Is it true when you enter project management, you either go up the organization or out the door? Yes that is the truth, because there are only two places you can go from program management, namely up to the organization or out the door. There are only very few engineers who failed in program management and permitted to return to the project. In real life, failing managing a project means you will get fired in most cases. In this case the project manager should count himself lucky of getting back his job as an engineer.Is it possible for an executive to take too much of an interest in an R&D project? Yes it is possible, but it is more important that the project manager concentrates more on the administrative work. If the influence of an executive is suppressing individuality of the competent team members it will be too much of an interest, because every team member should have the possibility to contribute in their own way.
Should Paul Evans has been permitted to report information to Gable before reporting it to the project manager? In the one hand he has to report to him every morning with the raw data results of the previous days, but in the other hand Paul Evans himself thinks that Gable might manipulate them, because he thinks this is his own project. In most cases this should not be allowed because the information can be used against the project manager. It would be a better solution that the project manager should be informed at first if the information might strongly influence the project.
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Is it customary for the project manager to prepare all of the handouts for a customer interchange meeting? Yes of course, it is necessary because every one of them want a copy of all handouts to be presented at last 3 days before. Furthermore it is essential for them, because they want to scrutinize the data. Furthermore it is necessary for them to make the right decisions and avoid mistakes. The most recommended thing for a project manager is to write the minutes on his own because he can be sure that nobody is interpreting any decision or discussion in a wrong way afterwards.
Gary must take in consideration that all administrative work is necessary and should be taken serious, because one day it might become an importance at a later stage of the project to have right decision and information by the customer.
What happens when a situation of mistrust occurs between the customer and contractor? If there is a situation of mistrust, raising the frequency of interchange meeting from one meeting per month up to one meeting per week is important. But the negative thing of this change is the huge amount of paperwork. Meetings could also be postponed which leads to a time delay. Furthermore, to improve the interchange of information between the contractor and the customer, the contractor should place some stuff to the company of the customer.
Should a project manager ever censor bad news?
The project manager has to report about the performance. Insufficient performance will provoke a negative reaction of a project sponsor. We think a project manager should deliver almost all the facts as soon as possible and as objectively as possible. There are three possibilities of controlling the performance and to have an overlook of a work package. First the green traffic light, which means, everything is on the right way. Then there is the orange traffic light which tells the project manager to talk to the project team first, to find possible solutions for the problems. An least the red one, which leads to an report from the project manager to the upper management to get help.
Could the above- mentioned problems have been resolved if there had been a singular methodology for project management in place? It is a tricky task to select the most suitable project management methodology due to the fact that there are a few dozens of factors that should be considered. There is no good or bad methodology only the most suitable one. I believe that the missing communication and the violation of protocol were the main reasons for the above mentioned problems. Some methodologies could be the crystal method and waterfall method.
The crystal method focuses on communication, while the waterfall method focuses on the protocol issue. However, the above mentioned problems would not occur if there was a good communication between the responsible people. A project manager who can communicate thoroughly and effectively with his team, his customer, and his company leadership will go far. He will have a higher degree of customer satisfaction. His team will be better engaged and understand what is expected of them. So in this case study the project manager is one of the people to be blamed.
Can a singular methodology for project management specify morality and ethics in dealing with customers? If so, how do we then handle situations where the project manager violates protocol? When it comes to project management, ethics which are defined as the moral values and beliefs, are extremely important in gaining the support of the project team and customers. It is so much easier to point the fingers at one person. However, ethically no person should be singled out for the project failure. A methodology called PRINCE might lead to more objective evaluation and assessment of project. But with the addition that it only helps the responsible people to handle ethnics and is not doing the whole job for them.
A singular methodology cannot specify morality and ethnics in dealing with customers.
Could the lessons learned on success and failure during project debriefings cause a major change in the project management methodology? Reflecting experience is an element of the final project report with the explicit objective of knowledge transfer for future projects. This report has to be compiled by the project manager and includes conclusions and recommendations in the sense of summarizing what can be improved in future projects. The blue spider project will not benefit a lot from the debriefing because the mistakes had already been done and the project finished. But the project manager Gary and his team could use this knowledge in order to choose a new project management methodology and learn from their mistakes.
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