Project Management Case Study 1.1

 

Case

tudy

1.1

MegaTech

Inc.

MegaTech, Inc. designs

and

manufactures automotive components. For years, the company enjoyed a stable marketplace, a small

but

loyal group

of

customers,

and

a relatively predictable environment.

Though

slowly,

annual

sales continued to grow until recently hitting

$300

million. MegaTech products were

popular

because they required little major updating

or

yearly redesign. The stability

of

its market, coupled with

the

consistency

of

its

product,

allowed MegaTech to forecast annual demand accurately,

to

rely

on

production

runs

with

long lead times, -and

to

concentrate

on

internal efficiency. Then, with the advent

of

the

North

American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other international trade agreements, MegaTech found itself competing with auto parts suppliers headquartered in countries around the world. The company

was

thrust into an unfamiliar position: It had to become customer-focused

and

quicker to market with innovative products. Facing these tremendous commercial challenges, top management at MegaTech decided a

few

years ago to recreate the company

as

a project-based organization. The transition, while

not

smooth, has nonetheless paid big dividends. Top managers determined, for instance,

that

product

updates

had

to

be

much

more

frequent. Achieving this goal meant yearly redesigns and new technologies' which, in turn, meant making innovative changes

in

the firm's operations.

In

order to make these adjustments, special project teams were formed

around

each

of

the company's product lines and given a mandate to maintain market competitiveness.

Case

tudy

1 2

The

IT

Department

at

Hamelin Hospital

Hamelin Hospital

is

a large (700-bed) regional hospital

in

the northeastern United States. The information technology (IT) department employs

75

people and has

an

operating budget

of

over

$35

million. The department

is

responsible for managing

30-40

projects, ranging from small (redesigning computer screens) to very large, such

as

multimilliondollar system development projects that can

run

for over a year. Hamelin's IT department has been growing steadily, reflecting the hospital's commitment to expanding its information storage and processing capacities. The two principal functions

of

the IT department are developing new software applications and maintaining the current information

sys-

tem. Projectmanagement

is

away

of

lifeforthedepartment. IT department jobs fall into

one

of

five

categories:

(1)

help-desk technician,

(2)

programmer,

(3)

senior

Case

Study

1.2

47

At the same time, however, MegaTech wanted to maintain its internal operating efficiencies. Thus

all

project teams were given strict cost and schedule guidelines for new product introductions. Finally, the company created a sophisticated research

and

development team, which

is

responsible for locating likely new avenues for technological change

5

to

10

years down the road.

Today

MegaTech operates project teams not only for managing current product lines

but

also for seeking longer-term payoffs through applied research. MegaTech has found the move to projectrnanagement challenging. For one thing, employees are still rethinking the

ways

in which they allocate their time and

resourCeS.

In addi

tion, the firm's success rate with new projects

is

still

less

than management

had

hoped. Nevertheless, top managers feel that,

on

balance, the shift to project management has given the company the operating advantage that it needed to maintain its lead over rivals

in

its globally competitive industry. "Project management;' admits one MegaTech executive, "is certainly

not

a magic pill for success,

but

it has started us thinking about

how

we operate.

As

a result, we are doing smarter things in a faster way around here:'

Questions 1.

What

elements

of

the marketplace

in

which MegaTech operates led the firm to believe

that

project management would improve its operations?

2.

What

is

it

about

project management

that

offers MegaTech a competitive advantage in its industry?

0(

programmer,

PROJECT MANAGeMENT CLASS!!!!

Case Study 1.1 MegaTech, Inc.

MegaTech, Inc. is designed to highlight some of the reasons why an organization that had operated in a relatively stable and predictable environment would seek to move to an emphasis on project-based work. The trigger event, in this case is the advent of the NAFTA treaty, which opened up competition on a more price-competitive basis.

  1. What is it about project management that offers MegaTech a competitive advantage in its industry?
  2. What elements of the marketplace in which MegaTech operates led the firm to believe that project management would improve its operations?

Case Study 2.1 - Rolls-Royce Corporation

Rolls-Royce is an example of a case based on new strategic opportunities and an organization's desire to capitalize on market and technological developments. As one of the premier manufacturers of jet engines of the commercial and military markets, Rolls-Royce is facing an opportunity to "piggy back" off Airbus's newest airframe design, the A-380, an enormous airplane capable of flying up to 750 people. The case also demonstrates the manner in which Rolls-Royce must identify and manage their key stakeholder group for maximum effectiveness.

  1. Who are Rolls' principal project management stakeholders? How would you design stakeholder management strategies to address their concerns?
  2. Given the financial risks inherent in developing a jet engine, make an argument, either pro or con, for Rolls to develop strategic partnerships with other jet engine manufacturers in a manner similar to Airbus's consortium arrangement. What are the benefits and drawbacks from such an arrangement?

Please cite scholarly research resources for all case studies.

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