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Project Management Analysis

You are a manager at PSCHSE Manufacturing Company, a company that produces plastic storage containers and sells them to the home consumers through home sales events. At the company's quarterly meeting, the head of marketing described a new product that is to be introduced in the first quarter of the next fiscal year, approximately nine months from now. She also announced a major initiative to implement a new marketing and customer service program that will greatly increase market penetration and enable sales to the home consumer. Part of that project will require a new customer relationship management (CRM) system. A solution evaluation and selection project has already happened and a CRM system has been chosen. You are from the marketing department and will be managing the entire initiative, including the new CRM system. Ben, from IT, will be the team leader for the CRM application implementation.

Determining the Level of Detail in the WBS

You were talking with Ben about some of the projects he has led, wanting to get to know his management style better. You were discussing what went well and what didn't go so well with one of his last projects. Ben said he had a problem setting realistic dates with the sponsor. It seemed that every time he set the date for a milestone, someone on the team would tell him about more work that needed to be done that moved the milestone out. So, he had to keep going back to the sponsor with revised dates, pushing the project end out longer and longer. You asked him for a copy of his project schedule so you could get a sense of how he builds them. You also wanted to get an understanding of the solution delivery life cycle that he will use.

Here is what Ben gave you for one of his recent vendor evaluation projects (excerpt):


1.0 Create requirements

1.1 Conduct Interviews March 1 March 31 Nico, Ben
1.2 Research industry March 1 March 15 Team, Ben
1.3 Document requirements March 15 April 1 Nico, Georgia
and RFP customers,Ben
1.4 Do analysis, figure out April 1 May 30 Georgia, Ben
new work flow
2.0 Evaluate vendors May May Team, Ben
3.0 Select vendors
3.1 Review contract and July 1 July 15 Ben
3.2 Send contrat to legal July 15 July 17 Ben, Someone
from legal

What contributed to Ben's problems with realistic date setting?
What should Ben do differently on this project?
What concerns do you have with Ben as the CRM implementation team leader?

Solution Preview

1) The first problem is that Ben has not assigned specific dates for many of his tasks. Second, many of his tasks are not in logical order. For example, how can he determine what the requirements specifications are without first interviewing the various stakeholders. How can he write up the document requirements and RFP before the interviewing is done? It would also make sense to do the industry review before the interviews. Also, in many cases, he has not specified the owner of the process for each task ("someone from legal", "customers", ...

Solution Summary

This posting looks at reasons Ben has problems with realistic date setting, how he should change his methods for this project and concerns for him as a CRM implementation team leader according to the case given. 379 words.