1. Provide a synopsis of the Jones and Shephard case.
Answer – Jones and Shephard (J&S) is an accounting firm in the US, and it had created an internal IT organization called Information Services Division (ISD) to take care of its internal IT needs and help support business growth. Over a period of time, ISD grew to be more than fifty people, and was supporting multiple internal projects and also some external projects based on its capabilities and extra capacity. However there are multiple problems in the way the ISD was organized and operated that was leading to ineffectiveness, inefficiency, organizational conflicts and leading to not attainment of business goals and strategy. Some of the issues included not having a proper project management structure and dedicated personnel, personal power conflicts and non cooperation from operations managers, lack of clarity and direction for employees. The current ISD director is planned to be replaced by a new director who is expected to change the structure, processes and culture of the organization, while managing expectations and relationships to help ISD and the company achieve goals and strategic objectives.
2. Highlight three enterprise management causes/considerations and three project management causes/considerations for the situation. Include what seemed to be missing.
Answer – Enterprise management causes and considerations include having an alignment between organizational and IT strategy, existing organizational structure that is not well defined and lack of skills and knowledge on how to effectively manage and run IT projects. Project management causes and considerations in this case include not having defined roles and responsibilities for people in projects, ad hoc manner of selecting and implementing projects, there not being systems and processes in place to identify, prioritize and implement projects and lack of project management skills and knowledge that can be focused for effective implementation of projects.
3. Consider that you are the systems manager who is now responsible for redesigning the organizational structure. What areas need to be addressed for the transition and how will they benefit the company? How will you interact with the upper managers in the company? How do you make this a transition with the least impact on the employees and the customers?
Answer – The different areas that would need to be addressed are definition of a new organization structure, roles and responsibilities and division of work, change management plan, employee orientation and training in new skills needed, stakeholder communication and expectations management. All these areas should be considered and addressed for ensuring that the transition to the new structure is successful. In terms of interaction with the upper mangers of the company, the systems manager should get the company leadership involved so that he has enough support and to ensure that the upper managers are open to aligning with the changes that are taking place. In addition to that, the systems manager must proactively communicate and build strong relationships with the upper management of the company and create an environment of trust that would lead to a mutually value creating working relationship. For ensuring that the transition has the least impact on the employees and the customers and there is minimal business disruption, there would be a structured phase wise change management plan implemented, where the program would be implemented with an initial pilot to gain support and buy in and later implemented across the organization. Also, there would be a lot of proactive and frequent communication that would ensure that stakeholders are actively involved, their inputs taken so that they become active participants and contribute and support to making the transition a success.
4. How should the transition to a new project management operation be