Project Management at Global Green Books Publishing
It can be argued that Global Green Books Publishing struggled because of their lack of focus on project management. While Jim King and Brad Mount were dedicating all their attention and recourses to editing, sales, and marketing, other aspects of the enterprise suffered. It was reflected in their inability to leverage all new employees effectively. The company also experienced problems with meeting schedules of their customers and was often late with product delivery. As a result, some of the textbooks produced by the publisher reached customers two weeks after the beginning of their courses, making them extremely unsatisfied. Another issue was related to the quality of books, which was often poor and required additional time and effort to fix it. The most critical problem of Global Green Books Publishing was its cost structure that was not conducive to efficient budgetary control.
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Samantha introduced a set of specific solutions that helped the organization manage its mishandled projects and restored the quality of products, thus eliminating the negative consequences of the crisis. She immediately recognized that even though the company tried to innovate, it dealt with projects that had complicated and multi-structural requirements without specific, disciplined methodology. She told the company founders that their approach to project management lacked a project plan and a roadmap. Moreover, considering project management software enhances the human capacity for planning, organizing, and managing resources, the importance of her suggestion to use it for scheduling was hard to overestimate (Powell & Buede 2009). Another invaluable insight provided by Samantha’s analysis of the company’s structure was the suggestion to utilize instruments that would ensure proper communication with stakeholders. It can be argued that the founders’ decision to invite her to join the company in the capacity of a project manager was extremely timely.
If I were the company’s project manager, I would have made sure that all possible considerations in managing complicated and multi-faceted projects are covered. To this end, I would have purchased project planning software that would have helped Global Green Books Publishing to discover and track multiple dependencies between some of its activities. It also would have been critical for overcoming the issue of resource leveling and planning. Moreover, scheduling tools that come with planning software would have been utilized for sequencing project activities to eliminate the problems with product delivery that negatively influence customers’ perception of the company’s image. Furthermore, the positive impact on stakeholders that would have gained easy access to the necessary information via project planning software would have significantly enhanced the company’s ability to meet its objectives. I would have also recommended Jim and Brad to implement the system of tracking project delivery and managing progress on each project. It would have helped them ensure that each team member follows the planned pace of work posed by a project manager.
Moreover, I would have suggested that the company’s founders develop a proper process for maintaining the company’s cost structure in a sustained fashion. It is important to keep in mind that risk management is as important for an organization as having a competitive edge or properly allocating resources. Therefore, I would have suggested the implementation of the program for the assessment of possible risks. It would have helped to prioritize between negative consequences of numerous threats and focus on devoting time and resources to the elimination of the most important ones (Powell & Buede 2009).
Enthrill is a Canada-based publishing company founded in 2011 (Publishers Weekly 2014, p. 13). The publisher was using an interesting marketing tool for reaching out to its consumers— selling cards for electronic books that allowed them to offer their products in brick-and-mortar stores. It was an ingenious strategy that allowed the company to achieve a significant level of market penetration. By selling their cards in more than three hundred Walmart stores in Canada, Enthrill was able to reach a massive share of English-speaking customers.
Their cards also were stored on shelves of Safeway and Co-op in Western Canada (Publishers Weekly 2014, p. 13). Some grocery stores in the United States had them as well. However, Enthrill experienced problems with effective project management (Publishers Weekly, 2014, p. 13). In 2013 it launched a platform called Open Road to improve the promotional distribution of its books (Publishers Weekly 2014, p. 13). Moreover, the company announced that it was going to use the software to better monitor corporate sales with the help of “device-agnostic delivery” (Publishers Weekly 2014, p. 13). It can be argued that Enthrill’s project management efforts were not particularly successful because soon after the launch of monitoring software, the publisher closed all its electronic bookstores.
Considering that project management is associated with numerous highly complicated activities and procedures that are needed for planning, coordination, unification, and monitoring of miscellaneous projects, it can be argued that Samantha will find it extremely difficult to organize her work without being technically savvy. She needs to be knowledgeable about instruments and solutions that help with data backup, instant communication, keeping up with deadlines, budget tracking, and time-stamping, among others (Powell & Buede 2009).
Project Selection at Nova Western, Inc.
There are numerous factors at play that can account for the differences between the two project screening methods. Both techniques provided Phyllis Henry with a simple accept-reject decision for two independent project opportunities. However, it is clear that under different conditions associated with the size-disparity problem and time-disparity problem, the results of the two evaluation methods could not have been similar (Pinto 2012). Moreover, the ranking provided by those techniques is different because of the variation in the approach to scoring criteria. While a simple scale from one to three is easy in its use and might be appealing because of its intuitiveness, nonetheless, it cannot be as accurate as the measurements employed by the net present value (NPV) method (Pinto 2012).
Furthermore, the use of a simple scale creates a severe limitation to this method because it performs mathematical operations with evaluations. Therefore, treating differences between various pairs of the criteria such as strategic fit, probability of technical success, financial risk, potential profit, and strategic leverage as if they are equal would be incorrect (Pinto 2012). Moreover, considering that it is hard to ensure the relevance of the selected criteria and the numbers prescribed to them, there is a high probability of connecting selected items to the business objectives, thereby obtaining distorted results (Pinto 2012).
These drawbacks of the scoring model account for the differences between the results of the evaluation of the two projects. However, it must be added that considering that the scoring model is easy to use, managers from different departments could employ it for evaluation of different projects. The main strength of the NPV method lies in the fact that it allows tying different alternative projects to financial performance, thereby making sure that a selected alternative will guarantee a profit (Pinto 2012). However, it might be difficult to use this technique for making long-term estimations.
It is reasonable to assume that Nova Western should select Project Janus for development. This choice is dictated by the fact that the calculated NPV of the project equals $ 60,995 and requires only $250,000 of initial investment, which is significantly less than the initial investment needed for Project Gemini (Pinto 2012). Moreover, the calculated NPV of the Project Gemini exceeds the number for Project Janus by far. Considering that positive NPV for Project Janus shows that Nova Western will obtain profits, it is obvious that the firm’s value will rise. On the other hand, the scoring model does not predict the change in the future value of the business if the project is developed. Furthermore, the NPV method allows the evaluation of the present value of money by not taking into account future streams of income (Pinto 2012). Considering that the NPV method is a more objective and popular instrument for applying the “decision-making approach in project selection” than the scoring model is, it stands to reason that Project Janus should be selected (Pinto 2012).
The application of the scoring model for evaluation of the two projects by the head of the software development department was not entirely proper for the current case. The contradictions found in this example could have been easily solved by applying more reliable techniques for project screening than the scoring model. The methods like discounted cash flow analysis or internal rate of return would have provided vice president of the company with more reliable results.
Pinto, J 2012, Project management: achieving competitive advantage, 2nd edn, Pearson, Boston.
Powell, R & Buede, D 2009, The project manager’s guide to making successful decisions, John Wiley & Sons, New York.
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Publishers Weekly 2014, The PW digital publishing startup review, 2014, Web.