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Harrison Keyes Problem Solutions

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Problem Solution: Harrison-Keyes Inc.

Strategic Implementation and Alignment/MBA 590

April 16, 2007

University of Phoenix

Problem Solution: Harrison-Keyes Inc.

Implementing a strategy requires "allocating resources, scheduling and monitoring" (University of Phoenix, 2006, pg. 1) the plan as well as planning for the unexpected. Planning for unforeseen external and internal events requires project management to constantly measure and evaluate the process. Harrison-Keyes failure to provide a project control processes and integrate information systems at the beginning of the e-book implementation has caused what could have been small issues into large problems. Additional issues include change in management, departments are not integrated, no communication has cause low employee morale, natural disaster, and now the new CEO has forced time constraints on the e-publishing plan. The stakeholders are also face ethical dilemmas that as well as the issues listed above may cause Harrison-Keyes e-book initiative to be terminated. The integration of Harrison-Keyes' information systems would allow the project manager to monitor and track the process as well as inadvertently help reduce the project duration time. The information below describes the issues and evaluates opportunities Harrison-Keyes may experience if the company is able to resolve the issues and subsequently end the project.

Describe the Situation

Harrison-Keyes is a global publisher whom specializes in scientific, technical and business books and journals, professional and consumer books, textbooks and other educational materials for all levels of study. "The company holds about 22, 700 active titles and publishes around 2000 new titles each year" (University of Phoenix, p. 1, 2007). Harrison-Keyes headquarters is located in the United States, with an estimated 3500 employees worldwide, including the sales offices in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Harrison-Keyes estimates approximately 40 % of the company's sales take place outside the United States.

In an effort to rebuild the company as the leading publishing company, Harrison-Keys board of directors hired a new CEO, Meg P. McGill. Meg's strategy to increase sales and profitability at Harrison-Keyes depended heavily on e-book publishing. However, the issues Harrison-Keyes encountered during the implementation processed caused Meg to resign and the board hired William Guardo as the new CEO. The new CEO "favors traditional publishing, has little high-tech experience and is not a big fan of e-books" (University of Phoenix, p. 1, 2007).

Issue and Opportunity Identification

Declining sales had forced Harrison-Keyes to develop a strategy for e-book publishing. However, now that the e-book initiative had been implemented, Harrison-Keyes has additional issues they need to deal with in order to prevent the e-book initiative cancellation. A coastal flood caused Asia Digital to go "out of business for the foreseeable future" (University of Phoenix, p. 2, 2007). Due to insufficient or lack of a risk planning, Harrison Keyes has failed to have a contingency plan for an alternate company to digitize the e-book in the typesetting process. "Successful management of project risk gives the project manager better control over the future and can significantly improve chances of reaching project objectives on time, within budget, and meeting required technical performance" (Gray & Larson, 2006, p. 1). Risk management is part of the project control process. If the project team had incorporated project controls during the planning process, the team would have had an opportunity to include an alternate company to digitize the e-book, which could result in deadlines being meet and minimize budget overtures.

Harrison-Keyes e-marketing tactics failed and Harrison Keyes failed to reach the $16 million in projected sales. Implementing a new marketing plan could help the company, however due to insufficient resource planning and underestimating the budget, available resources planned for the e-book campaign went towards launching a major book campaign. Allocating the resources to the major book campaign and a 20% cut in the budget has caused resource-constrains for e-book marketing. "Failure to resource to schedule limited resources can lead to serious problems for a project manager" (Gary & Larson, 2006, p. 17), therefore it was important for Jan to properly schedule resources and track cost and expenses to ensure that the budget utilization matches project progress. Scheduling the resources before the project gives the project manager time to consider alternatives and "saves the costs of crashing project activities later" (Gray & Larson, 2006, p.1). Having an integrated information system would have allowed Harrison-Keyes to correctly forecast resources requirements and project cost. The integrated information system can help identify cost and project risk by providing the information in a clear, graphical format. Tracking and measuring cost and resources by having an integrated information system could have allowed Harrison-Keyes to analyze risk and make swift and calculated decision which in turn could have prevented a negative variance between the $16 million estimated projections and the $3 million in actual sales (University of Phoenix, 2007).

"The price for poor project definition can be changes that result in cost overruns, late schedules, low morale, and loss of control" (Gray & Larson, 2006, p.29). The next issue Harrison-Keyes face is due to poor project definition. The employees at Harrison Keyes were uncertain about their roles within the company. The employees are scared about losing their jobs to Asia Digital because of poor training. The recent resignation of former CEO Meg McGill only fuels the fire. Meg was the sponsor of the e-book initiative and it would have been her responsibility to identify misalignment in the organization. Meg has resigned, the team no longer has a sponsor. According to author Maria Hacker (2007), "an ineffective sponsor positioned between the project team and top management is a barrier to communication, understanding, and alignment....the best alternative may be for the project manager to operate as the sponsor." As the project manager, Jan should have become the sponsor and communicated the vision to all the



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