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A&D High Tech

Executive Summary:
Chris Johnson, an experienced technology project manager for A&D High
Tech, was asked to meet with the senior managers to discuss taking over the
companys new web site project. The purpose of the project was to establish
an online store to increase sales through the internet. Immediately after his
transition meeting with senior management, CIO Matt Webb informed Chris
that the CEO needed to know if he could complete the project by Christmas,
which was only 6 months away. Although the plan had work scheduled from
May 2003 to June 2005, Chris needed to determine if it was feasible to
reduce the schedule by 15 months in order to meet his CEOs needs.

Statement of the Problem:

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the likelihood that A&D HighTech will
be able to implement an online store, comparable to that of its competitors,
in time for the 2003 holiday shopping season.

Key Problems:
* Competitors are gaining market share with their continually improving
online capabilities
* Company sells on friendly customer service which can be difficult to
translate to the internet
* A&N needs to have internet sales to stay competitive through reduced
SG&A expenses

Key Issues:

Steep learning curve for the project manager

Subject matter expert is no longer involved as the project manager
Was build the right option?
The company has a foundation as a regional player
Project time and scope are crucial
Were all the proper risks and costs evaluated when making the build vs.

buy decision
* Why wasnt a blend buy/build option considered

The team agreed to meet and share information virtually utilizing a wiki
page. Using a Google site allowed the team to accommodate the time
constraints of team members. Next the team put in place a timeline for
project completion. In order to do this the paper was broken up into
component and the responsibility to complete the various sections was
assigned to members. There was some MS Project nomenclature that was
unfamiliar to the group so we each took time to refresh our knowledge on
how to enter Start-to-Start / Finish-to-Finish projects and how to determine
resource over allocation. Finally, having read the case Chris and John did
some limited online research into the nuances of integrating an ERP package
into an organization and what are some of the positives and negatives of
building versus buying a pre-existing package. We did not find any new
information that was not already discussed in the case.

In order to examine the case, we first needed to create a MS Project Gantt
chart of all the activities detailed in Johnsons work breakdown structure
(case exhibit 9). We entered the resource information (name, pay rate, etc)
followed by all the tasks and their specific duration estimates. Next we
allocated resources to each task as outlined in case exhibit 9. The next step
was to enter task predecessors and then enter the leveling delays. Finally we
verified the accuracy of our data entry. Once the Gantt chart was completed
we were able to determine our critical path, project duration, look for
resource over allocations and calculate the total labor cost for the project.
Finally we discussed the bottlenecks in the project and brainstormed possible
solutions or project modifications that could bring the online store to the
public more rapidly.
According to the teams analysis of the project, there is no possibility of
deploying the online store by December 2003. The total duration of the
project is 531 days. Subtracting the 80 days for project wrap up, the website
will go live on February 2nd 2005, too late even for the holiday season of
2004. The lions share of time is sunk into development, testing and

implementation. It is clear that due to the decision to build an in-house

solution, testing phase of this process is very critical and cannot be
conducted in parallel with other tasks. The critical path of the project (which
charts the series of events that if delayed will delay the completion of the
total project) is 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 26, 27, 29, 32, 33, 54, 55, 56, 57,
58, 59. This chain of events is illustrated in table 1.
The total labor cost of the project is $3,644,535 the bulk of which comes
from the testing and deployment tasks. The capital cost of the project is
$98,500 which comes from the cost of the workstations and servers.
When examining the teams workload, Ryan Neff, Stacy Lyle and Developer 2
were all scheduled to work longer than 8 hour days on several occasions.
Stacy, the most over-allocated member of the team had 8 occasions on
which she was scheduled to work in excess of 8 hours, usually 16 or 24
hours. On one of those occasions, Ryan was not working on anything, nor
were other members of the team. In order to prevent leveling delays it would
make sense to identify these over allocations and assign shared
responsibility for task completion with another team member that has the
requisite skill set.
The answer to CEO Ted Walters question Can we get this done by
Christmas? is yes, but not without A&D assuming significant risk to quality,
decreasing the scope, and increasing the cost of the project. According to
the concept of the Triple Constraint, when one of the three constraints (time,
cost, and scope) is altered it is necessary to adjust the other two constraints
to achieve a projects objectives. In order to launch the web site by the
2003 holiday season (NLT December 1, 2003), A&D must increase cost and
reduce scope to meet senior managements goals.
Assuming the CEOs top priority is launching the site by the 2003 holiday
season while maintaining all business requirements (Jeffery, 2006), Chris
Johnson could recommend increasing the projects personnel requirement
and reducing the necessity of some tasks. Increasing the number of workers
would increase costs, but it would also reduce the time to complete tasks
and will result in more tasks completed concurrently. Reducing the
necessity of certain tasks would reduce the scope of the project and would
cut down on the time to deploy the website. An example of this would be to
reduce the necessity or the scope of A&Ds testing requirements. Currently,
there are 13 subtasks devoted to testing which comprise of 476 workdayunits. Although reducing an emphasis on testing would shorten the
schedule, A&D would need to be willing to accept a significant level of risk if

they choose this course of action. A&D must be willing to risk that the web
site may not perform as planned when launched. Rather than increasing
sales during the holiday season, A&D could potentially lose sales if
customers cannot navigate the site or if there are problems with the ERP
system receiving their orders.
Due to the significant costs of hiring additional staff and the high risk of
failure without adequate testing, condensing this project by 15-months is not
a feasible course of action. Our recommendation is for Chris Johnson to
advise his senior managers that an incremental approach to launching the
website is the best alternative. Also known as spiral development (table 5),
business requirements are prioritized so that the website is launched by
phase or when the project team satisfies the first or top rated requirement.
(The Defense Acquisition University) The website is updated as subsequent
business requirement tasks are completed until the website is fully
For example, if A&Ds priorities were:
1: Launch the site by the 2003 holiday season
2: Show configuration and pricing
3: Integrate the ERP system for manufacturing and order management
4: Real-time payment processing
5: Delivery date based on standard lead times
6: Collection if prospect data about customers
- Phase I: When the site launches on December 1, 2003, customers have
access to the companys catalog with configuration and pricing information.
Customers are also provided A&D customer service telephone numbers to
place orders.
- Phase II: the site is upgraded to accept orders when the project team
completes the tasks associated with integrate the ERP system for
manufacturing and order management and real-time order processing.
- Phase III: the website is fully functional when upgraded to provide
customers with delivery dates based on standard lead times and it is able to
capture customer data.
The underlying goal of this project is for A&D to capture a share of the online
market. The longer it takes for A&D to enter into the internet arena, the risk
of losing potential online customers grows. Using an incremental approach
may not provide A&D with a website that meets all of their business

requirements any sooner, but it does allow them to get their foot in the door
much faster.