The Trophy Project
(Case Study selected from
Project Management Case Studies
Harold Kerzner, Ph.D.)
The ill-fated Trophy Project was in trouble right from the start. Reichart, who had been an assistance project manager, was involved with the project from its conception. When the company accepted the Trophy Project, Reichart was assigned as the project manager. The program schedules started to slip from day one, and expenditures were excessive. Reichart found that the functional manager were charging direct labor time to his project but working on their own pet projects. When Reichart complained of this, he was told not to meddle in the functional manager’s ...view middle of the document...
Corporate staff’s interest in the project became very intense, requiring a 7:00AM meeting every Monday morning for complete review of the project status and plans for recovery. Reichart found himself spending more time preparing paperwork, reports, and projections for his Monday morning meetings than he did administering the Trophy Project. The main concern of corporate was to get the project back on schedule. Reichart spent many hours preparing the recovery plan and establishing manpower requirements to bring the program back onto the original schedule.
Group staff, in order to closely track the progress of the Trophy Project, assigned an assistant program manager. The assistant program manager determined that a sure cure for the Trophy Project would be to computerize the various problems and track the progress through a very complex computer program. Corporate provided Reichart with twelve additional staff members to work on the computer program. In the meantime, nothing changed. The functional managers still did not provide adequate staff for recovery, assuming that the additional manpower Reichart had received from corporate would accomplish that task.
After approximately $50,000 was spent on the computer program to track the problems, it was found that the computer could not handle the program objectives. Reichart discussed this problem with a computer supplier and found that $15,000 more was required for programming and additional storage capacity. It would take two months for installation of the additional storage capacity and the completion of the programming. At this point, the decision was made to abandon the computer program.
Reichart was now a year and a half into the program with no prototype units completed. The program was still nine months beyond schedule with the overrun projected at 40 percent of budget. The customer had been receiving his reports on a timely basis and was well aware of the fact that the Trophy Project was behind schedule. Reichart had sent a great deal of time with the customer explaining the problems and the plan for recovery. Another problem that Reichart had to contend with was that the vendors who were supplying components for the project were also running behind schedule.
While Reichart was in his office putting together a report for the client, one Sunday morning, a corporate vice president cane into his office. “Reichart,” he said, “in any project I look at the top sheet of paper and the man whose name appears at the top sheet of paper is the one I hold responsible. For this project your name appears at the top of the sheet. If ou cannot bail this thing out, you are in serious trouble in this corporation.” Reichart did not know which way to turn or what to say. He had no control over the functional managers who were creating the problems, but he...