Trophy Project

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Problems Identified and Underlying Causes

There are three major problems identified in the Trophy Project case study: i)Organisational problems
ii)Management and Leadership problems
iii)Project Management problems

i)Organisational Problems

Although there are signs that the company has a matrix structure in place, they do not follow a programme management approach and numerous failures within the structure exist. Their approach to management is still that of a traditional organisational approach, which tends management to lack both strategic purpose and customer focus.

The effectiveness of this structure is negated by poor implementation and lack of support for project managers by the project office and line managers. The organisational structure is not well applied and does not support projects.

There is mention made of a program office, but no programme manager. The program office was not involved from the start, and was also the reason for the project being in trouble right from the start.

The company is that of a bureaucratic organisation and not a learning organisation. There is no skills development, increased learning and knowledge transfer, learning from past mistakes and continuous improvement.

The company allows complacency where no one takes responsibility. Top management did not take any responsibility for the failure of the project, and line managers did not take responsibility for the resources given to the project. Even after the client requested that the division general manager and his staff visit the customer’s plant to provide progress, the division general manager was not willing to be held responsible and accountable, and thus sent the project manager alone with his delegations (functional managers) to the client.

There is no efficient utilization of resources, as line managers have the resources working for them on their own pet projects. There were not adequate resources and staff assigned to run the project. The program schedule started to slip because of resources problems, and expenditures were excessive.

There is a lack of functionality in the organisation. When the project showed all the signs of failure, corporate staff ordered remedial action and staff support to provide Reichart the opportunity to get his project back on track. Reichart found himself reporting to the operations manager instead of a programme manager in the existing program office.

Reichart did not have any authority in his position as project manager, even though he was being held accountable for the success of the project. When Reichart complained about direct labour being charged to his project, he was told not to meddle with functional managers’ allocation of resources and budgeted expenditure. The functional managers were creating problems and Reichart had no control over them.

There was no trust from top management, line managers or employees towards Reichart, and also amongst staff. Corporate staff was not capable of managing and controlling the project, and therefore had group staff meddling by assigning an assistant project manager to the project. A situation of mistrust between company and customer developed which ultimately ended with the placing of a customer representative on site. The relationship between the customer and the representative deteriorated when Reichart expressed his concern about the scope changes that the client felt were at no cost.

There was no support from top management or line managers. The resources, that were assigned to the project by the line managers, were inadequate to stay at the required pace. There was no support from the project office when Reichart was told to report to the operations manager and no longer their office. Top management provided no support when Reichart complained about the line managers charging direct labour time to the project. As a result of lack of support, Reichart found himself in an activity trap...
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