On reading the case and the readings provided with it, my initial thoughts regarding the case were completely unfavorable. There was an ongoing management crisis in Driscoll Software on the event of an experienced and reputed manager, Alessandra Sandovat resigning the company due to her future ambitions and conflict of behaviors with the leader, Tim O’Connell. What happened after this incident made me decide that both the leadership and managerial skills exhibited in the case weren’t up to the mark.
It was the time when Kristen Hammersmith, a very brilliant programmer at Driscoll was promoted to the managerial role which was left vacant by the resignation of her then boss, Alessandra. No doubt Kristen was a talented programmer, but then does it mean that a person good at one skill will be equally good at the other? In the meantime, Driscoll’s old client, Hybara Casinos who had moved out of the deal last year due to expensive software came back to Driscoll to fix their existing cheap setup which doesn’t work reliably.
And the deadline given to Tim was of only two weeks. Tim accepted the proposal and asks Kristen to take charge of this project despite the vacation period impending soon. Kristen thought it was a bad idea to accept the project because of the tight schedule and also most of the resources will be on leave.
However, so selfish was Tim for his company and the revenue that he didn’t show any empathy for Kristen and her team and straight away struck a deal with the client.
Obviously, Kristen didn’t showcase any of the good managerial skills at the helm. Firstly, she blindly followed Tim’s order without even asking about the criticality of the project. Also, she fell into a myth that being a manager she had to control her team. Without having earned the respect of her team, she was expecting them to be very responsible. She threw orders directly to the team about the project timeline and not even shared her own thoughts and ideas. In fact she herself being a programmer would have had a very measure of the situation but she refuted to contribute. In my opinion she was just trying too hard to be in the managers’ shoes and forgot her own strong points. And why not seek help? So what that you are in a managerial position.
She never sought for help keeping the issues and pressure within herself. She was actually very worried of the fact that she being a rookie, it won’t look good to accost and seek advice. Asking for advices from experienced professionals could have been a much smarter and sensible move at that time. And the very fact that Alessandra was no more part of the unit would have just been perfect for Kristen. According to my opinion, Tim wasn’t an effective leader, as the situation in which he put himself was a mistake by himself. Tim was aware that Alessandra was a key resource to the project and knowing this he let her go from the company without even trying to convince her to reconsider the decision she took.
He also chose Kristen as the Project manager only on the basis that she proved herself technically strong in her previous projects. It is also mentioned in the case that he was concerned about handling over the project to a rookie who had no prior experience leading a team and was considering whether to call Alessandra or not. Another mistake which Tim committed was that he agreed to carry out the project on a holiday season when most of the team would be on a planned leave. He should have considered whether the project is strategically important to the company and then talk to the team before taking the project. Honestly speaking, Kristen could have been an effective manager, had she been mentored by a better leader and not Tim.