At present, the Corporation operates using the informal system of project management, where only one Department, the Business Development Department, acts as the steering group, vested with the responsibility to coordinate with other Departments regarding the over-all implementation of the Operation. This system doesnt give authority to the Business Development Department over the functional Managers and employees. Over-coordination and scheduling is being done only with the Directors. In 1998, the concept of the formal system of project management was introduced by a newly-hired Director of Business Development Department, Wilbur Donley.
Ten (10) managers were interviewed of their opinions regarding the companys plan to shift project management from informal to a formal one. Respondents were Directors of the various Departments as well as functional Managers of the Company as follows: Stanley Grant (Comptroller), John Rich (Engineering), Wibur Donley (Business Development), Hermon Hall (Management Information Systems), Bill Knapp (Marketing), Bob Gustwell (Purchasing), Frank Harrel (Quality and Reliability), George Hub (Manufacturing and Engineering), Harold Grimes (Plant Manager), and Fred Kunel (Plant Engineering).
Out of the 10 respondents, only two (2), John Rich (Engineering) and Fred Kunel (Plant Engineering) were not in favor of the shift, the rest were all in favor. Questions: 1. What are some of the major problems facing the management of Hyten in accepting formalized project management (include attitude problems/personality problems)? In dynamic business environments, product development projects rarely proceed according to the original plan. It is likely that some changes must be made and plans or goals be redefined to adapt to changes in the business environment (Steffens 2007).
Consequently, organizational management adjusts to these developments. A new concept or idea generates two responses: go or no-go decision. Although most of the Directors are in favor of the shift, Hyten is faced with the no-go decision of the two main players of the Engineering Department. Understandably, this decision is based on the context of maintaining existing hardware equipments. In case Hyten pursues with the shift, holistic change management processes and practices must be done to account for contextual contingencies.
Studies regarding personality characteristics of project managers in relation to work environment have been established. Results show that optimism of project managers (whether innate or learned) allow project managers to overcome impediments associated with the work environment (Dolfi 2007). With this in mind, it is imperative that the 2 Engineering Directors be convinced of the benefits of the shift to exude optimism in the workplace.
Do any of the managers appear to have valid arguments for their beliefs as to why formal project management should not be considered? Both John Rich and Fred Kunel have valid reasons for disapproving with the shift. From the engineering point of view, a lot of systems (hardware/equipments) have already been installed. These are custom-made for the different processes of making automotive components. The highly technical and well-calculated dimension of their Department makes it difficult for them to take sudden orders from other Departments.
Their priorities center on the production function and maintenance activities related to manufacturing activities. Any alteration of the system would mean modification of one or more systems, and naturally entail additional costs. In their opinion, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. As they put it Why change a winning combination? Their arguments are deemed valid because of the important positions they hold in the Organization. Studies have been done to relate transformational leadership style and employee motivation.
There is a stronger link between employees reporting to functional managers than to project managers (Keegan 2004). Hence, employees under them would most likely will share their sentiments. 3. Are there any good reasons why Hyten should go to formal project management? Its like asking the question Why do we need to change when this existing one still works? Sixteen (16) years of using the informal project management style has served its time. Its time to explore the formal management style. The dynamic business environment dictates so.
Under the new system, decision making is decentralized, adopting a more participatory system of managing the operations to cope with the ever changing dynamics of the worldwide economics. Furthermore, studies on project management is ever evolving. A paper written by Stephen Whitty fuels the discussion on this matter. It suggests that a new memetic approach to project management will lift restrictions imposed by the traditional research approach and enrich our mental maps of project management to serve us better (Whitty 2004).
All the more reason to justify the shift. 4. Has Hyten taken a reasonable approach toward implementing formal project management? Yes. It couldnt have been done otherwise. It is natural that the suggestion to shift emanate from a newly hired employee. An outsider has an unbiased perception of things, and objectively, most of their observations are correct. However, resistance could undoubtedly have been minimized if one of the old-timer Directors introduced the concept of change. It could have elicited an immediate 100% support from all major players in the Company.
With that support, brainstorming of ideas would have been more productive and innovative plans drafted. In short, if maximum participation was generated, the concept of change would not be as threatening as it is has always been predicted. 5. Has Hyten done anything wrong? Management gave up easily. It allowed the Director of Personnel to make the final decision that the informal system be retained, knowing for a fact that 8 out of 10 respondents already agreed with the change. The formal system of project management is a good, viable, and one that is worth pushing for.
Sue Lyons decision should be questioned, since she herself has expressed beforehand, a support in the change. The move was supported by the majority, why is she favoring the minority? 6. Should formal project management give employees more room for personal growth? Seven components make up a proper project management system: 1. People 2. Tools 3. Culture 4. Organization 5. Planning 6. Information 7. Control The core element of formal management is managing people, resources and plans, and the art of interacting all these vital ingredients.
The people component is at the bottom of the project management pyramid because people support all of the other components. People factor affect team performance. Organizational components that satisfy personal and professional needs seem to have a strong effect on cooperation, commitment, risk management and ultimately, drive overall team performance (Thamhain 2004). It is therefore imperative for the Company to engage in personal development of the workforce. It is for the benefit not only of the individual, but for the company as well, in the long run.
Will formalized project management make it appear as though business development has taken power away from other groups? It may appear so, if not handled properly. Hyten management must at this stage apply more Active Coping and Planning strategies to deal with stressful situations, since it has been proven that the level of maturity of the organizational practices is related to an increased use of Planning Coping strategies (Aitken 2007). Project Management is the facilitation of the planning, scheduling and control of all activities that must be done to meet project objectives.
It is a disciplined way of organizing a job. Two aspects of project management: WHAT (task to be performed) and HOW (the process). Process includes both the solving of the task itself, and how the team functions in total how they interact, solve problems, make decisions, run meetings, and every other aspect of team performance. Power is not being taken away from other groups. On the contrary, these are being harnessed, improved to allow faster, smoother processes that can drastically improve team task performance.