Project #12708 - Case Project Three

Case Study Three


Willowbrook School

Willowbrook School is a small private school that has retained you to assist in the development of a new information system for the school's administrative needs.


Kathy Gilliard and Susan Brown are investigating project management in the Willowbrook project. After online research and several visits to the local library, both Gilliard and Brown agree that project management will be vital to the success of the school's new information system. Even though the information system is still in the early stages of investigation, it is clear that project management techniques will be needed to keep the project on track.

During a staff meeting on the subject of project management, teacher Lindsey McDonnell shared that she is aware of a school that has just completed a similar project. Her good friend, Megan Moore, is the principal of Canyon River School, which is in the next state. Canyon River School has recently completed a similar information system project and McDonnell has suggested that Willowbrook examine the project. The Willowbrook staff has unanimously agreed and has asked for a teleconference call with Moore. Three days later, Moore takes part in a teleconference call with the Willowbrook staff, where she discusses how the information system at her school was implemented. The discussion includes the following excerpt:

Gilliard: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us and to help us with our own project by learning from yours.

Moore: My pleaure. I hope that your school learns some helpful information from our project.

Gilliard: Because we are looking to enhance our project estimates, would you be willing to email us detailed information about your estimates and progress?

Moore: Yes, but I will have to obtain the approval of our school board. I don't think it will be a problem; we can remove any sensitive information from our estimates before we send them to you.

Gilliard: Thank you. Please tell us a little about your project.

Moore: To start off, this was not an easy project for CRS. We did not have any previous experience to go by, so we had to learn as we went along. I decided early on that we needed a project manager who had a firm understanding of technology, so I chose an experienced IT programmer to head up the project. After listening to our needs, he immediately knew the technologies that would be needed to implement the new system. He created a list of tasks to be performed and estimated the time and cost that each would take given our resources.

Gilliard: That sounds like a good start. Please tell us how the project progressed from there. What were the defined boundaries of the project?

Moore: The project's scope was not laid out in writing. We knew of the basic requirements of the system; we knew that the system had to handle tuition, student records, and billing. Initially we decided to leave the details up to the project manager. After the project began, however, several board members introduced additional requirements and suggestions for the system. Small changes like these continued to stream in and made the project very difficult to handle.

Gilliard: So the system's requirements seemed to grow out of reach?

Moore: Exactly. We didn't have the resources to do what everyone wanted while staying on schedule and within budget. The project manager eventually called a meeting and said that the project was growing and changing so drastically that we had to define in clear terms what we wanted the system to do and not do.

Gilliard: That sounds interesting. Can you tell us how project reports were handled?

Moore: The project manager identified the project tasks to be performed and defined a schedule for those tasks, but we did not discuss a project reporting scheme with him. It didn't seem necessary at first, because he works part time at the school. Workers would report to the project manager, and the manager would chat every week with us about how the project was doing. As the project took more of his time, we received fewer reports from him. This became frustrating because we didn't know how the project was doing at any given time. The project lost the support of a few board members because of this.

Gilliard: Interesting. What about time - did you meet your deadline?

Moore: No, we didn't meet our deadline, but we were close. In the last month of the project, we saw that we were behind schedule. In hindsight, I don't think that we had enough milestones by which to gauge our progress. With just a short time left, the project manager decided to add multiple new workers to help speed things up. Unfortunately, it didn't help the schedule at all. In fact, the project fell even further behind. The project manager was very surprised.


Lesson 4215C-1 Exam

Case Project Three

1. Why did the project's requirements seem to grow out of reach?

2. Did Canyon River School handle project reporting effectively? Why or why not? What should have been done? How important is project reporting?

3. Why did adding more employees at the end of the late project make it even later? What could have been done instead?

4. What other questions do you think were asked of Megan Moore? What questions would you have asked?

Subject Computer
Due By (Pacific Time) 09/24/2013 12:00 am
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