What is the critical issue?
What can be done about it?
Can excellence in project management still be achieved and, if so, how?
What steps would you recommend?
Given the current noncooperative culture, how long will it take to achieve a good cooperative project management culture and even excellence?
What obstacles exist in getting marketing and engineering to agree to a single methodology for project management?
What might happen if benchmarking studies indicate that either marketing or engineering are at fault?
Should a single methodology for project management have a process for the prioritization of projects, or should some committee external to the methodology accomplish this?
By 2010, Clark Faucet Company had grown into the third largest supplier of
faucets for both commercial and home use. Competition was fierce. Consumers
would evaluate faucets on artistic design and quality. Each faucet had to be available in at least 25 different colors. Commercial buyers seemed more interested
in the cost than the average consumer, who viewed the faucet as an object of art,
irrespective of price.
Clark Faucet Company did not spend a great deal of money advertising on
the radio, television, or Internet. Some money was allocated for ads in professional journals. Most of ClarkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s advertising and marketing funds were allocated
to the two semiannual home and garden trade shows and the annual buildersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢
trade show. One large builder could purchase more than 5,000 components for the
furnishing of one newly constructed hotel or one apartment complex. Missing an
opportunity to display the new products at these trade shows could easily result in
a six- to 12-month window of lost revenue.
Clark Faucet had a noncooperative culture. Marketing and engineering would
never talk to one another. Engineering wanted the freedom to design new products,
whereas marketing wanted final approval to make sure that what was designed
could be sold.
Project Management Case Studies
The conflict between marketing and engineering became so fierce that early
attempts to implement project management failed. Nobody wanted to be the project manager. Functional team members refused to attend team meetings and
spent most of their time working on their own pet projects rather than on the
required work. Their line managers also showed little interest in supporting project management.
Project management became so disliked that the procurement manager
refused to assign any of his employees to project teams. Instead, he mandated that
all project work come through him. He eventually built a virtual brick wall around
his employees. He claimed that this would protect them from the continuous conflicts between engineering and marketing.
THE EXECUTIVE DECISION
The executive council mandated that another attempt to implement good project
management practices must occur quickly. Project management would be needed
not only for new product development but also for specialty products and enhancements. The vice presidents for marketing and engineering reluctantly agreed to try
to patch up their differences but did not appear confident that any changes would
Strange as it may seem, no one could identify the initial cause of the conflicts
or how the trouble actually began. Senior management hired an external consultant to identify the problems, provide recommendations and alternatives, and act as
a mediator. The consultantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s process would have to begin with interviews.
The following comments were made during engineering interviews:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are loaded down with work. If marketing would stay out of engineering, we could get our job done.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Marketing doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand that thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more work for us to do other
than just new product development.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Marketing personnel should spend their time at the country club and in
bar rooms. This will allow us in engineering to finish our work uninterrupted!Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Marketing expects everyone in engineering to stop what they are doing
in order to put out marketing fires. I believe that most of the time the
problem is that marketing doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what they want up front. This
leads to change after change. Why canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we get a good definition at the
beginning of each project?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Clark Faucet Company
These comments were made during marketing interviews:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our livelihood rests on income generated from trade shows. Since new
product development is four to six months in duration, we have to beat up
on engineering to make sure that our marketing schedules are met. Why
canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t engineering understand the importance of these trade shows?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Because of the time required to develop new products [fourÃ¢â‚¬â€œsix months],
we sometimes have to rush into projects without having a good definition
of what is required. When a customer at a trade show gives us an idea
for a new product, we rush to get the project under way for introduction at the next trade show. We then go back to the customer and ask for
more clarification and/or specifications. Sometimes we must work with
the customer for months to get the information we need. I know that this
is a problem for engineering, but it cannot be helped.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The consultant wrestled with the comments but was still somewhat perplexed. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t engineering understand marketingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s problems?Ã¢â‚¬Â pondered
the consultant. In a follow-up interview with an engineering manager, the following comment was made: Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are currently working on 375 different projects in
engineering, and that includes those that marketing requested. Why canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t marketing understand our problems?Ã¢â‚¬Â
1. What is the critical issue?
2. What can be done about it?
3. Can excellence in project management still be achieved and, if so, how? What
steps would you recommend?
4. Given the current noncooperative culture, how long will it take to achieve a good
cooperative project management culture and even excellence?
5. What obstacles exist in getting marketing and engineering to agree to a single
methodology for project management?
6. What might happen if benchmarking studies indicate that either marketing or engineering are at fault?
7. Should a single methodology for project management have a process for the prioritization of projects, or should some committee external to the methodology
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