Project Management

Your initial work in responding to Liz’s email was a success. This delivery by you was seen as providing the
right level of leadership, while still providing the documents requested. Accordingly, you have now been
invited to meet with Helen and her manager, Murat, to have all your questions answered.
Murat believes he already knows what you are going to ask, so the conversation starts off a bit one-sided.
“Helen and Liz tell me that they gave you very little to work from, but you were able to get them what
they needed very quickly. Good.”
At this point, TPZ and Liz enter the room to join the meeting. Murat had this all planned out from the
beginning. “OK, your meeting. Ask us anything you want” Murat challenges you.
From the Q+A that follows, you determine some new information:
• The buy-in from the Business Units Leaders, is actually missing – they were a source of not
achieving prior merger cost saves
• The acquisition of the competitor company will have a media announcement of the agreement
(closing will still occur end of Q3) occur on April 1.
• Timing of having a “fully operational” AI 2025 is far more important than the personnel cost
savings, due to Wall Street expectations of The Company not delivering on sales revenue increases
from prior consolidations (perception issue)
• Your Fee structure
o All agree that your role as Project Manager has changed, and is quite broad now
o Indeed you will be filling, in part, Helen’s role, to take charge of the project
o As such, your staff needs may need to flex, based on your judgement
• It has become apparent to you, that the culture of the company is quite behind that of more
cutting edge, agile organizations. Indeed the goals you hear being discussed, seem to be “catching
up” to where other companies were 10 years ago. The Company desires this image to change
You ask a few more questions, and you determine that Helen has committed to having the new AI golive 270 days from January 1, which matches with the TPZ schedule of completing the final testing of the
AI. But “going live” in terms of functionality, may not include the 90 days of training Liz has in mind with
the business units using the live tool, nor does that timeframe address any existing personnel layoffs
from the Forecast teams. You are concerned that any announcement of such a tool will cause an exodus
of the existing Forecast teams doing the work, but you also know that the Company cannot operate well
without a seamless transition to the AI tool if people leave early.
The issue for IT (and now you as Project Manager) becomes one of timing: the sooner the operation is
live, the sooner the Company saves on Labor by reducing the current Forecast Teams payroll by a total
of 80 positions, across the two business units: totaling $10,000,000 of current cost. However, any
personnel severance in the event of an involuntary layoff, could be as much as $4,000,000 for all 80
personnel. You also know that such an AI initiative will receive great press, and that Wall Street will be
impressed if the AI is successful (but any glitches with the tool could have disastrous impacts on the
Company’s image).
You remember that one of your most important perspectives is the “Sacred responsibility to disappoint”
when someone has unrealistic goals of budget, SOW, or schedule. But you also know that TPZ’s
reputation is unassailable, so you need to find a way to work within what has been agreed by all to date.
You realize quickly that you do not need a super-detailed process mapped out on the AI development
itself by TPZ – nobody will look at that other than you. However, you are thinking that you do need to
create some broader, directional decision points, approvals, and ask lots of questions on “buy in”
despite TPZ’s and Helen’s prior work. You know you also need to fill in some of the gaps in what you
know from Helen about the business units leaders: this needs some thoughtful steps and solid durations
so you do not do a “Ready, Fire, Aim” process.
In the role you will have, Liz offers you a Fee for your services (TPZ, severance, etc. are separate costs):
up to $500,000 to run this program, including managing the entire project, overseeing TPZ, reporting,
internal stakeholders, and to deliver the project on time and on budget. Liz would like 10% of the Fee to
be paid only if you meet the KPIs that you need to offer (and they must help the Company achieve its
You want to make sure that you stay at the right level in the project, as your time is valuable and your
impact is best at the processes before Implementation phase begins. You can hire some resources with
this budget you have, and you have some good people in mind – but their skills do vary. In any event,
Liz is paying for the resources with this $500,000 budget for your costs, and she will need full visibility
into the final costs.
You know that you will need a Project Coordinator from day #1 through the end of the project, for
reporting purposes. You also know that during the entire duration prior to the start of Implementation,
you will be full-time. During Implementation, you believe you will be 25% allocated, and will need 1
Senior Project Manager, and 50% Project Manager.
As you think through this, you believe you will have to build a team that looks like (so far):
Resource Daily Rate
You $1,000
Senior Project Manager $720
Project Manager $600
Project Coordinator $175
You know that all the information you have just received may not actually “tie” together for schedule or
budget. While it may frustrate you to not have enough information right now, you know that creating
proper plans and documents will help identify any conflicts in these issues. In short, there is no “right
answer” in the schedule or budget – it is your judgement and advice, based on the below, that matters.
You now need to create a new SOW (Charter), Schedule, and Budget, based on all this new information.
You also need to create a Closeout document, although the final outcome of the project is not
determined (please see below for details).
Create a new Project Charter that clearly defines:
1. The role of the IT group, how you as their representative will manage and lead the project.
2. How you will measure success, focused on the bigger Company goal
3. Address and document any information gaps that are needed to succeed
4. Propose a new Fee structure for yourself – base this on incentives aligned with The Company’s
goals (which should align later with KPIs and Metrics)
Schedule in MS Project
Create a new or updated MS Project schedule that shows:
1. A broader view of the entire project including the Wall Street issues, media events, layoffs, etc.
2. Key decision dates needed and by whom (assign roles)
3. Key milestones aligned with Company Goals and all events (beyond IT)
4. Make sure the schedule clearly ties to the project management technique you suggested in the
original email reply to Liz (Sprint, Agile Traditional, etc)
5. Please describe if the schedule “works” to meet the proposed completion date?
Create your cost Budget for your services and your team (not for the larger project and TPZ):
1. Aligns with the description you put into the Charter regarding your fees
2. Includes your incentive structure and KPIs
3. Please describe if $500,000 is enough of a fee? Should you ask for more?
Closeout (interim)
Create an interim “Lessons Learned” report regarding the Project, from a point of view of where it
stands now, and offer solutions. Do not hold back on addressing specific people and issues, but please
describe in a professional, consultative manner. Focus on what would have made this better from the
1. The information gaps
2. Personalities and conflicts
3. Roles, Org structure
4. Other engagement issues

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