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1.20. PROBLEMS

1-1 In the project environment, cause-and-effect relationships are almost always readily apparent. Good project management will examine the effect in order to better understand the cause and possibly prevent it from occurring again. Below are causes and effects. For each one of the effects, select the possible cause or causes that may have existed to create this situation:

Effects

  1. Late completion of activities

  2. Cost overruns

  3. Substandard performance

  4. High turnover in project staff

  5. High turnover in functional staff

  6. Two functional departments performing the same activities on one project

Causes

  1. Top management not recognizing this activity as a project

  2. Too many projects going on at one time

  3. Impossible schedule commitments

  4. No functional input into the planning phase

  5. No one person responsible for the total project

  6. Poor control of design changes

  7. Poor control of customer changes

  8. Poor understanding of the project manager's job

  9. Wrong person assigned as project manager

  10. No integrated planning and control

  11. Company resources are overcommitted

  12. Unrealistic planning and scheduling

  13. No project cost accounting ability

  14. Conflicting project priorities

  15. Poorly organized project office

(This problem has been adapted from Russell D. Archibald, Managing High-Technology Programs and Projects, New York: John Wiley, 1976, p. 10.)

1-2 Because of the individuality of people, there always exist differing views of what management is all about. Below are lists of possible perspectives and a selected group of organizational members. For each individual select the possible ways that this individual might view project management:

Individuals

  1. Upper-level manager

  2. Project manager

  3. Functional manager

  4. Project team member

  5. Scientist and consultant

Perspectives

  1. A threat to established authority

  2. A source for future general managers

  3. A cause of unwanted change in ongoing procedures

  4. A means to an end

  5. A significant market for their services

  6. A place to build an empire

  7. A necessary evil to traditional management

  8. An opportunity for growth and advancement

  9. A better way to motivate people toward an objective

  10. A source of frustration in authority

  11. A way of introducing controlled changes

  12. An area of research

  13. A vehicle for introducing creativity

  14. A means of coordinating functional units

  15. A means of deep satisfaction

  16. A way of life

1-3 Consider an organization that is composed of upper-level managers, middle- and lower-level managers, and laborers. Which of the groups should have first insight that an organizational restructuring toward project management may be necessary?

1-4 How would you defend the statement that a project manager must help himself?

1-5 Will project management work in all companies? If not, identify those companies in which project management may not be applicable and defend your answers.

1-6 In a project organization, do you think that there might be a conflict in opinions over whether the project managers or functional managers contribute to profits?

1-7 What attributes should a project manager have? Can an individual be trained to become a project manager? If a company were changing over to a project management structure, would it be better to promote and train from within or hire from the outside?

1-8 Do you think that functional managers would make good project managers?

1-9 What types of projects might be more appropriate for functional management rather than project management, and vice versa?

1-10 Do you think that there would be a shift in the relative degree of importance of the following terms in a project management environment as opposed to a traditional management environment?

  1. Time management

  2. Communications

  3. Motivation

1-11 Classical management has often been defined as a process in which the manager does not necessarily perform things for himself, but accomplishes objectives through others in a group situation. Does this definition also apply to project management?

1-12 Which of the following are basic characteristics of project management?

  1. Customer problem

  2. Responsibility identification

  3. Systems approach to decision-making

  4. Adaptation to a changing environment

  5. Multidisciplinary activity in a finite time duration

  6. Horizontal and vertical organizational relationships

1-13 Project managers are usually dedicated and committed to the project. Who should be "looking over the shoulder" of the project manager to make sure that the work and requests are also in the best interest of the company? Does your answer depend on the priority of the project?

1-14 Is project management designed to transfer power from the line managers to the project manager?

1-15 Explain how career paths and career growth can differ between project-driven and non-project-driven organizations. In each organization, is the career path fastest in project management, project engineering, or line management?

1-16 Explain how the following statement can have a bearing on who is ultimately selected as part of the project team:

"There comes a time in the life cycle of all projects when one must shoot the design engineers and begin production."

1-17 How do you handle a situation where the project manager has become a generalist, but still thinks that he is an expert?


  

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