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Harrison-Keyes Leadership and Teambuilding Generic Benchmark

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Learning Team - Leadership and Teambuilding Generic Benchmarking

After reviewing the Harrison-Keyes scenario, you will identify several issues that directly connect to the concepts in the mind maps for Weeks Four through Six. In addition to reading the assigned text materials to develop knowledge about the concepts, a thorough master's-level education requires the development of effective research skills. In this assignment, the work that the team completes will be used to develop alternative solutions for the Harrison-Keyes Project Risk Management Plan.

Step 1

Individually, identify and research two companies that have faced specific issues related to those you identified in the scenario and connected with the course concepts. For each company selected, discuss the following in a 350-word synopsis: (A) issue identified in the scenario that is also facing the company, (B) how the company responded to the issue, and (C) outcomes of the company's response to the issue. Thus, each team member should have two 350-word synopses, one for each company, which provides the information identified. To avoid duplication of efforts, each team member should identify, to the team, the companies he or she will be researching before doing this part of the assignment.

Step 2

As a team, based upon the information gathered from the individual work done in Step 1, prepare a 1,050-word to 1,400-word analysis that synthesizes the key findings. As a team, using the companies researched: (A) identify the key course concepts and (B) compare and contrast the practices of each company related to those concepts. Appropriately cite all references used.

Step 3

The team will submit a final composition which consists of a title page, the team's overall analysis, the individual company synopses (with the preparer of each synopsis identified), and an appropriate reference page. As a guideline, a team of five will submit roughly 13-14 pages of material as well as a title page and reference page.

Format the paper according to APA style.

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Solution Preview

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HARRISON-KEYES INC.

OTAs provide assistance, not actual work. Please use this as a guide or information source, not a final assignment.

Harrison Keyes Leadership and Teambuilding Generic Benchmarking

Abstract

A project's success does not only depend on the performance of the project team. Success or failure of a project often depends on contributions of top management. Ten companies have been benchmarked to compare and contrast how these companies dealt with similar project management issues. This paper will evaluate the need for leadership in project management, assess the challenges of developing high performance project teams and compare and contrast face-to-face versus virtual project teams. These concepts will be applied to the situation at Harrison Keyes to aid in determining an optimal solution to the lack of project management and structure that currently exist with the e-publishing strategy.

Leadership in Project Management

The need for leadership in project management goes beyond speculation. Project managers do more than merely putting out fires. Their scope of practice entails all which fall under the umbrella of planning, budgeting, coordinating, and monitoring the operational aspects of a given project. Additionally, they serve to fill other capacities such as innovator and must be readily amenable to change (Gray & Larson, 2006, Ch. 10). Certainly, these are all characteristics which define what a project manager is. But, who a project manager is and how the need for such a role is demonstrated in the following examples.

In the example of Centrelink, 120 projects were being managed simultaneously. With the growing complexity of the company's web environment, management recognized a need for a project office to facilitate a seamless process for tasks such as account management and determination of eligibility (Bray, 2006). Similar to Centrelink, although different in industry, is Kmart. In the midst of trying to recover from filing Chapter 11, the company merged with Sears Roebuck and Company to form Sears Holding Corporation. Despite having gained significant financial ground since the merger in 2003, the company still needed a facelift. Hence, the board brought in a new chief marketing officer who very effectively managed to form collaboration with the WB television network to promote Sears' products (Scardino, 2005).

Unfortunately, in the benchmarking study of Oracle, ties were not quite as reinforcing of the company's new initiative. The goal of Oracle's new software for Kellogg was to integrate four complex software packages from four different vendors into one product. After three years and $10 million, the product produced less than desirable results thus lending to the assumption that appropriate project leadership is necessary to ensure reliability in all aspects of a project (Koch, 2001).
At this juncture, Harrison-Keyes' project leadership is most comparable to that of Oracle's when they were attempting to get CPG off the ground. It is not real clear at this point if Oracle's project demise was a sole indicator of the absence of project leadership. However, this is clearly the case with Harrison-Keyes. Similarly to Centrelink and Sears Holding Corporation, Harrison-Keyes needs a project manager in place as it pursues new endeavors to provide the company with seamless operations or a much needed facelift.

Challenges of Developing High-Performance Project Teams

At the heart of building a high-performance project team is the project manager who must demonstrate an enormous ability to perform a number of functions to include that of a recruiter, decision-maker, meeting facilitator, and a mediator. According to Gray and Larson (2006), the first task for the project manager to complete is to recruit project members. While it may seem quite obvious that technical skills are critical in this particular decision-making process, what may not seem quite as obvious are the team member's availability, credibility, political connections, and ambition. Finding team members who are willing to participate on a project team are most desirable; however, in matrix environments the project manager must oftentimes seek out negotiations with the functional manager.

Additional challenges of developing high-performance project teams are establishing ground rules and team norms. A remote location for hosting these initial meetings is most conducive to facilitating group cohesion as it allows team members to interact in a more informal manner. However, not all companies have this luxury. A challenge that may not be as readily acknowledged is that project managers are often times presented with a lack of full-time involvement of team members. Frequently, team members are brought in to work different phases of the project, but spend a good portion of their time elsewhere. As a result, the project suffers the amotivation of these individuals (Gray and Larson, 2006, Ch. 11).

Avaya is an appropriate example of a high-performing company. However, it was not until the company needed to upgrade their own technology in communication networks to keep its pace within the industry did it evolve into possessing a high-performing project team. In theory, Avaya already had a fully operational project team in place to monitor the upgrades of other companies. Therefore, it makes absolute sense that they were able to jump right into outlining an action plan that first allowed them to reduce costs by 30% and to establish contingency plans when replacing high cost frame relays with newly designed IP based relays. As a result of their efforts, the company was able to realize IT cost reductions by $450 million (Avaya, 2005).

Delta Airlines is another outstanding example of having a high-performing project team in place. The company brought in a project team to deal with the challenge of 60 million lines of code on 30 technology platforms. With Delta's previous ambition to enhance the passenger's travel experience, the company had to decide between remediating all of the airport systems or replace them with new technology and processes. The IT department was confident in its knowledge of the systems so the executive board decided to focus its energy on replacing all technology. When clear direction and decision-making were exercised, the IT staff was energized and airport personnel were in full support of this initiative.

These two companies, Avaya and Delta Airlines, speak to high-performing project teams and what can be achieved both financially and professionally when there is a full commitment by upper management. Unlike Harrison-Keyes, these projects had the full support of the employees without whom the projects would've been doomed. Conversely, without full management support, employees are left to wonder what the purpose of the initiative is. Similar to Delta Airlines, Harrison-Keyes is at a crossroads to determine whether it wishes to remediate what has already been invested or in a sense, replace all technology, and start over just as Avaya and Delta Airlines have done.

Compare and Contrast Face-to-Face and Virtual Project Teams

A virtual team is a group of individuals who work across time, space and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology. There are ten management issues that must be addressed when initiating and maintaining virtual teams. The issues that must be addressed are developing a "team", reinforcing project objectives, visiting remote participants, team trust, conflict resolution, electronic discussions, team member expectations, team leaders, workload increases and team training (Chinowsky & Rojas, 2003). Success of the project will only occur if appropriate management challenges are addressed throughout the project. Most of these same issues must also be addressed in a face-to-face team as well.

The AutoTime project at Boeing was implemented at one site by a team from a remote location. The teams involved used a number of different methods for communicating to complete the project. Methodologies included face-to-face meetings, telecoms, webex meetings and a share point site for sharing documents. Despite the team's attempt to resolve the management issues, the dilemma of not having a project manager to address the issues, presented as a larger concern.
Toyota along with nine other auto makers has taken the virtual team to another level. The automakers have joined together to develop and plan virtual crash testing as a means of gathering better accident prediction data. The companies believe that the crash tests will be more realistic than violently smashing cars into immovable barriers.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is very important for Harrison-Keys to determine the best ...

Solution Summary

A project's success does not only depend on the performance of the project team. Success or failure of a project often depends on contributions of top management. Ten companies have been benchmarked to compare and contrast how these companies dealt with similar project management issues. This paper will evaluate the need for leadership in project management, assess the challenges of developing high performance project teams and compare and contrast face-to-face versus virtual project teams. These concepts will be applied to the situation at Harrison Keyes to aid in determining an optimal solution to the lack of project management and structure that currently exist with the e-publishing strategy.

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