This case shows a daily working life of Rachel, the project manager of a large information systems project, to mainly discuss whether she allocates her time appropriately or not. When we take a closer look at her works on that certain day, then we can classify those works into three parts: project related, non- project related, and routine works. After analyzing those works each by each, therefore we are able to get the concept easily of whether Rachel has been playing a good role in project manager. No matter the answer turns out to be yes or not, we still can improve her work schedule more efficient by viewing the result of our analysis.
* Answers of the questions
1. How effectively do you think Rachel spent her day? Based on the whole day schedule provided by the case, I would like to make a table to address how effectively Rachel spent her day. The consequence above shows that Rachel spent around 70% of her working time dealing directly with project related work. Due to everyone has different aspects in judging how effectively of Rachel regarding to the figure, from my point of view, when a manager who can spend his or her time on project work beyond 65%, then I would probably consider he or her is an effective project manager. So, therefore, in this case, Rachel is no doubt to be positive asset to her company for sure.
2. What does the case tell you about what it is like to be a project manager? a. Outlining specific goal for teammates As an appropriate project management, he or she must act like a captain of a big ship understanding exactly which way we should move on in the center of the huge ocean. Project management not only has to have good sense of direction, but also has to monitor what is going on in each phase. People says that the performance of the team is not determined by the most outstanding teammates, instead; is determined by the weakest one. That is being said, making sure the slowest part to catch up the pace of the whole team is one of the imperative job of project manager.
b. Integrating diversified workers from different department One of the most hardest and special part of being a product manager is to integrate diversified people from different department. Due to project team sometimes is temporary and short, different fields people they dont know each other well, so that it might occur lots of conflicts during cooperating period of time. From my personal experience over the past few years, tasks failed not because workers didnt have the ability to fulfill the task itself which was because they spent too much energy and time on dealing with each other because each individual has his or her opinions. Therefore, if project manager doesnt have outstanding social skills to lead each worker, no matter how smart he is, then he is not able to complete the mission as he expect.
c. Being an optimistic cheerleader and powerful coordinator between each department Most of time working is frustrated especially as a member of a new team. Sometimes, workers not only have to be responsible to project manager but they also still have to do original tasks from their regular team. How can they be cheerful if pressures come from both sides of the supervisor? Thus, project manager somehow should be a cheerleader to give these teammates some sort of incentives such as extra bonus or holidays, asked from big boss, to motivate them to get the tasks done as soon as possible. Moreover, product manager needed to be powerful in order to coordinate conflicting issues between each department. Take this case for example. Client firm is upset because they didnt get certain features which promised by marketing representative and Rachel had no clues about it until she hears from one of the members. We all know project manager is of course the head of the project, but if Rachel has no power to get the features promised my marketing representative to her client, and then next time her client wont become companys loyal customer again.
d. Take full responsibility that project is completely successful within time and budget Unlike other functional manager, project manager takes full responsibility in entire project which should be successful within time and budget (professor mentioned in reality it is better to beyond the budget in order to get extra amount of money for next one). So, from this point of view, there is no other job like project manager in terms of huge pressure. On the other hand, some people might think to be a project manager can feel a great deal of sense of achievement as long as finishing the task. Therefore, project manager is a job which needs all kinds of ability including organizing, allocating resources, communicating, cheering people, coordinating, politic skill, and so on.
* Insights of the case
A number of things I have learned from this case. First of all, Rachel, even though, spent 70% of her daily working time on dealing with projects work directly, it doesnt mean that she did effectively in the project itself. In other words, she still can save her time by taking care of client firm issue thoroughly and cautiously. Again, lets take client firms case for instance. Regarding to the time table above, Rachel spent 130mins (25% of her total working time) just on handling this case! Is there any other way to prevent this kind of incident happened? Answer would be yes by having a great report system among each departments head and Project manager, so that before things going to the public or to clients side, they still have a plenty of chances to make it right, otherwise; they have no choice but to waste more costs (time and money) to correct it again.
Moreover than that, clients might have a negative experience on it and start to doubt whether this company has enough ability to handle this project. So, my point is that if Rachel were powerful enough; she would be able to handle this project more effectively. Thus, her boss needs to give her adequate resources during this period of time. As a project manager, although she has power in hand, she also has to use it very careful, otherwise as project team dismissed in the future, then she would face a big problem in terms of working with her fellow workers. This is really a good case which gives me a whole profile of being a project manager. With this cases help, I feel more knowledgeable of learning Project Management this class in this semester.
1. By answering the question 2 above, I referred to text book page 10, the topic of The Project Manager, which giving me a several numbers of responsibilities that project manager should have. 2. Slides in Chapter 1
(slides 1-11 and 1-12) also give me some points of view that what skills are needed as being a project manager.