Nick Carson recently became project manager of a critical biotech enterprise at his Parkville Victoria company. The project involved creating the hardware and software for a DNA-sequencing instrument used in assembling and analysing the human genome. The biotech project was the company’s largest endeavour, and it had tremendous potential for future growth and revenues. Unfortunately, there were problems managing this large project. It had been underway for three years and had already gone through three different project managers. Nick had been the lead software developer on the project before top management made him the project manager. The CEO told him to do whatever it took to deliver the first version of the software for the DNA-sequencing instrument in four months and a production version in nine months. Negotiations for a potential corporate takeover by a larger company influenced top management’s sense of urgency to complete the project.
Highly energetic and intelligent, Nick had the technical background to make the project a success. He delved into the technical problems and found some critical flaws that kept the DNA-sequencer from working. Nevertheless, he was having difficulty in his new role as project manager. Although Nick and his team got the product out on time, top management was upset because Nick did not focus on managing all aspects of the project. He never provided them with accurate schedules or accurate plans of what was happening on the project. Instead of performing the work of project manager, Nick had taken on the role of software integrator and trouble shooter. Nickdid not understand top managements problem- he delivered the project didn’t he? Didn’t they realize how valuable he was?
1. What do you think the real problem was in this case?
2. Does the case present a realistic scenario? Why or why not?
3. Was Nick Carson a good project manager? Give reasons for your view.
4. What could Nick have done better?
5. What should top management have done to help Nick?
6. What special project management skills do you envisage Nick required in addition to his technical skills?
This assessment has been designed to allow you to demonstrate your ability to:
1. Identify the responsibilities of a project manager when participating in a real world project;
2. Define the role of management in projects, particularly from the view point of the practitioner as a member of the project team;
3. Apply project management skills, methods, techniques and tools to a real world problem typical of a project manager;
4. Explain areas of knowledge relevant to project management; and
5. Discuss the many problems facing the project manager and to note the “best practices” being utilised in order to produce effective, efficient and quality projects on time and within budget.