This case study was submitted for publication by Email 6/1/09.
It is copyright to Jamal Moustafaev, © 2009.
Published here August 2009.

Introduction | Study Methodology | Study Results
Communications
 | Project Accountability | Recommendations
Illustrations | Implementation | Discussion Questions

Jamal Moustafaev, MBA, PMP, president and founder of Thinktank Consulting, has more than fifteen years of project/portfolio management, requirements analysis, process improvement and corporate training experience in the technology sector. He has worked in both the private sector and government in Canada and the US. He contributes to various publications including the West Coast BC Project Management Association, Project Times and others. He also teaches Project Planning and Scheduling at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He can be reached at jmoustafaev@shaw.ca or via his web site: http://www.thinktankconsulting.ca/.

Introduction

The Phone Call

About six months ago I was contacted by a senior manager of a large company who proceeded to tell me: "Listen, we know that you have a project management course and we are interested in it But would you be able to come in and just assess what it is that we are doing wrong with projects and maybe customize your course according to the findings?" Obviously I agreed to get together with him and we arranged for a meeting.

Study Background

It turned out that his company was in the real estate development industry with strong ties to federal, provincial and municipal governments.

The organization had recently been created through a merger of several other smaller firms. Consequently, the company has experienced a significant growth in the number and size of their projects (the largest ones hovering at around $500 million). At the time, a typical company project portfolio consisted of approximately fifty ongoing projects, twenty of which were "cross-departmental" (i.e. required the involvement of five to ten or more different departments).

As a result of the above-mentioned events the company started experiencing problems in the areas of resource planning, resource allocation and project management. For example while the employees of the company were complaining that they were too busy to fulfill all of their project and functional duties, the senior management was concerned that a lot of projects were late and the quality of final product was subpar. Furthermore, there were certain issues with proper planning of the projects, adequate project control and performance reporting. Many of the company's flagship megaprojects were over budget by almost 50% and some of them were close to a year late.

The bottom line expressed by one of the executives was:

"There is something horribly wrong with our projects ... we are not entirely sure what it is and where to start since there seem to be too many problems."
 

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