MGMT404 (May 2019) All Weeks Discussions

MGMT 404 Project Management

Week 1 Discussion

MARSHMALLOW TOWER CHALLENGE

Think about your experience in class participating in the Marshmallow Tower Challenge and the videos we saw on the challenge.

Answer the following questions:

What does the Marshmallow Tower Challenge demonstrate about the importance of project screening methods on a firm’s ability to manage projects effectively?

How could you improve your team’s performance on the Marshmallow Tower Challenge?

MGMT 404 Project Management

Week 2 Discussion

CASE STUDY: PROJECT MANAGEMENT AT DOTCOM.COM

Read Case Study 5.3 in your textbook, page 192: Project Management at Dotcom.com (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..

Dotcom.com is a software engineering and systems development consulting firm that needs some organizational improvements in the area of project management processes that will cut cost and potentially increase the profit margin for the company.

Share your answers for the following questions.

Discuss how you would begin redesigning dotcom.com’s project management processes to minimize the problems it is experiencing with poor scope management.

Why do you think configuration management and project change control are difficult to perform in the middle of a complex software development project, such as those implemented at dotcom.com?

Share any experiences you have with project change requests.

MGMT 404 Project Management

Week 3 Discussion

PROJECT SCHEDULE

To develop a schedule for a project, we use the concept of a project network diagram, which shows work activities taken from the work breakdown structure and organized according to the logical flow in time and relationships governing when the work will be performed.

Address the following questions.

How is that useful?

How does it help to organize the tasks in the project?

How will it help in formulating the budget?

MGMT 404 Project Management

Week 4 Discussion

CASE STUDY: THE PROBLEMS OF MULTITASKING

Read the Case Study 12.1 from the textbook, page 446: The Problems of Multitasking. For your convenience, here is the text for this Case Study.

An eastern U.S. financial services company found itself way behind schedule and over budget on an important strategic program. Both the budget and schedule baselines had begun slipping almost from the beginning, and as the project progressed, the lags became severe enough to require the company to call in expert help in the form of a project management consulting firm. After investigating the organization’s operations, the consulting firm determined that the primary source of problems both with this project in particular and the company’s project management practices in general was a serious failure to accurately forecast resource requirements. In the words of one of the consultants, “Not enough full-time [human] resources had been dedicated to the program.”

The biggest problem was the fact that too many of the project team members were working on two or more projects simultaneously—a clear example of multitasking. Unfortunately, the program’s leaders developed their ambitious schedule without reflecting on the availability of resources to support the project milestones. With their excessive outside responsibilities, no one was willing to take direct ownership of their work on the program, people were juggling assignments, and everyone was getting farther behind in all the work. Again, in the words of the consultant, “Project issues would come up and there would be nobody there to handle them [in a timely fashion].” Those little issues, left unattended, eventually grew to become big problems. The schedule continued to lag, and employee morale began to bottom out.

Following their recognition of the problem, the first step made by the consultants was to get top management to renegotiate the work assignments with the project team. First, the core team members were freed from other responsibilities so they could devote their full-time attention to the program. Then, other support members of the project were released from multitasking duties and assigned to the project on a full-time or near full-time basis as well. The result, coupled with other suggested changes by the consultants, was to finally match up the project’s schedule and activity duration estimates with a realistic understanding of resource needs and availability. In short, the program was put back on track because it was finally resource-leveled, particularly through creating full-time work assignments for the project team that accurately reflected the need to link resource management with scheduling.

(Pinto, Project Management, Achieving Competitive Advantage, Pearson, Copyright 2019, page 446)

MGMT 404 Project Management

Week 5 Discussion

RISK MANAGEMENT PRACTICE

Risk management is critical to good project management practice. Discuss the risk management process.

What are the tools and techniques used for identifying risks?

Who should be involved in identifying risks?

What should be considered when identifying risks?

What process is used in analyzing risks?

What is most important to consider when formulating a risk response strategy?

MGMT 404 Project Management

Week 6 Discussion

CASE STUDY FINDING THE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

Read Case Study 4.2 from the textbook, page 147: Finding the Emotional Intelligence To Be a Real Leader.

What are the differences between leaders and managers?

Can anyone be a leader? Which would you prefer to work for: a leader or a manager? Why?

Select one of the characteristics of an effective project manager, and tell why it is important.

Is leadership of a project different in an Agile environment than in a traditional project environment?

MGMT 404 Project Management

Week 7 Discussion

PROJECT BASELINE

We have now moved from the planning stage to the execution stage of project management. Following good project management practices, we have set a baseline. How is a project baseline used to guide the execution of the project’s work, to evaluate progress and performance, and to control the project?

Also, as you continue to think about monitoring and controlling the project, specifically consider the following question. How can the project baseline and the earned value approach for variance analysis be used to monitor and report project progress?