Strategic Project Management For Supply Chain
SCM 6030 – Strategic Project Management for Supply Chain Management
FINAL EXAM – PART 2 (50 Points) – Essay Questions – This will be done within Canvas in your assignments.
Instructions: You must pick 2 of the 4 questions listed and answer them. Indicate which questions you are responding when you turn this in.
You may use word, excel, or power point format at must be uploaded into Canvas before Friday, August 20 at 11:59pm ET, see grading rubric below. LATE EXAM ESSAYS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
1) (25 Points) You are the assistant project manager to Riley Hayes, who is in charge of the Nightingale project. Nightingale was the code name given to the development of a handheld electronic medical reference guide. Nightingale would be designed for emergency medical technicians and paramedics who need a quick reference guide to use in emergency situations.
Riley and her project team were developing a project plan aimed at producing 30 working models in time for MedCON, the biggest medical equipment trade show each year. Meeting the MedCON October 25 deadline was critical to success. All the major medical equipment manufacturers demonstrated and took orders for new products at MedCON. Riley had also heard rumors that competitors were considering developing a similar product, and she knew that being first to market would have a significant sales advantage. Besides, top management made funding contingent upon developing a workable plan for meeting the MedCON deadline.
The project team spent the morning working on the schedule for Nightingale. They started with the WBS and developed the information for a network, adding activities when needed. Then the team added the time estimates they had collected for each activity. Following is the preliminary information for activities with duration time and predecessors.
Answer the following questions, explain each answer in your own words:
A. Will the project as planned meet the October 25 deadline?
B. What activities lie on the critical path?
C. How sensitive is this network?
2) (25 Points) Milo Barker, the CEO of Wireless Telecom Company, is in a quandary. Last year he accepted the Maximum Megahertz project suggested by six up-and-coming young R&D corporate stars. Although Milo did not truly understand the technical importance of the project, the creators of the project needed only $600,000, so it seemed like a good risk. Now the group is asking for $800,000 more and a six-month extension on a project that is already four months behind. However, the team feel confident they can turn things around. The project manager and project team feel that if they hang in there a little longer, they will be able to overcome the roadblocks they are encountering—especially those that reduce power, increase speed, and use a new-technology battery. Other managers familiar with the project hint that the power pack problem might be solved but “the battery problem will never be solved.” Milo Barker believes he is locked into this project; his gut feeling tells him the project will never materialize and he should get out. John, his human resource manager, suggested bringing in a consultant to axe the project.
Milo decided to call his friend Grace Bollheimer, the CEO of an accounting software company. He asked her, “What do you do when project costs and deadlines escalate drastically? How do you handle doubtful projects?” Her response was “Let another project manager look at the project. Ask, ‘If you took over this project tomorrow, could you achieve the required results, given the extended time and additional money?’ If the answer is no, I call my top management team together and have them review the doubtful project in relation to other projects in our project portfolio.” Milo feels this is good advice.
Unfortunately, the Maximum Megahertz project is not an isolated example. Over the last five years there have been three projects that were never completed. “We just seemed to pour more money into them, even though we had a pretty good idea the projects were dying. The cost of those projects was high; those resources could have been better used on other projects.” Milo wonders, “Do we ever learn from our mistakes? How can we develop a process that catches errant projects early? More importantly, how do we ease a project manager and team off an errant project without embarrassment?” Milo certainly does not want to lose the six bright stars on the Maximum Megahertz project.
Milo is contemplating how his growing telecommunications company should deal with the problem of identifying projects that should be terminated early, how to allow good managers to make mistakes without public embarrassment, and how they all can learn from their mistakes.
Give Milo a plan of action for the future that attacks the problem. Be specific and provide examples that relate to Wireless Telecom Company.
3) (25 Points) Three years ago the Sharp Printing (SP) strategic management group set a goal of having a color laser printer available for the consumer and small business market for less than $200. A few months later the senior management met off-site to discuss the new product. The results of this meeting were a set of general technical specifications along with major deliverables, a product launch date, and a cost estimate based on prior experience.
Shortly afterward a meeting was arranged for middle management explaining the project goals, major responsibilities, project start date, and importance of meeting the product launch date within the cost estimate. Members of all departments involved attended the meeting. Excitement was high. Although everyone saw the risks as high, the promised rewards for the company and the personnel were emblazoned in their minds. A few participants questioned the legitimacy of the project duration and cost estimates. A couple of R&D people were worried about the technology required to produce the high-quality product for less than $200. But given the excitement of the moment, everyone agreed the project was worth doing and doable. The color laser printer project was to have the highest project priority in the company.
Lauren was selected to be the project manager. She had 15 years of experience in printer design and manufacture, which included successful management of several projects related to printers for commercial markets. Since she was one of those uncomfortable with the project cost and time estimates, she felt getting good bottom-up time and cost estimates for the deliverables was her first concern. She quickly had a meeting with the significant stakeholders to create a WBS identifying the work packages and organization unit responsible for implementing the work packages. Lauren stressed that she wanted time and cost estimates from those who would do the work or were the most knowledgeable, if possible. Getting estimates from more than one source was encouraged. Estimates were due in two weeks.
The compiled estimates were placed in the WBS/OBS. The corresponding cost estimate seemed to be in error. The cost estimate was $1,250,000 over the top-down senior management estimate; this represented about a 20 percent overrun! Furthermore, the bottom-up time estimate based on the project network was four months longer than the top management time estimate. Another meeting was scheduled with the significant stakeholders to check the estimates and to brainstorm for alternative solutions. At this meeting everyone agreed the bottom-up cost and time estimates appeared to be accurate. Following is some of the suggestions from the brainstorming session.
· Change scope.
· Outsource technology design.
· Use the priority matrix (found in Chapter 4) to get top management to clarify their priorities.
· Partner with another organization or build a research consortium to share costs and to share the newly developed technology and production methods.
· Cancel the project.
· Commission a break-even study for the laser printer.
Very little in the way of concrete savings was identified, although there was consensus that time could be compressed to the market launch date, but at additional costs.
Lauren met with the marketing (Connor), production (Kim), and design (Gage) managers, who yielded some ideas for cutting costs, but nothing significant enough to have a large impact. Gage remarked, “I wouldn’t want to be the one to deliver the message to top management that their cost estimate is $1,250,000 off! Good luck, Lauren.”
A. At this point, what would you do if you were the project manager? (Be specific and explain your answers)
B. Was top management acting correctly in developing an estimate?
C. What estimating techniques should be used for a mission-critical project such as this? (Be specific and explain your answers)
4) (25 Points) Hector Gaming Company (HGC) is an educational gaming company specializing in young children’s educational games. HGC has just completed their fourth year of operation. This year was a banner year for HGC. The company received a large influx of capital for growth by issuing stock privately through an investment banking firm. It appears the return on investment for this past year will be just over 25 percent with zero debt! The growth rate for the last two years has been approximately 80 percent each year. Parents and grandparents of young children have been buying HGC’s products almost as fast as they are developed. Every member of the 56-person firm is enthusiastic and looking forward to helping the firm grow to be the largest and best educational gaming company in the world. The founder of the firm, Sally Peters, has been written up in Young Entrepreneurs as “the young entrepreneur to watch.” She has been able to develop an organizational culture in which all stakeholders are committed to innovation, continuous improvement, and organization learning.
Last year, 10 top managers of HGC worked with McKinley Consulting to develop the organization’s strategic plan. This year the same 10 managers had a retreat in Aruba to formulate next year’s strategic plan using the same process suggested by McKinley Consulting. Most executives seem to have a consensus of where the firm should go in the intermediate and long term. But there is little consensus on how this should be accomplished. Peters, now president of HGC, feels she may be losing control. The frequency of conflicts seems to be increasing. Some individuals are always requested for any new project created. When resource conflicts occur among projects, each project manager believes his or her project is most important. More projects are not meeting deadlines and are coming in over budget. Yesterday’s management meeting revealed some top HGC talent have been working on an international business game for college students. This project does not fit the organization vision or market niche. At times it seems everyone is marching to his or her own drummer. Somehow more focus is needed to ensure everyone agrees on how strategy should be implemented, given the resources available to the organization.
Yesterday’s meeting alarmed Peters. These emerging problems are coming at a bad time. Next week HGC is ramping up the size of the organization, number of new products per year, and marketing efforts. Fifteen new people will join HGC next month. Peters is concerned that policies be in place that will ensure the new people are used most productively. An additional potential problem looms on the horizon. Other gaming companies have noticed the success HGC is having in their niche market; one company tried to hire a key product development employee away from HGC. Peters wants HGC to be ready to meet any potential competition head on and to discourage any new entries into their market. Peters knows HGC is project driven; however, she is not as confident that she has a good handle on how such an organization should be managed—especially with such a fast growth rate and potential competition closer to becoming a reality. The magnitude of emerging problems demands quick attention and resolution.
Peters has hired you as a consultant. She has suggested the following format for your consulting contract. You are free to use another format if it will improve the effectiveness of the consulting engagement.
A) Provide a detailed action plan that attacks the problem. Be specific and provide examples that relate to HGC.
B) What is our major problem?
C) Identify some symptoms of the problem.
D) What is the major cause of the problem?
Exam Essay Rubric
75 Pt Question
25 Pt Question
Complete in all respects; reflects all requirements
Complete in most respects; reflects most requirements
Incomplete in many respects; reflects few requirements
Incomplete in most respects; does not reflect requirements
Demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the topic(s) and issue(s)
Demonstrates an accomplished understanding of the topic(s) and issue(s)
Demonstrates an acceptable understanding of the topic(s) and issue(s)
Demonstrates an inadequate understanding of the topic(s) and issue(s)
Analysis & evaluation
Presents an insightful and thorough analysis of all issues identified; includes all necessary financial calculations
Presents a thorough analysis of most issues identified; includes most necessary financial calculations
Presents a superficial analysis of some of the issues identified; omits necessary financial calculations
Presents an incomplete analysis of the issues identified
Makes appropriate and powerful connections between the issues identified and the strategic concepts studied in the reading; demonstrates complete command of the strategic concepts and analytical tools studied
Makes appropriate connections between the issues identified and the strategic concepts studied in the reading; demonstrates good command of the strategic concepts and analytical tools studied
Makes appropriate but somewhat vague connections between the issues and concepts studied in the reading; demonstrates limited command of the strategic concepts and analytical tools studied
Makes little or no connection between the issues identified and the strategic concepts studied in the reading
Supports diagnosis and opinions with strong arguments and evidence; presents a balanced and critical view; interpretation is both reasonable and objective
Supports diagnosis and opinions with reasons and evidence; presents a fairly balanced view; interpretation is both reasonable and objective
Supports diagnosis and opinions with limited reasons and evidence; presents a somewhat one-sided argument
Supports diagnosis and opinions with few reasons and little evidence; argument is one-sided and not objective
Presents detailed, realistic, and appropriate recommendations clearly supported by the information presented and concepts from the reading
Presents specific, realistic, and appropriate recommendations supported by the information presented and concepts from the reading
Presents realistic or appropriate recommendations supported by the information presented and concepts from the reading
Presents realistic or appropriate recommendations with little, if any, support from the information presented and concepts from the reading
Supplements case study with relevant and extensive research into the present situation of the company; clearly and thoroughly documents all sources of information
Supplements case study with relevant research into the present situation of the company; documents all sources of information
Supplements case study with limited research into the present situation of the company; provides limited documentation of sources consulted
Supplements case study, if at all, with incomplete research and documentation
Writing demonstrates a sophisticated clarity, conciseness, and correctness; includes thorough details and relevant data and information; extremely well-organized
Writing is accomplished in terms of clarity and conciseness and contains only a few errors; includes sufficient details and relevant data and information; well-organized
Writing lacks clarity or conciseness and contains numerous errors; gives insufficient detail and relevant data and information; lacks organization
Writing is unfocused, rambling, or contains serious errors; lacks detail and relevant data and information; poorly org