Strategic Redirection

Como realized that it could no longer compete on quality alone. The marketplace had changed. The strategic plan for Como was now based upon maintaining an industry leadership position well into the twenty-first century. The four basic elements of the strategic plan included:

• First to market (faster development and tooling of the right products)

• Flexible processes (quickly adaptable to model changes)

• Flexible products (multiple niche products from shared platforms and a quick-to-change methodology)

• Lean manufacturing (low cost, high quality, speed, and global economies of scale)

The implementation of the strategy mandated superior project management performance, but changing a 60-year culture to support project management would not be an easy task.

The president of the company established a task force to identify the cultural issues of converting over to an informal project management system. The president believed that project management would eventually become the culture and, therefore, that the cultural issues must be addressed first. The following list of cultural issues was identified by the task force:

• Existing technical, functional departments currently do not adequately support the systemic nature of projects as departmental and individual objectives are not consistent with those of the project and the customer.

• Senior management must acknowledge the movement away from traditional, "over the fence," management and openly endorse the significance of project management, teamwork, and delegation of authority as the future.

• The company must establish a system of project sponsorship to support project managers by trusting them with the responsibility and then empowering them to be successful.

• The company must educate managers in project and risk management and the cultural changes of cross-functional project support; it is in the manager's self interest to support the project manager by providing necessary resources and negotiating for adequate time to complete the work.

• The company must enhance information systems to provide cost and schedule performance information for decision-making and problem resolution.

• Existing informal culture can be maintained while utilizing project management to monitor progress and review costs. Bureaucracy, red tape, and lost time must be eliminated through project management's enhanced communications, standard practices, and goal congruence.

The task force, as a whole, supported the idea of informal project management and believed that all of the cultural issues could be overcome. The task force identified four critical risks and the method of resolution:

• Trusting others and the system.

• Resolution: Training in the process of project management and understanding of the benefits. Interpersonal training to learn to trust in each other and in keeping commitments will begin the cultural change.

• Transform 60 years of tradition in vertical reporting into horizontal project management.

• Resolution: Senior management sponsor the implementation program, participate in training, and fully support efforts to implement project management across functional lines with encouragement and patience as new organizational relationships are forged.

• Capacity constraints and competition for resources.

• Resolution: Work with managers to understand constraints and to develop alternative plans for success. Develop alternative external capacity to support projects.

• Inconsistency in application after introduction.

• Resolution: Set the clear expectation that project management is the operational culture and the responsibility of each manager. Set the implementation of project management as a key measurable for management incentive plans. Establish a model project and recognize the efforts and successes as they occur.

The president realized that project management and strategic planning were related. The president wondered what would happen if the business base would grow as anticipated. Could project management excellence enhance the business base even further? To answer this question, the president prepared a list of competitive advantages that could be achieved through superior project management performance:

• Project management techniques and skills must be enhanced, especially for the larger, complex projects.

• Development of broader component and tooling supply bases would provide for additional capacity.

• Enhanced profitability would be possible through economies of scale to utilize project managers and skilled trades resources more efficiently through balanced workloads and level production.

• Greater purchasing leverage would be possible through larger purchasing volume and sourcing opportunities.

• Disciplined coordination, reporting of project status and proactive project management problem-solving must exist to meet timing schedules, budgets, and customer expectations.

• Effective project management of multitiered supply base will support sales growth beyond existing, capital intensive, internal tooling, and production capacities.

The wheels were set in motion. The president and his senior staff met with all of the employees of Como Tool and Die to discuss the implementation of project management. The president made it clear that he wanted a mature project management system in place within 36 months.

0 0

Post a comment