Background: Mark Lewis, the son of Reid Lewis, the president of R & S Amusements Services, was having dinner with a good friend, A.J., an independent IT contractor. A.J. specializes in small business application development. He is proficient in custom programming using Visual Basic and Microsoft Access. After awhile, the dinner conversation concentrated on the IT automation project at R & S Amusements Services. Mark was explaining to his friend the scope of the project and that they had contracted with Premier Project Management Services (PPMS) to oversee the project. A.J., being a highly motivated entrepreneur trying to secure more work, was doing his best to convince Mark that using PPMS was a waste of money. He said that PPMS would force R & S to follow a rigid process that would require a lot of extra busywork that would do nothing but kill more trees. A.J. sais that PPMS used a rigid process as an underhanded way to bill additional hours to make more money, and it was a big problem in the industry. A.J. told Mark that if he were smart, he would fire PPMS and hire him, and he could finish the project in onethird of the time and at one-third of the cost. In fact, he could start programming as early as the day after tomorrow.
Current Situation 1: Mark is in his father’s office, reflecting on the previous night’s dinner conversation. Mark is trying to convince Reid that PPMS is not needed, and it’s a waste of money. After 30 minutes of discussion, Reid calls Jeff Dunbar and Kevin Pullen to his office. Reid asks Jeff and Kevin if he made a mistake hiring them and asked what they had to say in response to A.J.’s claims.
Discussion: Describe how you would convince Reid and Mark of the value of PPMS’s services. Defend the allegations of always using a rigid process to increase billable hours. Respond to the statement that Mark could hire a programmer, and the project would be completed in one-third the time and at one-third the cost (even though the requirements haven’t even been fully determined yet) and that they could start programming in two days. What compromises might you suggest to make Reid feel more comfortable about his decision?
Current Situation 2: Mark has decided to hire A.J. as a consultant to help with the project in any way he can. But mainly he is there to keep an eye on PPMS and report back to him about any improper practices or costs.
Discussion: You are Jeff and Kevin, and you know there is a risk that A.J. might sabotage the project. How do you approach Reid with your fears, and at what cost? How do you “manage” Mark? You know he doesn’t trust you because his beliefs have already been biased by A.J. Is there anything you can do to win him over? Finally, how do you deal with A.J.? Personally, you can’t fire him, so how do you manage the relationship so it will not affect the project? How can you convince A.J. that if he stays in line, it can be a win–win situation?
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