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Young’s response to the director should be as follows:
She should accept the full responsibility for the project mismanagement, apologize to all members, and avoid responding defensively to everyone’s complaints and frustration.
She should admit that the project is experiencing more issues than it was anticipated. However, she should assure the director and the staff that the issues are manageable and clearly explain how she will respond to the issues and propose the plan of actions she will implement.
She should ask the director and the staff to identify their problems and take a note of all the project related issues that they are experiencing.
She needs to assure the director and the staff of her ability to bring the project to a successful completion.
Moreover, in order to gain the staff’s support and cooperation, she needs to individually follow up with the people who were negatively affected by the conversion and make sure to address their issues in a timely manner by taking corrective actions and constantly keeping them updated on the progress.
The following mistakes were made by Young:
Assuming a one size fits all approach. Although she had prior experience, projects vary from company to company and project to project. By not making that assumption, she could have been more prepared to mitigate and correct unforeseen delays.
She allowed her workload to consume her social life at work that perhaps could have been very useful in dealing with people. People may be more forgiving if you have a personal relationship with them. Perhaps, if she had a relationship with co-workers, she could have gotten better attendance at the briefing meetings.
Nursing Poncho just delayed the inevitable of fixing the server, which was left to replace it at the same time the new NT system was installed. More upfront preparatory work could have allowed for less work during the project execution.
She should have used her resources to delegate some of the work (frequent phone calls from staff researchers with computer problems) instead of doing it all herself and delaying project planning.
Not having experienced staff on her project team provided more responsibility for her in addressing problems.
There is no evidence provided that she prepared a project priority matrix, a WBS, a responsibility matrix, a network diagram, a Gantt chart, a risk matrix, etc. This would have allowed her to see critical paths in the timing of the conversion project and perhaps allowed parallel working of activities.
She brushed off some staff concerns aside (disruption to their work) and made promises that it would not be an issue, when in reality some of those concerns became major problems.
Young could have managed the conversion project better by:
Taking time to analyze this particular project and not consider it the same as previous projects she has worked on.
Dedicating some time to her work social life. Co-workers are more apt to help someone they have a relationship with, as opposed to someone who does not know them well and is telling them what to do.
Making some upfront investment in doing what she could before the project execution (i.e. replacing Poncho). She should have made corrective actions whenever she discovered the problem instead of allowing it to ride and complement problems during the conversion.
Having a more experienced team to work on the project with her. Experienced personnel could have been a greater support in both a technical and behavioral sense. Having a more experienced team would allow her to feel more confident about delegating work and not being such a micro-manager. By doing so, she would create more time for her to prepare for the conversion project.
Creating a project priority matrix to identify the constraints, enhancements, and accepts of the project; creating a network diagram to identify the critical path and make sound resource allocation decisions; and develop a risk matrix to identify risk and create a plan to mitigate and correct.
Dedicating more time to address the concerns of the staff-workers. Ultimately, they are the customers and their needs need to be met.
Creating a back-up system that the staff could fall back on while the project problems are being solved.