Case Number: 5-404-761(B), Year Published: 2006, Revision Date: May 08, 2009
HBS Number: KEL158
Project Management, Earned Value, Scope Management, IT Management, Sales and Marketing, Outsourcing Management
The case is based on a real $25 million project at a major U.S.-based computer manufacturer. For confidentiality reasons the company has been disguised as A&D High Tech. The Web-based online ordering system project is required by sales and marketing for the fall holiday season. If the project misses this window, the firm will lose substantial market share to competitors. Part (B) takes place three months into the original project plan. The project manager has just been fired and the management challenge is to find out what is wrong with the project and recommend fixes. In addition, the scope of the project has changed: the VP of marketing has an additional promotional bundle requirement. A&D High Tech (A) examines how to create and analyze a project plan in Microsoft Project. In order to make the case manageable for students we reduced the size of the project, and corresponding number of resources, to approximately $1 million, but retained all of the features of the original project. Part (B) gives actual work done on each task three months into the project. Students must answer the management questions: Can the project be fixed and completed in time for the holiday season? Can the additional requirements be incorporated, and if so, what is the best approach? In order to answer these questions, earned value data can be extracted from Microsoft Project and analyzed. These data provide important insights into the root cause of problems with the project. The next step is to reduce the scope of the project and reassign resources. However, one must be aware that indiscriminately adding people can slow a project down, not speed it up. Finally, the additional promotional bundle requirement from the VP of marketing provides an important outsourcing management discussion. The case can also be taught using other project management software tools, such as Primavera.
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