E-bay Case Study Sample

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Mission and Vision
  • Details of the project
  • Phases of project Management
  • Initiation of the project
  • Project Charter
  • Aligning the project objectives with the vision of the organization
  • Project Planning
  • Project Timeline
  • Financial Forecasting
  • Risk Assessment Matrix
  • Execution Phase
  • Project Deliverables
  • External and Internal Quality and Compliance control
  • Monitoring and Project control phase
  • Project closing phase
  • Operations and maintenance
  • Conclusion
  • References

 

Introduction

EBay is an international, multinational, e-commerce portal found in California, USA. This

Corporation enables the consumers to shop through consumer to consumer and business to

Consumer as well. This organisation was founded by Pierre Omidyar in 1995. Since then, the

organisation has gained popularity and became notable success. Currently, EBay is a multibillion business organisation with its operations in around 30 countries. The organisation business is based on e-commerce, the website is free to use for consumers, but the merchants are charged additional fees for uploading their products. Only a limited number of listings are free. An additional fee is also charged when any item is sold.

Mission and Vision

The organisation believes in making the consumer and buyer relation more direct and convenient. The organisation uses its platform to enable number of sales on EBay, whether you are buying a new or used, plain or luxurious, commonplace or rare, trendy or one-of-a-kind or anything that exists in the world. The organization’s mission is to be the world’s favourite destination for discovering great value and unique selection. The company provide sellers the platform, solutions, and support they need to grow their businesses and thrive. We measure our success by our customers’ success. The organization’s vision is for commerce to be the one that is enabled by people, powered by technology, and open to everyone.

Details of the project

The innovation project to be undertaken at EBay is the development of an application that helps the company in identifying the counterfeited products. In recent times, EBay is facing issues of product counterfeiting due to which customers have slowly started to lose their trust on the company. Added to it are the issues of lack of security in the online website where customer payments and transactions take place. There is an integration issue which has been identified in the existing website leading to number of counterfeited products getting listed in the company website. Last year EBay had to suspend thousands of online sellers and delist mullions of products which were earlier registered on the site because the authenticity of those products could be questioned. With millions of buyers and sellers registering their products on eBay, it is impossible to manually monitor the products for detection of counterfeiting. An automated method needs to be developed which won’t be labour intensive in nature and will help eBay Company to address the problem. The management members at EBay realised that more efforts have to be put to stop counterfeit items being auctioned online on the official website.

The management members realised that there needs to be a change in policies related to sale of counterfeited goods. The only innovative solution suggested in this regard is to undertake a project to develop an anti-counterfeit application which also enhances the security of transactions made between buyers and sellers on EBay. The application will enable the owners with specific tools to report counterfeit item registration and listings. To develop this application, the project team would require a team of technical experts who can design, plan and implement the application within a span of three months. 

The project work will consist of initiation, planning, organizing, budgeting and implementation to achieve the targeted objectives of the EBay. The project team will consist of the application designing team, coding team and testing team who will take care of the technical requirements of the project. The project manager will lead the project and is responsible for aligning the project milestones with the organizational goals. It is also the responsibility of the project manager to maintain a consistent communication flow between the various resources needed for the successful execution of the project through adequate coordination and conflict resolution methodologies (Harvard Business Review Staff, 2016). The following are the business goals and objectives of EBay because of which this project needs to be undertaken: 

  • Detection of counterfeited products registered on the website.
  • Prevent frauds and malpractices in transactions between buyers and sellers which hamper the reputation of the company.
  • To make the payment systems more secure and less prone to vulnerabilities
  • To make the company more trustworthy in the eyes of the customer so that it can regain its position as the most trusted e-auctioning site.
 

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Phases of project Management

Initiation of the project:

As above stated objectives form the basis of the project work. Before starting work on the project it is necessary to conduct a feasibility analysis to determine if the project team has enough resources, financial capabilities, technical expertise and experience to lead it to success and fulfil the business objectives of EBay.  In this stage all the necessary measures need to be taken to ensure that the project model proposed by the team gets approved by the management members with respect to its allocated budget, time constraints and resource requirements. It includes defining the project using a high level format like the project charter. A project charter is a document which indicates the project initiation which includes the purpose of undertaking the project, who is the person in charge, what are the important project milestones and scope.

The scope description of the project consists of goal identification, key deliverables, budget allocation, time scheduling etc. which should be in accordance with the stakeholders. During the onset of the project, it is crucial to define the required resources (Archibald, Filippo, & Filippo, 2012).

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Financial Forecasting

To develop a financial forecast the first question that the project manager needs to ask is what is actually needed to complete the work. To create a cost estimate, the various tasks in a project are to be broken down into categories such as personnel, training needs, equipments, tools, supplies, overhead expenses, capital expenses etc. The project may also involve licensing costs, and expenditure due to accounting support or forming a legal framework.  No matter how distinctively, the financial forecasting is done it is still just a calculated guess and most likely to deviate from what has been planned.

Requirements Category

Product

Cost

Software

Counterfeit detection software

$150,000

 

Database

$25,000

 

Third party AI software

$50,000

Hardware

Server for application hosting

$40,000

Personnel

Managing the designing, coding, testing and deployment team

$50,000

Cost of implementation of application

Software and hardware services along with IT and business staff

$90,000

Cost of IT infrastructure

 

Network components

$10,000

Sum Total

 

 

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Risk Assessment Matrix

Risk matrix used for assessing the potential risks that may arise in the project is a type of tool in project management which evaluates the severity of risks. It also emphasizes on the probability of certain risks occurring. Risk matrix is formed on the basis of the risk assessment form in which the kind of damages incurred and the consequences of workplace risks are clearly highlighted. This tool is very crucial in developing risk detection, prevention and mitigation strategies for risks. The project team can have one look on the risk matrix and know exactly how certain type of risks have to be handled (Thakur, 2019).

Resource Inadequacy

 

Medium  Risk

Business requirements of EBay not met

 

High Risk

Application Detection genuine products as
counterfeit

 High Risk

Greater time needed for the development of
application

Low Risk

Bugs detected in the application software

Medium Risk

Technical faults in the code

High Risk

Slight deviation from project timeline

Low Risk

Unavailability of some project team members

Low Risk

Higher budget Requirement

Medium Risk

 

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Execution Phase

After initiation and adequate planning, the execution phases of the project will commence. Project execution can only begin after the necessary approvals have been obtained from the management members of EBay with respect to the financial budget, risk evaluation, resource requirements and timeline for deliverables. It is the most crucial phase in a project where the project deliverables need to be constructed and implemented. Generally, execution requires the longest amount of time and the most effort from the team. The implementation must be on track with the successful project completion. It involves consistent monitoring of project status, quality compliance and schedule of the project  

Following activities need to be managed under the execution phase:

  • Managing the project group: The project executing group is responsible to evaluate the procedure and processes, perform analysis and stick to the pre-defined plan to ensure that the work in progress follows the specifications mentioned in the project plan. The project manager has to give special attention to the quality of the project deliverables being delivered. It is as much important to stick to the time as it is to ensure optimal project execution. The project team should undertake each task mentioned in the project plan with utmost dedication and precision so develop an application which stands up to the expectation of EBay. 
  • Quality assurance and procurement: The aim behind undertaking quality assurance evaluation is to monitor and audit the requirements to ensure that all the application modules are aligned with the business requirements of EBay to tackle counterfeit. This includes checking the quality of the sellers and the suppliers who supply tools and equipments for the project to make sure that everything is in line with the objectives. 
  • Stakeholder management: This stage involves effectively handling the expectations of the stakeholders with respect to meeting their needs, addressing issues or queries they may have with respect to project. In case the stakeholders want certain changes or request logs, it is necessary to involve and engage them during the project phase so that they can provide their inputs (Goulden, 2017). 

Execution phase is heavily dependent on the planning phase. If the initial plan contains any discrepancies, then it will be most likely be translated into execution phase. Therefore, the project plan needs to be thoroughly scrutinised so that the execution phase does not get compromised in any way. As the team puts immense efforts for the project success in the execution phase, any lacunae in the plan would destroy all efforts taken towards the project success.

Project Deliverables

Key Project Deliverables

Resource

Guidelines to start execution

Project Manager

Installation of RFID readers

 

Project electrical team

Setting up new servers for application support

IT team

Setting up network infrastructure

IT administration team

Designing of the application blue print

Application designing team

Integration of RFID anti-counterfeiting system with application

Application development team

Testing phase of the application

Application testers/ Testing team

Application deployment

Management of EBay

(Lehtonen, Al-Kassab, & Lekies, 2009).

 

 

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 External And Internal Quality And Compliance Control

The project manager is responsible for formulating the regulatory, advisory and informative policies to ensure that the project work is in accordance with the local, state and government policies. The project manager plays a key role in ensuring external and internal compliance in the following ways:

  • Regulatory policies: Project manager has to remain alert and devise strategies so that the team is aware about the organizational and project standards. The PM prepares the policies and distributes them to the team through proper documentation. He should also conduct meetings to inform the team regarding the implications of violating regulatory policies. The documents for external and internal compliance must cover several topics including work place health and safety compliance methods, federal government laws, usage of public utilities etc.
  • Advisory policies: Project manager must showcase assertive behaviour in informing employees regarding the consequences of inappropriate behaviour (Ahmed, 2018). For example: the project manager can establish clear standards regarding how internet should be used in the workplace while the project activities are on-going. On violation of the internet usage policies, the project team might face disciplinary actions. 
  • Informative policies: Apart from the regulatory and advisory policies, the project manager has to design informative policies which are for teaching purposes. These policies will serve as instructional guidelines for project team to undertake specific project activities (Gregg, 2007).

Monitoring And Project Control Phase

The project monitoring activities and control mechanisms have to be sometimes undertaken along with the execution phase. As main project tasks need to be implemented in the project life cycle, this is where controlling and monitoring becomes essential. The project team needs to monitor its own progress while developing the application so that they are constantly aware about where the project is heading and whether the project outcomes will be able to meet the business requirements of EBay. 

If the project manager is vigilant in the project execution phase, the team will be quick in determining the existing gaps and faults in the project work that can be rectified within a stipulated time.  Control mechanisms are needed to guarantee that the deliverables are exactly what they were promised to be (dhanticounterfeit, 2016). 

Some of the Key performance indicators which can be set are:

  • The application is able to access all products registered on EBay
  • Clustering of products into categories is effective
  • The scoring function and RFID tags are successful in identifying the counterfeited goods
  • The alarming system is in place which sends a signal to EBay’s network administration team about the registration of a counterfeited product.
  • The third party payment software is integrated securely and there are no vulnerabilities existing in the payment procedure undertaken by customers through the application.

Project closing phase

The closing of the project marks the last step in the project life cycle. Apart from marking a formal closure of the project and dismissing the project team from their assigned task, this step is also followed by the critical analysis of the project work. In this phase the supplier contracts are cancelled, the recruited staffs are released and the concerned stakeholders are informed about the closing of the project by conducting an official meeting. On successful completion and achievement of the project objectives, the manager congratulates the team and applauds their efforts. In case if the project fails to achieve its objective analysis is done regarding what are the factors that led to project failure so that the team can take this as a lesson and improvise in the next project. The very last thing to be done is to hand over the project prototype, documents and computer systems to the operations and maintenance team as they need to further support the developed anti-counterfeit application for EBay.

Following tasks are included under project closure:

  • Giving assurance to the EBay management that work is complete
  • Provide assurance regarding completion of all project management processes
  • Formal addressing and recognition of project completion (Aziz, 2015).

Operations and maintenance 

The maintenance team has to develop action plan regarding how to deal with the counterfeited products detected by the application. The team also has to act towards stopping genuine products from being stopped, detect counterfeited products which went undetected by the system and handle other such liability issues. There is a high reliability requirement for detection based security measures which needs to be implemented in the application. Therefore, the operations and maintenance team needs to be aware about the functionalities of the application module so that they can carry out the maintenance work. 

 

 

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Conclusion:

The report describes the various tasks and stages undertaken to develop a counterfeit protection application for EBay to gain back the reputation of the company. A highly technical project team is required to carry out the tasks under each phase of project management. The team leader must possess effective leadership qualities to align the team objectives with the organizational vision of better customer satisfaction. Lastly, proper planning and coordination between the project team is required to drive the project work towards success. 

References 

Ahmed, R. (2018). Leadership Competencies Affecting Projects in Organization. In J. Vveinhardt, Organizational Culture. Retrieved from https://www.intechopen.com/books/organizational-culture/leadership-competencies-affecting-projects-in-organization

Archibald, R. D., Filippo, I. D., & Filippo, D. D. (2012). The Six-Phase Comprehensive Project Life Cycle Model Including the Project Incubation/Feasibility Phase and the Post-Project Evaluation Phase. PM World Journal, 1-40. Retrieved from https://pmworldlibrary.net/…/PMWJ5-Dec2012-ARCHIBALD-DI-FILIPPO-Featured-…

Aziz, E. E. (2015). Project closing the small process group with big impact. PMI® Global Congress. London: Project Management Institute. Retrieved from https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/importance-of-closing-process-group-9949

BPAYNE, & WATT, A. (2019). Overview of Project Planning. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca: https://opentextbc.ca/projectmanagement/chapter/chapter-8-overview-of-project-planning-project-management/

dhanticounterfeit. (2016, April 7). 6 TIPS TO MAKE BEST USE OF ANTI-COUNTERFEIT KPIS. Retrieved from https://www.dhanticounterfeit.com: https://www.dhanticounterfeit.com/6-tips-make-best-use-anti-counterfeit-kpis/

Goulden, D. (2017, July 24). Project Management Execution Phase: Best Practices. Retrieved from https://www.clarizen.com: https://www.clarizen.com/project-management-execution-phase-best-practices/

Gregg, M. (2007, October 12). Certified Information Systems Auditor Exam Prep: Understanding the Role of IT Governance. Retrieved from http://www.pearsonitcertification.com: http://www.pearsonitcertification.com/articles/article.aspx?p=728428&seqNum=3

Harvard Business Review Staff. (2016, November 03). The Four Phases of Project Management. Retrieved from hbr.org: hbr.org/2016/11/the-four-phases-of-project-management

Lehtonen, M., Al-Kassab, J., & Lekies, S. (2009, June). Application Guidelines and Implementation Roadmap. Retrieved from bridge-project.eu: bridge-project.eu/…/BRIDGE_WP05_application_guidelines_implementation_roadma…

Thakur, S. (2019). Risk Assessment Matrix – How to Use It in Risk Management. Retrieved from https://www.brighthubpm.com: https://www.brighthubpm.com/risk-management/88566-tool-for-assessing-project-risk/

Tharp, J. (2007). Align project management with organizational strategy. PMI® Global Congress. Budapest: Project Management Institute. Retrieved from https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/align-project-management-organizational-strategy-7393

TWPROJECT STAFF. (2018, July 11). Project Life Cycle: phases and characteristics . Retrieved from https://twproject.com: https://twproject.com/blog/project-life-cycle-phases-and-characteristics/

Windsor, G. (2018, July 17). 5 Phases of Project Management: Initiating. Retrieved from https://www.brightwork.com: https://www.brightwork.com/blog/5-phases-of-a-project-initiating

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