Small LAN's Inc. installed a Local Area Network at the new Spring Academy Childcare Center. The project came in a few weeks late becaue of a failure in the planning procees and the overall partner's communications. "In directing the intent of the project, the plan must clearly identify the project objectives, goals, and any special influences or constraints on the project scope." (Stuckenbruck, 100) In order to compete in the twenty first century, Small LAN's Inc. turned in a rather low bid to acquire this work and with today's tighter corporate budgets and reduced resources, Spring Academy Childcare Center accepted.
For this particular project, the project scope consisted of Small LAN's Inc. taking the lead in purchasing all necessary equipment and then professionally installing an entire network over the course of twenty three days. The project had a start date of May 17, 2002. The deadline was set because the school's director wanted the new network and computer lab in place prior to the summer camp starting on June 10, 2003.
The Local Area Network required a rewiring of the school building and Small LAN's Inc. was not qulaified to do that part of the job. The Spring Academy Childcare Center's director recommended his brother-in-law who was a private contract electrician. The relative was evetnually hired to do the required building re-wiring.
The installation was to include a server in the main office, eight PC's (one in each classroom, one in the director's office and one at the receptionist station), two centralized network printers (one on the first floor and a second on the second floor), and five additional PC's with a color laser printer in the upstairs computer lab.
The purpose of the WBS is to break the total project down into sufficiently small subdivisions to permit accurate cost estimates, and to permit adequate visibility and control. A second purpose of the WBS is to ensure that the smallest subdivisions represent tasks that can be readily accomplished within the estimated cost and schedule. (Stuckenbruck)
The Work Breakdown Structure was created by the Small LAN's Inc. project leader but he never consulted the outside contractor for his input.
The Work Breakdown Structure
100 Inspect the building structure
110 Contractor Evaluation
111 Get Building Blue Prints
112 Inspect Walls
113 Township Building Codes
114 Assess Permits (On Going)
200 Design Network
210 Planning Stage
211 Meet With Contractors
212 Transfer Needed Building Code information
220 Blue Print Grid Creation
221 Use Building Codes to Design Wiring Layout
222 Sketch Grid
230 Hardware Design
231 Server Specs
232 PC Specs
233 Printer Specs
240 Blue Print Grid Approval
241 School Director to Sign
300 Purchase cabling
310 Purchase Stage
311 Negotiate Wiring purchases
312 Set Delivery Date
400 Install cabling
410 Installation Stage
411 Receive Wiring
412 Test Wiring
413 Install Wiring
500 Purchase Hardware/Software
510 Installation Stage
511 Receive Hardware
512 Test Hardware
513 Install Hardware
600 Set Up Server/Hubs
610 Installation of Networking Software
611 Load Software
612 Connect Nodes (all PC's & Printers)
613 Configure Network Software
614 Configure Workstation PC's Software
615 Configure Printers
613 Test Network
700 Stress Test System
II. Time Management And Gantt
Setting deadlines and insuring that the project was in a position to meet deadlines was done by Small LAN's Inc. For this particular project, time was a major factor to measure the success or failure of the project by the main stakeholder Spring Academy Childcare Center. The center had an obligation to have the new Local Area Network fully functioning in time for the beginning of their summer camp program that was scheduled to open on June 10, 2002. Training was planned for the first week of camp so that the teachers would have free time to learn the intracies of the system. "The project Master Schedule interrelates all tasks on a common time scale. For a simple project the project Master Schedule may consist of a simple bar or Gantt chart." (Stuckenbruck, 108)
Deadlines were established throughout the planning stages by Small LAN's Inc.. Tasks were created from the working breakdown structure. From the task list, a simple Gantt chart was created but not shared with the electrician contractor who had also hired one addtional peer to assist with the wiriring. A Gantt Chart greatly increases the chances of meeting established deadlines because the tasks can be assigned and a date can be tied to the task.. Unfortunately, on this project there was some float that did not get adjusted so the overall project ended up being completed behind schedule.
Effective planning requires a concentration on what is to be delivered, but this required a change in the mindset of the Small LAN's Inc. project team who developed the plans. The project plan was only shared with Small LAN's Inc. employees. In addtion, since time management was key to the success of the project, Small LAN's Inc. should have developed an addtional implementation plan to be shared with the external contractors. The electricians felt that they needed five days to fully wire the building and acquire the necessary fire code inspections for example and the Small LAN's Inc. plan only allowed them three days for the task completion.
Task Due Date Responsible
100 Inspect building structure 5/17 Contractors
200 Design Network 5/18-9 Project Team
300 Purchase cabling 5/20 Project Lead
400 Install cabling 5/21-3 Contractors
500 Purchase Hardware/Software 5/24-5/31 Project Team
600 Set Up Server/Hubs 6/1-3 Project Team
700 Stress Test System 6/4-9 Project Team
III. Cost Management
Spring Academy Childcare Center is a single outlet for a corporate chain. When the Small LAN's, Inc. bid was accepted, they knew there was little wiggle room left for negotiating for the needed contractors, specialized software and hardware and any addtioanl fees. Small LAN's, Inc. basically bid with a 'buy the job' mentality. "If one company does not take up an attractive offer, it may suffer the consequences if one of its competitors does and thereby gains a cost or other competitive advantage." (Kennedy 188)
The hardware and software costs were favorable. However, the overrun in the elctricain's contractor fees caused budget and cost-control problems. Poor estimating of the original wiring scheme and a delivery delay pushed the wiring portion of the project into an overtime situation. The unforeseen delays on the fire department's fire code's inspections caused the electricain contractors fees to spiral out of control.
IV. Quality Management
The Spring Academy Childcare Center had very high expectations for this initiative. The company was ready to become the local community's number one childcare facility and summer camp. The school felt that it always had very high quality standards and those standards would natuarlly be instituted into the new Local Area Network.
Quality management is a customer-driven approach to quality, emphasizing the involvement and commitment of every employee in an organization to provide quality products and services. Customers are increasingly sophisticated, with increasingly more complex demands to be satisfied. The increase in international competition also suggests that only quality driven companies will survive.(Madu, 3)
The problem lied in Small LAN's Inc. ability to meet Spring Academy Childcare Center's high quality expectation. By having such a low bid to acquire the project, Small LAN's Inc. was forced to cut corners in regard to the procurement of wiring hardware in order to increase the possibility of their making a profit. Therefore, as set backs and the scope of the project crept away from the established budget, Small LAN's Inc. reduced the quality of the work in exchange for meeting the time constraints of the overall project.
In regard to testing and quality control, Small LAN's Inc. basically established there own bench marking and testing criteria. Spring Academy Childcare Center was none the wiser. The stakeholders assumed that all would go as planned and since they had no resident expert on hand, they did not follow up on Small LAN's Inc. workmanship. The external electricain contractors felt that Small LAN's, Inc. was in no postion to verify workmanship so they to bought substandard wires and coaxil equipment. Spring Academy Childcare Center might have been wise to hire an outside firm to police Small LAN's Inc. And the elctrician contractors.
V. Human Resources Management
The Project Leader was Jack Freeman, a Small LAN's, Inc. employee for many years. His resources consisted of his normal three man team and as needed, the administrative staff back at the office. The two outside electricain contractors specialized in laying wire in existing structures. The Project Leader had experience in managing his team of Microsoft certified engineers and his team had more than enough experience in regard to the hardware and software of the local area network installation. The Project Leader felt they were all well suited for the job. The Project Leader, however, had no control over the elctriacal contractors that were provided to him by Spring Academy Childcare Center. On paper they were qualified but communication between the two teams was lacking.