Project Management Problem1

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In this case, we know little about Kevin Ertle save for the fact that he is Bryce's director of information technology. We are not advised of his experience level, his specific resources, or his department's current level of responsibility. Similarly, we do not know very much about Bryce Power Tool Company, its management style, or how the project managers plan to proceed (e.g., time, funding, etc).

As we learned in chapter #9 (section 9.2), many projects focus primarily on "time" rather than "resources." Resources are limited in any project. Assuming that Kevin Ertle is well organized and a savy manager of people, his concern about having sufficient staff to (1) run normal operations, and (2) support a project involving four (4) different business units is a major issue/constraint/risk.

In addition, we are not told whether the proposed project is "system-constrained," i.e., one in which trade-offs are an impossibility. Assuming this project is not "system-constrained," Kevin Ertle should meet early with the project managers to discuss his concerns re availability of his IT human capital. Kevin might want to work with the PMs on a process called "resource leveling" which allows for shifting tasks using slack allowances. Resource leveling allows a smoother distribution of resource usage throughout the project.

Since this appears to be a complex project {several different departments are involved}, manual leveling might be out of the question. Kevin and the project managers might be advised to use computer-aided leveling in order to help ensure that the IT department is able to meet its regular duties and responsibilities in addition to those demanded by the project.

I purposely did not mention the feasibility of hiring additional, temporary staff {although this might be a possibility given sufficient funding}, because the added costs of hiring and laying off people can be excessive. By leveling existing resources, these added cost can be avoided....
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