Chapter 1: Case (One day in the life) This case shows a glimpse of what it is like to be a project manager. It also underscores that being a project manager is more social than technical and that project managers spend the majority of their time interacting with various people who impact a project.
1. How effectively do you think Rachel spent her day? You may argue that she is inefficient and does not have control over her time.
You may also argue that this is the nature of the job as expected, and that she is appropriately spending her time managing relations and keeping on top of things that affect the project.
Students with little work experience are often much more critical than those with work experience.
2. What does the case tell you about what it is like to be a project manager? Rachel’s day underscores three key functions project managers spend their time performing:
a. Building and sustaining interpersonal relations. Project managers have to network and develop good working relations with team members and other project stakeholders.
b. Information gathering and dissemination. Project managers are the information hub for their projects. They are in constant communication with various stakeholders, collecting information from various sources, and sending it to those who have a need to know.
c. Decision-making. Project managers consult with various people to make decisions necessary to complete the project.
Chapter 2: Problems 2-52. Two new software projects are proposed to a young, start-up company. The Alpha project will cost $150,000 to develop and is expected to have annual net cash flow of $40,000. The Beta project will cost $200,000 to develop and is expected to have annual net cash flow of $50,000. The company is very concerned about their cash flow. Using the payback period, which project is better from a cash flow standpoint? Why?
Payback = Investment / Annual Savings
Project Alpha: $150,000 / $40,000 = 3.75 years
Project Beta: $200,000 / $50,000 = 4.0 years
Project Alpha is the better payback.
3. A five-year project has a projected net cash flow of $15,000, $25,000, $30,000, $20,000, and $15,000 in the next five years. It will cost $50,000 to implement the project. If the required rate of return is 20 percent, conduct a discounted cash flow calculation to determine the NPV.
4. You work for the 3T company, which expects to earn at least 18 percent on its investments. You have to choose between two similar projects. Your analysts predict that inflation rate will be a stable 3 percent over the next 7 years. Below is the cash flow information for each project. Which of the two projects would you fund if the decision is based only on financial information? Why?
NPV comparison: Accept both Omega and Alpha; or select Alpha that has the highest NPV of $176,525
Net Present Value Example Comparing Two Projects (with inflation)
Required Rate of Return
Formula Project Omega: =C24+NPV(B23,D25:J25)
Required Rate of Return
Formula Project Alpha: =C30+NPV(B29,D31:J31)
NPV comparison: Accept both Omega and Alpha; or select Alpha that has the highest NPV of $129,536
5. The Custom Bike Company has set up a weighted scoring matrix for evaluation of potential projects. Below are three projects under consideration. a. Using the scoring matrix below, which project would you rate highest? Lowest?
b. If the weight for “Strong Sponsor” is changed from 2.0 to 5.0, will the project selection change? What are the three highest weighted project scores with this new weight?
c. Why is it important that the weights mirror critical strategic factors?
a. Rate Project 5 the highest and Project 2 the lowest.
b. Yes. Three highest are Projects 3, 5, and 1. Given the new strong sponsor weight, Project 3 becomes the first choice. However, note that Project 5 is still the near equivalent of Project 3 by the weighting scheme.
c. It is important that the weights mirror critical strategic factors because failure to do so will cause selection of projects that do not contribute the most to the strategic plan.
Their post-meeting went very well. They were able to juggle their company’s resources amongst their existing projects with the end result of allocating replacement resources necessary to complete the projects. They had the problem of having two app engineers needing to be called back to their prior project. Their return to this prior project made sense as they would be the ones needed to finish it in the shortest amount of time. The post-meeting was held to devise a replacement strategy for these engineers on their current projects. The project managers were able to solve this problem and keep their projects on track.
2. What factors contributed to the success or failure of this meeting?
There were two main factors that contributed to the success of the post-meeting: structure and culture.
The structure of the project ranking system dictated the main decisions that had to be made. Through the use of this system, the project managers could tell which projects were priority and which required certain resources more urgently than others.
The culture of the organization however was the main influencing factor in this meeting’s success. All of the project managers were eager to work with each other as well as recommend and give advice as to which app engineers may work better than others. This show a culture of camaraderie amongst the project managers. They are dedicated not just to their own projects, but all of the projects of the organization. This point of company culture is further highlighted by the story of the former project manager who was let go for hoarding resources.
3. What kind of project management structure does Horizon use? Is it the right structure? Explain.
Horizon Consulting uses a matrix organizational structure. Horizon is organized into three departments consisting of Sales, Software Development and Graphics. Accounts managers (from the Sales department) double as project managers. These project managers in turn manage resources from these three departments who are assigned to their projects. Some engineers would work on a project full time, while others would be assigned to multiple projects at once. The department heads would manage engineers’ assignments and schedules with the account managers reporting to the Director of Sales.
As described above, Horizon Consulting operates within the organizational parameters of a matrix structure and has success in doing so. Clearly this structure also fits their organizational culture where collaboration, performance and attaining company goals is highly valued.
Chapter 5: Exercise 1 1. Mrs. Tolstoy and her husband, Serge, are planning their dream house. The lot for the house sits high on a hill with a beautiful view of the Appalachian Mountains. The plans for the house show the size of the house to be 2,900 square feet. The average price for a lot and house similar to this one has been $120 per square foot. Fortunately, Serge is a retired plumber and feels he can save money by installing the plumbing himself. Mrs. Tolstoy feels she can take care of the interior decorating. The following average cost information is available from a local bank that makes loans to local contractors and disperses progress payments to contractors when specific tasks are verified as complete.
a. What is the estimated cost for the Tolstoy’s house if they use contractors to complete all of the house? Estimated total cost for the house is $348,000 (2,900 sq. ft. x $120 per foot).
b. Estimate what the cost of the house would be if the Tolstoys use their talents to do some of the work themselves.
Estimated savings of Serge’s plumbing work and Mrs. Tolstoy’s interior decorating:
Plumbing roughed in
6% x $348,000
Plumbing fixtures installed
4% x $348,000
4% x $348,000
Estimated total cost for the completed house using their talents is $299,280 ($348,000 - $48,720).
Chapter 6: Exercise 19
Chapter 7: Case (International Capital, Inc.)
Time in Workdays
It is possible to compress the project to reach about a 95% chance of hitting the average. This would require compression down to 61 days from the current plan of 73 days. See below.
Chance of average (70) with initial plan (73)
Z = (TS – TE) / Sq. root of sum of variance along CP
Z = (70 – 73) / Sq. root 36 = -3 / 6 = -.5
From Table A7.2 P = .31 This does not meet the 95% chance criterion. Getting to the average of 70 days and upping the chance of making it would require compressing the project. Compressing to 61 days will improve the chance of meeting the 95% confidence level (but probably increase the risk and lower the real chance of 95 percent).
Z = (70 - 61) / 6 = +9 / 6 = +1.5
From Table A7.2 P = .93
Chapter 2 Organization Strategy and Project Selection