Jim Watanabe, assistant director of information technology at Petrie Electronics, a Southern California–based electronics retail store, walked into his building’s conference room. It was early in the morning for Jim, but the meeting was important. Ella Whinston, the COO, had called the meeting. On the agenda was the proposed customer relationship project Ella told Jim about earlier in the week. She had asked Jim to be the project manager. If the project was approved by Petrie IS steering committee, it would be Jim’s first big project to manage at Petrie. He was excited about getting started.
“Hi Jim,” said Ella Whinston. With Ella was a man Jim did not know. “Jim, this is Bob Petroski. I know that the customer loyalty project has not been officially approved yet, but I am certain it will be. I’d like for Bob to be on your team, to represent me.”
Jim and Bob shook hands. “Nice to meet you, Jim. I’m looking forward to working with you.”
“And Bob knows how important this project is to me,” Ella said, “so I expect him to keep me informed about your progress.” Ella smiled.
Great, Jim thought, more pressure. That’s all I need.
Just then, John Smith, the head of marketing, walked into the conference room. With him was a young woman Jim recognized, but he wasn’t sure from where.
“Jim,” John said, “Let me introduce you to Sally Fukuyama. She is the assistant director of marketing. She will be representing marketing, and me, on your ‘No Employee Escapes’ project. Assuming it gets official approval, of course.”
“Hi, Jim,” Sally said, “I have a lot of ideas about what we can do. Even though I still have my regular job to worry about, I’m excited about working on this project.”
“Who else do you think should be on your team?” Ella asked.
“I’d like to bring in Sanjay Agarwal from IT,” Jim said. “He is in charge of systems integration in the IT department and reports to me. In addition to me and Sanjay and Sally and Bob, I think we should also have a store manager on the team. I’d like to suggest Juanita Lopez, the manager of the store in Irvine, California. She is really busy, but I think we have to have a store manager on the team.”
“Irvine?” Ella asked. “That’s one of our top stores. Juanita should have a lot of insight into the issues related to keeping customers, if she is managing the Irvine store. And you are right, she is going to be very busy.”
- What qualities might Jim possess that would make him a successful project manager?
- How do you think Jim should respond to Ella’s implied pressure about the importance of the project to her?
- What strategies might Jim employ to deal with a very busy team member such as Juanita Lopez?
- What should Jim do next to complete the project initiation?
- List five team communication methods that Jim might use throughout this project. What are some pros and cons of each?
Valacich, J. S., & George, J. F. (2017). Modern systems analysis and design (8th ed.). Boston: Pearson.