Case Study Assignment- Fact Gathering Outline – Nancy Flowers-Mangs – Page 1 of 7 Case Study Assignment – Fact Gathering Outline Individual Assignment – Nancy Flowers-Mangs GEN 480 – Capstone Course Dee Sloan July 3, 2006 Case Study Assignment- Fact Gathering Outline – Nancy Flowers-Mangs – Page 2 of 7 ANALYSIS 1. Describe all assumptions seen in any documents provided. For full credit, provide AT MINIMUM: four to six assumptions held by Kelly; six to nine assumptions held by Pat; two to three assumptions held by Cliff; two to three assumptions held by Chris. a. Kelly – Senior Engineer Product Development Assumptions: 1. Pat is trying to undercut Kelly’s authority by talking directly to the developers on his staff. 2. He does not agree with Pat’s business practices. 3. Getting existing work done is difficult due to previous staff cuts. 4. Kelly does not believe he has the spare staff to develop a prototype by the August deadline. 5. Kelly is being pressured by his boss to create a prototype but does not have enough resources to manage his existing work and add new product development to the list. 6. Kelly does not believe the budget allocation and timeline are realistic. b. Pat – New Marketing Executive Assumptions: 1. In order for the company to succeed in the marketplace, they need to develop new products that expand to new markets. 2. Use the scanning technology to scan shoppers at the stores, gather information based on their movements, and generate reports on shopping habits etc. to use by the specific retail operation and other retail operations. 3. Product development will be minimal as hardware and software technology has already been developed and tested. 4. Need to get the product to the market before the competition in order to be a success; this will require a quick turnaround in development and implementation. 5. Delaying the launch of a complete product will be costly and prevent the opportunity to grab the market of this newly emerging technology. 6. In order to meet the deadline, contractors would need to be hired to supplement the current development. 7. This will add to the cost and reduce the first year ROI, but the capital investment will pay for itself over the period of 10 years as the product is used and little additional investment would be needed. 8. Pat sees the development team as a road block to making the progress in bring Operations Optimize to the market. 9. She does not feel supported by Kelly who is the director of product development. c. Cliff – CEO AcuSacn Assumptions: 1. The company is not doing well and we need to recapture the market. 2. Existing budgets need to be cut to help us to reach the company goal. 3. Development of new products is necessary to increase market share and become profitable. 4. Pat Lambert and Chris Marinas are working together to develop a product that will help to pull the company out of the slump they are in, increasing market share. Case Study Assignment- Fact Gathering Outline – Nancy Flowers-Mangs – Page 3 of 7 d. Chris - VP of Product development Assumptions: 1. The development department is under a great deal of pressure to perform and cut costs. 2. Need to cut costs by 15% 3. Determined to cut costs without laying-off staff. 4. The issues of getting the product to market are between Kelly and Pat. He has left it to them to work it out. 2. Explain the arguments made by each of these people. Explanations should be comprised of two to six sentences for each of the following. e. Cliff O’Connor As the CEO of AcuScan, Cliff’s primary goal is to keep the company profitable and growing. The company is loosing market share as the products are limited to specific markets and becoming a commodity. Cliff’s job is to turn the company from this downward shift to become more profitable, regardless of how employees feel about the necessary changes. He must also make sure the costs are contained to work within the budget. Therefore, he has requested the new development be completed at 2/3 less than the estimated costs and is unwilling to adjust the deadline. f. Pat Lambert As a newly hired Marketing Director her job is to provide ideas that will help to move the company into profitable range. She has limited resources, but needs to meet the goals and objectives that she believes will bring the company out of their slump. She believes that using the existing technology in the retail market will work to create a new product for a new market. She believes the Product Development group needs to work with her plan, and build the new product in her timeline. g. Kelly Thomas As the Director of Development, Kelly needs to manage the existing work and determine how to use resources to support existing customers. He also needs to be sure that the products he develops (new and existing) are built to perform as expected. This requires planning, development, testing and more testing. With his resources already working to capacity, he does not see how he can possibly meet the goals of the new development plan as outlined by Pat Lambert. Expecting the existing resources to build a new product while maintaining existing business contracts and relationships is unreasonable if not impossible. h. Chris Martinas As VP of Product Development, Chris must work with the goals of the CEO and the realities of the current work environment. Something needs to be done to increase profitability; and he would like to do this without cutting staff. He needs to deal with the realities of the budget and staff resources while finding the method for developing new products that will help the company become more profitable. To begin, he has suggested that each department cut budgets 15%. He would like the department managers to determine how else costs should be cut in order to meet the budgetary goals. He is not getting involved in the details of the conflict between Pat and Kelly. 3. Evaluate each argument listed above as sound or unsound and why. Indicate whether they are emotional or logical in nature. Evaluations should be comprised of two to six sentences for each of the following. Case Study Assignment- Fact Gathering Outline – Nancy Flowers-Mangs – Page 4 of 7 i. Cliff O’Connor –CEO – Cliff wants to keep the company from bankruptcy. In order to do this, he needs to show an increase in profits. This argument is sound because he is keeping in mind the best interest of the company, working towards a better future for all. He is working to lead the company in a new direction in the hopes of growing the business. His argument is logical in nature and sound. j. Pat Lambert – new marketing executive – Pat was hired to find new ways to use existing technology for different market shares and to determine how to develop new technology to meet the needs of a newly emerging market. I believe her vision is accurate – repurpose existing technology for different markets – but she does not have the cooperation of Product Development. She is looking at the deadline and trying to fit her agenda into that picture without taking into consideration all the components necessary build and deploy the system she envisions. Her argument is emotional because it is based on her need to meet her goal. k. Kelly Thomas – Director of Development – Kelly believes that the project cannot be done in the time allotted. Kelly was the original developer of the flagship software product and may be too involved in how the development should be completed. He is not looking at other alternatives, such as outsourcing. At the same time, he has the experience to know what it will take to make these changes. This is based on his actual work with the project. His argument is emotional and logical; emotional because he is too involved in the project and seeing a new perspective is difficult; logical because he has the experience to know what it takes to get the job done. l. Chris Martinas – VP of Product development – Chris sees the conflict between Marketing and Product Development but he is not sure what to do. He knows the work needs to be done, and can see both sides, but does not know how to “break” the loggerhead. Chris’s argument here is logical as he is not emotionally involved in the conflict. Chris also believes he needs to cut costs now, without cutting staff. He is looking at the past events – layoffs due to previous year’s budget cuts – and the current business at hand. He sees that any departmental cut will be difficult, but would like to see it done in the least painful way possible. Chris’s argument is logical as it is based on the company’s business events of the past and future goals. 4. Describe specific fallacious arguments, and identify the people who hold them. For full credit, provide AT MINIMUM four to six fallacious arguments. m. Kelly – My staff cannot possibly get the project done by that date. I do not have the resources and the project is too large. n. Kelly – Pat has undercut my authority by talking directly to my staff to see if the work she needs done is feasible. o. Pat – The development of a prototype for a small test market by August should be able to be completed with minimal time and effort on the part of the existing staff. p. Pat – Any delay in the deployment of the prototype and final product will impact the market as a competitor is also working on the development of a similar product in hopes to be the first to capture the market. CONCLUSIONS 5. Describe all problems in this situation. Describe a minimum of two to three problems that characterize the situation. Single sentence format is acceptable. 1. The company is loosing market share and profits are falling. Case Study Assignment- Fact Gathering Outline – Nancy Flowers-Mangs – Page 5 of 7 2. The company resources are currently tied up working to maintain the business as is. The company must maintain its current business while determining how to break into the market with new business ventures. 3. The new marketing executive and Director of Development do not see eye to eye on how to do business. 4. New Marketing Executive wants it all and is unwilling to compromise. 5. The Director of Development is not willing to compromise on the work getting done. However, he does think he can work with one. 6. The CEO would like to develop Operation Optimize with 2/3 of the projected budget. 6. For each problem listed above, describe the data, arguments, and reasoning that contribute to the problem. Describe issues of data, arguments, and reasoning-related to each problem within two to six sentences. q. The company is loosing market share and profits are falling. Facts – The profits are down…. Service revenues will only provide 70% of the revenue, and new business only comprising 30% from last year. r. The company resources are currently tied up working to maintain the business as is. The company must maintain its current business while determining how to break into the market with new business ventures. Email February 19, 2003 RE RE RE RE RE Meeting from Kelly Thomas. s. The new Marketing Executive and Director of Development do not see eye to eye on how to do business. Email February 19, 2003 Subject RE Meeting, and emails prior to and subsequent between Kelly and pat prove this point. t. New Marketing Executive wants it all and is unwilling to compromise. Email February 19, 2003 Subject RE Meeting, and emails prior to and subsequent between Kelly and pat prove this point. u. The Director of Development is not willing to compromise on the work getting done. However, he does think he can work with one. Email February 19, 2003 Subject RE Meeting, clearly states Kelly as saying that there is no way to come up with all the features, possibly one but not all. v. The CEO would like to develop Operation Optimize with 2/3 of the budget projected. The company does not have enough money to support the full implementation of the project at the costs indicated by the new Marketing Executive. Email February 18, 2003 Subject RE Operation Optimize budget from Cliff Connor. 7. What is the underlying problem that is the base cause of the conflict within the company? Present the underlying problem in one to four sentences. The biggest problem is the conflict between the new Marketing Executive and the Director of Development. Pat, the new Marketing Executive has very good ideas, and is willing to look at alternative methods to achieving her goals but she wants all the functionality rolled out by the August deadline. Kelly, the Director of Development is challenging her plan, based on his knowledge and experience in the development of this software. He created the flagship product and knows the history and code more than anyone else in the company. Pat strongly believes that the full product needs to be launched in order for this to be a success and is unwilling to compromise even though Kelly has stated that he could provide part of the solution in the deadline stated. Kelly wants to put a mechanically sound and stable product on the market. Somehow there needs to be a common ground where they can Case Study Assignment- Fact Gathering Outline – Nancy Flowers-Mangs – Page 6 of 7 develop a new product, so that it meets the company goals, consumer needs and performs without failure. 8. What alternative solutions would you propose for this situation? Present a MIMINUM of two potential solutions in the format of two to four sentences each. Solution One: Outsource the work for the new development leaving the current staff to focus on maintaining the customer relationships and business that already exists. Develop a plan to use an external company to create new products from the existing technology, with an exit strategy that involves transitioning the development to the existing staff. Solution Two: Use the existing personnel to develop the new product. Work with the Director of Engineering to create a plan that allows developing, testing and deployment to meet the August deadline. Determine how to handle the existing work, minimizing the effect on the existing business. Solution Three: Segregate employees into two teams - development and customer support - leveraging the existing employees’ knowledge current business to meet the new goals. The employees on the development team would plan and manage the project, using outside consultants to do the work. The employees on the customer support team would manage the existing business, using outside consultants to supplement workload as needed. Solution Four: Roll out the product in stages. Get the critical work done by product launch date using the standard methods of development and testing with the existing staff. Possibly hire some consultants to fill in the gaps as needed. Once phase one is completed, begin work on the other phases to completion. 9. State the relative strengths and weaknesses of each alternative solution. Describe at least one strength and one weakness for each alternative solution. Solution One: Strength - Outsourcing would certainly help with the resource needs and allow the current staff to stay focused on the business at hand. Although this will add additional cost, the expense would be justified by the gain in profit and market share that might otherwise be lost if new development is delayed. Weakness - Using outside resources puts the development in the hands of people who do not have the working knowledge of the existing infrastructure. Critical issues that might be obvious to seasoned employees might be overlooked by outside resources. The learning curve may slow down the project as issues arise in the development. Assumes that all features must be completed. Budget will not support the high cost of consultants. Solution Two: Strength - Using the existing company resources leverages the expertise and knowledge of the people who have hands-on experience with the existing product. They are also committed to the company success and might be more willing to go the extra mile. Weakness - There is a chance the business could be lost as existing personnel is used for new product development. Relationships for maintenance and support must be maintained in order to keep the business at hand. If the same resources are pulled in the area of new development, how will they manage the existing business Case Study Assignment- Fact Gathering Outline – Nancy Flowers-Mangs – Page 7 of 7 and keep those customers happy. Overworked employees do not perform at best; this could hurt morale and ultimately, result in faulty code with bugs that would impact the final product. Solution Three: Strength - Using the existing company resources leverages the expertise and knowledge of the people who have hands-on experience with the existing product. They are also committed to the company success and might be more willing to go the extra mile. They could oversee the consultants work, ensuring the knowledge and integrity of the company’s intellectual property is protected. This could open up new opportunities for those who are chosen to manage the teams and provide them with new incentive to become more engaged in the success of the company. Weakness - Might spread the group too thin, scattering the knowledge and fragmenting work being done. The management team would have to be sure the employees chosen to do the work are committed to the project and the success of the company as a whole. It would require additional work on their part, taking them out of their comfort zone. Assumes that all features must be completed. Assumes that the budget can be increased to cover the consulting fees for the additional developers. Solution Four: Strength - Rolling the project out in phases would ensure the product development and testing is done properly and all aspects of the development are working as expected. The lighter development plan would allow AcuScan to use existing employees who already know the software and are committed to the success of the company. Weakness - The complete product would not be available to the market and competition would beat them in the race. Might loose an opportunity for business because of the inability to provide a complete project. 10. Which solution will you recommend to the CEO and why? I would recommend Solution Four. Based on the facts, the company does not have the staff to develop the complete project nor does it have the money to hire a consulting firm. Based on the Director of Development’s experience, even in the best circumstances, the project cannot be completed with full functionality and meet the high standards that AcuScan is known for. By rolling it out in stages, a stable product can be brought to market before or at the same time as the competition; additional features can be added in phases as scheduled to ensure the new business has the complete functionality as desired. Case Study Assignment- Fact Gathering Outline – Nancy Flowers-Mangs – Page 8 of 7 References Critical Thinking GEN480: Assessment Case Study. University of Phoenix Courseware. Retrieved from the World Wide Web June 20, 2006. https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/secure/resource/ResourceLog.asp?strF=/secure/resour ce/vendors/tata/GEN480/index.html&ir=3102535881&or=31&pt=Resource- ASSESSMENTS&pd=GEN480R2&ut=ST&ld=6/26/2006 4:48:20 PM&dl=False&id=8143 University of Phoenix Faculty Material. (N.D) "Master List of Logical Fallacies." Retrieved from University of Phoenix GEN480 Course-Materials Newsgroup June 26, 2006. Sloan, Enid. (N.D) "Week Three Lecture." Retrieved from University of Phoenix GEN480 Course-Materials Newsgroup June 26, 2006.
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