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Harrison-Keyes Problem Solution

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Problem Solution: Harrison-Keyes Inc.

Marlyn Palmer

University of Phoenix

MBA 590

Timothy Anderson

Problem Solution: Harrison-Keyes Inc.

A leading publisher of business, scientific and technical information, Harrison-Keyes has experienced significant challenges in the last few years. Competition from low cost retailers willing to cut margins has compromised the industry and many publishing giants are struggling to maintain the profitability they once enjoyed. These challenges have precipitated Harrison-Keyes to implement an e-publishing strategy in an effort to revitalize the company. In doing so this has unearthed marked deficiencies in the organization's planning and execution of the project. The e-publishing strategy was intended to drive profitability and position the organization for future success. Given the present challenges, Harrison-Keyes' leadership team must reach a favorable outcome through a solution that addresses the prevailing challenges. This paper will outline the proposed solution to assist Harrison-Keyes in realizing the desired outcome.

Describe the Situation

Issue and Opportunity Identification

Six months ago the board of directors of Harrison-Keyes, hired a Meg McGill to lead the organization. She was charged with the daunting task of revitalizing the company with an innovative approach to publishing. Meg's vision was to transform the organization into a publishing powerhouse that is able to compete in the changing industry. Through that vision, Meg embark on an aggressive plan to transition Harrison-Keyes' onto an e-publishing platform. Under Meg's guidance the implementation of e-publishing experienced significant delays which placed the organization in a precarious situation forcing Meg to hand in her resignation. Proceeding Meg's resignation, Harrison-Keyes' board of directors hired new CEO William Guardo in an effort to bring the company back on track and inject life into the organization. Although William's entrance was meant to stabilize the organization, his presence caused trepidation for many employees and further broadened the gap between the strategy and the organization.

As the team progressed through the execution of e-publishing serious delays arose, as a result, costs increased and confidence in the organizations' ability to execute the e-publishing initiative waned. The implementation of the e-publishing initiative is spiraling out of control; and the project team as well as management is at a loss. The project team has failed to establish a baseline plan by which they can measure performance. How can the there team measure the extent to which the delays will impact the organization if barometer exists from which to compare? As Jan looks to identify the driving issues in the project, the team at Harrison-Keyes can develop a project baseline that clearly delineates costs, and expected scheduling. This will allow the organization to measure effectively various data points within the project against the established deliverables.

In addition to developing a baseline, the organization must create a contingency reserve to account for unforeseen costs. Contingency planning is an important step missed by Harrison-Keyes as part of the implementation process. Due to this error the challenges the project has experienced is not accounted for, which has resulted in increased costs and positions the project for a potential stoppage. For instance, the flood in India has wiped out Harrison-Keyes and the project team does not have a secondary supplier in place to complete the work. This gap has left the organization handcuffed. In addition, the cost of the hardware and software may have been covered if a contingency reserve was in place. The management team has an opportunity to revisit the issue of contingency reserve to establish one that will allow a buffer for the organization. With each development in the e-publishing implementation the management team should begin to question whether or not the project scope was developed properly. An effective project scope will be needed to bring the project back on track. The "project scope is a definition of the end result or mission of your project...the primary purpose is to define as clearly as possible the deliverable(s) for the end user and to focus project plans" (Gray & Larson, 2005, p. 100). Jan and her implementation team has an opportunity to revisit the project and tweak it as necessary to ensure the scope is clearly defined to prevent expectations from surpassing commitment to the final deliverables.

The current disconnect with those in charge of the e-book implementation is a result of a lack of vision which has permeated through to the broader organization. Harrison-Keyes is in a state of flux - uncertainty surrounds the legitimacy of the project as well as the project's ability to drive the intended benefits for the company. The project manager as well as the implementation team should tap into the power a strong vision can create. Having a vision inspires team members to strive for the best. "A shared vision unites professionals with different background and agendas to a common aspiration. It helps to motivate members to subordinate their individual agendas and do what is best for the team. A vision involves the less tangible aspects of project performance. It refers to an image a project team holds in common about how the project will look upon completion, how they will work together, and/or how customers will accept the project" (Gray & Larson, 2005, p. 356).

The last issue to prove challenging for Harrison-Keyes is the loss of a project sponsor. With the departure of Meg McGill the e-publishing initiative has lost its project champion. The priority it once had within the organization seems to have waned with the shift in leadership. In fact, the new leader is not in favor of the strategy and seems to be reluctant to support it. With the direction to bring the initiative back on track within a month, Jan and her team has an opportunity influence William Guardo and make him the project sponsor. Proving the viability of the initiative will make a believer out of William.

Stakeholder Perspectives/Ethical Dilemmas

Stakeholders of any organization are those that can be affected or affect the activities of the organization. According to the Stanford University Press, "organizational wealth

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