This case study is based on a conversation between two people: Tim Aston, a new project manager, and Phil Davies, director of project management. Aston had just changed jobs and was very excited about his new job. He wanted to be the best manager his company ever had. But ever since he had been on the job, he was becoming more and more frustrated with the employees and their work habits. Finally he went to see Davies and discuss his problems with him. Chapter Four of our text discusses the ten skills that are necessary for effective program management. (Kerzner, 2009, pg.149)
Of those skills, I felt that there were three that were lacking in the case study. The problems that he discussed with Davies involved mainly team building, leadership, and administrative – time management skills. The case study showed that the lack of these things caused a hardship for management in an effort to complete necessary goals. Team building focuses on “effective communications, sincere interest in the professional growth of team members, and the commitment to the project” (Kerzner, 2009, pg. 149). The success of the team was not a priority in the lives of these individuals.
They did what they wanted and how they wanted, regardless of how if would affect the team, project manger or the project. Phil Davies, the director, explained to Tim Aston, the project manager, that these people were set in their ways, at the top of their pay grades, and had no room for growth in the organization. Tim would have to take the time to learn what motivates them and try a different angle in order to get them involved. Phil stated that in the project environment, the workers think they are more important than the project and this has been the way it has been in their project organizational form. (Kerzner, 2009, pg. 294)
Tim will have to start from scratch. He will have to build a foundation with his team in order to bring them together. Phil also seemed to be very passive aggressive by acting like the workers were right and the project manager was wrong. Not supportive from a management stand point either. The purpose of Tim’s outreach to Phil was for support and guidance but all he received was a push off letting him know that he was on his own. Leadership is the second skill that was needed in this situation. Leadership is motivation for the team to tackle challenges.
A leader has to have emotional intelligence or empathy in order to be able to understand his team. For you to accomplish an objective you have to persuade your team to believe in the same goal. Being a role model is part of leadership. Management of the performance of the team and provision of support and development or growth of the team’s technical skills is all part of leadership. The lack of leadership from Tim proved that he was unable to resolve the conflicts that he encountered with the workers.
There should have been a team meeting called in order to review the objectives of the project and the team, state what his expectations were in completing them, as well as policies and procedures that they have to adhere to in the process. In the text, Kerzner also specifies several things that project managers do that are caused by a loss of understanding. These things end up causing time management problems for the project. The final skill that he needed to be proficient in was time management skills. A skilled project manager needs to be experienced in developing a schedule and doing what was necessary to maintain that schedule.
It is unacceptable for the project manager to wait for someone else to make a decision that is his own responsibility. In this case study Aston had the responsibility for the project. He was responsible for managing his team and making sure that everyone was there. He failed at this task so he went to Davies for help. Aston made no attempt to coordinate schedules of his team for the project. He would have known of the forthcoming conflicts in advance and would have been able to modify the schedule accordingly. The project manager need socializing time with employees in addition to just seeing them during meetings.
This is necessary to get to know them and their needs. Tim Aston’s skills in dealing with his project staff and functional manager leave a lot to be desired. His functional managers are not accountable due to his laissez faire leadership. They in term cause the failure of his projects. This is where the team building skills lacked causing his effectiveness as a project manager to falter. He has not taken charge or control of the team and there is no cohesive team to work on project’s objectives. With no leadership, the project management is non-existent and the team is none existent.
No direction of the team means the morale and motivation of the team members is extremely low. Being the new “kid on the block”, the other team members have they own agenda moving forward and he has an uphill battle to connect with them. He lacks emotional intelligence in thinking he can just come in among his subordinates, who are years older than him, and gain their trust and confidence. He lacks self-confidence and turns to the director help instead of facing the challenges head on. This further diminishes the team’s confidence in him as a leader for the team. Tim Aston has not taught his team the importance of time management.
By leaving them to manage their official time the way they want, he undermines the achievement of the project’s goals or objectives. Time management, being vital successful completion of a project, has to be inculcated into the team at all cost. A person who is not willing to respect time allocated to the project should not be part of the team. The issue of employees going on vacation or doing other activities instead of accomplishing important projects should not arise. Once time is set aside for projects it should become non-negotiable, thus workers will come to respect the projects goals.
As the goals set are met, self-motivation within the team will rise. Lack of communication by Tim Aston has contributed to the lackluster performance of the team. Being a new employee, he should have communicated his vision and ideas effectively to the team. The team might be at a loss as to his intensions for the projects. Meeting with them in advance and communicating his needs could have enabled him to know the feelings of the team. They could have ironed out their differences and he would have got a chance to persuade them on his new way of thinking. Mr.
Davies involvement further alienated him from the staff below him and making communication more difficult because he still did not communicate with them. The management of the company gave Tim Aston very little support. By supporting the needs the functional managers, they have denied Tim Aston the support and advantage he needed to have his team comply. As a new project manager, upper level management needed to give strong and unequivocal support of Tim to be able to take charge of the subordinates who considered him irrelevant to their needs and too young to understand their position.
With no support, it is clear that the functional managers send the message that they don’t care if their lack of commitment will sabotage the new project manager. Management implies that the problem is with Tim Aston and not the subordinates by suggesting that he take a study in human relations. Adding yet another hit to further diminish the authority and confidence of the project manager. Tim totally believed he would receive a very different level of support from management.
Team building is important to project manager, as without a cohesive team, the pooling of resources and talents that is vital in any company’s operations is not possible. A team that is not united in purpose cannot meet targets. Time management determines productivity. Effective time management diminishes waste both of resources and personnel motivation as without it concentration, focus and interests wanes. In any environment, personality and ideas conflicts are inevitable thus; conflict resolution or management maintains a cordial environment for workers and allocation of resources.
Finally, for all these to be possible, effective communication as a leader has to be utilized by the project manager to pass his ideas to his team and from the company’s management to guide everybody on the expectations of the company. The recommendation that can be given to the company is that a supportive environment is of the utmost importance to the application of the project manager’s critical skills. Without it, application of these skills in achieving personnel motivation, resource allocation and other objectives would be an exercise in futility.
The exercise of leadership skills and style by the project manager and company will influence the morale and motivation of workers affecting productivity. Project managers should find importance in understanding the culture and system of values for the company they work for. As mentioned throughout several class discussions, taking the time to get to know the functional staff can promote effective cohesion in a team in order to get the project completed correctly in am efficient and effective manner.
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