5–9 Manpower requirements indicate that a specific functional pool will increase sharply from eight to seventeen people over the next two weeks and then drop back to eight people. Should you question this?
5–10 Below are several sources from which legal authority can be derived. State whether each source provides the project manager with sufficient authority from which he can effectively manage the project.
The project or organizational charter
The project manager’s position in the organization
The job description and specifications for project managers
The project manager’s “executive” rank
Dollar value of the contract
Control of funds
6–1 Is it possible for functional employees to have performed a job so long or so often that they no longer listen to the instructions given by the project or functional managers?
7–4 Would you agree or disagree with the statement that “Conflict resolution through collaboration needs trust; people must rely on one another”?
7–5 Determine the best conflict resolution mode for each of the following situations:
Two of your functional team members appear to have personality clashes and almost always assume opposite points of view during decision making.
R&D quality control and manufacturing operations quality control continually argue as to who should perform testing on an R&D project. R&D postulates that it’s their project, and manufacturing argues that it will eventually go into production and that they wish to be involved as early as possible.
Two functional department managers continually argue as to who should perform a certain test. You know that this situation exists, and that the department managers are trying to work it out themselves, often with great pain. However, you are not sure that they will be able to resolve the problem themselves.
THE PRIMA DONNA
Ben was placed in charge of a one-year project. Several of the work packages had to be accomplished by the Mechanical Engineering Department and required three people to be assigned full time for the duration of the project. When the project was originally proposed, the Mechanical Engineering Department manager estimated that he would assign three of his grade 7 employees to do the job. Unfortunately, the start date of the project was delayed by three months and the department manager was forced to assign the resources he planned to use on another project. The resources that would be available for Ben’s project at the new starting date were two grade 6s and a grade 9.
The department manager assured Ben that these three employees could adequately perform the required work and that Ben would have these three employees full-time for the duration of the project. Furthermore, if any problems occurred, the department manager made it clear to Ben that he personally would get involved to make sure that the work packages and deliverables were completed correctly.
Ben did not know any of the three employees personally. But since a grade 9 was considered a senior subject matter expert pay grade, Ben made the grade 9 the lead engineer representing his department on Ben’s project. It was common practice for the senior-most person assigned from each department to act as the lead and even as an assistant project manager. The lead was often allowed to interface with the customers at information exchange meetings.
By the end of the first month of the project, work was progressing as planned. Although most of the team seemed happy to be assigned to the project and team morale was high, the two grade 6 team members in the Mechanical Engineering Department were disenchanted with the project. Ben interviewed the two grade 6 employees to see why they were somewhat unhappy. One of the two employees stated:
The grade 9 wants to do everything himself. He simply does not trust us. Every time we use certain equations to come up with a solution, he must review everything we did in microscopic detail. He has to approve everything. The only time he does not micromanage us is when we have to make copies of reports. We do not feel that we are part of the team.
Ben was unsure how to handle the situation. Resources are assigned by the department managers and usually cannot be removed from a project without the permission of the department managers. Ben met with the mechanical engineering department manager, who stated:
The grade 9 that I assigned is probably the best worker in my department. Unfortunately, he’s a prima donna. He trusts nobody else’s numbers or equations other than his own. Whenever co-workers perform work, he feels obligated to review everything that they have done. Whenever possible, I try to assign him to one-person activities so that he will not have to interface with anyone. But I have no other one-person assignments right now, which is why I assigned him to your project. I was hoping he would change his ways and work as a real team member with the two grade 6 workers, but I guess not. Don’t worry about it. The work will get done, and get done right. We’ll just have to allow the two grade 6 employees to be unhappy for a little while.
Ben understood what the department manager said but was not happy about the situation. Forcing the grade 9 to be removed could result in the assignment of someone with lesser capabilities, and this could impact the quality of the deliverables from the Mechanical Engineering Department. Leaving the grade 9 in place for the duration of the project would alienate the two grade 6 employees and their frustration and morale issues could infect other team members.
What options are available to Ben?
Is there a risk in leaving the situation as is?
Is there a risk in removing the grade 9?