Missing Person-Peter Leung - Case Study #2
Excel Consulting, a globally recognized provider of management and technology services and solutions, has offices in over twenty countries including Toronto, Canada. Excel Consulting earned its’ good reputation by delivering innovative solutions to clients and by providing “exceptional” client service. Their organizational structure was designed to promote teamwork and a collaborative work environment. To foster employee satisfaction, Excel Consulting conducted routine satisfaction surveys and instituted corporate policies to ensure a proper work-life balance (i.e. flexible working hours, assigning professionals to offices in their home city to reduce travel time). Although partners and managers had the flexibility to institute policies at their own discretion, most projects required such a tight schedule and budget that it was difficult to provide both exceptional client service and employee satisfaction. Most client teams consisted of professionals with a similar industry focus, but with different service function specialties. Excel’s latest client, Nayacom, was a subsidiary of their largest, most prominent, long-term client in Canada (Vextel telecommunications). In October 2000, Nayacom and Excel had partnered to work on a developing a new process and technology solution to increase operational efficiencies in Nayacom’s order management process. This long-term project (4 to 6 years) was organized into several smaller-phased business requirement-driven projects. Phase I was scheduled for completion on May 1, 2001. This case focuses on the activities of the development team and the testing team members of the project. Mark Armstrong, project manager, was responsible for managing all development efforts of the project; a team of five professionals; meeting project deadlines and deliverables; communicating with all team managers; and ensuring the dissemination of project information across all teams. He spent the majority of his time in client and cross-team strategy (brainstorming) meetings. He chose to delegate the day-to-day management activities to the team of professionals he assembled for the project. In addition to holding a 20 minute weekly team meeting, he requested weekly status reports from each team member (2 consultants and 3 analysts). He entrusted his lead development consultant, Peter Leung, to keep him apprised of any issues or concerns regarding the performance of the team. Peter Leung enjoyed his work and worked closely with his clients. His team members considered him a dependable, conscientious, informal mentor even though Peter chose to keep to himself in social settings. According to all the reports and meeting updates, it appears that Mark Armstrong assembled a good team of experienced professionals. It is understandable that he would assume his team was on schedule to complete their deliverables by the deadline. Therefore, he was caught off-guard when he was informed about Peter’s absence and unavailability to assist the testing team lead, Melissa Cartwright. She verbally reported that the critical system testing and “ultimately the entire project was at risk” because of Peter’s absenteeism. Mark was left to investigate where Peter was and why he was not showing up for work. What events lead to this conflict and how was he going to rectify the situation? Many early warning signs of this potential outcome are present in this case. They include: Observations
* Melissa Cartwright did not provide any proof (written documentation) of how many times she had contacted Peter, how she contacted him (phone, e-mail, face-to-face, written note, etc.) and what his response, if any, was to her requests. Melissa did not inform other development team members about her need for Peter’s assistance because they stated there were on performance issues when questioned by Mark or when submitting their weekly status reports. She must not have reported it to her...
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