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Harrison-Keyes is a major publisher with a long history of success with its 22,000 plus publications. Management has seen a fall in sales due to changes in distribution and new media. They have identified a new media that will help them to stay competitive in the industry. Executives believe that starting a new electronic book or e-book initiative will help solve the problem and will offer large profits. However, there have been many problems in getting this idea to fruition. This analysis will show how the lack of consistent leadership, attention to detail and the lack of reporting processes led to the failing of the project. It will finally offer some solutions to the dilemma in order to put their project back on track.
Issue and Opportunity Identification
Several issues contributed to where Harrison-Keyes' e-book project is today. Though problematic, these issues have lead to additional opportunities that may help the situation. When one door closes, often another one will open (Parachin, 2005).
There were four key issues identified in the scenario that were problematic to Harrison-Keyes. The first issue to be identified is the lack of a clearly defined project plan which causes confusion throughout the project. This issue could provide the company with an opportunity for a fresh, more organized start that is tracked and charted.
The second issue identified was the lack of an adherence to a project baseline. Harrison-Keyes cut the project budget by 20%. This became an opportunity for executives to kill the project or at least re-evaluate it.
The next issue was identified when Asia Digital failed to deliver due to a natural disaster. The need for a contingency reserve became apparent. This development gave Harrison-Keyes the chance to look for another qualified company that may have a better track record of being on time with their deliverables.
The final issue identified was related to the time it would take the new company to get up to speed and deliver the product. It is clear that scope creep can cause problems that'll delay the completion of the project (Gray & Larson, 2005, p. 437). If the project is allowed to continue from this point, then it is an opportunity for Harrison-Keyes to put the project back on track to a successful completion.
Stakeholder Perspectives/Ethical Dilemmas
The stakeholders have taken an active role in the forming and the running of Harrison-Keyes' e-book initiative. They consist of the Project Team which consists of the various employees that work at different levels of the project.
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The CEO is primarily interested in seeing the project succeed. It is a bad thing for him to get further involved than that. Typically, they are not concerned with the details. They will be critical and harsh when necessary in order to motivate or get the point across. Priority one for the CEO is to increase the wealth of the shareholders.
The Board of Directors are interested in any project that will increase their wealth. They can suggest directions for the company to move in. They can also support or deny company initiatives.
The bread and butter of Harrison-Keyes exist in their Authors and their ability to create marketable properties. They have a vested interest in their work and the protection of their intellectual property. If they disagree with the new direction of their publisher, they may begin to shop around for a new publisher.
The primary conflict that may have been an issue throughout the project was the lack of communication and the sharing of information. The project fell vastly behind and there was not a reporting structure setup to catch and report problems and delays. Also, employees may not feel that they are able to speak up and communicate with each other.
Harrison-Keyes will continue the project to completion by finding a trusted partner to complete the digital conversion that will adhere to the clearly defined project plan while utilizing a system of reports and notifications to track project progress and once concluded will be a continued source of profit for the company.
Harrison-Keyes is faced with the dilemma of successfully completing a project that has been stripped of a large part of its budget and with poor planning and reporting. The new e-book venture has been a challenging undertaking and has lacked dedicated leadership and direction. This project was initially identified as being worthwhile and a source of profit. The team must use the premise of project management to put the project back on track.
In order for Harrison-Keyes to bridge the gap between the present and the future and fall in-line with the stated end-state goals, they must make changes in the processes and the direction in which the project has historically taken. The project plan must be re-evaluated with a more detailed Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and a Scope of Work (SOW). This will require more time but is an important step towards restarting the project. Next, the new budget must be aligned with the new scope of work. This would involve creating a new project baseline that is set in stone. Any changes to the project baseline will set off a red flag and notify the stakeholders to take action. Continuing the project will require continued support from the CEO and the Board of Directors. They may at some point decide it best to kill the project instead of spending any more time and money on it. Last, they'll need to have a contingency plan in place. This plan will need to include backup strategies and funding for issues related to contingency reserves and management reserve funds if and when it is needed.
Harrison-Keyes in an effort to stay competitive embarked on a project to convert all of its current properties into an electronic book or e-book format. This initiative was met with some opposition and challenges. However, the biggest problem existed in the way the project was planned and managed. The Gap Analysis of Harrison-Keyes shows the steps necessary for recovering this project and the investment that was allotted. Plans must be clearly defined, managed and reported. These are the keys to a successful project and adhering to them will promote a positive result for Harrison-Keyes.
Gray, C. F. & Larson, E. W. (2005). Project management: The managerial process (3rd ed.). New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies.
Parachin, V. (2005). 8 Ways to Turn Obsticles into Opportunities. Nightingale-Conant. Retrieved February 16, 2007, from http://www.nightingale.com/tAE_Article~A~TurnObstaclesintoOpportunities~i~230.asp
Issue and Opportunity Identification
Issue Opportunity Reference to Specific
(Include citation) Concept
Harrison-Keyes' project to implement their new proposed line of business will focus on technologies that will provide e-books of some of their 22,000 plus publications. However, the project has not clearly been defined. They are now paying the price for not completing their due diligence.
Some of the identified problems could be addressed with proper planning and reporting of the issues as they arise. ( Gray & Larson, 2005, p. 414)
Harrison-Keyes can use this problem as a means of creating a new starting point. They can now reorganize to address the problems and rework them into a more detailed project plan/Gantt chart.
"A major goal of progress reporting is to catch any negative variances from plan as early as possible to determine if corrective action is necessary" ( Gray & Larson, 2005, p. 414)
Tracking Gantt Chart
Harrison-Keyes reduced all projects by 20% which in turn reduces the projects budget substantially. It is yet to be determined but suggests that the project will run over budget due to the changes made. It is apparent that there isn't a system in place to report/notify the PM(s) of important problems and setbacks. This was an opportunity for executives to make a decision to either eliminate or rework the project into the new budget structure. "The baseline is a concrete document and commitment; it is the planned cost and expected schedule performance against which actual are measured." ( Gray & Larson, 2005, p. 419) Project Baseline
Harrison-Keyes' e-book project depends on Asia Digital's ability to deliver. Unfortunately, due to a natural disaster, they will be unable to deliver indefinitely. This deliverable is a very important part of the project's critical path. In the case of the scenario, a lack of a contingency plan may doom the project to fail. With their project's initial budget being cut, there may not have been any or enough money set aside for this occasion. There will most likely be an initial cost to find and begin work with another firm to produce the e-book. "Plans seldom materialize in every detail as estimatedidentified and unidentified risks occur, estimates are wrong, the customer wants changes, technology changes." ( Gray & Larson, 2005, p. 417) Contingency Reserve
Now that Harrison-Keyes must abandon the work they accomplished with Asia Digital, they must begin again with someone else. The additional time needed to bring them on board, bring them up to speed, and the time to get the completed product will cause the scope of the project to slip or creep. Unknown costs after this point must be covered by management reserve funds. ( Gray & Larson, 2005, p. 437) If at this point management decides to continue its support for the project, then this is an opportunity for the project to utilize project management theory and resources to put this project back on track to a successful completion. "It is the "minor refinements" that eventually build to be major scope changes that can cause problems." ( Gray & Larson, 2005, p. 437) Scope Creep
The Interests, Rights, and
Values of Each Group
Project Team To have a successful project that reflects well on them
To complete the project utilizing the ethics of Harrison-Keyes
They have a right to communicate the truth regarding project status and challenges
CEO Interested only in a completed project that adds to the wealth of the company in a reasonable amount of time
Has the right to be critical and motivational whenever necessary
To increase the wealth of the shareholders
Board of Directors Interested in any project that'll increase their wealth
Have the ability to provide or remove support for company initiatives
Authors Want to know that their work will be protected
Can disagree with the new direction Harrison-Keyes is taking
Can decide not to continue using Harrison-Keyes as their publisher (assuming no contractual bindings)
End State Goals
Continued project support to its completion
Find a trusted and reliable company to do the digital conversion
Increase the sales and the wealth of the company through this venture
Project stay within the new budget
For this project to be a long-term money-maker for Harrison-Keyes