Sharp Printing Case Study Problem Definition: The major problem with Sharp Printing's laser printer project is its senior management's lack of communication to its project manager on its priorities. The project manager's estimate for the cost of the project is $1, 250, 000 over senior managements estimate. This is a huge discrepancy and the cost and time estimates done by the project manager seem to be fairly reasonable. Justification for the problem: It seems to be clear that senior management has an estimate that is probably unrealistic when compared to the project managers estimate that is $1, 250, 000 over the senior manager's estimate. Based the large discrepancies of cost and time, there seems to be a communication breakdown between top management and the project manager on the priorities of the project. Alternative Courses of Action: As one alternative they could change the scope of the project in order to keep the costs down.
Another alternative could be to outsource the technology design. The company could employ the priority matrix in order to get top management to clarify their priorities. The company could also partner with another organization or have a research group in order to share costs and share technology and production methods. The company could commission a break even study for the laser printer. Finally the company could cancel the project all together. Evaluation of Alternatives: Change the scope of the project: Having a well defined project scope is essential to any project.
In this case I believe that the scope of the project is pretty well defined and changing the scope of the project would have little impact on the costs and time of the project. Outsourcing of the Technology Design: Outsourcing very well could have a positive affect on costs and time. The problem with that is having your competition be able to use the same design. Using the Priority Matrix: This is used by a project manager to manage trade-offs among time, costs, and performance. In this case I believe this could be very helpful for the project manager to know what trade-offs top management are willing to take in order to keep the costs down where they want them. Using a Partnership: Using a partnership would share the financial burden of the project with another company, but then Sharp would also have to share technology and profits.
Commission a Break Even Study: Commissioning a break even study would not be particularly helpful in this situation. Cancel the Project: At this point I do not believe that the project needs to be cancelled. Many people in the organization are extremely exited about the project and believe that it can be done. Canceling the project would be the last resort after all has failed. Recommendations: I believe that the best course of action to take would be to use the priority matrix to find out what top management considers to be of high priority and what trade-offs could be employed to find a good mix that would keep costs where top management wants it along with time and performance. The project manager would need to set a meeting with top management and go over the entire project to decide where their priorities lie.
Follow up: Once top management and the project manager come to a conclusion about the priorities, the project manager would need to set that in motion and recalculate the estimates for the project and get the final ok from top management. The project manager would need to continually follow up to make sure the new estimate holds true.