Sunteți pe pagina 1din 12

Beck 1

Cory Beck

Project Management (BQM 444)

March 28, 2014


Beck 2

Abstract

This paper will discuss a case study from the text book Project

Management: A Managerial Approach. The case is titled The Sharon Construction

Corporation. The case consists of a construction company that has won a contract

for an upcoming project. The project is erecting a 20,000-seat stadium. The case is

very in-depth in regards to the different stages of the project, and the amount of

time that each stage will take to complete. Within the case, there are five different

proposals that are given by the management team. Each of these proposals contains

ways to reduce time, and work around specific identified risks that are associated

with completing the project. In this paper, I will discuss the overall project timeline,

the five proposals, and identify the best solution to complete the project on time,

and with the most profit possible for the company.

Project Overview

The upcoming project for The Sharon Construction Corporation is a

project that has the potential to generate a substantial profit of $300,000. In order

to maximize this potential profit, there are several risks that are associated that

need to be analyzed and thought out to arrive at the most economically efficient

conclusion.

The first risk is the complication of the dates associated with the start and

completion date. Construction on the project must start by February 15. Once the

project is started, the company has one year to complete. A penalty clause of
Beck 3

$15,000 per week of delay beyond February 15 of next year is written into the

contract.

Another risk that is associated with the project is the companys need for

unionized employees due to the substantial size of the project. The unionized

employees have a labor contract that will expire on November 30, approximately

ten weeks prior to the projects proposed completion deadline. In the past, The

Sharon Construction Corporations unionized employees have gone on strike 50% of

the time. If there is a strike, there is a 70% chance that the strike will last for 8

weeks, and there is a 30% chance that the strike could last for up to 12 weeks. If a

strike lasts for 12 weeks, the project would not be completed until after the

deadline. If the project extends past the February 15 deadline, the company will be

charged $15,000 per week.

Lastly, a colder December than what had been assumed was now being

predicted. The cold temperatures had not been taken into consideration during

earlier estimates since previous forecasts called for milder weather. Concrete

pouring in December might require special heating that costs $500 per week.

There are many risks that are associated with this project. Project difficulty is

something that every project managers has to deal with. The idea of having a project

run smoothly is something that is unheard of. Being able to handle the different

types of problems that arise efficiently and effectively are what make an ordinary

project manager become a very successful project manager. According to Villanova

University, Balancing all the elements of a complex project - time, money, scope and

people - is the project manager's job. The management team at the Sharon
Beck 4

Construction Company was charged with the task of proposing ideas that could

eliminate some of the risks associated with the project.

The Proposals

The management team of the Sharon Construction Corporation presented the

following proposals. Their proposals were made on the ground of expected costs,

and the amount of time that it could advance the specific activity.

Proposal number one consists of expediting the pouring of the seat galley

supports. This would cost $20,000 and cut the duration of the activity to 6 weeks.

The initial activity was slated to last 12 weeks. By using this proposal it would cut

the time in half. However, $20,000 is 15% of the potential net profit. 15% is a large

chunk of potential profit to mitigate risks. Due to the high cost, and low return, I

would not support proposal number one.

Proposal number two is the same as proposal number one, but in addition,

put a double shift on the filling of the field. This would cost an additional $10,000, a

total of $30,000, and result in a 5-week time reduction from the original 14 weeks,

resulting in a total of 9 weeks to fill the field. While a 5-week reduction is

substantial, I would not support this proposal because the following step to

complete is the artificial playing field turf. Installing the turf takes 12 weeks to

complete. Without the 5-week reduction, the turf will be completed long before the

remainder of the project is expected to be complete.


Beck 5

Proposal number three involves the roof. The roof is very important because

it precedes several activities. The use of three shifts and some overtime could cut

six weeks off the roofing at an additional cost of only $9,000. There are many steps

on this project, like many projects, that cannot be completed until the roof is

installed. If the roof is installed quicker, it will push everything that comes

afterward forward by six weeks. Another large advantage is that it mitigates the

weather factor sooner in the process. With a roof over the employees heads, work

can continue as normal no matter what the conditions outside. For a price of

$9,000, I would strongly support the third proposal and increase the productivity on

the roof.

Proposal number four suggests doing nothing special until December 1.

Then if December is indeed cold, defer the pouring until the cold wave breaks,

schedule permitting, and heat whenever necessary. If a strike occurs, wait until it is

over, because there is no other choice, and then expedite all remaining activities. In

this case, the duration of any activity could be cut but to no less than one-third of its

normal duration. The additional cost per activity for any week that is cut would be

$3,000. This proposal involves too much delaying. Waiting until December to start

any work would be a waste of time. There is 8 weeks alone of clearing the sight

before any work at all. Following that, it is an additional 4 weeks of excavating

before any concrete will be poured. Waiting until after December 1 to pour concrete

would be cutting the project too close to complete the project on time.

The fifth and final project suggests not taking any action at all. The

management team suggests simply hoping and praying that no strike and no cold
Beck 6

December occur. This would cost the company $0, however it leaves far too many

unidentified risks. These unidentified risks can lead to costly mistakes that result in

the project being behind schedule and over budget. If the project is behind, it can

result in project manager needing to crash a project. According to Meredith and

Mantel, crashing a project involves committing all of companys resources to one

particular job in order to finish it on time. The largest problem with a crash is it can

cause ongoing projects to fall behind schedule due to pulling resources from their

assigned tasks. It is always best as a project manager to do everything that you can

to control the outcome of a project. Doing nothing might work sometimes, but

eventually it can cause a major set back in a project managers career.

The Timeline

Understanding the timeline of how a project is going to unfold is very

important for a project manager. Understanding why a particular step cannot be

started until another step is completed is the difference between project managing,

and project observing. Employees do not like to listen to a project manager who

doesnt have a clue about the ins and outs of the process. Being a confident and

organized leader will encourage employees to want to work, even when youre not

around. The time line can be compared to a roadmap. Without knowing where you

are, or how your getting to your next destination, you are lost. A timeline is a way

for everyone all the way from stockholders, to the Chairman of the Board, to have
Beck 7

something tangible that identifies whether the project is moving forward as

planned, or if it has fallen behind schedule.

The timeline for the Sharon Corp is somewhat difficult. There is a lot that

needs to happen, in a relatively short amount of time. The project begins with

clearing the site; this process will take approximately eight weeks. After the site is

clear, work can start simultaneously on the structure itself and on the field. The

easiest way to break this down is to think of the structure as one timeline, and the

field as a secondary timeline. The work in the field involves subsurface drainage,

which lasts eight weeks. Following the drainage, the filling portion can begin. The

filling portion is expected to take approximately fourteen weeks. After the filling

portion is complete, the construction of the artificial playing turf can take place. This

activity is anticipated to last twelve weeks.

Simultaneously on the second timeline, after the sight is clear, there is

approximately four weeks of excavation. Once the excavation is complete, the

concrete footers can be poured. Next, a steel structure that carries the roof will be

built on top of the footers; this process will take approximately four weeks. After

the structure is in place, the roof can be built lasting approximately eight weeks.

Next comes the pouring of the supports for seat galleries lasting approximately

twelve weeks. Following the supports, the pre-cast galleries will be erected; this

process is expected to take thirteen weeks. Next, the seats can be poured with an

estimated completion time of four weeks. The dressing rooms are next with a four-

week completion date. Next, the seats and dressing rooms are ready to be painted.

The painting process is expected to take three weeks. The lights and scoreboard are
Beck 8

expected to take five weeks. Lastly the other facilities in the structure are allotted

four weeks for completion.

Knowing how and why this timeline is laid out in the manner that it is will

prevent mistakes. Mistakes ultimately cost money. This timeline offers a good

foundation of what to expect, but just like any project, there are circumstances that

always arise. Sometimes estimated activity times are completed behind schedule,

and other times they are completed ahead of schedule. It is important for the project

manager to be flexible and always looking ahead at the timeline to see what areas

may need to move forward or backward on the timeline. According to Davies,

Resource management involves the control of the time, manpower, money,

facilities, equipment, material, and technological resources available for the

project(Davies). Understanding the available resources, and being able to apply

those to a timeline is very important.

The Decision

If I were the President of the company, I would find it somewhat challenging

to pick the best decision for this project. There are many variables that are

unknown. Because of the substantial amount of unknown variables, I would base my

decision on the facts that I have available, and make my judgment call with the best

intentions of the company in mind.

First of all, the project needs to know when it will begin. This date will start

the entire timeline and lay out the road map to a successful completion date. For this

date, I would select the final day to start, February 15. This date will give us one
Beck 9

year to complete the project. I have selected this day for several different reasons.

Number one, the site clearing is something that can be done while the ground is still

frozen. The site will be clear by April 15. Looking at previous years, frost has not

been an issue in April, therefore we will be able to begin digging and pouring the

footers as necessary.

The next decision as the President of the company is the dilemma of the

workers going on strike. Without changing the proposed timeline, if we start on

February 15, we will complete the project on December 13. As mentioned earlier,

the labor agreements are only negotiated through November 30. If nothing is done

and the unionized workers go on strike, there is a 30% chance that the strike will

last beyond February 15, causing a very large penalty on a weekly basis. As the

President, I would need to decide which proposal I would like to accept to speed up

the timeline and move the completion date forward. Proposal number one does

offer a significant advance, as far as completion date, but I feel that $20,000 may

cost more than what it is worth. The second Proposal is simply increasing the

amount of money and filling the field quicker. Viewing the field as a separate

timeline indicates that the field portion of the project will be completed by October

11. There is no reason to spend extra money on speeding up the field timeline.

Proposal number four suggests waiting until December. I see nothing but red flags

with this proposal. I see it sky rocketing the price of the project, and almost

certainly going beyond the date of completion. If there is a strike, the company has

no choice but to wait it out and potentially be delayed by twelve weeks. Proposal

number five is the hands off approach that does not take any action at all. Given my
Beck 10

start date, there is a 50% chance that proposal number five would work fine.

However I feel that 50% is too high of a risk that could result in costing the company

$15,000 per week.

I feel that the smartest, and most economical decision is to accept the third

proposal. The third proposal increases to three shifts when completing the roof.

This increase will cut six weeks off of the roof, and will cost $9,000. Because of the

amount of projects that cannot be started until after the roof is completed, speeding

this process up is the best place to move the timeline forward. Putting the third

proposal into effect will give a completion date of November 1. Completing the

project by November 1 allows an extra thirty days for incidentals and unidentified

circumstances that could arise before the union potentially goes on a strike.

Our total net profit would be reduced to $291,000, but the risks associated

with doing nothing would be greatly minimized. As the President of the company, I

would expect that the board members, as well as the management team, to agree

with my overall findings and decision on my proposal recommendation.

Conclusion

There are many pieces to the puzzle of being a project manager.

Project management is not something that individuals are born with. Being a good

project manager takes skills that are not easily obtained. A project has to

accomplish a network of activities using some methods and methodologies. A

project has an internal structure composed of resources, deliverables, tools,

workers, etc. Finally, a project evolves through time, via resource consumption,
Beck 11

product delivery, members' changes and gain of experience, without losing its own

identity(Ludovic-Alexandre Vidal, & Marle, F.). A good project manager must be

exceptionally organized, passionate about their position, and enjoy working with

people. According to Archer The blend of skills required of the successful project

manager includes: communicating (listening and persuading), organizing (planning,

goal-setting, and analyzing), team building (empathy, motivation, developing

cohesion), leading (example setting, energetic, vision, delegation, optimism), coping

(flexibility, creativity, patience, persistence), technological (experience, project

knowledge). In this list, inter-personal and team skills rank well ahead of technical

skills for successful project management, although some understanding of the

technical aspects is essential (Archer). The case of the Sharon Construction

Company is a great example of some of the challenges that a project manager will

have to face. No two projects are identical. Researching, planning, organizing, and

executing are words that describe an average day for a project manger. Laying a

solid timeline, that includes realistic goals and pricing will lead to success. The

mission statement of a successful project manager should be, hope for the best, but

plan for the worst, and treat every project like it is the most important project of

your life.
Beck 12

Works Cited

Archer, N. (1997, Dec 09). Good project managers are vital resource. The Spectator.

Retrieved from

http://ezproxy.sckans.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/

269884708?accountid=13979

Davies, J. R. (1994). Defining the responsibilities of the project manager. Plant

Engineering, 48(9), 82. Retrieved from

http://ezproxy.sckans.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/

221012073?accountid=13979

Meredith J.R., Mantel S.J. (2012) Project Management, A Managerial Approach 8th

Ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishers

Ludovic-Alexandre Vidal, & Marle, F. (2008). Understanding project complexity:

Implications on project management. Kybernetes, 37(8), 1094-1110.

doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03684920810884928

Villanova University. (2013) Top Ten Project Management Challenges. Retrieved on

28 March 2014 From http://www.villanovau.com/top-10-challenges/