Program Management Case Studies

Case Study 1 GETTING STARTED
American Shogun It was in late May 2002 when Jan Vesely, sales manager for Southeast Asia and the Pacific region at International Instruments, Inc., received a call from RisingSun, one of its key accounts in Japan. “They told us that they were interested in our 1001 series monitors if we were able to provide audio capability —a feature that our competitor already had implemented in their product,” Jan said. “Additionally, RisingSun wanted us to deliver the product in 11 months, which was an aggressive time- t o- market goal. Since RisingSun was one of our most important customers, we jumped into action.” International Instruments, Inc. was a global market leader in the field of monitoring systems, and the 1001 series was their main product line of monitors addressing the biggest segment of the overall market.
The audio capability for the 1001 series monitors was previously discussed because, as mentioned, a major competitor had already brought a monitor with audio capability to the market. But Manuel Scriba, the segment manager for the 1001 product line, found the market too small to justify adding the audio feature, but the telephone call from RisingSun changed everything. As recalled by Manuel, “Suddenly the program, named Shogun, would help us to meet our financial, market share, customer relationship, and competitive business goals,” he said. “First and foremost,” he commented, “a new program had to fulfil our business goals. That’s what it is all about— the business goals.”

Case Study 2

Planet Orbits

With $467 million in total budget and 144 months in duration, Planet Orbits is an ambitious program. Its objective is to build a spacecraft with a photometer for identifying the terrestrial planets in the universe. Scientists believe that this program will eventually help them understand the extent of life on the planets and across much of the universe. “It represents, fundamentally, a breakthrough in science that has the potential to change mankind’ s views about his position and place in the universe,” according to Eric Anderson, the Planet Orbits program manager.Next week the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) will be held. The review committee is expected to be tough, and Eric knows from experience that the program has to be in excellent shape in order to be granted approval to move to the next phase of development (from definition to the design phase). Eric believes the program is progressing well technically, but is aware of some interpersonal and human relations issues that may be a concern to the committee. Additionally, Eric is concerned that the latest schedule has some serious disconnects with senior management’s delivery expectations. However, he feels that the program core team can push the team sufficiently hard enough to make up any schedule shortfall that they may encounter during the next few development phases. However, these issues could create barriers for a PDR approval decision.

Case Study 3
ConSoul Software

“Wait a minute!” said Bali Balebi, the Silverbow program manager, while passionately waving his hands. “Do I understand you correctly that senior management is saying that my program must hit the release date, and if that requires dropping the two automation features, it is okay?”
“Yes,” responded Christine Smiley, the PMO director, “you understood me. But please calm down. We need cool heads now.”
Bali continued, “So, first we add the automation features despite the program team telling us that the planned program duration of 21 months would only allow for the 8 original features. Now, we are in the integrate phase three months before we get to deployment, and I’m being asked to drop the automation features because we’ r e a month behind schedule? I’m sorry if I’m having a tough time keeping a cool head, but we can’t do that.”
“They are not asking you, they are directing you to remove the features in order to get back on schedule. The delivery date is crucial,” replied Christine. “Again, please calm down and tell me why we can’t drop the automation features. Give me a logical argument that I can take back to senior management. I can’t just go back to them and say we can’t remove the features because the program manager is passionately against it.”