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Case Study: Project Firecracker1.

     Brief synopsis National Corporation, a largeinternational corporation manufactured speciality machines, components andtools to the automotive and aircraft manufacturers. The case study portrays thesignificance of project management which should have been followed. As aresult, they lost the order worth $40 Million due to their negligence. At National, Jeff Pankoff wasinitially assigned in the Engineering department and transferred to Ireland toset up engineering department. After a successful three years, he was promotedas a Chief Engineer when he returned to the Home office.

Jeff, the head of theengineering department and was responsible for purchasing capital equipment andselection of production methods. Ben Ehlke, Manager of South Carolinaplant wanted to purchase a CNC machining centre worth $250,000 based on the whatthe aircraft company had requested. Jeff was responsible for approving thepurchase and had many questions about the purchase necessity and arranged ameeting with the Tom Kelly, chief tool buyer of the Aircraft Company APC. JackWhite, the distributor salesman accompanied Jeff and Ben for the meeting. Jeffwas surprised to know that there was a big of $40 million per year worth dealfrom Kelly.

Jeff convinced his superiors about the deal that he had accepted.Jeff suggested to approach Project Management method for this project but hisboss, Don Wolinski refused and said to follow the same traditional method thatthey were using. As they approached traditionalmethod, information from the customers through sales was delayed. Withoutconsulting the engineering team, 100 parts were promised to deliver in twoweeks. As a result, they were late by one week and the quotes were not able to provideon time. APC received quotation from others competitors and therefore cancelledthe National’s deal.

National realized their mistake and decided to implementproject management on the future projects.2.     What did Jeff, the chief engineer, do wrong?Jeff did not consult Bob Jones, the sales representative before taking theorder from the APC. He took decision without consulting from the sales department. 3.

    Did National win the $40 millionorder?No,National Corporation did not win the $40 Million order.4.     What approach should they be using? Why?They should be usingProject Management approach in the future projects. All communication should goby proper channel. In order to avoid delays, difference of opinions from everyindividual and to have uniform priorities, a project manager should be assignedto give a single voice for the project. 5.

     What did Jeff’s boss want to discuss with him about doing ona trial basis? Jeff’s boss, Don Wolinski wanted todiscuss about the Project Management concept with Jeff which he had mentionedduring the start of $40 million deal with APC.      Louderthan Words Write a brief synopsis.Thisarticle discusses about the United Kingdom’s Strategic Rail Authority projectwhich failed. To minimize the inconvenience to the passengers, SRA hadannounced to deliver the project earlier which resulted to cost huge amountthan their forecast. This illustrates the failure due to lack of leadership andstrategy. It discusses the cultural architecture and role of project managersin the company. Even when the best practices are followed, the project’ssuccess depends on the Executive suites.

Only with a supportive culture andemphasis on project, project could be successful. Even when the project managerleads the success efforts only executive sponsors can raise the success rate.Tim Stockert, President of Innova says that the organization success can beachieved by approaching in professional way by building trust, values, systemthinking, accountability and executives should communicate market strategy andstructure.

Executive support and guidance are important to the projectmanagers. On the whole, article discusses about the co-ordination between theexecutive sponsors and the project managers for successful project.  Why was the United Kingdom’s Strategic Rail Authority project derailed?Lackof clear leadership and strategy, United Kingdom’s Strategic Rail Authority projectfailed to meet the requirements. Who does the project manager depend on? To do what?A project manager who exercises a good professionalapproach depends upon executive to build a culture of trust, values, systemthinking, accountability and measurement.

Project Manager depend onthese values to communicate within the team and executives provide support forthe managers to implement. What are 4 of the Do’s and Don’ts of a Project Sponsor that you value?Do’s o  Facilitate trust with accountability o  Listen to the project team and understand whatthey are saying about project risks.o  See things in terms of potential. Don’t try todefine things in terms of schedule or evento  Be a system thinker. Look at inputs and outputs.

When you have a problem, explore all alternatives, and make sure they’ll beeffective o   Expertproject teams to utilize the discipline of project management to communicateresults               Don’tso  Talk the talk but refuse to walk the walko  Communicate seemingly arbitrary and capriciousgoalso  Treat project management resources as separategroups. Integrate project management practices and resource into the businessunits. o  Let project sponsors and or managers off thehook by excusing poor project performance.

  Any other Lessons Learned from this article?Projectmangers can take tough decisions on project when given an opportunity.Executives should give the right to control on the budget. Employees should begiven the freedom to maximize their potential and when they could maximize, organizationwill eventually grow. Forge Ahead Write a brief synopsis.This article focuses on the corporate strategies on theprojects.

Article emphasises to have a top down approach but most of theprojects get initiated from the bottom up. Attempts are usually made to solvethe departmental issues rather than to target on overall business goals.Without portfolio management and project management, a company can struggle ingood projects. In the fast-growing companies, they fail to focus on the corestrategies. Using wrong measures drive the wrong way. Customer support andpeople involving in the planning process would benefit. Successful change hasto be planned and managed from the organizational level to take the wholesystem into account. To overcome barriers managers must consider externalmarket conditions, competitions and technologies.

When the project’s success isdoubtful, stakeholders should be brought in to collaborate and reduce risks. Differentminds can look into a problem and bring different ideas to come up withpractical solution. Regularly to be ensured that the program goes off withoutany problems, otherwise the project must be downsized or eliminated. What caused the United Kingdom’s largest news agency, The Press Association, Ltd, profit margins to slide down?The United Kingdom’s Press associationfulfilled the core mission of extending its reach to all the corners of the UnitedKingdom by acquiring several news organizations.

The process and operations wereexpensive to share news to all the organizations and thus led profit margins toslide down. What does a focused portfolio management do for them?  Were their projects a part of their strategic plan?Focused portfolio managementdid not benefit them. Their projects were not a part of strategic plan because thecompany did not follow a top down approach.

Seniors executives should focus to gainattention from the very beginning to align properly.   Should programs deliver incremental results to prove that they are on track?  What about proof-of-concepts?Yes, the program shoulddeliver incremental results to prove that they are on the track. Proof of conceptsshould not be attempted to give in a single chunk which would not give results afterspending huge money   Is there value in a project manager networking with other project managers? Yes, the networkingcan uncover potential problems and find rough estimates on the budget and cost.

While we bring many people to have a look into the problem, different brains thinkdifferently and bring a viable solutionViewpoints: Listen and Learn What is the difference between hearing and listening?Hearing is the waythat they just grab ideas from the speaker but not actually processing themessage. Whereas listening is active search for meaning when the speakerconveys something. A good listener pays attention to the speaker creatingrapport and asking questions to the speaker when it is not understood.

  What are the six listening behaviours and provide an example when appropriate/not appropriate to use? o  Hearingo  Information gatheringo  Cynical listeningo  Offensive listeningo  Polite listeningo  Active listeningIn alargely crowded event, when there are more speakers about various topics,hearing and information gathering can be done. One can pay attention only towhat they require so it is appropriate to use them. Whereas in the workenvironment, classes and to the peers polite and active listening isappropriate to benefit the purpose of being there in the workplace.

In order togive some respect to the peers, Offensive listening should not be doneanywhere.Process Paralysis1.    What are the different causes ofprocess paralysis, and how to fix them?There are differentcauses of process paralysis which one-half to two thirds of the peopleexperienced in their organization.

Bureaucratic and inefficient methodology: Project managers must alter to fit to the project needs. Think beyond the immediate step to avoid bureaucratic which will benefit the organization. Always play by the rules and believe that you have a better way to benefit the organization Incomplete methodology: When the need is not met to your satisfaction, try to convince the owner. If the owner does not agree, then escalate the issue to higher authority. If that also fails, be creative to solve the issue.

New methodology: Implementing new methodologies should depend on the overall ROI. But it is to remember always that small increments account to have long term benefits. Resistive team members: When there are valid reasons from the project managers for being resistive, their interest should also be validated.

If not, try to find middle grounds. If that fails, assert your position as project manager. In rare cases, escalate the issue until resolved. Accountability: The project manager, as a leader, are expected to have good business judgements and be responsible for the ensuring right methodology.  Project Managers are accountable for their decisions and management is to support their ideas and they share little accountability.  

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