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All the following case study questions are based on this book: Project management achieving competitive advantage by Jeffrey K. Pinto

Question 8.1

1. Given the history of large cost overruns associated with megadam construction, why do you believe they are so popular, especially in the developing world?

2. Develop an argument in support of megadam construction. Develop an argument against these development projects.

Question 9.1

1. Based on the work described by Frank Roark in his radio interview, construct a list of project work activities with IDs, descriptions, and predecessor tasks.

2. Construct an AON network diagram for the activities required to complete the Capen House move. Be sure to visualize the interdependencies of the work tasks and to follow network diagramming conventions.

3. Identify concurrent, merge, and burst activities and explain the impact of convergences upon the project planning process.

4. If you were the project manager for moving the Capen House, what are some of the scheduling challenges you might anticipate with this project based upon your network diagram? How would you ensure project success?

Question 10.1

1. Develop a project network consisting of at least 20 steps that should be done to complete the project. As the case suggests, keep the level of detail for these activities general, rather than specific. Be sure to indicate some degree of precedence relationship among the activities.

2. Suppose you now wanted to calculate duration estimates for these activities. How would you make use of the following approaches? Are some more useful than others? a. Expert opinion b. Past history c. Mathematical derivation

3. Joe is trying to decide which scheduling format to employ for his planning: AON or AOA. What are some of the issues that Joe should first consider prior to choosing between these methods?

Question 12.1

1. How does multitasking confuse the resource availability of project team personnel?

2. “In modern organizations, it is impossible to eliminate multitasking for the average employee.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?

3. Because of the problems of multitasking, project managers must remember that there is a difference between an activity’s duration and the project calendar. In other words, 40 hours of work on a project task is not the same thing as one week on the baseline schedule. Please comment on this concept. Why does multitasking “decouple” activity duration estimates from the project schedule?

Question 12.2

1. Describe some of the resource constraints that Sunrise and its project managers are facing.

2. Is Sunrise’s current method of prioritizing resource assignments viable? Why or why not?

3. How could technology alleviate some of Sunrise’s resource management issues?

4. Would Tyler’s suggestion to hire additional technicians and purchase more equipment solve the resource problems at Sunrise? Why or why not?

5. Put yourself in Tyler’s position and create a onepage proposal for the Sunrise owner. Outline the current issues briefly with corresponding detailed recommendations for action. Your actionable improvements must be specific, address your (Tyler’s) concerns, align with the owner’s priorities, and outline the benefits of your solutions in a persuasive manner.

Question 13.1

1. As a consultant monitoring this problem, what solutions will you propose? To what degree has Dan’s management style contributed to the problems?

2. What are some types of project status information you could suggest the project team leaders begin to collect in order to assess the status of their projects?

3. How would you blend “hard data” and “managerial or behavioral” information to create a comprehensive view of the status of ongoing projects in the IT department at Kimble College?

Question 13.2

1. Suppose you were a consultant called into the project by the federal government in 1990, when it still seemed viable. Given the start to the project, what steps would you have taken to reintroduce some positive “spin” on the Superconducting Supercollider?

2. What were the warning signs of impending failure as the project progressed? Could these signs have been recognized so that problems could have been foreseen and addressed or, in your opinion, was the project simply impossible to achieve? Take a position and argue its merits.

3. Search for “superconducting supercollider” on the Internet. How do the majority of stories about the project present it? Given the negative perspective, what are the top three lessons to be learned from this project?

Question 13.3

1. Why are public works projects like the Honolulu Rail project nearly impossible to stop once they have been approved, even if later cost estimates skyrocket?

2. Project management researchers have charged that many large infrastructure projects, like this one, suffer from “delusion” and “deception” on the parts of their advocates. Explain how “delusion” might be a cause of ballooning budgets in this project. How does “deception” affect the final project budget overruns?

Question 14.1

1. How would you respond to the argument that it is impossible to judge how successful a project like this one would have been unless you actually do it?

2. Take a position, either pro or con, on Christie’s decision to kill the ARC. Develop arguments to support your point of view.

3. In your opinion, how clearly must a large infrastructure project like ARC have determined its need, costs, and so forth before being approved? If the criteria are too stringent, what is the implication for future projects of this type? Would any ever be built?

Question 14.2

1. What termination method does it appear the company is using with the Regency Project?

2. What are the problems with motivation when project team members perceive that a project is earmarked for termination?

3. Why would you suspect Harry Shapiro has a role in keeping the project alive?

Question 14.3

1. Government departments in many countries have had major problems with IT projects. If you were assigned as a member of a project review team for a governmental IT project, what criteria would you insist on for the project?

2. Why, in your opinion, is there such a long history of IT projects overshooting their budgets or failing some critical performance metrics?

3. Polsag was a tiny project compared to the National Health Service system, and the cancellation of its contract should have taken place long before it did. Do you agree with this assessment? Why or why not?


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