the course name, the date, and instructorâs name
Apply a decision making process to
make a decision.
Using the Five point decision making process developed in class
make the decision for Alex. In review, the five step process includes: 1) Frame
the Decision Statement 2) Determine the Objectives desired by Alex from the
solution 3) Suggest alternatives that cover as many of the desired objectives
of Alex as possible and evaluate them in terms of long term and short term
consequences 4) Weight objectives and evaluate the final alternatives and make
a decision (revisit steps 1 and 2 to make sure you are evaluating for the
correct decision statement) 5) Review the decision against its implementation.
Explain each step of the process using the class reading material
and then apply it to the fact pattern. You are Alex and you are making
the decision. Show specifically how you go about making the decision. Be sure
to tell how and what factors you used in drawing your conclusions. It is the
process and how you apply it that is most important in this paper, not whether
you come up with the ârightâ solution. Again, you must explain each step of the
process as you go along.
Make sure to apply the concepts of critical thinking, bias,
stakeholders, and risk and uncertainty in your explanation.
Required Formatting of Short Case Study:
This report should be double spaced, in narrative format, 12-point
font, and three to four pages in length excluding the title page and reference
Title page with your name, the course name, the date, and
Include a reference page;
Write in the third person;
Alex is the general
manager of Allied Software Corporationâs Tysons Corner, Virginia division
office. His company develops large software systems for the defense
department. Alex has four program managers reporting to him, each with a
program worth between $3 and $6 million. Dave was one of those program
managers. Recently hired, Dave wanted this job to work out well.
Daveâs team was made up of 15 system analysts and programmers working on
a one-year program worth about $4 million. The program had a short
turnaround time for a program of this magnitude and Dave felt that the
deadlines were almost impossible to meet. In fact, he was facing a
critical deadline on Monday and it was Friday. They were already a week
late. Moreover, some of the department computers were down for service
and a few of his people didnât seem familiar enough with the programming skills
needed to create this part of the software. Still, he needed this job to
work for him so complaining to Alex was out of the question. Dave knew
that some of his subordinates were very disgruntled about being overlooked for
the job Dave now held and they may take the opportunity to criticize him.
Nine of the 15 department members were old timers at the job while the
remaining programmers were there only two years. The department was
noted for being good and while tensions ran high everyone seemed to work well
together in a crunch. Dave knew he could count on his team to meet
deadlines, but did not know why they always had to be in crunch mode to get the
group to work together. He guessed this coming weekend would be one more
crunch. Dave was fairly sure that Alex was not aware of the department
dynamics and he wanted to keep it that way least Alex think that he could not
handle the job. He and the department would just make the deadline work
by putting in some long weekend hours.
Alex arrived at work one
Monday morning at 8:00 a.m. By 8:01 a.m., every member of the finance
department was lined up outside his office complaining that someone had stolen
all the computers right off their desks.
Robbery foremost in his
mind, Alex searched the departments and by 8:15 a.m. he knew the answer.
No robbery had occurred. The computers were not taken from the building
but just had been moved. All of the computers from the finance department
had been found on the desks of Daveâs engineering team. Alex instructed
the financial staff to leave the computers on the engineerâs desks for now,
until he could figure out exactly what happened. The financial staff was
understandably ready to tar and feather Dave, but Alex was able to keep
everybody calm until Dave came to work.
The first of his team to
arrive, Dave came in at 8:30. Immediately upon his arrival Alex asked to
see Dave in his office, alone. âWhat the heck happened, Dave?â Alex did
not yell it out, but he emphasized the word âWhat.â
Dave calmly explained
that his team had promised the customer that specific work that was overdue
would be in the customerâs hands by Monday morning. The team decided the
only way to get it done was to work through the weekend. By Saturday
afternoon they realized they were not going to get it done unless they had more
computing power. So they took the computers off the desks of the finance
department. They worked through Sunday and late into Sunday night and delivered
the product to the customer very late Sunday night for its promised time,
Monday morning. When they left late Sunday evening they were just too
tired to put the computers back on the desks of the financial staff.
They just thought they would do it in the morning. Dave assumed
that the others would be there at the usual time of 7:45 to return the
computers. He did not think it necessary to leave a note.
Still a little upset but
thoughtful, Alex asked, âWhy did you need more computing power?â âWe just
did not have enough machines up for everyone to use. The service guy was
not due until Tuesday.â Dave replied. âWhy didnât you have the work done before
this?â Alex asked. Not looking him in the eye, Dave said, âWe hit a few snags
on the programming end of things and we just couldnât get past them. It cost us
a weekâs time, so being late already we all decided that we would work over the
weekend to get the material in on Monday.â âWhile I appreciate your team
meeting the deadline, which was the most important task, Dave, not letting the
finance department know that the machines could be found in your offices or
leaving a note was not a good decision. They lost a lot of time without
computing power today.â You need to address Joe and his department and
explain the debacle.
âMy bigger concern
here,â Alex continued, âis that your department seems to need a crisis to get
the work done. This isnât good. Do you have any ideas?â Anxious to deflect Alex
Dave said, âI think you and I should work closer to set more realistic
deadlines with the customer. Also a better service policy would help.â
Alex nodded his head, but was not convinced. Alex asked Dave
if he thought more computers or different software would help. Dave
replied, “It couldn’t hurt.” Thinking he dodged a bullet.
Dave left Alexâs office and went straight to the finance department to
mend fences. He felt better when he left there and went back to his department.
It appeared that Dave
needed help in some way but Alex wasn’t sure what was needed. Dave left Alex
feeling uncomfortable and he was still unsure if he had gotten enough concrete
information to solve his dilemma.
Alex decided to have an
informal meeting of Daveâs department and get the rest of the staff’s opinions.
The meeting seemed to yield the same answers Dave gave. However, Alex’s
suspicion that there was more information to be gotten was confirmed. He
noticed that everyone kept looking at Dave and each other trying to take Dave’s
lead and not suggest other ideas. Also, Dave seemed miffed that the team
had to be consulted after he had given Alex his opinions. Alex
left the meeting wondering if he was making more of the last minute crunch time
phenomena than was necessary. Maybe he should take Dave at his word; work
on the deadline setting and get him a new service policy.
After reviewing his
concerns with his own supervisor, Alex decided that he wanted to learn more
about Daveâs department and how they operated. He asked Dave to have
dinner with him after work. He did not discuss work at all, but only
personalities. He just wanted to find out more about him to try to
determine if he was controlling the troops or just new to the job and eager to
please. Alex discovered that he had some similar interests with Dave but
most importantly that Dave just found out his wife was expecting their first
child. Dave was worried about being a new father and doing well in his
new job. Alex also discovered that Dave was encountering some resistance
among the older members of the team. They were testing Dave, Alex
gleaned. They did not trust Dave. Armed with this new information, Alex
decided that Dave needed to do something similar. He told Dave to take
his team out to Dave and Busters for lunch for the afternoon where they could
play games like many of the team enjoyed doing and getting to know one another.
The only conditions were that Dave was to make sure that he teamed the
younger members with the older members and Dave was also to play with them.
Further, the games chosen had to be new to everyone! (Dave needed to get help
from Dave and Busters for that one.)
Monday Daveâs department hit Dave and Busterâs. The groups compared
scores at the end of the first round and the younger members were winning.
After the second round the younger members were still ahead so Dave shook
up the groups by placing some of the younger members with the older
members. The scores not only improved for all the teams but the scores
among the teams were also closely matched. Dave noticed that the older
members, forced with a new game, listened to the younger ones because their
initial scores were higher. By the end of the afternoon there seemed to
be a new respect for each other that had not been there before. The older
members seemed to listen more and react less especially to Dave.
Back in the office with
the encounter fresh in their minds, Alex and Dave decided to break the team in
to groups again, mixing younger members with older members, and posed the
problem of resources and scheduling again. Daveâs fear of losing his job
was now removed from the meeting. The older members were less reactive to
change and, armed with a better understanding of Dave, created a new atmosphere
to the exchange of ideas. The younger talent who now felt their ideas would be
listened to felt more like they could discuss ideas rather than stay silent.
The ânewâ team discussion resulted in the following information:Â·
Scheduling was too client-driven, not taking into
account the teams capabilities
The projects assigned to Daveâs team did not have any
content flow, one time it was health care, next time food processing. It
was hard to find ways to apply previously developed material as it seemed
the team always had to reinvent the wheel.
The problem that cost them the overtime weekend.
Hardware service issues were limiting the number of
The older IT guys needed more training on the newer
hardware and software techniques but because of the workload the training
had not taken place.
Computer hardware needed to be updated.
It was uncertain that Daveâs team needed more help if
they had updated machinery and training.
Weekly reviews within the group were held to keep from
duplicating work and to keep Dave organized with his assignments, an issue
that previously had contributed to weekend work.
Team members would enjoy more down time with each other
that allowed everyone to refresh their ideas.
Alex, now armed with the
revelations from Daveâs group wonders about his other three IT teams and
whether they have similar issues. Should he incorporate the other teams
into the decision statement or keep it initially limited to Dave.
His questions make him seek additional information. The costs
of new hardware for all 15 computers would run $75,000 ($5,000 per computer).
Educational training for everyone would cost $25,000 each. (For the older ones
only $10,000) The cost of hiring a new tech would be $175,000 including
benefits. The cost of a new hardware service policy giving âwhite gloveâ
treatment is likely to be $20,000 more a year than the current policy, but he
was promised that down time would be kept to less than three hours as opposed
to the 24-48 hour policy they currently have.
In speaking with his
other program managers Alex discovers they have the same service problems as
Dave, but less project turnover because the assigned projects to date have been
larger. They take longer to produce and have less content turnover.
Deadlines are fewer because they have more lead time for projects.
He sees that in the other departments that training is needed for some
of the older members, although fewer in number than in Daveâs department.
However, the program managers would like more help. They feel they
do not have enough staff and while the hardware for the most part is
sufficient, two new computers in each department would be beneficial. Alex
reviews this information with his supervisor and is given a budget of $400,000
to solve the problems in the entire Tysons Corner division.
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