Problems

4-1 From S. K. Grinnell and H. P. Apple ("When Two Bosses Are Better Than One," Machine Design, January 1975, pp. 84-87):

• People trained in single-line-of-command organizations find it hard to serve more than one boss.

• People may give lip service to teamwork, but not really know how to develop and maintain a good working team.

• Project and functional managers sometimes tend to compete rather than cooperate with each other.

• Individuals must learn to do more "managing" of themselves.

The authors identify the above four major problems associated with staffing. Discuss each problem and identify the type of individual most likely to be involved (i.e., engineer, contract administrator, cost accountant, etc.) and in which organizational form this problem would be most apt to occur.

4-2 David Cleland ("Why Project Management?" Reprinted from Business Horizons, Winter 1964, p. 85. Copyright ficr 1964 by the Foundation for the School of Business at Indiana University. Used with permission) made the following remarks:

His [project manager's] staff should be qualified to provide personal administrative and technical support. He should have sufficient authority to increase or decrease his staff as necessary throughout the life of the project. This authorization should include selective augmentation for varying periods of time from the supporting functional areas.

Do you agree or disagree with these statements? Should the type of project or type of organization play a dominant role in your answer?

4-3 The contractor's project office is often structured to be compatible with the customer's project office, sometimes on a one-to-one basis. Some customers view the contractor's project organization merely as an extension of their own company. Below are three statements concerning this relationship. Are these statements true or false? Defend your answers.

• There must exist mutual trust between the customer and contractor together with a close day-to-day working relationship.

• The project manager and the customer must agree on the hierarchy of decision that each must make, either independently or jointly. (Which decisions can each make independently or jointly?)

• Both the customer and contractor's project personnel must be willing to make decisions as fast as possible.

4-4 C. Ray Gullet ("Personnel Management in the Project Organization," Personnel Administration/Public Personnel Review, November-December 1972, pp. 17-22) has identified five personnel problems. How would you, as a project manager, cope with each problem?

• Staffing levels are more variable in a project environment.

• Performance evaluation is more complex and more subject to error in a matrix form of organization.

• Wage and salary grades are more difficult to maintain under a matrix form of organization. Job descriptions are often of less value.

• Training and development are more complex and at the same time more necessary under a project form of organization.

• Morale problems are potentially greater in a matrix organization.

4-5 Ramesh P. Shah ("Project Management: Cross Your Bridges Before You Come to Them," Management Review, December 1971, pp. 21-27) states, "Like a physician, a project manager must be an expert diagnostician; he must guard his project from infec-tion, detect symptoms, diagnose causes and prescribe cures for a multitude of afflictions." What is intended by the words "infection, symptoms, diagnose causes, and affliction?"

4-6 Paul is a project manager for an effort that requires twelve months. During the seventh, eighth, and ninth months he needs two individuals with special qualifications. The functional manager has promised that these individuals will be available two months before they are needed. If Paul does not assign them to his project at that time, they will be assigned elsewhere and he will have to do with whomever will be available later. What should Paul do? Do you have to make any assumptions in order to defend your answer?

4-7 Some of the strongest reasons for promoting functional engineers to project engineers are:

• Better relationships with fellow researchers

• Better prevention of duplication of effort

• Better fostering of teamwork

These reasons are usually applied to R&D situations. Could they also be applied to product life-cycle phases other than R&D?

4-8 The following have been given as qualifications for a successful advanced-technology project manager:

• Career has progressed up through the technical ranks

• Knowledgeable in many engineering fields

• Understands general management philosophy and the meaning of profitability

• Interested in training and teaching his superiors

• Understands how to work with perfectionists

Can these same qualifications be modified for non-R&D project management? If so, how?

4-9 W. J. Taylor and T. F. Watling (Successful Project Management, London: Business Books, 1972, p. 32) state:

It is often the case, therefore, that the Project Manager is more noted for his management technique expertise, his ability to "get things done" and his ability to "get on with people" than for his sheer technical prowess. However, it can be dangerous to minimize this latter talent when choosing Project Managers dependent upon project type and size. The Project Manager should preferably be an expert either in the field of the project task or a subject allied to it.

How dangerous can it be if this latter talent is minimized? Will it be dangerous under all circumstances?

4-10 Frank Boone is the most knowledgeable piping engineer in the company. For five years, the company has turned down his application for transfer to project engineering and project management stating that he is too valuable to the company in his current position. If you were a project manager, would you want this individual as part of your functional team? How should an organization cope with this situation?

4-11 Tom Weeks is manager of the insulation group. During a recent group meeting, Tom commented, "The company is in trouble. As you know, we're bidding on three programs right now. If we win just one of them, we can probably maintain our current work level. If, by some slim chance, we were to win all three, you'll all be managers tomorrow." The company won all three programs, but the insulation group did not hire anyone, and there were no promotions. What would you, as a project manager on one of the new projects, expect your working relations to be with the insulation group?

4-12 You are a project engineer on a high-technology program. As the project begins to wind down, your boss asks you to write a paper so that he can present it at a technical meeting. His name goes first on the paper. Should this be part of your job? How do you feel about this situation?

4-13 Research has indicated that the matrix structure is often confusing because it requires multiple roles for people, with resulting confusion about these roles (Keith Davis, Human Relations at Work, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967, pp. 296-297). Unfortunately, not all program managers, project managers, and project engineers possess the necessary skills to operate in this environment. Stuckenbruck has stated, "The path to success is strewn with the bodies of project managers who were originally functional line managers and then went into project management" (Linn Stuckenbruck, "The Effective Project Manager," Project Management Quarterly, Vol. VII, No. 1, March 1976, pp. 26-27. What do you feel is the major cause for this downfall of the functional manager?

4-14 For each of the organizational forms shown below, who determines what resources are needed, when they are needed and how they will be employed? Who has the authority and responsibility to mobilize these resources?

a. Traditional organization b. Matrix organization c. Product line organization d. Line/staff project organization

4-15 Do you agree or disagree that project organizational forms encourage peer-to-peer communications and dynamic problem-solving?

4-16 The XYZ Company operates on a traditional structure. The company has just received a contract to develop a new product line for a special group of customers. The company has decided to pull out selected personnel from the functional departments and set up a single product organizational structure to operate in parallel with the functional departments.

a. Set up the organizational chart.

b. Do you think this setup can work? Does your answer depend on how many years this situation must exist?

4-17 You are the project engineer on a program similar to one that you directed previously. Should you attempt to obtain the same administrative and/or technical staff that you had before?

4-18 A person assigned to your project is performing unsatisfactorily. What should you do? Will it make a difference if he is in the project office or a functional employee?

4-19 You have been assigned to the project office as an assistant project engineer. You are to report to the chief project engineer who reports formally to the project manager and informally to the vice president of engineering. You have never worked with this chief project engineer before. During the execution of the project, it becomes obvious to you that the chief project engineer is making decisions that do not appear to be in the best interest of the project. What should you do about this?

4-20 Should individuals be promoted to project management because they are at the top of their functional pay grade?

4-21 Should one functional department be permitted to "borrow" (on a temporary basis) people from another functional department in order to fulfill project manning requirements? Should this be permitted if overtime is involved?

4-22 Should a project manager be paid for performance or for the number of people he supervises? 4-23 Should a project manager try to upgrade his personnel?

4-24 Why should a functional manager assign his best people to you on a long-term project?

4-25 A coal company has adopted the philosophy that the project manager for new mine startup projects will be the individual who will eventually become the mine superintendent. The coal company believes that this type of "ownership" philosophy is good. Do you agree?

4-26 Can a project manager be considered as a "hired gun?£

4-27 Manufacturing organizations are using project management/project engineering strictly to give new employees exposure to total company operations. After working on one or two projects, each approximately one to two years in duration, the em ployee is transferred to line management for his career path and opportunities for advancement. Can a situation such as this, where there is no career path in either project management or project engineering, work successfully? Could there be any detrimental effects on the projects?

4-28 Can a project manager create dedication and a true winning spirit and still be hated by all?

4-29 Can anyone be trained to be a project manager?

4-30 A power and light company has part-time project management in which an individual acts as both a project manager and a functional employee at the same time. The utility company claims that this process prevents an employee from becoming "technically obsolete," and that when the employee returns to full-time functional duties, he is a more well-rounded individual. Do you agree or disagree? What are the arrangement's advantages and disadvantages?

4-31 Some industries consider the major criterion for promotion and advancement to be gray hair and/or baldness. Is this type of maturity advantageous?

4-32 In Figure 4-13 we showed that Al Tandy and Don Davis (as well as other project office personnel) reported directly to the project manager and indirectly to functional management. Could this situation be reversed, with the project office personnel reporting indirectly to the project manager and directly to functional management?

4-33 Most organizations have "star" people who are usually identified as those individuals who are the key to success. How does a project manager identify these people? Can they be in the project office, or must they be functional employees or managers?

4-34 Considering your own industry, what job-related or employee-related factors would you wish to know before selecting someone to be a project manager or a project engineer on an effort valued at:

4-35 One of the major controversies in project management occurs over whether the project manager needs a command of technology in order to be effective. Consider the following situation:

You are the project manager on a research and development project. Marketing informs you that they have found a customer for your product and that you must make major modifications to satisfy the customer's requirements. The engineering functional managers tell you that these modifications are impossible. Can a project manager without a command of technology make a viable decision as to whether to risk additional funds and support marketing, or should he believe the functional managers, and tell marketing that the modifications are impossible? How can a project manager, either with or without a command of technology, tell whether the functional managers are giving him an optimistic or a pessimistic opinion?

4-36 As a functional employee, you demonstrate that you have exceptionally good writing skills. You are then promoted to the position of special staff assistant to the di vision manager and told that you are to assume full responsibility for all proposal work that must flow through your division. How do you feel about this? Is it a promotion? Where can you go from here?

4-37 Government policymakers content that only high-ranking individuals (high GS grades) can be project managers because a good project manager needs sufficient "clout" to make the project go. In government, the project manager is generally the highest grade on the project team. How can problems of pay grade be overcome? Is the government's policy effective?

4-38 A major utility company is worried about the project manager's upgrading functional employees. On an eight-month project that employs four hundred full-time project employees, the department managers have set up "check" people whose responsibility is to see that functional employees do not have unauthorized (i.e., not approved by the functional manager) work assignments above their current grade level. Can this system work? What if the work is at a position below their grade level?

4-39 A major utility company begins each computer project with a feasibility study in which a cost-benefit analysis is performed. The project managers, all of whom report to a project management division, perform the feasibility study themselves without any functional support. The functional personnel argue that the feasibility study is inaccurate because the functional "experts" are not involved. The project managers, on the other hand, stipulate that they never have sufficient time or money to involve the functional personnel. Can this situation be resolved?

4-40 How would you go about training individuals within your company or industry to be good project managers? What assumptions are you making?

4-41 Should project teams be allowed to evolve by themselves?

4-42 At what point or phase in the life cycle of a project should a project manager be appointed?

4-43 Top management generally has two schools of thought concerning project management. One school states that the project manager should be used as a means for coordinating activities that cut across several functional departments. The second school states that the project management position should be used as a means of creating future general managers. Which school of thought is correct?

4-44 Some executives feel that personnel working in a project office should be cross-trained in several assistant project management functions. What do you think about this?

4-45 A company has a policy that employees wishing to be project managers must first spend one to one-and-a-half years in the functional employee side of the house so that they can get to know the employees and company policy. What do you think about this?

4-46 Your project has grown to a point where there now exist openings for three full-time assistant project managers. Unfortunately, there are no experienced assistant project managers available. You are told by upper-level management that you will fill these three positions by promotions from within. Where in the organization should you look? During an interview, what questions should you ask potential candidates? Is it possible that you could find candidates who are qualified to be promoted vertically but not horizontally?

4-47 A functional employee has demonstrated the necessary attributes of a potentially successful project manager. Top management can:

• Promote the individual in salary and grade and transfer him into project management.

• Laterally transfer the employee into project management without any salary or grade increase. If, after three to six months, the employee demonstrates that he can perform, he will receive an appropriate salary and grade increase.

• Give the employee either a grade increase without any salary increase, or a small salary increase without any grade increase, under the stipulation that additional awards will be given at the end of the observation period, assuming that the employee can handle the position.

If you were in top management, which method would you prefer? If you dislike the above three choices, develop your own alternative. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each choice? For each choice, discuss the ramifications if the employee cannot handle the project management position.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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