Multi-projects case study 1

Multi-projects case study

1. Executive Summary

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This submission identifies the various challenges portrayed in the case study. It presents an evaluation of these challenges and seeks to identify the causes which led to the challenges. Multi Projects Inc. is an organization that operates in a Matrix-type Organization but does not effectively and efficiently utilize this type of organizational structure to its fullest potential and this becomes disadvantageous in this particular scenario.

This is illustrated through a number of problems identified in this report such as a lack of project prioritization, no clear and appropriate balance of power between project- and functional managers, inefficient utilization of resources, lack of a personal development and knowledge growth programme and a display of dysfunctional behavior by individuals.

The primary causes of the above stated problems were a lack of leadership and no formal system to facilitate effective project integration. There also seems to be a lack of team culture in the organization and a limited understanding of the operating guidelines by which the organization should operate the Matrix type Organization. There also appears to be no formal communication lines between various stakeholders in the organization.

The recommended solution is the creation and implementation of a Project Management Office (PMO).The creation of a PMO has advantages that would simultaneously solve a number of the systemic problems inherent in the Multi Projects Inc. organizational structure. This would of course require a strategic transformation project to be initiated but the long term benefits of the change are significant and are illustrated in the report. In conclusion, the problems faced by Multi Projects are not significant enough to become detrimental to the profitability of the organization in the short term. Recommendations as to what and how change should be affected are provided in order to drive behaviours which are perceived as more favourable when considering effective project leadership.

2. Assumptions

Despite having a matrix structure, Multi Project inc. does not have a Programme Manager. No portfolio managers are evident for clients, as Projects are simply handed out. Multi Project inc. lacks an effective People Development Process. No project prioritization.

Multi Project inc. a well-established consulting firm, has large pools of resources for projects. Lack in the governance process, is evident.

3. Problems Identified

3.1 Resource Constraints

It is clearly evident that employees are stretching themselves far too thin to keep both old and new clients satisfied; furthermore Project managers are assigned to too many projects. From Gido & Clements (2009:453), opportunities are provided for people in the functional areas to pursue career development through being assigned to various types of projects. They further indicate that individuals become more valuable as they gain more experience, thereby improving their eligibility for higher-level positions within the company.

Tyler is the senior systems engineer and has been with the company for 8 years, he is highly

Tyler is the senior systems engineer and has been with the company for 8 years, he is highly recommended and his broad knowledge and experience has placed him as a valuable asset to the company. It appears that Tyler is the only system engineer who is a “guru”. Therefore, it seems like there’s a lack of skills development, knowledge transfer and also employee’s individual personal development plan.

Training is intended for the creation and sharing of knowledge, which can be termed as creation of intellectual capital. There appears to be an overreliance on Tyler as the system engineer of choice on various projects. This reveals a possible lack of skills development and knowledge transfer between experienced employees and those with limited skills and knowledge. This problem also manifests itself in the company making promises to prospective clients that Tyler will be assigned to their projects, without even taking into consideration his existing workload. Tyler has developed his own skills and knowledge during execution of previous projects, however there was no skills transferred. Employee satisfaction and development can be better catered for within a new improved organisational structure.

3.2 Organizational Structure Challenges

It is evident that no Programme manager is evident which results in project priority not being identified. Consulting services may be too broad; the organisation should consider sticking to core competencies. Clients are far too influential on who their projects team consists of. Lack of / or poor communication between team and staff in general. Rapid growth has resulted in the structure of the organisation being compromised. There are no visible Policies; Processes & Procedures and there is no evidence that

organisation. Jeff’s behaviour is unethical and unprofessional. This is illustrated by the manner in which Jeff tries to communicate with Tyler, Julie and Jennifer. 3.4 Ineffective PMO. Project Management Office is ineffective as the structure doesn’t seem to have a programme manager who’s managing all the project managers and assisting the project managers in resource allocations. Clements and Gido (2012:409) highlight the importance of a Project Management Office (PMO) with regards to providing overall direction and support. The fact that project managers determine the importance or prioritise their individual projects or customers above others shows that the PMO at Multi Projects is ineffective. There are no guidelines from the PMO with regards to how resources are assigned to projects as well as a lack of service level agreements between project and line functions within the company.
The organization seems like they do not have a programme manager or if they do he is not visible the problem with this is that no one is accountable for the project manager’s decision. There is no project governance in place so that means project managers can do as they please. The project management office (PMO) is a central support office that manages multiple projects and establishes procedures and develops best practices. A programme manager can be assigned to facilitate decisions regarding prioritising projects based on risk to the company and the customer. It is proven that the organisation replicate support arrangements as programmes and projects come and go.

The above definition of the Programme Office proves that the Multi Project office is ineffective. The PMO ineffectiveness of the PMO results in Communication not being filtered down because of the workload of employees. There is no ability to collect and hand over vital lessons learned from one initiative to the next.

There are no continuity and maintenance standards. There are too many projects running and they cannot keep up even though staff compliment has grown.

4. Proposed Solutions

4.1 Organisational re-alignment – Matrix Organisational Structure

Matrix Organization Structure

(a)It allows efficient utilization of resources by having individuals from various functions assigned to work on specific projects. (b)Because they have a functional home, individuals can be moved among projects. (c)It provides a core of functional expertise that is available to all projects. (d)Knowledge stays with the company, ready to be used on future projects. (e)People experience greater learning and growth, and their knowledge and skills are transferred from project to project. (f)The matrix structure also facilitates

Self-awareness- Strategic leaders must have the potential to understand their own moods and emotions, as well as their impact on others.
Readiness to delegate and authorize- Effective leaders are proficient at delegation. They are well aware of the fact that delegation will avoid overloading of responsibilities on the leaders. They also recognize the fact that authorizing the subordinates to make decisions will motivate them a lot.

Articulacy- Strong leaders are articulate enough to communicate the vision (vision of where the organization should head) to the organizational members in terms that boost those members. Strategic leadership is critical in providing direction and support from strategy formulation through to strategy implementation. It is the Executive’s responsibility to ensure the project’s objectives, costs; benefits, etc. are aligned with the Multi Project’s business strategy and objectives. The focus of the Business Case should be on the totality of business change, not just one element of it

4.3 Communication
Combination of meetings can help the employees to understand the role of everyone in the organization. The matrix structure facilitates improved communication, allowing for timelier problem identification and conflict resolution. The dual communication paths increase the chances that problems will be identified rather than suppressed. This clearly shows that communication must have intent, it must be effective, and the message that is communicated must be devoid of ambiguity and must lead to the desired results.

Communication is the most essential instrument of success in business and social world. While a rightly and timely communication can keep things running smoothly and bring in greater benefits to the organizations. Miscommunication or lack of it can prove lethal for it.

No company can last long without proper means of communications. Proper communication is vital to the success of a project, Harold Kerzener. According to the American Management Association (2011) there are four forms of communication, namely: verbal, non-verbal, written and visual communication. Linked to the mentioned four forms of communication, different communication tools that can be used which include but not limited to meetings, email, telephones, memos and regular reporting can be linked to one or several of the mentioned communication forms. Effective communication will eliminate misunderstandings that cause conflict between people and poor quality workmanship.

It will also reduce time and resource wastage. Effective communication will be an important element in the

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