Craven Books Case Study - Solutions

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Project management

Craven Books case: a computer horror story

Case study questions:
1. Whose biggest fault is it ? 2. Describe the project decision-making process. What are the events, which led to the decision to go ahead with the implementation of the software ? Was was the final 'key event' which made the system fail ? 3. Draw the storehouse management process before and after introducing the new softare.

1. Whose biggest fault is it ? In the computer horror story, no one was really at fault, according to Peter Craven, the founder of the company : 'We didn't do anything, it just sort of happened. One day, we were making money, the next, everything was falling apart '. But can the case be so easily closed ? A quick look on the history of the firm and its failure should help us define the culprit(s). In the 1990s, the company was at the peak of it success and was looking to expand ; to do so, it was decided the company should have an efficient distribution system, and that's why the management team opted to create an IT system. However, the system did not work as expected for Craven Books, and sales started dropping. One of the first reasons for the failure of the system is the fact that Craven Books management, unable to determine the best IT system to use, and to draw a strategic planning, rushed into choosing the first system that seemed fit to the company. Rapid efficiency and competitiveness appear to have prevailed in their choice of the system. Moreover, nobody was really designated to handle the project, see to its success, and to be held accountable in case of failure. The fault can also lie with the IT consultants on whom management relied too much, and the supplied who provided the IT system. Not only did they not assess the system and its adequation to Craven Books – in terms of efficiency and effectiveness – they also focused on charging the company rather than fixing the issues Craven Books was facing, and helping them improve the...
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