MGMT380 Southern Illinois University D2L Carbondale Project Mini Case Go through the case quickly, asking yourself what the case is about and what you are

MGMT380 Southern Illinois University D2L Carbondale Project Mini Case Go through the case quickly, asking yourself what the case is about and what you are givento analyze.
Reread the case thoroughly, annotating key facts as you go. Try to identify the basic problems faced by the organization and pertinent managers and executives. Try to place yourselfintheir position.
Note the key problems separately and review the case again.
Answer applicable questions and develop a set of recommendations that are based on and supported by an analysis of the case data.


You are to submit a write-up (not to exceed 3 pages) that summarizes the main
issues or problems faced by the organization; this should not exceed one
paragraph. The remaining space should be devoted to answering the case
questions and developing your recommendations. The write-ups are primarily
intended to provide an indication of the extent of analysis and thought that has
been done by you. With the exception of the one paragraph summary of main
issues, etc., the write-ups should focus on case analysis rather than repetition of
the case facts and data. The assigned readings from the text and prior class
discussions should help you in your case analysis. You are encouraged to
search for more information using library sources and the Internet.
Write-ups should be double spaced, 12point font, and one inch margins all
around. When preparing your responses to case questions, be sure and clearly
label or number the question that you are answering. Failing to do so will result in
deductions from the case grade.
All submissions of case analyses MUST be submitted in Microsoft Word format
only to the Dropbox on D2L before Remember that the deadline to submit your
analysis is Sunday night at midnight. The ability to submit a case analysis after
the deadline will not be permitted or allowed by D2L. Additionally, each analysis
must be submitted to the originality checker on D2L (Turnitin.com). When you
submit your analysis to the Dropbox, it will be sent automatically to the originality
checker. Do not email analyses to the instructor or the TA as they will not be
Students should not wait until the last minute to submit a case analysis to the
Dropbox as the submission process could take a few minutes thereby making the
submission late and unaccepted by D2L. Internet congestion, a computer
problem, etc. is not considered a valid reason for not submitting a case analysis
on time.
The originality checker on D2L will provide you with an originality report. You
should review the originality report. If an originality report produces a percentage
more than 10%, students should review their case analysis to eliminate as much
duplication as possible found by the originality checker. To minimize the degree
of duplication found by Turnitin.com, DO NOT REPEAT THE QUESTION ON
CASE QUESTIONS AS a, b, c, or 1, 2, 3, etc.
The TA will grade the case analysis submissions based on criteria provided by
the instructor. If a student has a grade-related issue, the student should discuss it
with the TA. See additional information on D2L for Point Considerations for
Grading MGMT 380 cases.
• Answer the questions as applicable to a given case.
• Summarize major points rather than writing elaborate, verbose answers.
• Relate your answers to appropriate concepts discussed in class and/or the text
• Keep the timeframe of the case in mind. For example, if a case provides a date
of some
sort, you cannot have recommendations that are later in time than that of the
“We’ve got a real ‘warm puppy’ here,” Brian Smith told Werner McCann. “Make
sure you make the most of it. We could use a winner.”
Smith was MM’s CIO, and McCann was his top project manager. The puppy in
question was MM’s new venture into direct-to-customer marketing of its green
meters—a product designed to help better manage electrical consumption—and the
term referred to the project’s wide appeal. The strategy had been a hit with analysts
ever since it was revealed to the financial community, and the company’s stock
was doing extremely well as a result. “At last,” one analyst had written in his
popular newsletter, “we have a company that is willing to put power literally and
figuratively in consumers’ hands. If MM can deliver on its promises, we fully
expect this company to reap the rewards.”
Needless to say, the Green project was popular internally, too. “I’m giving it to you
because you have the most project management experience we’ve got,” Smith said.
“There’s a lot riding on this one.” As he walked away from Smith’s office,
McCann wasn’t sure whether to feel complimented or terrified. He had certainly
managed some successful projects for the company (previously known as
ModMeters) over the past five years but never anything like this one. That’s the
problem with project management, he thought. In IT almost every project is
completely different. Experience only takes you part of the way.
The Green project was different. It was the first truly enterprise-wide project the
company had ever done, and McCann was having conniptions as he thought about
telling Fred Tompkins, the powerful head of manufacturing, that he might not be
able to have everything his own way. McCann knew that to be successful this
project had to take an outside-in approach—that is, to take the end customers’
point of view on the company. That meant integrating marketing, ordering,
manufacturing, shipping, and service into one seamless process that wouldn’t
bounce the customer from one department to another in the company. MM had
always had separate systems for each of its silos, and this project would work
against the company’s traditional culture and processes. The Green project was
also going to have to integrate with IT’s information management renewal (IMR)
project. Separate silos had always meant separate databases, and the IMR project
was supposed to resolve inconsistencies among them and provide accurate and
integrated information to different parts of the company. This was a huge political
challenge, but if it didn’t work, McCann couldn’t deliver on his mandate.
Then there was the issue of resources. McCann groaned at the thought. MM had
some good people but not enough to get through all of the projects in the IT plan
within the promised timelines. Because of the importance of the Green project, he
knew he’d get good cooperation on staffing, but the fact remained that he would
have to go outside the company for some of the technical skills he needed to get
the job done. Finally, there was the schedule that had to be met. Somehow, during
the preliminary assessment phase, it had become clear that September 5 was to be
the “hard launch” date. There were good reasons for this—the fall was when
consumers usually became concerned with their energy consumption—but
McCann worried that a date barely twelve months from now would put too much
pressure on his team. “We’ve got to get in there first, before the competition,”
Smith had said to him. “The board expects us to deliver. You’ve got my backing
and the support of the full executive team, but you have to deliver this one.”
Six weeks later . . .
It was full steam ahead on the Green project. It’s amazing what a board mandate
and executive sponsorship can do for a project, thought McCann, who knew how
hard it usually was to get business attention to IT initiatives. He now had a full-time
business counterpart, Raj Sambamurthy. Samba, as he was known to his colleagues,
had come out of Tompkins’s division and was doing a fantastic job of getting the
right people in the room to make the decisions they needed to move ahead. The
Green steering committee was no Mickey Mouse group either. Smith, Tompkins,
and every VP affected by the project were meeting biweekly with him and Samba to
review every aspect of the project’s progress.
McCann had pulled no punches when communicating with the committee.
“You’ve given me the mandate and the budget to get this project off the ground,” he
had told them. “But we have to be clear about what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Together, they had hammered out a value proposition that emphasized the strategic
value of the project and some of the measures they would use to monitor its ultimate
success. The requirements and design phase had also gone smoothly because
everyone was highly motivated to ensure the project’s success. “Linking success to
all our annual bonuses sure helped that!,” McCann had remarked wryly to Samba.
Now McCann was beginning to pull together his dream team of implementers.
The team had chosen a package known as Web-4-U as the front end of the project,
but it would take a lot of work to customize it to suit their unique product and, even
more to integrate it with MM’s outmoded back-end systems. The Web-4-U company
was based in Ireland but had promised to provide 24/7 consulting on an as-needed
basis. In addition, Samba had now assembled a small team of business analysts to
work on the business processes they would need. They were working out of the
firm’s Cloverdale office, a thirty-minute drive from IT’s downtown location. (It was
a shame they couldn’t all be together, but space was at a premium at headquarters.
McCann made a mental note to look into some new collaboration software he’d
heard about.) Now that these two pieces were in place, McCann felt free to focus on
the technical “guts” of the system. “Maybe this will work out after all,” he said.
Three Months to Launch Date
By June, however, McCann was tearing out what little hair was left on his head.
He was seriously considering moving to a remote Peruvian hamlet and breeding
llamas. “Anything would be better than this mess,” he observed to Yung Lee, the
senior IT architect, over coffee. They were poring over the project’s critical path.
“The way I see it,” Lee stated matter-of-factly, “we have two choices: We can
continue with this inferior technology and meet our deadline but not deliver on our
functionality, or we can redo the plan and go back to the steering committee with a
revised delivery date and budget.”
McCann sighed. Techies always saw things in black and white, but his world
contained much more gray. So much was riding on this—credibility (his, IT’s, the
company’s), competitiveness, stock price. He dreaded being the bearer of this bad
news so he said, “Let’s go over this one more time.”
“It’s not going to get any better, but here goes,” Lee took a deep breath. “Web-4-U
is based on outmoded technology. It was the best available last year, but this year
the industry has agreed on a new standard, and if we persist in using Web-4-U, we
are going to be out of date before Green even hits the street. We need to go back
and completely rethink our technical approach based on the new standard and then
redesign our Web interface. I know it’s a setback and expensive, but it has to be
“How come we didn’t know about this earlier?” McCann demanded.
Lee replied, “When the standard was announced, we didn’t realize what the
implications were at first. It was only in our quarterly architecture meeting that the
subject came up. That’s why I’m here now.” The architects were a breed apart,
thought McCann. All tech and no business sense. They’d lost almost three months
because of this. “By the way,” Lee concluded, “Web-4-U knew about this, too.
They’re scrambling to rewrite their code. I guess they figured if you didn’t know
right away, there would be more chance of you sticking with them.”
The chances of that are slim to none, thought McCann. His next software provider,
whoever that was, was going to be sitting right here under his steely gaze. Seeing
an agitated Wendy Chan at his door, he brought the meeting to a hasty close. “I’m
going to have to discuss this with Brian,” he told Lee. “We can’t surprise him with
this at the steering committee meeting. Hang tight for a couple of days, and I’ll get
back to you.”
“OK,” said Lee, “but remember that we’re wasting time.”
Easy for you to say, thought McCann as he gestured Chan into his office. She was
his counterpart at the IMR project, and they had always had a good working
relationship. “I just wanted to give you a heads-up that we’ve got a serious
problem with IMR that will affect you,” she began. Llamas began prancing into his
mind’s eye. “Tompkins is refusing to switch to our new data dictionary. We’ve
spent months hammering this out with the team, but he says he wasn’t kept
informed about the implications of the changes, and now he’s refusing to play ball.
I don’t know how he could say that. He’s had a rep on the team from the
beginning, and we’ve been sending him regular progress reports.”
McCann was copied on those reports. Their pages of techno-jargon would put
anyone to sleep! He was sure that Tompkins had never got past the first page of
any of those reports. His rep was a dweeb, too, someone Tompkins thought he
could live without in his daily operations.
“Damn! This is something I don’t need.” Like all IT guys, McCann hated
corporate politics with a passion. He didn’t understand them and wasn’t good at
them. “Why hadn’t Samba and his team picked up on this? They were plugged into
the business. Now he was going to have to deal with Chan’s problem as well as his
own if he wanted to get the Green project going. Their back-end processes
wouldn’t work at all unless everyone was using the same information in the same
format. Why couldn’t Tompkins see that? Did he want the Green project to fail?”
“The best way to deal with this one,” advised Chan, “is to force him to accept these
changes. Go to John Johnson and tell him that you need Tompkins to change his
business processes to fit our data dictionary. It’s for the good of the company, after
all.” Chan’s strong suit wasn’t her political savvy.
“You’re right that we need Tompkins on our side,” said McCann, “but there may
be a better way. Let me talk to Samba. He’s got his ear to the ground in the
business. I’ll speak with him and get back to you.”
After a bit of chitchat, Wendy left McCann to his PERT chart, trying again to
determine the extra cost in time if they went with the new technology. Just then the
phone rang. It was Linda Perkins, McCann’s newly hired work-at-home usability
designer. She was one of the best in the business, and he was lucky to have
snagged her just coming off maternity leave. His promise of flexible working hours
and full benefits had lured her back to work two months before her year-long leave
ended. “You’ve got to do something about your HR department!” Perkins
announced. “They’ve just told me that I’m not eligible for health and dental
benefits because I don’t work on the premises! Furthermore, they want to classify
me as contingent staff, not managerial, because I don’t fit in one of their petty little
categories for employees. You promised me that you had covered all this before I
took the job! I gave up a good job at LifeCo so I could work from home.”
McCann had indeed covered this issue in principle with Rick Morrow, IT’s HR
representative, but that had been almost eight months ago. Morrow had since left
the firm. McCann wondered if he had left any paperwork on this matter. The HR
IT spot had not yet been filled, and all of the IT managers were upset about HR’s
unreceptive attitude when it came to adapting its policies to the realities of today’s
IT world. “OK, Linda, just hang in there for a day or two and I’ll get this all sorted
out,” he promised. “How’s the usability testing coming along?”
“That’s another thing I wanted to talk with you about. The team’s making changes
to the look and feel of the product without consulting me,” she fumed. “I can’t do
my job without being in the loop. You have to make them tell me when they’re
doing things like this.”
McCann sighed. Getting Perkins on the project had been such a coup that he hadn’t
given much thought to how the lines of communication would work within such a
large team. “I hear you, Linda, and we’ll work this out. Can you just give me a few
days to figure out how we can improve things?”
Hanging up, he grabbed his jacket and slunk out of the office as quickly as he
could before any other problems could present themselves. If he just kept walking
south, he’d make it to the Andes in three, maybe four, months. He could teach
himself Spanish along the way. At least the llamas would appreciate his efforts!
MM could take its project and give it to some other poor schmuck. No way was he
going back! He walked furiously down the street, mentally ticking off the reasons
he had been a fool to fall for Smith’s sweet talk. Then, unbidden, a plan of attack
formed in his head. Walking always did the trick. Getting out of the office cleared
his head and focused his priorities. He turned back the way he had come, now
eager to get back in the fray. He had some things to do right away, and others he
had to put in place ASAP.
Discussion Questions
• 1. Some organizational factors increase a project’s likelihood of success.
Identify these “facilitators” for the Green project.
• 2. Other organizational factors decrease a project’s likelihood of success.
Identify these “barriers” for the Green project.
• 3. Outline the things that McCann needs to do right away.

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