Group Project Business & Finance homework help

Group Project Business & Finance homework help

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Case Study

LaPoint, P., & Haggard, C. (2018). Design Prototypes Inc Project Management (A): Selection of the project team. CaseCentre.  

Please read the Case Study.

According to the Case Study, go to complete: 

6. Major Deliverables (using Gantt Chart)

Present a list of the major deliverables that will result from the project are described.

Example 7:

• Procurement of supplies

• Establishment of operations, procurement, marketing and other teams

• Store supplies stocked and displayed

• Store staffing completed, including work schedules

• Establishment of store operations policies, including hours of operation

Note: Gantt Chart use is a requirement

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Page 95

Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, Volume 19, Number 5, 2013

DESIGN PROTOTYPES INC. PROJECT
MANAGEMENT (A): SELECTION OF THE PROJECT

TEAM

Patricia A. Lapoint, McMurry University
Carrol R. Haggard, Fort Hays State University

CASE DESCRIPTION

The primary subject matter of this case concerns project management. A secondary issue
examined is office politics. This case can be used in Project Management, Operations
Management, or Quality Management courses. The case has a difficulty level of three. The case
is designed to be taught in two class hours and is expected to require four hours of outside
preparation by students.

CASE SYNOPSIS

Raef Conley has just been assigned his first major project. Having worked on several
small projects since joining Design Prototypes Inc., 9 years ago, Raef has never taken on a
major project. This is a significant opportunity for him, one that could advance his career in
many ways. Although he is excited about the opportunity, he is also somewhat anxious. as while
there is the potential for career advancement, he is also cognizant of the fact that failure could
mean the end of his career at Design Prototypes. Raef’s first task is to assemble a project team.
Raef needs to assemble a team of seven individuals selected from a pool of eleven. While all of
the candidates have strengths, some appear to be better suited to the project than others. Three
of the candidates have political connections which could influence their selection. Another
candidate has a strong personal connection to Raef. While uncertain about his actual motives,
Raef has a feeling that his boss has clear preferences toward two of the candidates. The case
revolves around the questions of: How does Raef weigh technical competence with personal and
political considerations? Who should Raef select for the team?

Distributed by The Case Centre North America Rest of the world
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All rights reserved e info.usa@thecasecentre.org e info@thecasecentre.orgcase centre

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Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, Volume 19, Number 5, 2013

DESIGN PROTOTYPES INC. PROJECT MANAGEMENT (A):
SELECTION OF THE PROJECT TEAM

Raef Conley has just been assigned his first major project. Having worked on several

small projects since joining Design Prototypes Inc. 9 years ago, Raef has never taken on a major
project. This is a significant opportunity for him, one that could advance his career in many
ways. Although he is excited about the opportunity, he is also somewhat anxious as while there
is the potential for career advancement, he is also cognizant of the fact that failure would mean
the end of his career at Design Prototypes.

Raef joined Design Prototypes Inc. after receiving his B.S. degree in Electrical
Engineering from a well-known university in the South. The first projects Raef worked on
required applying his academic knowledge and training. As a project team member, Raef
approached his responsibilities as a team member with enthusiasm. He contributed his expertise
to the technical requirements of the project and served as an informal team leader. His technical
expertise and his ability to work effectively with diverse team members were no doubt factors in
his selection as project manager. Although he was confident he could successfully meet the
challenges as project manager, he had concerns.

His role in the new project was very different than his involvement in previous projects.
This project required less hands-on in the application of his technical skills, rather it demanded
project management skills. While he was confident that he could apply his technical knowledge
to any project, actually managing the project is an entirely different skill set requirement; a skill
set for which he was concerned that his university education had not directly prepared him.
“Where should I begin”, Raef thought. Drawing upon a course in his engineering
program, Raef remembered Professor Bentley’s discussions of project management. He searched
through his old textbooks in Dr. Bentley’s course (which he thankfully had kept), and found the
topic on Project Management. He felt a good starting point would be the Project Management
Process Model (See Figure 1).

Figure 1: Project Management Process Model

Selection Initiation Planning Delivery Closure

According to the model, his immediate task was to assemble a project team (Initiation
Stage). What criteria should he use to select the team? Considering the purpose and goals of the
project (Table 1) and referring to the Project Team Selection Process (See Table 2), Raef
believed that these factors should drive the team member composition.

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Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, Volume 19, Number 5, 2013

Table 1: Project Purpose And Goals
Purpose: to design the electronic components for a new product
Goals: 1) to develop a timeline for each phase of the project
2) to complete the project on time
3) to complete the project on budget
4) to meet customer specifications and requirements

Table 2: Project Team Selection Process
1. Assess the knowledge and technical requirements of the project
2. Diversify the team according to knowledge, skills, departmental representation, background/ experience,

and vested interest in the project
3. Assess ability of the team to work together; team synergy
4. Establish team size
5. Determine time availability
6. Determine team Co-location or virtual

Based on the purpose and goals of the project and the team selection process, Raef felt

that a team of 6-8 persons would be sufficient. The following are brief biographies of potential
team members:

1. Michael Matson: 6 years with the company; B.S. in Civil Engineering; no previous project experience;
strong performer; motivated; eager to take on new assignments; home department—Civil Engineering

2. Elroy Bennett: 22 years with the company; worked for 2 major engineering firms prior to Design
Prototypes Inc.; no degree; project experience; home department— Existing Products Development

3. Alison Whitley: new graduate with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Raef’s alma mater (Raef was
part of the recruiting team for Alison and has been serving as an informal mentor to Alison); young,
energetic; home department—Electrical Engineering

4. Daniel Swenson: B.S. degree in Marketing; graduated with honors; experienced in new product design;
4 years with the company; home department— New Products Development

5. Robert Brandon: 15 years in project management; worked on 6 major projects for the company; no
degree; home department—Operations Administration

6. Pierce Kennedy: 7 years with the company in the Manufacturing Division; M.B.A. in Operations
Management; home department—Electronics Assembly

7. Margaret Sobel: 18 years with Design Prototypes Inc.; B.S. in Management; experience working on
small projects; leadership role in 3 different areas of the company; home department—Project
Administration

8. Philip Lowery: B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering; 12 years with the company; worked for 2 major
Fortune 100 companies prior to joining Design Prototypes Inc.; Very good friend of Jonathon Wright,
Raef’s manager; home department— Electrical Engineering

9. Billy Brown: 32 years with the company; no degree; worked his way through the ranks of the company
to his current position as Materials Management Director; home department—Materials/Purchasing

10. Simon Wright: son of the VP of Engineering Division; 2 years with the company; B.A. in English and
M.A. in Economics; home department—Public Relations

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Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, Volume 19, Number 5, 2013

11. Rae Beth Merson: Director of Environmental Safety and Quality; M.S. in Environmental Quality; 16
years with the company; previous positions prior to Design Prototypes Inc. include Inspector for the
EPA, Environmental Impact Analyst, and Feasibility Studies Coordinator/Director; home
department—Environmental Safety and Quality

Raef decided that he should pare down the 11 individuals based upon specific criteria.
Therefore, he established the following criteria to screen each of the 11 individuals:

a. At least 3 of the team members need the technical engineering expertise required for the project.
b. Project experience preferred

Raef also felt that there was great value in having a diverse team, so, beyond these

criteria, team diversity would be an additional factor in making the selections.
In order to prepare for the interviews, based upon the team member selection criteria,
Raef decided to initially place each of the candidates into 3 groups: 1) those that seemed to fully
meet the criteria (Elroy Bennett), 2) those that seemed to partially meet the criteria (Michael
Matson, Alison Whitley, Daniel Swenson, Robert Brandon, Margaret Sobel, Philip Lowery,),
and 3) those that did not seem to meet either criteria (Pierce Kennedy, Billy Brown, Simon
Wright, Rae Beth Merson).
As part of the process, Raef contacted managers in each of the relevant home
departments in order to solicit their support for the project and to negotiate that candidate’s time
for the project. Realistically, Raef knew that he would only get a percentage of a candidate’s
time to work the project since the home department’s work would also need attention. Some of
these negotiations are still in progress. Raef proceeded to contact each person on the list,
schedule an interview appointment, and e-mail a copy of the FACT SHEET for the project prior
to the interview. The FACT SHEET is as follows:

Figure 2: FACT SHEET

ALPHA PROJECT FACT SHEET

Thank you for your interest in the Alpha Project. The following is a basic description of the ALPHA Project.
At this stage of the development process, we are still working with the conceptual product prototype, but as the
project unfolds, more specific details will develop. The ALPHA Project involves the design of an electronic
component with multiple versatile market applications. The basic target markets are business-to-business. The
objective of the design team is to take the conceptual prototype design and create the specifications for a commercial
product which is targeted to launch 2 years from now.
Senior management is very excited about the prospects for the new product and expects the members of the
project team will be up to the challenge. The final team size will be 6-8 members, chosen from a well-screened list
after the selection interviews are completed.
Again, thank you for your interest, and I look forward to meeting with you at the interview.
Regards,
Raef Conley

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What follows are excerpts from several interviews.

Interview with Elroy Bennett:

Raef: “Good morning Elroy. Please be seated. As you probably know I am assembling a project

team to design the electronic components for one of our new products (Alpha C306).
Your name was recommended to me by your supervisor, Gavin Dodd. Did Mr. Dodd fill
you in on any of the project details”?

Elroy: Dodd was sketchy on the project details.” I did, however receive the Fact Sheet.”
Raef: “Good. The project requires significant engineering expertise as well as marketing, and

manufacturing expertise. Your 22 years with the company in the engineering department
as well as your previous experience at 2 engineering firms and project experience make
you an ideal candidate to work on this project. The team will begin its work with a
conceptual prototype design of the electronic component. The task of the project team is
to develop the specifications for the ALPHA C306 with a target launch date in 2 years.
That is about as specific as I can get right now. We have a reasonable project budget to
work with. Do you think you might be interested?”

Elroy: “I think so”. Will I have to also do my job in the department as well?”
Raef: “We are still working with supervisors on that issue, but I feel confident that something

can be arranged to free up some of your time to work on this project. I expect that the
project will take about 20 months to complete, but not everyone on the team will be
committed for the entire project life. Do you have any other questions?”

Elroy: “No, not at this time”.
Raef: Well, thank you for your time and I will let you know one way or the other if you are

selected for the team.”

Interview with Alison Whitley:

Raef: “Good to see you Alison. Please have a seat. How has the job been going?”
Alison: “It is great! My supervisor, Blake Thompson, is so supportive and wow, is he ever

smart. I feel so fortunate to work with a man like Blake. My coworkers are highly
talented and very easy to work with and of course, you have been a tremendous
source of support and have provided invaluable guidance. I feel like a real part of a
team.”

Raef: Thank you, I can see your level of enthusiasm has not waned since coming on board.
As you know, I am assembling a project team to design a new product. The new
product has the potential to become one of the biggest selling products for the

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company; it could over time develop into a new division of products. That is why I
thought you should join the project Alpha team.”

Alison: “Absolutely, yes, yes”. When will the project begin?”
Raef: The actual dates have not yet been determined, but my best guess is within the next 3

months. I need to have the 7-member team selected and in place by then.”
Alison: “I know I am new to the company, but I believe I have a lot to contribute to the team.

It sounds like an amazing opportunity to learn. I know my degree in Electrical
Engineering will be useful to the project, but I also know that I can work with
anyone.”

Raef: “I think you could contribute to the successful completion of the project. It would
certainly be a developmental opportunity for you and who knows there could be
career advancement opportunities later on.”

Alison: “I like the sound of that”. When do you think you will make your decisions?”
Raef: I need to conduct several more interviews, but expect to have the selection decisions

made within the next 3 weeks.” Do you have any questions?”
Alison: “Not at this time, but can I call you later if I do?” I would also like to know more

about this new product Alpha C306. Is there any information available I could read or
someone I might speak with about the product concept?”

Raef: “I see you have done your homework; very few people know the product name. Let
me get back to you on that. Product development projects are highly confidential, so
there may be some sensitivity to how much information is available.”

Alison: “I understand. I look forward to your call.”

Interview with Daniel Swenson:

Raef: “Hello Daniel. I hope that our interview over lunch works for you. This has been an

incredible week. I have interviewed several people for the project team. I did not
realize that picking a project team was so time intensive. I am learning. From your
credential search I see that you have experience in product design. Can you describe
that experience for me?”

Daniel: “Of course. I majored in Marketing at the university, graduating with honors. My
honors project involved designing a prefabricated electrical switch, digital, of course,
for electrical energy usage. The other team members had specialized electronic
backgrounds. We worked with a major customer in the community. Our product
design was so favorably received by the customer that the local government decided
to fund the project for further research and development. Our team worked with
component parts suppliers to help us identify cost savings for materials used in the
product. Until I worked on this type of product design team I did not realize how

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Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, Volume 19, Number 5, 2013

important diverse expertise is to the design of the product. It can make a significant
difference to the costs of materials, manufacturing, and to the costs of distribution.”

Raef: “This project appears to be very complex. Were there times during the project where
you felt you were overwhelmed, over your head that is?”

Daniel: “To be honest, yes. After all, I was only a student; I did not have ‘real world’
experience at that point. The project team leader was someone with experience and I
felt very comfortable going to her for any issues I had.”

Raef: “That is a solid testimony for good leadership skills for any project manager. Do you
have any questions about the project or about me?”

Daniel: “Just one. If I were selected for the team and decided to participate, how much
autonomy might I have?”

Raef: “ What do you mean by autonomy, Daniel?”
Daniel: “ Some project managers allow you the discretion to make some decisions related to

the work you are doing; others may not. What approach would you take managing
this project?”

Raef: “ Well, I would like to think I could give team members enough flexibility to work
their parts of the project, but at the same time, when circumstances arise, I may have
to make the final decision. Do you think you can live with that?”

Daniel: “ I expect I can if I am allowed some freedom to make some decisions over those parts
of the project assigned to me.”

Raef: “ Good. I will be contacting everyone shortly about my team selection decisions. Thank
you for coming to lunch with me. My treat!

Interview with Robert Brandon:

Raef: “ Good morning Robert. I hope the traffic from Corporate was not too stressful. I

usually take the I-645 loop each morning and that traffic can be brutal.”
Robert: “ Actually, it wasn’t that bad except for a 2-mile section of construction. It always

seems as if some roadway in the area is under construction; there is no way to avoid
it.”

Raef: “ That is absolutely true. I am appreciative that you took the time from your busy
schedule to interview for the project team. Do you have any comments or questions
related to the Fact Sheet information sent to you previously?”

Robert: “ I read on the Fact Sheet that the product design is still in its conceptual stage. As you
know, I have had extensive experience working on projects, large and small, and in
various stages of development. Senior management’s goal of having the product
ready for commercial application is only 2 years. At this stage of product
development that timeline seems a bit too optimistic to me. From my experience in
the company working on product development projects in the earlier conceptual

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Page 102

Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, Volume 19, Number 5, 2013

stages it generally takes anywhere from 2.5-4 years to launch a new product. Is there
any flexibility in the timeline, Raef?”

Raef: “ It may be possible to squeeze another 6 months out of management, but certainly not
much more than that. I have evaluated the project requirements and I believe that with
the right combination of people, we can meet the goal. Clearly, it will not be easy; it
will require a strong commitment of time and energy from each team member, as well
as the resources to pull this off. But when

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