Jennifer DiTomasso Jacobsen
January 31, 2005
Case Study: South American Adventures Unlimited
1. To what extent does project management apply to Adventures Unlimited?
Each one of their tours is an individual project, since each has a beginning, middle, and end, which have classic project phases, including a definition or selection phase, a planning phase, and an execution phase. Project management involves budgeting of resources, and their resources include their administrative staff and tour guides. In addition, project management includes project selection: the Rodriguezes need to be able to accurately anticipate the costs of each tour that they consider undertaking, so that they may make wise decisions about which tours to operate. Project management includes financial analysis, for instance calculating the net present value of each tour that they are considering offering. In addition, since their tours involve many details, the project planning methods taught in project management would be helpful for them as well. Using gantt charts to plan out the details of each tour would help them to avoid problems that they have had in the past, for instance, having missed a train connection in Blanco Puente. Project planning with Gantt charts would also help them to clearly delineate the details involved for each tour, and to be able to not only plan the logistics of each detail, but anticipate the cost of it as well.
2. What kind of training in project management should the Rodriguezes, the administrative staff, and tour guides receive to improve the operation of Adventures Unlimited? Try to identify major topics or skill sets that should be addressesd.
▪ Project planning training would allow them to effectively manage the many details of each of their tours. Training in developing work breakdown structures and gannt charts would help them in their efforts to ensure that the small staff effectively handles the details surrounding planning and executing each tour. ▪ Cost management training would help them to effectively manage the price of each tour. In addition, they need to gain a clear sense of how each cost that they incur impacts the overall cost of each tour, throughout their operations, rather than after their taxes were prepared, as has been the case. ▪ Financial analysis training would aid them in selecting the most profitable tours for the future. ▪ Communication and conflict resolution training would help them to effectively manage their clients’ expectations, smoothly operate their business, and effectively handle conflicts that arise. ▪ Project leadership training, which the Rodriguezes in particular should receive, so that they may influence their administrative staff and tour guides to have a passion for the business, work hard, give their clients the best experience possible, and make decisions that fit with the company’s strategy. Their tour guides need strong leadership skills as well. ▪ Risk management training would help them to quantify their risks, assess the importance of them, and devise cost-effective mitigation strategies.
3. What risks do they face? How should they mitigate such risks?
Individuals may cancel their reservations, leaving Adventures Unlimited committed to costs for operating underbooked tours, such as paying tour guides, paying for accommodations, or paying for travel arrangements. They should mitigate this risk by having a clear cancellation policy that covers any of their non-refundable expenses.
Travel is fraught with uncertainty. Even if they attempt to follow a schedule perfectly, they may find that inclement weather, traffic jams, or other disruptions make it impossible for them to make connections, and that clients miss an airplane, for example. They could mitigate this risk by identifying alternate routes to the airport, planning extra travel time into their tour schedules, or by planning to have additional resources on...
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