Selection Problems

On November 15, Dr. Runnels and Blen Carty had a meeting to select the key members of the project team.

Dr. Runnels: "Well, Blen, the time has come to decide on your staff. I want to assign Larry Gilbert as chief engineer. He's a good man and has fifteen years' experience. What are your feelings on that?"

Blen Carty: "I was hoping to keep Richard Flag on. He has performed well, and the customer likes working with him."

Dr. Runnels: "Richard does not have the experience necessary for that position. We can still assign him to Larry Gilbert and keep him in the project office."

Blen Carty: "I'd like to have Larry Gilbert working for Richard Flag, but I don't suppose that we'd ever get approval to have a grade-9 engineer working for a grade-7 engineer. Personally, I'm worried about Gilbert's ability to work with people. He has been so regimented in his ways that our people in the functional units have refused to work with him. He treats them as kids, always walking around with a big stick. One department manager said that if Gilbert becomes the boss, then it will probably result in cutting the umbilical cord between the project office and his department. His people refuse to work for a dictator. I have heard the same from other managers."

Dr. Runnels: "Gilbert gets the job done. You'll have to teach him how to be a Theory Y manager. You know, Blen, we don't have very many grade-9 engineering positions in this company. I think we should have a responsibility to our employees. I can't demote Gilbert into a lower slot. If I were to promote Flag, and the project gets canceled, where would I reassign him? He can't go back to functional engineering. That would be a step down."

Blen Carty: "But Gilbert is so set in his ways. He's just totally inflexible. In addition, thirty months is a long time to maintain a project office. If he screws up we'll never be able to replace positions in time without totally upsetting the customer. There seem to be an awful lot of people volunteering to work on the Mask Project. Is there anyone else available?"

Dr. Runnels: "People always volunteer for long-duration projects because it gives them a feeling of security. This even occurs among our dedicated personnel. Unfortunately we have no other grade-9 engineers available. We could reassign one from another program, but I hate to do it. Our engineers like to carry a project through from start to finish. I think you had better spend some time with the functional managers making sure that you get good people."

Blen Carty: "I've tried that and am having trouble. The functional managers will not surrender their key people full-time for thirty months. One manager wants to assign two employees to our project so that they can get on-the-job training. I told him that this project is considered as strategic by our management and that we must have good people. The manager just laughed at me and walked away."

Dr. Runnels: "You know, Blen, you cannot have all top people. Our other projects must be manned. Also, if you were to use all seasoned veterans, the cost would exceed what we put into the proposal. You're just going to have to make do with what you can get. Prepare a list of the people you want and I'll see what I can do."

As Blen left the office, he wondered if Dr. Runnels would help him in obtaining key personnel.

a. Whose responsibility is it to staff office?

b. What should be Blen Carty's role, as well as that of Dr. Runnels?

c. Should Larry Gilbert be assigned?

d. How would you negotiate with the functional managers?

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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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