Hyten Corporation Essay
The structure of this assignment is such that the questions are not just answered directly but that there is a discussion of general premises by the author prior to confronting the complexities of systems re-engineering. The reader is given a few short philosophical insights into the author’s assumption in the “preferred method” of such organisational change. It is the focus of this assignment to impart how the organisational change will lead to the organisations culture changing.
In the second question which is what is to be done to solve the problems and priority I have referred to the problem statements in the first question per number in the first question and then rated them in priority.
The author has chosen this method of answering for the sake of continuity and ease of reading.
General Discussion:Prior to answering the questions posed in this case study the point of departure will be discussed.
Change is ongoing in any organisation and this is to be a managed process. The need for change should be clarified and has to be analysed, the new goal clearly laid out, the change effected and then the whole change measured against the goals initially stated. Then one can see if a new change or further change is necessary. These processes are laid out in Dr. E. Goldratt’s book the Critical Chain as The Theory of constraints.
Harvard Professor J.Cotter outlines 8 steps to bridge the change gap. These steps as shown in the following illustration bridge the gap between the current state and the desired state.
As in Cotters first step the managers of the company under discussion in the case study are indeed ready to be convinced that current methods are not working effectively and efficiently. The critical mass has been achieved within HYTEN to effect the necessary change.
Within HYTEN the emphasis in leading the change should be on the premise that humans have natural in born strengths and will execute and implement things in a fashion that allows them to express this natural style.
The best that managers can do is to take cognisance of this strength and play on those strengths in the individual. To take this assumption a step further in proposing the hypothesis that certain environments and cultural backgrounds assist individuals to develop certain skills.
HYTEN has already shown the ability in its past to adapt to changing macro economic climate when it re-tooled and changed production after the first Gulf war. This was very successful in the longer term. This is a positive indication that human resources will change without too much disruption to productivityQuestion 1:Problems1.The company uses an informal project management model and the manner in which new projects are tackled is not as orderly as it could be. (In the complex environment of tight schedules and multi-disciplinary teams the carefully documented and well managed project will mean that ambiguities and duplications will be greatly reduced. The project manager must provided the adhesive force for this team.)•This is an architectural problem2.The company has been very successful and managers have been promoted swiftly hence, this relatively young company grew up around the managers. (This has had a positive effect in as much as the managers have become senior managers relatively quickly but has also meant that the managers have become complacent and secure in their environment.
There also has been no introduction of new blood into the senior management and thus this inbreeding has the effect that cross-pollination with other companies is not happening.)•This is a behavioural problem3.The managers for their part are relatively well educated but seem to have become complacent, they have stagnated and failed to study further and thus have not been exposed to some of the newer methods of business structuring/management. The focus of these managers seems to be on technology. (The focus on technology for technology’s sake is not a good thing. In this type of industry it is understandable that managers get caught up in the core function of the business. But the managers can not neglect studies in other fields or fail to focus on neglected areas)•This is a behavioural problem4.The business development unit is seemingly ineffectual. The comment that they appear to be fixing the areas which are not broken seems indicative of the errors they are making. (The business development unit is seemingly not focusing on their core function and is neglecting key performance areas.
They are not promoting the efficient running of projects and internal policies. In fact they are having the worst possible effect on the company image by making promises that are unachievable and unrealistic.)•This is a behavioural problem5.”The customer has little control over funding, manpower or work done.” This on its own is an over sight as the customer is king. He is the sponsor and as such should demand that the resources and work should follow the projects need as both resource demand and funding are provided by him. This will mean that the production will be a push type and not a pull type.(No further comment or explanation needed here)
This is a behavioural problem (Perhaps stemming from the fact that HYTEN was used to “bit work” for the military.)6.Marketing and sales do not have a say as to what projects will fly and what won’t. (This seems strange as these are the very persons that have front line contact with customers and potential customers and they may see the demand for a particular product.)
•This is both an architectural and a behavioural problem7.The fact that the authority, role and function of the business development department has gradually expanded means that there are no clear definitions or mandates given to these important project managers. That a charter has not been set up is an indication that senior managers lack the will to tackle functional managers.
•This is an architectural problem8.No design freeze on products. (This can be very trying for production)•This will cause operational problems but the cause is behavioural9.Production items not 100% are being reworked and there seem to be many no-go products being reworked to the determent of products in the system for the first time. (Dr. E Goldratt’s Theory of constraints)•This is an operational problem10.There seems to be a big emphasis on the project manager being technically competent and having intrinsic knowledge of technical detail. The other characteristics that are high on the agenda are work assessments of individuals taking part in the project.
•This is a behavioural problem11.The HR manager is very concerned that the performance of individuals is correctly captured between the functional manager and the project manager. Sometimes a manager can get a gut feeling about an employee and not be able to document the actual capacity of that individual fully.
•This is an architectural problem12.The cited problem of an employee at another company not gettting an increase in line with work carried out or that this employee was functioning at a higher level than for which he was employed initially are smoke screens for a basically unsound opportunity and promotion policy at that company and can be avoided by installing proper policies. (Dearth of promotion and training policies) (Quite poignant that the one vocalising these words is the very person who should have the answers. )•This is a behavioural problem13.Harold Grimes the plant manager vocalises that internal personnel should be promote to the position of project manager for this new big project as they will have insider knowledge, this is not an on going item like production and as such is a once off situation. His assertions may lead to great unhappiness of the individual placed in such positions.
•This is not a problem yet as this has not happened but predictions are that this will become a problem in a few years time should this course of action be followed.
14.Herman Hall the I.S. Manager thinks only in terms of what computer package is needed for reporting.( The throwing of software solutions at system problems is very common as the managers attempt to avoid real issues and substitute/relegate control to software.)•This is a behavioural problem15.The adaptability of the IS department is very poor as they don’t even consider “of the shelf solutions” or outsourcing assistance.
•This is a behavioural problem16.Bub Gustwell Scheduling director for all his good sentiments sees the project management way of managing purely as a vehicle to better schedules.
•This is a behavioural problemSummaryThe tally of current problems is 15 (One is a potential future problem) this is not the full tally of all the problems or permutations of problems but the major problems have been highlighted.
The score is as follows:Behavioural problems10 1/2Architectural problems 3 ½Operational problems1As is evident from the graphic above the overwhelming problems of HYTEN are behavioural. Having said this the corporation is very successful in a competitive environment. The number of changes are relatively few if one considers the size and extent of the organisation.
Question 21-The company not formalising the project management approach is one of the root causes for many of the other ailments, this needs to be addressed as follows:•Project charter established for each project•Standing of both project managers and functional managers to be clearly laid out•All staff working on projects should be briefed on the role that they are to play and duration of their service on that project•An exit strategy defined up fount2-The successes of the company and the long serving senior managers: Remedial action to the stagnation of the senior managers could be as follows:•Training of existing managers in up-to-date business methods
•The implementation of a succession policy•The introduction of some new managers from other companies•Employment of consultants/specialists to re-engineer the corporation3-The failure of managers to keep up to date with studies: This was given a passing mention in bullet point 2•Studies in relevant fields other than technology could be arranged by the corporation• Workshops on emergent business methods should be held•Subscriptions to relevant business and technology periodicals should be procured for all senior managers and a rotational roster of such periodicals for more junior manages and staff.
•Establishment of a news server in house where matters can be discussed e.g. troubleshooting, innovations etc..
4-Ineffectual business unit:•The whole business unit needs to scrutinised as to function, this may be outsourced•This unit needs to revert to the core function as it has drifted5-The control that customer has over funding and resources: This needs evaluation and through consultation with stake holders a new level of customer involvement can be reached. The recommendation is that a customer evaluation program be started and that the areas indicated by the customer as high priority be addressed. Not to pre-empt such a program the corporation needs to open communications channels with the client and actively market a positive image to off set the negative one.
6-Marketing and sales not having a say: This ties in with bullet 5 and the marketing and sales should be found to be repeating what the customer is saying. It is not so much a matter that the sales or marketing is not being hear but that the customer is not been heard. Once the customer evaluation of the company is complete the results must be implemented. There after the evaluation forms should be issued with each customer transaction.
7-Expansion of the business development unit:•This matter was touched on in bullet 4 with a recommendation that this function be outsourced once it is clearly defined within the corporate structure•The right sizing of this department is a second option to outsourcing•The outsourced business development unit should be given measurable objectives and clear brief8-Design freeze of products: The fact that there are constant changes in design is a clear indicator that the customer and stake holders are not involved and are not articulating their needs
•Once better lines of communication have been established with stakeholders design will be reached by consensus, expensive re-tooling for design change will be greatly reduced9-Rework of unsatisfactory items:•This can be reduced by continuous quality control. In other words the point of manufacture must be the quality controller thus work pieces would not have to counter-flow to the production line and rework would be immediate•Dr. E. Goldratt proposed the critical chain theory where the weakest segment of the chain is targeted and improved this is then repeated till the system is running optimally10-The emphasis on the technically competent project manager: This is just plane nonsense as the team is made up of multi-disciplinary specialists. The only step needed here is to clarify this in the project charter.
11-Concern that staff are to be graded by two managers: On the whole a poor employee will be seen as such by both managers. The converse being true as well. Having stated this it should be easy enough for each manager to rate the employee and an aggregate be awarded between the two managers on the Key performance areas and the various related weighting for those areas12- Employees not getting equitable increases between plants:•This is as described in bullet 11 – The job evaluations and job weighting systems must be overhauled then the system of KPS and weighing need to be put into practice to assess which team is the most productive.
It is flawed to award employees differing increases within a work unit. Best practice is the fixed bonus system were there is no separation between rank or individual13-The promotion of only internal staff due to insider knowledge: This is not a problem as yet but may become a problem in future as it may cause a situation of inbreeding. This situation can be remedied easy by correcting the perception early14-The computer package which is the universal panacea:•This is yet again a perception that must be corrected early. As any package must follow the real world model and as such the real world model must work first.
•The systems approach is governed by policies and methods these must be implemented fully and not be sitting on a disused shelf.
15-The adaptability of the IS department:•The IS department must be told to evaluate off-the-shelf solutions before considering other alternatives•The IS department must ensure that options for roll out of new solutions consider the possibility of out-sourcing16-The perception of persons that project management is only schedules:•The only way to change this perception is through educationPrioritization of remedial action and problemsThe first priority is to change the current state of the senior manager studies, once these key persons change their outlook and approach bullet point 3, 2, 5, 6 and 16 will be resolved.
The education of managers to a new business approach can not be under stated as they will see the need for customer involvement and even community involvement, the balanced score card will become an intrigue business tool. The changing of the business culture will be then a natural and easy process. The managers will be secure in their positions and will not feel threatened by the change, in fact they will see the rewards and start to implement the change from within.
Second priority is formalisation and implementation of the various company policies which impact on the individuals and structures within the corporation. This must be done in conjunction with the shared vision of HYTEN corp. and thus the corporate strategy will be defined in the process.
These are the policies which affect:1-Staffing pay progression and bonuses2-Formalisation and introduction of project management and project charters3-The scope and powers of the business unitsThe systems approach to the documentation and formalisation of the policies and strategic goals will remediate the ills in bullet points 1, 4, 11, 12 and 14Third priority is the resolution of the functional issues such as reworked items, design freeze and others. These issues are of minor concern in relation to the other items which cut right to the core of the problems. The bullet points 8 and 9 are addressed in this priority.
The remaining bullet points not dealt with are not preserved to be priority issues but never the less should be dealt with as a matter of course in the manner laid out in the bullet points above. Some are misconceptions others are a lack of insight thus need to be quickly remedied.
4-ConclusionThe over view of this company is that it is in good condition currently but will not stay in that shape if it doesn’t continue to evolve. Many of the points raised as problems are inter-related; this is highlighted throughout the bulleted points. Intervention in some areas will have to be great will in others it is minimal. The one overarching factor needing change is the ongoing education of senior managers. This company is ripe for change and has many eager young individuals who need development. The Policies are basically sound but need to be revisited both for updating content and implementation.
If the changes are implemented HYTEN Corp. will go from strength to strength.
•15th March 2006, The Eight-stage Management Process of Major
•Program Managing Organizational Transformation, Change and Performance Improvement. Prof. Pieter Steyn and Erik Schmikl•The Critical Chain, Dr. E. Goldratt 2nd edition