The Trophy Project (Chapter 5, pp 264 – 266)
- Provide a synopsis of the Trophy Project case study. Highlight your observations about the project.
Answer – The Trophy Project was project that was contracted out by a customer to a company. There was a project manager assigned to the project, with resources assigned to work on the project. However the project was always behind schedule due to work not being completed as assigned, due to project resources working on other projects. Even though the project manager had ownership and was responsible for the Trophy Project he did not have sufficient authority of control over people assigned to the project who were reporting to and hence worked as per directions of the functional manager. Six months into the project, the customer realized that the project was behind schedule and tried to intervene and solve the project by bringing additional resources to work on a project that would help identify issues on the project. This project was not only unsuccessful but also diverted the focus of the project manager from the Trophy Project that was behind schedule further more. There were many things attempted to bring the project back on track, managing it more closely, the customer having their representative onsite etc, however non of them helped as the functional managers till did not provide the resources that were required for the project. All this led to the project manager being blamed for the project debacle, being replaced and the project being completed a year behind schedule with a cost overrun of forty percent.
- Did the project appear to be planned correctly? Why or why not? Relate your answers to the expected documents for proper project planning.
Answer – In my opinion, the project was not planned correctly and could have been managed much better had there been a good plan. Given that resources were needed from various departments to complete the project, there must have been expectations right from the start on how much of their time and involvement is needed for the project and ensuring that they are working full time on the project. In regards to expected documents, there seems to be no project charter and project plan against which the project was being tracked, along with regular weekly review meetings until six months into the project. Presence of these documents would have ensured that there is proper planning in place, with issues being identified and resolved proactively, the absence of which lead to project failure.
- Citing evidence from the case, do you think functional management teams were committed to the project? What evidence do you have from the case study to substantiate your views?
Answer – The functional management teams were not committed to the project and were not interested in ensuring that the project objectives were accomplished as planned. Right from the start, the functional managers were diverting the project resources to other project that led to the project being delayed. Even when it was known to everyone that the project is behind schedule, they did not help contribute positively and continued to divert resources to other tasks that led to the project slipping even further.
- Citing evidence from the case, do you think senior management managers were supportive and committed? What evidence do you have from the case study to substantiate your views?
Answer – In my opinion, the senior management managers were not supportive and committed to the project, to the extent they should have been to ensure that the project is a success. There was no proper senior management involvement for six months into the project, and even after that they came up with solutions that were not effective or directly addressed the problem. The senior management should have tracked the project closely, and should have ensured that there is functional manager support and dedicated resources to work on the project, the absence of which led to project failure.
- What would you have done differently?
Answer – If I were the project manager, I would have spoken to the project sponsor and the functional managers’ right at the start and also during the project to ensure that the resources are working full time and dedicatedly on the project. I would have weekly status review right from the project start that would ensure that problems can be addressed as soon as they come up rather than when they become big. I would also use the project plan, Gantt charts and other tools to track the project on a regular basis that would show the health on a regular basis that can be used for tracking the project. If functional managers were unsupportive, I would approach the management help them ensure that resources are available for the project. All this would have helped increase the project visibility, highlight and address issues proactively that could have led to better project execution