most projects and office environments. As a group, let’s identify the Top 5 sources of conflict in a BPO agreement for project management services. Let’s identify one source at a time, and discuss whether or not each of you feels that it ranks in the Top 5 sources of conflict. As I read your exchanges, I will make a determination as to whether or not enough evidence has been provided to justify its inclusion into our Top 5 list. 

Can personality and cultural differences be a source of conflict? 

Is unclear roles and responsibilities one of the top five sources of conflict in a project or contract? 

Is lack of leadership one of the top five sources of conflict?  What do you think? 

Does unclear objective fall under poor communications, OR does it stand on its own two feet? 

There are numerous methods for resolving a dispute. Some methods are formal, while others are informal and are tailored to the needs of the dispute.  What are the Contract Dispute Resolution methods that you can think of? 


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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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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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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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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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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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