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11.33. PROBLEMS

11-1 Under what conditions would each of the following either not be available or not be necessary for initial planning?

  1. Work breakdown structure

  2. Statement of work

  3. Specifications

  4. Milestone schedules

11-2 What planning steps should precede total program scheduling? What steps are necessary?

11-3 How does a project manager determine how complex to make a program plan or how many schedules to include?

11-4 Can objectives always be identified and scheduled?

11-5 Can a WBS always be established for attaining an objective?

11-6 Who determines the work necessary to accomplish an objective?

11-7 What roles does a functional manager play in establishing the first three levels of the WBS?

11-8 Should the length of a program have an impact on whether to set up a separate project or task for administrative support? How about for raw materials?

11-9 Is it possible for the WBS to be designed so that resource allocation is easier to identify?

11-10 If the scope of effort of a project changes during execution of activities, what should be the role of the functional manager?

11-11 What types of conflicts can occur during the planning cycle, and what modes should be used for their resolution?

11-12 What would be the effectiveness of Figure 11-3 if the work packages were replaced by tasks?

11-13 Under what situations or projects would work planning authorization not be necessary?

11-14 On what types of projects could hedge positions be easily identified on a schedule?

11-15 Can activities 5 and 6 of Figure 11-11 be eliminated? What risks does a project manager incur if these activities are eliminated?

11-16 Where in the planning cycle should responsibility charts be prepared? Can you identify this point in Figure 11-11?

11-17 For each one of the decision points in Figure 11-13, who makes the decision? Who must input information? What is the role of the functional manager and the functional team member? Where are strategic variables identified?

11-18 Consider a project in which all project planning is performed by a group. After all planning is completed, including the program plan and schedules, a project manager is selected. Is there anything wrong with this arrangement? Can it work?

11-19 How do the customer and contractor know if each one completely understands the statement of work, the work breakdown structure, and the program plan?

11-20 Should a good project plan formulate methods for anticipating problems?

11-21 Some project managers schedule staff meetings as the primary means for planning and control. Do you agree with this philosophy?

11-22 Paul Mali (Management by Objectives, New York: John Wiley, 1972, p. 12) defines MBO as a five-step process:

  • Finding the objective

  • Setting the objective

  • Validating the objective

  • Implementing the objective

  • Controlling and reporting status of the objective

How can the work breakdown structure be used to accomplish each of the above steps? Would you agree or disagree that the more levels the WBS contains, the greater the understanding and clarity of those steps necessary to complete the objectives?

11-23 Many textbooks on management state that you should plan like you work, by doing one thing at a time. Can this same practice be applied at the project level, or must a project manager plan all activities at once?

11-24 Is it true that project managers set the milestones and functional managers hope they can meet them?

11-25 You have been asked to develop a work breakdown structure for a project. How should you go about accomplishing this? Should the WBS be time-phased, department-phased, division-phased, or some combination?

11-26 You have just been instructed to develop a schedule for introducing a new product into the marketplace. Below are the elements that must appear in your schedule. Arrange these elements into a work breakdown structure (down through level 3), and then draw the arrow diagram. You may feel free to add additional topics as necessary.

  • Production layout

  • Market testing

  • Analyze selling cost

  • Analyze customer reactions

  • Storage and shipping costs

  • Select salespeople

  • Train salespeople

  • Train distributors

  • Literature to salespeople

  • Literature to distributors

  • Print literature

  • Sales promotion

  • Sales manual

  • Trade advertising

  • Review plant costs

  • Select distributors

  • Lay out artwork

  • Approve artwork

  • Introduce at trade show

  • Distribute to salespeople

  • Establish billing procedure

  • Establish credit procedure

  • Revise cost of production

  • Revise selling cost

  • Approvals[]

  • Review meetings*

  • Final specifications

  • Material requisitions


[] (Approvals and review meetings can appear several times.)

11-27 Once a project begins, a good project manager will set up checkpoints. How should this be accomplished? Will the duration of the project matter? Can checkpoints be built into a schedule? If so, how should they be identified?

11-28 Detailed schedules (through WBS levels 3, 4, 5, ...) are prepared by the functional managers. Should these schedules be shown to the customer?

11-29 The project start-up phase is complete, and you are now ready to finalize the operational plan. Below are six steps that are often part of the finalization procedure. Place them in the appropriate order.

  1. Draw diagrams for each individual WBS element.

  2. Establish the work breakdown structure and identify the reporting elements and levels.

  3. Create a coarse (arrow-diagram) network and decide on the WBS.

  4. Refine the diagram by combining all logic into one plan. Then decide on the work assignments.

  5. If necessary, try to condense the diagram as much as possible without losing clarity.

  6. Integrate diagrams at each level until only one exists. Then begin integration into higher WBS levels until the desired plan is achieved.

11-30 Below are seven factors that must be considered before finalizing a schedule. Explain how a base case schedule can change as a result of each of these:

  • Introduction or acceptance of the product in the marketplace

  • Present or planned manpower availability

  • Economic constraints of the project

  • Degree of technical difficulty

  • Manpower availability

  • Availability of personnel training

  • Priority of the project

11-31 You are the project manager of a nine-month effort. You are now in the fifth month of the project and are more than two weeks behind schedule, with very little hope of catching up. The dam breaks in a town near you, and massive flooding and mudslides take place. Fifteen of your key functional people request to take off three days from the following week to help fellow church members dig out. Their functional managers, bless their hearts, have left the entire decision up to you. Should you let them go?

11-32 Once the functional manager and project manager agree on a project schedule, who is responsible for getting the work performed? Who is accountable for getting the work performed? Why the difference, if any?

11-33 Discuss the validity of the following two statements on authority:

  1. A good project manager will have more authority than his responsibility calls for.

  2. A good project manager should not hold a subordinate responsible for duties that he (the project manager) does not have the authority to enforce.

11-34 Below are twelve instructions. Which are best described as planning, and which are best described as forecasting?

  1. Give a complete definition of the work.

  2. Lay out a proposed schedule.

  3. Establish project milestones.

  4. Determine the need for different resources.

  5. Determine the skills required for each WBS task or element.

  6. Change the scope of the effort and obtain new estimates.

  7. Estimate the total time to complete the required work.

  8. Consider changing resources.

  9. Assign appropriate personnel to each WBS element.

  10. Reschedule project resources.

  11. Begin scheduling the WBS elements.

  12. Change the project priorities.

11-35 A major utility company has a planning group that prepares budgets (with the help of functional groups) and selects the projects to be completed within a given time period. You are assigned as a project manager on one of the projects and find out that it should have been started "last month" in order to meet the completion date. What can you, the project manager, do about this? Should you delay the start of the project to replan the work?

11-36 The director of project management calls you into his office and informs you that one of your fellow project managers has had a severe heart attack midway through a project. You will be taking over his project, which is well behind schedule and overrunning costs. The director of project management then "orders" you to complete the project within time and cost. How do you propose to do it? Where do you start? Should you shut down the project to replan it?

11-37 Planning is often described as establishing, budgeting, scheduling, and resource allocation. Identify these four elements in Figure 11-1.

11-38 A company is undertaking a large development project that requires that a massive "blueprint design tree" be developed. What kind of WBS outline would be best to minimize the impact of having two systems, one for blueprints and one for WBS work?

11-39 A company allows each line organization to perform its own procurement activities (through a centralized procurement office) as long as the procurement funds have been allocated during the project planning phase. The project office does not sign off on these functional procurement requisitions and may not even know about them. Can this system work effectively? If so, under what conditions?

11-40 As part of a feasibility study, you are asked to prepare, with the assistance of functional managers, a schedule and cost summary for a project that will occur three years downstream, if the project is approved at all. Suppose that three years downstream the project is approved. How does the project manager get functional managers to accept the schedule and cost summary that they themselves prepared three years before?

11-41 "Expecting trouble." Good project managers know what type of trouble can occur at the various stages in the development of a project. The activities in the numbered list below indicate the various stages of a project. The lettered list that follows identifies major problems. For each project stage, select and list all of those problems that are applicable.

  1. Request for proposal__________

  2. Submittal to customer__________

  3. Contract award__________

  4. Design review meetings__________

  5. Testing the product__________

  6. Customer acceptance__________

  1. Engineering does not request manufacturing input for end-item producibility.

  2. The work breakdown created structure is poorly defined.

  3. Customer does not fully realize the impact that a technical change will have upon cost and schedule.

  4. Time and cost constraints are not compatible with the state of the art.

  5. The project-functional interface definition is poor.

  6. Improper systems integration has created conflicts and a communications breakdown.

  7. Several functional managers did not realize that they were responsible for certain risks.

  8. The impact of design changes is not systematically evaluated.

11-42 Table 11-8 identifies twenty-six steps in project planning and control. Below is a description of each of the twenty-six steps. Using this information, fill in columns 1 and 2 (column 2 is a group response). After your instructor provides you with column 3, fill in the remainder of the table.

  1. Develop the linear responsibility chart. This chart identifies the work breakdown structure and assigns specific authority/responsibility to various individuals as groups in order to be sure that all WBS elements are accounted for. The linear responsibility chart can be prepared with either the titles or names of individuals. Assume that this is prepared after you negotiate for qualified personnel, so that you know either the names or capabilities of those individuals who will be assigned.

  2. Negotiate for qualified functional personnel. Once the work is decided on, the project manager tries to identify the qualifications for the desired personnel. This then becomes the basis for the negotiation process.

  3. Develop specifications. This is one of the four documents needed to initially define the requirements of the project. Assume that these are either performance or material specifications, and are provided to you at the initial planning stage by either the customer or the user.

  4. Determine the means for measuring progress. Before the project plan is finalized and project execution can begin, the project manager must identify the means for measuring progress; specifically, what is meant by an out-of-tolerance condition and what are the tolerances/variances/thresholds for each WBS base case element?

  5. Prepare the final report. This is the final report to be prepared at the termination of the project.

    Table 11-8. STEPS IN PROJECT PLANNING AND CONTROL
    ActivityDescriptionColumn 1: Your sequenceColumn 2: Group sequenceColumn 3: Expert's sequenceColumn 4: Difference between 1 & 3Column 5: Difference between 2 & 3
    1.Develop linear responsibility chart     
    2.Negotiate for qualified functional personnel     
    3.Develop specifications     
    4.Determine means for measuring progress     
    5.Prepare final report     
    6.Authorize departments to begin work     
    7.Develop work breakdown structure     
    8.Close out functional work orders     
    9.Develop scope statement and set objectives     
    10.Develop gross schedule     
    11.Develop priorities for each project element     
    12.Develop alternative courses of action     
    13.Develop PERT network     
    14.Develop detailed schedules     
    15.Establish functional personnel qualifications     
    16.Coordinate ongoing activities     
    17.Determine resource requirements     
    18.Measure progress     
    19.Decide upon a basic course of action     
    20.Establish costs for each WBS element     
    21.Review WBS costs with each functional manager     
    22.Establish a project plan     
    23.Establish cost variances for base case elements     
    24.Price out WBS     
    25.Establish logic network with checkpoints     
    26.Review base case costs with director     


  6. Authorize departments to begin work. This step authorizes departments to begin the actual execution of the project, not the planning. This step occurs generally after the project plan has been established, finalized, and perhaps even approved by the customer or user group. This is the initiation of the work orders for project implementation.

  7. Develop the work breakdown structure. This is one of the four documents required for project definition in the early project planning stage. Assume that WBS is ­constructed using a bottom-up approach. In other words, the WBS is constructed from the logic network (arrow diagram) and checkpoints which will eventually become the basis for the PERT/CPM charts (see Activity 25).

  8. Close out functional work orders. This is where the project manager tries to prevent excessive charging to his project by closing out the functional work orders (i.e., Activity 6) as work terminates. This includes canceling all work orders except those needed to administer the termination of the project and the preparation of the final report.

  9. Develop scope statement and set objectives. This is the statement of work and is one of the four documents needed in order to identify the requirements of the project. Usually, the WBS is the structuring of the statement of work.

  10. Develop gross schedule. This is the summary or milestone schedule needed at project initiation in order to define the four requirements documents for the project. The gross schedule includes start and end dates (if known), other major milestones, and data items.

  11. Develop priorities for each project element. After the base case is identified and alternative courses of action are considered (i.e., contingency planning), the project team performs a sensitivity analysis for each element of the WBS. This may require assigning priorities for each WBS element, and the highest priorities may not necessarily be assigned to elements on the critical path.

  12. Develop alternative courses of action. Once the base case is known and detailed courses of action (i.e., detailed scheduling) are prepared, project managers conduct "what if" games to develop possible contingency plans.

  13. Develop PERT network. This is the finalization of the PERT/CPM network and becomes the basis from which detailed scheduling will be performed. The logic for the PERT network can be conducted earlier in the planning cycle (see Activity 25), but the finalization of the network, together with the time durations, are usually based on who has been (or will be) assigned, and the resulting authority/­responsibility of the individual. In other words, the activity time duration is a function not only of the performance standard, but also of the individual's expertise and authority/ responsibility.

  14. Develop detailed schedules. These are the detailed project schedules, and are constructed from the PERT/CPM chart and the capabilities of the assigned individuals.

  15. Establish functional personnel qualifications. Once senior management reviews the base case costs and approves the project, the project manager begins the task of conversion from rough to detail planning. This includes identification of the required resources, and then the respective qualifications.

  16. Coordinate ongoing activities. These are the ongoing activities for project execution, not project planning. These are the activities that were authorized to begin in Activity 6.

  17. Determine resource requirements. After senior management approves the estimated base case costs obtained during rough planning, detailed planning begins by determining the resource requirements, including human resources.

  18. Measure progress. As the project team coordinates ongoing activities during project execution, the team monitors progress and prepares status reports.

  19. Decide on a basic course of action. Once the project manager obtains the rough cost estimates for each WBS element, the project manager puts together all of the pieces and determines the basic course of action.

  20. Establish costs for each WBS element. After deciding on the base case, the project manager establishes the base case cost for each WBS element in order to prepare for the senior management pricing review meeting. These costs are usually the same as those that were provided by the line managers.

  21. Review WBS costs with each functional manager. Each functional manager is provided with the WBS and told to determine his role and price out his functional involvement. The project manager then reviews the WBS costs to make sure that everything was accounted for and without duplication of effort.

  22. Establish a project plan. This is the final step in detail planning. Following this step, project execution begins. (Disregard the situation where project plan development can be run concurrently with project execution.)

  23. Establish cost variances for the base case elements. Once the priorities are known for each base case element, the project manager establishes the allowable cost variances that will be used as a means for measuring progress. Cost reporting is minimum as long as the actual costs remain within these allowable variances.

  24. Price out the WBS. This is where the project manager provides each functional manager with the WBS for initial activity pricing.

  25. Establish logic network with checkpoints. This is the bottom-up approach that is often used as the basis for developing both the WBS and later the PERT/CPM network.

  26. Review base case costs with director. Here the project manager takes the somewhat rough costs obtained during the WBS functional pricing and review and seeks management's approval to begin detail planning.

11-43 Consider the work breakdown structure shown in Figure 11-19. Can the project be managed from this one sheet of paper assuming that, at the end of each month, the project manager also receives a cost and percent-complete summary?

11-44 During 1992 and 1993, General Motors saved over $2 billion due to the cost-cutting efforts of Mr. Lopez. Rumors spread throughout the auto industry that General Motors was considering a plan to offer subcontractors ten-year contracts in exchange for a 20 percent cost reduction.

These long-term contracts provided both GM and the subcontractors the chance to develop an informal project management relationship based on trust, effective communications, and minimum documentation requirements.

  1. Is it conceivable that the cost savings of 20 percent could have been realized entirely from the decrease in formalized documentation?

  2. Philosophically, what do you think happened when Mr. Lopez departed GM in the spring of 1993 for a senior position at Volkswagen? Did his informal project management system continue without him? Explain your answer.

11-45 During the recession of 1989-1993, the auto industry began taking extreme cost-cutting measures by downsizing its organizations. The downsizing efforts created project management problems for the project engineers in the manufacturing plants. With fewer resources available, more and more of the work had to be outsourced, primarily for services. The manufacturing plants had years of experience in negotiations for parts, but limited experience in negotiations for services. As a result, the service contracts were drastically overrun with engineering changes and schedule slippages. What is the real problem and your recommendation for a solution?

Figure 11-19. Work breakdown structure.

11-46 When to bring the project manager on board has always been a problem. For each of the following situations, identify the advantages and disadvantages.

  1. The project manager is brought on board at the beginning of the conceptual phase but acts only as an observer. The project manager neither answers questions nor provides his ideas until the brainstorming session is completed.

  2. When brainstorming is completed during the conceptual phase, senior management appoints one of the brainstorming team members to serve as the project manager.


  

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