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Case Study 5.3: Project Management at Dotcom.com


1. Dotcom.com must redesign its project management process to ensure profitability. To
accomplish this, the organization must minimize the current scope management issues that are
occurring. The best type of approach would be one that focuses both on the project managers and
the organizational processes. The project managers should be trained to address these types of
problems when they occur, and to notify Dotcom.com about them immediately, rather than
waiting for the organization to take action. This might be accomplished through leadership
training that will make the project managers feel personally responsible for profitability in
addition to whether projects are completed on time (DeRue & Ashford, 2010). Also,
Dotcom.com should change project management policies to reflect the managers' concerns.
These changes could focus on client demands, which seem to be ill-defined at the beginning of
the projects, forcing managers to spend time with customers later in the project's life cycle,
which could be better spent on developing systems. Project contracts should be changed to
include precise definitions of the functionality and structure requirements that the client has
(Bielski, 2008). This can involve preliminary meetings between the project manager and client to
define needs and study risks, both of which will help to improve project development and ensure
that the systems meet the customer's specifications (Bielski, 2008). Additionally, potential
changes to project scope should be discussed in these meetings, and clients should be informed
of additional time and cost needed to accomplish these changes.
2. Dotcom.com's clients are contributing to the project managers' issues by changing and
expanding project scope, which could be addressed through meetings with potential customers
during initial contract discussions. When the clients change the scope of a project, they force the
project manager to obtain more information from them about these changes. Project managers
must also wait for feedback from the customer after development to ensure that the changes were

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successfully articulated in the system development. Fundamental changes to systems might even
occur during development when a customer makes these requests, which requires additional time
and resources from the entire development team, harming profitability. Meetings with potential
customers should include discussions about the project scope. Based on previous projects in the
same industry, or of the same nature, the project manager could create a benchmark estimate of
time and cost. They should also inform the customer that changes or expansions require more
resources, and inform them ahead of time that this will increase the price. Such a presentation
could include the steps needed by both the customer and the project development team to make
these changes, along with estimates of the increases in required resources and cost to the
customer. Providing prior notice and changing the policies to allow price increases will help to
reduce Dotcom.com's current issues in this area.
3. Dotcom.com must be able to strike a balance between involving clients in the project
development process as well as maintaining a constant project scope to complete projects in a
timely fashion. This may be accomplished by limiting client involvement to certain phases of the
project management life cycle with project change control. The client should have an active
involvement in the early planning phase, because this phase allows the specifications for the
project to be created based on the customer's needs. Dotcom.com could hold two to three
meetings with the customer to discuss the their functional needs, and to create a rough schematic
or plan for the project's features and scope that the customer will agree to. Potential risks can also
be discussed to ensure that time-consuming, costly risks are anticipated and prevented or
mitigated whenever possible (Hillson, 2004). In the contract for the project, Dotcom.com could
also stipulate that any changes to the scope of the project will result in increased cost, which will
be accounted for by an itemized account of the resources and time spent on the project, using a

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standardized method such as earned value management (Hillson, 2004). During the actual
development phases of the project itself, customers will be unable to alter project scope without
incurring additional costs, or, if the customer's project has a strict time limit, they will agree to
not changing the scope at all, using project change control. Any further customer feedback
should be limited to the time of project completion, where any drastic changes could be made to
require a new contract and project, instead of the current situation where project managers are
pressed for time in order to accommodate new customer demands.
4. Configuration management and project change control are difficult to implement in the middle
of complex software development projects for a few reasons. Software development usually
requires that systems meet specific functionality requirements, but a customer's business
environment is constantly changing, which could lead to a shift in needs that in turn influences
Dotcom.com's ability to manage system configurations (Bielski, 2008). Complex projects also
involve inherent risks that become more harmful if they are not discussed before development,
creating further configuration issues (Hillson, 2004). Project change control can be difficult
because complex systems may require the development of multiple elements that must be tested.
In some cases they must be provided to the customer to determine whether they meet customer
needs. If Dotcom.com fails to anticipate these needs correctly, they have to make fundamental
changes to the system. These factors can all complicate the processes of configuration
management and project change control.

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References
Bielski, L. (2008). Getting IT right by thinking it through. ABA Banking Journal, 100(7), 43-45.
Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
DeRue, D., & Ashford, S. J. (2010). Who Will Lead And Who Will Follow? A Social Process
Of Leadership Identity Construction In Organizations. Academy Of Management Review,
35(4), 627-647.
Hillson, D. (2004). Earned Value Management and Risk Management: A Practical Synergy. PMI
2004 Global Congress Proceedings. Anaheim, CA: Risk Doctor Limited.