1. Indicate 4 context factors that, to your understanding most influenced the management of the project. Describe each factor and justify your answer (why did you choose the specific factor) (up to 4 rows for each factor and its justification) (24%). 2. Select three principles/mechanisms for coping with uncertainty that, to your understanding, were applied in the project presented in the case study. For each one of them, describe two activities/decisions/actions that exemplify the use of the coping mechanism (54%). 3. What would you have done if you were the project magnet?
(indicate at least two activities different from those shown in the case study) 12% 4. Describe three context factors/events/coping mechanisms/decisions that you learned most from or that surprised you (two rows for the description and two for your justification – Why did they surprise you? ) (10%) Factors influenced on the management of the project: Personal The personal factors are few of the most influenced factors on projects. To begin with and at the personal level, it is always best to use and maximize the abilities of the existing personnel before making a decision to replace it or make modifications.
In the event or a situation where inefficient are found at the work place as part of a project, one might loss but should not los the lesson. There is a great deal of things to learn from mistakes people are doing in the work place. Reading the article: we learned the following, “If you want to create change, get rid of all the old people and bring in young ones who are fearless. ” Following such an advice, we need to stop and rethink. Let’s first consider the responsible person who emerges as the change agents.
Viewing the team from the outside, it is hard to imagine any manager would have picked the same people which were there in place to begin with. Many of employees were of the kind of who do not speak up first or stand in the front line. Going over the profile of the individuals, few were introverts with unglamorous jobs. They emerged mostly on their own, and they possessed tremendous personal courage. At first, it seams as if it will be impossible to proceed, but shortly after they were given an opportunity to contribute by simple requests, and no wonder they replied back with some of the most creative ideas.
In this case study, Judy gave the existing employees an opportunity to contribute, and they came back with some of the most creative ideas. Bureaucracy It is always a good practice to save and stay away from unnecessary bureaucracy where possible within the formal procedures. It is true that work procedures and documentation are essential factors for success of the process and of the projects; however, excessive bureaucracy causes inefficient work and will probably cause unnecessary delays. For example, in our case study replacing a capacitor required a four-month approval process.
It took a great deal of time simple going through the government change control boards and compiling the whole bureaucracy in place just in order to starting working on the changes within the specifications. In this case study, Judy performed a major reform in order to have some of the major government procedures out of the way in order to allow the contractor to do the job of designing and building better missiles without the excessive bureaucracy previously operated. Communication The best practice within the workplace is to always maintain open and direct communication between the various departments.
Collaboration between different teams and openness create situations that enable the transfer of knowledge and experience between the various teams and departments. You’ll be surprised by how much better one can do once he / she gets to know the people they working with. For example, in our case study the U. S. Air Force had better report with its contractor counterparts, as they maintained face-to-face meeting every couple of months and maintaining very close contact for the rest of the time using emails and phone calls on a daily basis.
Let the pro’s do their job When you hire a professional (employee or contractor), you must allow them to do their jobs and support them with flexibility to manage their work. At times, it is worthwhile to give the employee, or in this case the contractors, the ability to participate in management decisions or as list allow them to raise their main points of knowledge. For example, in the need to save money while managing a project, project managers are looking for shortcuts such as reducing turn-around time, which was the case in our case study.
Although it is a risk, in our case it worked by changing the priority for few of the products and their repair time. Coping with uncertainty & If I was the Project Manager… Learning the details of our case study, we learned that Judy has significantly reduced the bureaucracy which helped a great deal to speed up the process. It appears that Judy had taken it to another new level to allow a bit too much freedom of action. In the past, there was far too much information going between the different project groups and the government.
Every small detail had to be reported even minor changes such as nuts and bolts. The process above required a great deal of man power and working hours to file all the necessary data. Using the new and innovated system by Judy, there is no need to transfer any of the above data any longer. Using my experience, documentation and reporting of any activity occurred during the repair of the machine is essential and therefore should be documented. Nevertheless, it should be noted that it is important to identify an excessive bureaucracy and simplify the reporting process as much as possible.
Coping with uncertainty – Information gathering Using accurate information from al parties including the project managers and contractors was crucial for the success of the project in total. Transferring of fast moving and correct information will allow to implement structural changes and to reduce redundancies in order to save resources as much as possible. We must touch again on the point of letting the employees and the members of the project team to be able to write anonymous notes to share their thoughts and feelings.
In the above notes, the employees were able to write whatever bothered them or additional things they wanted to share with management. The project management team went over them the note at the end of each of the monthly meetings. Using this method, management could gather valuable information that some of the project member would not feel comfortable to share out. Another great method to help of this subject was the personal meetings with the contractors.
The following meeting was only to follow good establishment of relationships with the contractors. In the above meetings, the PM was to meet with the contractor’s VP in order to provide him with accurate information about the status of the project. Using this method, the contractors had a better ability about what was done and what can or can’t be done in the near future. In these meetings the PM was able to also gather information which later helped her change how things were done in the project such as, changing bureaucracy using TSPOR.
Using the given methods above, the PM was able to minimize the uncertainty in the project, as she knew well the status of the project and the capabilities of the project’s team which lead her to be able to improve work procedures and become more efficient. Coping with uncertainty – Change mindset There were few methods by which the project could be improved upon. To begin with, a need to change the mind set had to take place. There was the need to change the mindsets of the governmental agency as well s the Contractors and its members.
Using the new mind set helped to support a win-win situation and to also develop relationship based on trust, honesty and collaboration. For example, the concept of making changes such as “spec tree” had to be improved. To begin with, when a change had to take place, the contractor had to fill up the engineering change proposal which later had to be approved by the government. This old method caused an excessive documentation and unnecessary bureaucracy and of course a great deal of loss of money. The good thing was that the new PM knew they had to change it and fast.
The change was to let the contractor write a simple set of specifications for a specific task which later the government will pay for it in full regardless of the number of changes that were made in the specifications. In addition Judy knew she needed to convince the government’s representatives to allow them to accept the new role of the government in the project which was to work along and paralleled with the contractor to be able to provide insight and not to make the life of the contractor miserable. The contractor was responsible to manufacture the missile and therefore they needed a great deal of room to do their business.
In order to so, Judy come up with a new role named the Enablers, which their job was to be on sight, working side-by-side and supporting open communication between the contractor and the government. To begin with, it was difficult and not all parties felt comfortable, but after a short time all parties established good partnership which helps to improve the work a great deal. Factors which surprised me There were plenty of things which could go wrong with this project. As an experience Project Manager, there was also the need to deal with uncertainties. The leaders knew they had to listen to the professionals in the group.
With that said, they applied the following concept: “In order to try to defuse tensions at our monthly meetings, I gave people note cards to write anything they wanted. At the end of the meeting, they deposited the cards in a box. They could scream at us; they could give us recommendations and say anything they wanted; and of course we didn’t expect anyone to sign his or her name. ” Using the following approach, the management team was able to receive valuable information from the employees in a method by which they “don’t” need to speak up in front of everybody, but simply can write it down.
It is a well known fact that the working environment could be very tense while reorganization or changes are taking place. I found this activity to not only be a great method to deal with uncertainty, but a surprising simple change that I will be able to use at my work. This solution gives each of the employees the ability to share his feelings, needs and ideas with both management and his co-workers without having his / her identify released.
Dealing with unsupported colleague / manager is another problematic situation. In our case study, Judy found herself under public attack coming directly from the base commander. Using her experience, Judy had answered with admirable composure and very politely causing the “hostile” commander discomfort. Doing something different, out of the ordinary which challenges the status quo will cause individuals who don’t necessarily agree with to be threatened by you and to act in an unusual way.
It’s a challenge to be able to sit calmly and not become argumentative when you are being attacked, but it is a must if you want to grow and become a leader. You must be able to listen to the concerns expressed; and believe you are the right person to deal with them. It is always a challenge to hold back during an argument. We all know that holding back for five unpleasant minutes at the beginning of an argument might and will prevent a great deal of inconvenience down the road.
I was very impressed by the way Judy had handled the briefing, where she stopped the briefing and after a longer pause at her employees and said: “You want me to make this decision for you, and I know technically the least about this program from all of you. What do I pay you people for? ” Judy hit the nail on his head and made her point clearly causing her employees to feel her disappointment while giving them the chance to fix it. Moreover, one of the engineers had said to her later that was one of the best things she did for them as a team.