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Portland State University

Homework # 1
TTS Candle Company

Project Management in Engineering and

Dr. Dragon Milosevic
Fall 2004

Team # 4
Bassam Abu- Khater
Kevin Huang
Michael Wright
Mike Adams
Samir Said
October 13, 2004

TTS Candle Company

TTS Candle Company

I. Case Abstract

TTS Candle Company makes its 60 percent of the gross revenue from
the pre-Christmas sale of the firm’s major product XMAX-PAK. XMAX-PAK was
introduced 8 years ago and considered to be a profitable product. The company’s
revenue has been increased approximately 20 percent every year since the
product was introduced. Ciera Miller, president of the company was looking to
accomplish specific goal. Miller’s approach was to reduce lost sales to 0.5
percent within 5 years. Ms. Miller was trying to solve a major problem with lost
nearly 10 percent of sales orders, and that was not due to a shortage of capacity.
In addition, company’s manufacturing manager had strict instructions to minimize
investments in finished good inventories. Miller decided to place a PM to solve
this problem, increase revenue and company’s effectiveness.

II. Case Analysis

In this case we are going to analyze Ms. Miller approach to the problem.
After team discussion, we came up with the following pros:
o Assigning marketing manager as a project manager. That was a
successful key to solve the problem, marketing representative is a
good fit to understand sales forecast and market demand and
make good decisions. Information is really essential to solve
potential problems
o Ms. Miller provided assigned project managers with eight years of
historical sales data in full details. That would give PM “system
approach” where understanding the history of the company will
help solve the problem. It is very clear that when PM is working
on one aspect of company or organization that will affect other
aspects or parts.
o Assigning two PM’s maybe a good thing in large companies. That
will help to solve the problem from different views and expertise

We also analyze few cons as follows:

o Assigning vice-president of manufacturing as a PM.

Manufacturing manager receives decisions of number of product
and manages production line, and he may not be a good
candidate to make forecasting about development of the products
o Assigning two PM’s in this case may not solve the problem, it may
lead to a major conflict between two different visions
o Assumption was made that Ms. Miller was the only one that
received PM training and has the skills to be a PM, and transfer of
skills did not occur from the training she attended.
o We question whether 2 days of PM training is adequate for
someone who has never acted as a PM

TTS Candle Company

o Furthermore, from the organizational structure point of view, vice-
president has more authority to make decision. Even the two PMs
are in the project, the vice-president may have more power to
make decision. This may impact the task priority within the project.

III. Recommendation

During team discussion of this case, we realized the importance of managing a

project. In this case, it is very obvious that Ms. Miller main objective is to reduce
potential lost sales to 0.5 percent within 5 years. This gold deliverable urges Ms.
Miller to act quickly to find solution to the problem in a timely manner to
enhanced company’s performance. Performance, cost and time are main project
We believe the importance to assign a PM as way to solve this problem, and we
also agree that marketing manager would be a good fit to take this responsibility
due to his expertise in this field. Marketing manager plays important role for
forecasting a number of sales. Historical data is an important piece of information
that PM needs to analyze, builds a good estimation of future sales and produces
enough inventory. We strongly believe that Ms. Miller should take back PM
position from manufacturing manager and just keep PM role to marketing
manager to avoid any conflict. In addition, her selection should receive formal PM
training as preparation for undertaking this role

TTS Candle Company