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CIS 4424 Week 3 Assignments

refer case study 5.2 and 6.2 as in the attached document and answer the questions after each case study.

Textbook:

 Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage (5th ed.) Jeffery K. Pinto
 

Ryan Foster

CIS 4424

Week 3 Assignments

09/18/20

Case 5.2

1. The CHSRA’s rail project presents many potential benefits for the state, along with many

serious drawbacks. The project promises the potential for the creation of hundreds of thousands

of permanent jobs. The project would also reduce commuting time between major metropolitan

areas, and reduce the number of vehicles traveling on California’s notoriously congested

roadways. This would have a positive impact on the environment by lowering air pollution and

conserve the finite amount of fossil fuels available for use.

However, as with many public works projects it runs the risk of severe budgetary and

schedule overruns. For example, it was initially projected to cost $33 billion, but that estimate

ballooned to over $69 billion. Furthermore, economists suggest that final costs could reach a

staggering $250 billion. Second, the business model for operating the rail line has been found

wanting by economists. The revenue estimates for its initial years of operation have been deemed

unreasonably optimistic and the rail line would likely require a large annual subsidy to stay

solvent.

Implementing high-speed rail as a whole is a worthwhile investment in the future, and a

well-designed rail network would deliver substantial economic returns in the long-run. For

example, the success of the interstate highway system vastly improved interstate commerce,

boosted GDP, and improved the quality of life for the average citizen. Unfortunately, the devil is

always in the details, and in the case of this project, it may not be feasible to pursue this project

based off current constraints. If the state can solve their budgetary needs and source sufficient

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funding the project may survive, but in its current state it is unlikely to reach successful

implementation and the state should reconsider investing in the project further.

2. Starting a project based off tenuous predictions that may or may not come to fruition over

the next decade is extremely risky. The investors in the project are taking a serious gamble with

their finances, as well as exposing themselves to a negative result in the court of public opinion

in this scenario. Furthermore, overly optimistic predictions of cost and schedule are likely to lead

to scope creep as the project continues to expand, which will only dissatisfy clients. Thus, it is

important to conduct a clear-eyed comprehensive scope analysis that properly defines the project

and doesn’t try to “massage” the data to make the project appear more desirable to stakeholders

(Pinto, 2019). This short-sighted move may get the project off the ground, but it will likely be

disastrous in the long-term.

3. Yes, it is possible to justify the project from a public works perspective. Many public

works initiatives are never designed to turn a profit. Instead, they are meant to improve the

common welfare and boost the quality of life for the average citizen. Additionally, many of the

benefits of public works projects are intangible and difficult to put in quantifiable terms.

In this case, what implications would the pollution reduction have on the state’s

healthcare costs, or does the reduced road congestion boost the happiness of the populace?

Another factor is the state’s commitment to fighting the impacts of climate change, which have

cost the state billions of dollars in recent years. If a comprehensive rail network would

substantially reduce California’s carbon footprint, this may translate into formidable savings in

the long-term. Lastly, the success of massive and complex public works projects is usually

measured in decades as opposed to the next few years. Hence, these types of projects take a

cohesive vision to reach maturity and deliver on their promised benefits.

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Case 6.2

1. The argument is not the true conflict and is a symptom of an ongoing deeper problem

between the two individuals. For one, tension has been building between them for weeks while

working on the project. The project manager feels that hardly a day goes by without receiving a

complaint from one of them about the other’s “behavior, lack of commitment or cooperation, or

general shoddy performance” (Pinto, 2019, p. 216). Lastly, when the argument breaks out in the

meeting, both parties air grievances related to their normal departments that have ongoing

undertones from outside of the project. There seems to be friction and animosity present between

their two departments.

2. Differentiation plays a large role in the problem between Susan and Neil as it reflects the

reality that each functional department develops their own mindset, perceived importance to the

firm, values, and perceived responsibilities. These differing viewpoints can foster conflict as

members of different departments view the other departments with varying degrees of

importance to the success of the organization. It is important to encourage team members to

value the contributions of each department towards the bigger picture of the company’s overall

success (pinto, 2019).

3. Conflict management resolution is similar to a game of chess; in that you need to

anticipate the opponents moves. In this case, the project manager needs to put himself in the

shoes from both parties to see their perspective and plan counters to their likely grievances. For

example, both parties are guaranteed to blame the other, while absolving themselves of

responsibility for their actions. In addition, both are likely to suggest the other is contributing

less. They aired this publicly in the meeting, so it is guaranteed to arise her behind office doors.

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The project manager needs to focus on listening and letting them vent, while refereeing

the situation so only one party speaks at a time. No one benefits from a yelling match talking

over each other. After engaging in active listening to both sides, the manager needs to employ

negotiating techniques to find some common ground between them to build from (Pinto, 2019).

Once some minor agreements can be established then it will be possible to work towards a

mutual understanding between them and hopefully a better working environment for everyone

involved in the project.

4. In this scenario, blame cannot be attributed to one party as both are equally at fault for the

conflict. The project manager’s initial strategy should be to attempt to mediate the conflict with

defusion to try to help them see the big picture and value the other’s efforts in the organization. If

this seems to fall on deaf ears due to the level of conflict between the two, then diving deeper

into the root cause through confrontation may be necessary. If mediating through confrontation

fails, and if they are vital to the project’s success, then controlling the conflict by limiting their

interactions may achieve a desirable outcome for the organization.

Arbitration may not be effective here as there is not a specific issue between them here to

warrant a judgement on. Instead, it seems that pride and loyalty to each person’s functional

department has fostered the animosity between them. Accepting the conflict is an undesirable

outcome as the problem will continue to arise and create friction on the project team. This will

only inhibit the project’s progress and ultimate success. On this note, eliminating the conflict

does not make sense here as there is no clear guilty party to punish by removing them from the

team. However, it may be necessary to warn them that continued improper behavior may warrant

disciplinary action for both of them that may result in their removal from the team.

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References

Pinto, J. K. (2019). Project management: Achieving competitive advantage (5th ed.) Pearson

Education.

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