MGMT Final Exam – Acme Industries (2015)

| June 8, 2016

Question
Final Exam

This exam is based on the sample problem that was assigned early in the course. You should draw upon information about this case that was supplied to you.

Acme Industries is looking at the introduction of a new product for a new client. It has determined the required activities, estimated time (in weeks) and assigned individuals to work on this project. The list of activities, time estimates, precedent relationships and assigned staff are provided in Table 1.

Table 1.

Activity

Description

Duration

Predecessors

Resources

A

Conduct competitive analysis

3

Bob, Henry, Ted

B

Review field sales reports

2

Janine

C

Conduct technical capabilities assessment

5

Janine, Ed, Bob, Clara

D

Develop focus group data

2

A,B,C

Janine, Rowena, Clara

E

Conduct telephone surveys

3

D

Janine, Rowena, Karl, Jake

F

Identify relevant specification improvements

3

Ed, Bob, Henry

G

Interface with marketing staff

1

F

Janine, Rowena, Larry

H

Develop engineering specifications

5

G

Janine, Ed, Bob, Clara

I

Check and debug designs

4

H

Clara, Rolf, Vincent

J

Develop testing protocol

3

G

Ed, Vincent

K

Identify critical performance levels

2

J

Bob, Henry, Oscar

L

Assess and modify product components

6

I,J

Ed, Bob, Ted

M

Conduct capabilities assessment

12

L

Bob. Ted, Vincent, Joel

N

Identify selection criteria

3

M

Ted, Ed, Clara

O

Develop RFQ

4

M

Henry, Bob

P

Develop production master schedule

5

N,O

Clara, Bob, Oscar, Vincent

Q

Liase with sales staff

1

P

Janine, Larry

R

Prepare product launch

3

Q

Bob, Henry, Ted, Janine

The resource labeled Bob has been assigned the job of project manager. Bob is 31 years old. He has had no prior experience as a project manager on the job of the size and importance. He has considerable expertise and product development. On the other hand, Ted is 47 years old and has had extensive experience in managing software projects. Ted is resentful that he wasn’t assigned the job of project manager. He believes Bob got this opportunity because these being mentored by an executive vice president. Janine is 21 years old and has worked with Bob for several years. They’ve developed an excellent rapport with each other and Janine was the only team member that Bob was allowed to choose. Ed and Clara our field engineers with years of experience. The rest of the team has had extensive experience with projects of this type.

As a way of starting the project, Bob invited all participants to an open meeting. He expressed his belief that given the tight time constraints on the project it was important for all participants to feel comfortable to express their viewpoints. Immediately, Ted spoke up and stated his belief that a felt the project was off to a bad start because of the failure to discuss the possible use of Capability Maturity Model Integration, Systems Development Lifecycle, Unified Process, Agile Modeling or Scrum. It was clear to everyone at Ted was indicating his lack of faith involves skills as a project manager.

Bob acknowledged Ted suggestions. He said that he would provide a formal review of each approach at the next meeting which was to be held in four days. Bob then brought up the topic of a project charter. He suggested that he would present the entire team a draft of such a charter at the next meeting, asked for their input’s and recommendations and asked him to sign off on the charter.

Janine stated that on many of the projects that she had worked with it was critical, clear understanding of the subcomponents of the overall plan for the project she suggests that the template for the strategic plan be prepared by Bob, Ed, Ted, Clara, Rowena and herself.

Clara pointed out that they were being asked to develop a new product outside of their normal expertise and that of Brisbane done for a client which they had no prior experience. She said “I feel the hot breath of Murphy breathing down our necks”. And she went on to state that she felt that this project had numerous hidden risk that you would be much more comfortable in there was a coherent plan to do with those risk.

In many ways she was prescient, by the completion of Activity J (Develop Testing Protocol) the project was $75,000 over budget and 2.5 weeks overscheduled. At the beginning of the project top-level management viewed the completion of Activity J as the midpoint of the total project.

Bob recognized that the team needed to bring the project back on schedule and to reduce the excess spending. By the time the team had completed Activity M the project was back on schedule. Everyone had felt that they had a terrific job. Bob agreed with that viewpoint. Bob received a notice that he was going to brief the CEO and the client. The project was over budget and was back on track and cost-cutting had reduced the size of the overruns on the budget. When Bob met with the CEO and the client expressed their admiration and respect for both Bob and his team.However,the client stated that his in-house marketing team was no longer as positive about the market viability of the product that Bob and his team were working on. The client stated that he would come to a decision in two weeks as to whether to continue work on the product. He had promised to send you that the next product development of his company would be given to Bob and his team. Bob left the meeting unsure as to whether the project would be finished.

1. Bob wanted to address opening attack with a flexible response at the next meeting. He wanted to prepare a proposal that highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, plus an analysis of the appropriateness of each approach to product development. Help Bob prepare this report. (15 points)

2. Discuss what should be in this project’s charter. You can provide this in an outline format, but provide a rationale for each component. Discuss the importance of each element. (15 points)

3. Discuss what should go into the strategic plan. Provide a rationale for each component. Discuss the importance of each element. (10 points)

4. How would address Clara’s concerns about risk management? (10 points)

4. Bob recognized early that team dynamics are critical to the success of the project. What would you advise Bob to do to ensure a cohesive team. How should Bob deal with Ted? What might you anticipate as the major behavioral problems? (15 points)

5. In Table 2, we provide the weekly cost of each team participant. Given these costs, what would you do as an Earned Value Analysis at the completion of Activity J. (20 points)

6. After Bob’s meeting with the CEO and client, Ted organized several other team members to asked Bob what happened. Bob could tell them the truth, but that might destroy the morale of the team and reduce their effectiveness. Even if the project is continued the team might no longer function as successfully as they had in the last several weeks. If he doesn’t tell them exactly what had happened and any team member discovers what had happened that I would lose all credibility. Put yourself in Bob’s shoes and determined that he should tell them. Provide detailed rationale for your arguments. (15 Points)

Table 2.

Resource

Weekly $

Resource

Weekly $

Bob

$1,700

Karl, Jake

$1,000

Ted

$1,600

Larry, Rolf

$900

Janine

$1,250

Vincent

$800

Henry, Ed, Clara

$1.375

Joel

$750

Rowena

$1,100

Oscar

$675

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