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Project Management Case Studies

Autor:   •  November 18, 2016  •  Book/Movie Report  •  955 Words (4 Pages)  •  563 Views

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Ducor Chemical

Description of the case

Ducor chemical received an R&D contract from one of their important clients that would last for a year and would most likely need posterior follow ups. The contract consisted in the creation of a new chemical to serve as a raw material to the company’s future products. Entitled to the success of the project, Ducor could generate significant profits for a considerable time period.

The project demanded lab personnel and a senior chemist, and this would be the first time a senior chemist would be assigned to this client. As Ducor had only 4 senior chemists employed, the project manager had to negotiate the ‘resource’ with the lab manager.

The lab manager claimed all senior chemists were equally capable of getting the job done, and he appointed John to handle this task. However, the project manager was not happy about it, as John was known for his ‘lose tongue’ and difficult personality. This was especially important given the fact that it would have to be John the one communicating with the client in a monthly basis. The lab manager showed no flexibility, and tried to minimize the PM’s reaction by saying he would be present at every meeting, which did not happen. As expected, John lost his manners in one of the meetings, making the client furious over his remarks and asserting they were now evaluate the project performance to date, as well as Ducor’s commitment to the project. It added that after the evaluation, they would consider if the project should (not) be terminated or if it should be assigned to one of Ducor’s competitors.

  1. The line manager is responsible for several projects while the project manager is usually responsible for one individual project. Nevertheless, they both should make their decisions in the company’s best interests. As they are interdependent but have different goals, conflicts are most likely to arise due to lack of coordination among them. As such, it is imperative that there is good coordination, reporting, communication, trust and negotiation between them. A partnership between them could be possible by making negotiation an institutional capability, by clearly establishing the roles of each manager and how they relate to each other and to the company’s goals. This could be achieved through the implementation of a sharing system of best practices. Ideally, both managers would manage projects and resources together, thus improving cohesion and creating synergies between departments to the benefit of all.

  1. It would depend on the company’s size, organizational structure, on type of project, and on the manager’s experience. Here, the PJ manager has little authority, and needs to negotiate with the line manager for resources. This can make sense, as the line manager is the one with higher knowledge and information regarding several projects, therefore being the one who could potentially allocate resources more efficiently. Nevertheless, the PJ manager should be able to influence the composition of his project team, as he better understands the project’s and the client’s requirements. If the line manager had listened the PJ manager’s concerns, the whole situation could have been avoided. In order to circumvent this type of scenarios, it would be good to grant 50/50 authority to each manager. This would make it easier for them to understand that they are both working together for the company, rather than being each other’s competitors, and it would promote effective sharing and implementation of best practices.

  1. Before making a line and project managers interact with each other, their responsibilities must be clearly set in order to avoid conflicts. If not, their decision power may overlap, and both of them may claim authority regarding a decision (mostly due to scarce resources), thus leading to a conflicting situation. In this scenario, there are two main possibilities. One consists in asking to a superior figure to come in help to make the right decision for the company; nevertheless, this would show inability to solve problems and lack of autonomy of the two managers, which could compromise their reliability. Another, more advisable, possibility would be for the two managers to assess the impact of their decision on the company’s profitability. In this case, they should ask themselves how much money would the company loose (win) in the case of project failure (success), rank the projects according to their relevance for the company’s success, and then proceed to make a rational, unbiased decision.

 

  1. The company is a unit which arrange the project team. Nevertheless, customer should be able to interfere into the project team. However this participation is supposed to be limited. If a set of skills of a particular employee suit the customers they should have right to advise or ask for a given person to work on the project with them, but the company cannot let the customer impose the whole team line-up. However, in the end customer is the one to be satisfied therefore the company is to demonstrate some elasticity in this matter.

  1. In each organization there should be a specific set of requirements which are expected to be filled by team members. Thus, removing a team member which does not meet the requirements would no longer be a problem. In  order to handle the projects effectively team members need to present appropriate quality in their work. Also in this case it is advised not to remove the team member but search for opportunities in place him in other projects first.
  1. Project manager negotiations should have two dimensions. Both deliverables and people are important elements of projects therefore none of them can be neglected in the negotiation process. However it seems that PM should rather focus on negotiating on people since the functional resources are in a command of functional managers.

https://www.allfreepapers.com/Technology/Create-a-Partnership-Between-the-Project-Manager-and/84833.html

http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/Ducor-Chemical-602571.html

http://www.drharoldkerzner.com/twenty-common-mistakes-made-by-new-or-inexperienced-project-managers/ 

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