The main problem depicted in case study 3.1, Moss and McAdams, is organizational structure. The case study illuminates the effects of lacking a strong project management structure that balances, and supervises, the functional management between Bruce Palmer, Ruby Sands, Ken Crosby, and Zack Olds placement. Moss and McAdams projects faced many challenges due to their lack of a strong project management structure. Moss and McAdams weak project management structure caused them to endure: dysfunctional conflict; personnel infighting; increased stress; slower project progression.
Sands position entrusts her with the responsibility of assigning functional managers and their team members. Initially, Sands, assigned Olds to work with Palmer on the Jacksonville Truck Audit project. Only a week later, Cosby comes into the picture demanding Olds work on his Springfield Metals project. Sands, Cosby and Palmer come to the terrible agreement that Olds split his time between the two projects; mornings with Crosby, afternoons with Palmer. This may have worked out if there was a Strong Project manager who would ensure that Cosby did not abuse the agreement as he did. It is probable that Cosby knew that the lack of such leader would allow him to abuse the relationship. This is conceivable through Cosby’s statement to Palmer: “I believe in keeping things simple. Why don’t we agree that Olds works for me in the mornings and you in the afternoons? I’m sure we can work out any problems that come up. After all, we both work for the same firm”.
Mr. Crosby knew he would be able to take advantage of the arrangement with Palmer. His actions of refusing to share resources, Olds, Cosby asking for Olds to work with him all day one Thursday, to keeping Olds latter and latter, making him arrive late to Palmer’s office every day. Crosby continually pushed the bounds of the agreement. He ever increased Olds work demand, including growing client’s visits and afternoon emails. This type of inability to share company recourses, of which Olds is, are clearly described in the Gray & Larson text as imminent repercussions of lacking a strong project management structure. One that includes a strong project manager who works to balance the functional management role; its demand for shared company resources; conflicts between functional managers; end delays, lessen stress; and improve overall efficiency. Had Moss and McAdams had in place a project management structure and accompanied project manager, they would have avoided the issues that they ultimately encountered. The addition of the Project manager may have avoided the rise in stress and ultimately the diminished overall performance of Olds.
Alternatively, Olds should have remained working with Palmer full time up to a determined point when his project surpasses its apex point down. Then when Cosby’s project begins ramping up Olds will be available to make the transition to working fulltime with Cosby.
This is justifiable as Olds has the expertise in financial information systems required to advance the project quickly with his full attention. Having Olds continue on the audit until it reaches the point where he is no longer a vital an asset, then shifting position to consulting with Cosby. This would allow for both projects to progress through their natural lifecycle with the addition of Old expertise to step in only when most needed in that lifecycle. This alternative would have allowed for Olds to not have endured the stress he encountered while splitting his time 50/50 each day. Alternatively, Palmer, Sands and Olds should have discussed to what beginning and end Olds particular expertise is needed within the time frame of each project’s lifecycle.
It would be negotiated amongst the three managers when Olds expertise is vital and have him work fulltime on each project independently and separated into timeframes of necessity according to the projects particular stage in its lifecycle. This model would have reduced the stress placed on Olds allowing him to maintain a high level of performance. It would similarly end the in-fighting between functional managers Palmer and Cosby over Olds. It is also important for the firm to recognize that they need to hire a similarly skilled employee to Olds. As their offered services grow, their employee base must grow more than just Cosby. They need to hire a team for Cosby to work with on consulting projects as, they clearly lack the personnel to support the growth into the consulting field. This way they have dedicated employees who can work full time on a one project at a time when necessary.