Project selection and portfolio management

 

Case Study 3.2 Project Selection at Nova Western, Inc.

This case presents an example that is common, in which different screening methods may yield different findings.  In this case, two projects are competing for funding; Project Janus, championed by the organization’s Software Development group and Project Gemini, which as the backing of their Business Applications organization.  Using a weighted scoring model, it appears that Project Gemini offers the best alternative in terms of the criteria employed.  On the other hand, when a Discounted Cash Flow approach is used, the results suggest that Project Janus will earn greater returns on initial investment.  Instructors can use this case to illustrate the fact that many times, selection models will point to conflicting results, particularly when financial models are paired with non-financial approaches.

Instructors can fashion a debate from this case, in which they assign one team to serve as champions for Project Janus and the other for Project Gemini.  It serves as a valuable exercise for requiring students to commit to one approach or another, defend their positions, and also examine these competing models for their strengths and weaknesses.

Questions

  1. Phyllis has called you into her office to help her make sense of the contradictions in the two project evaluations. How would you explain the reasons for the divergence of opinion from one technique to the next? What are the strengths and weaknesses of each screening method?
  2. Choose the project that you think, based on the two analyses, Nova Western should select. Defend your choice.
  3. What does this case suggest to you about the use of project selection methods in organizations? How would you resolve the contradictions found in this example?

Case Study 4.2—Finding the Emotional Intelligence to Be a Real Leader

As the title suggests, this case is about the concept of emotional intelligence and its role in effective leadership.  Kathy was a competent project manager who had been successful in the past, in other settings, but was failing badly in her first effort as head of a large, international project.  Her inability to understand her team’s sensibilities and her own domineering style are combining to create a highly negative team environment.  The nature of emotional intelligence is identified by possessing: (1) self-awareness, (2) self-regulation, (3) motivation, (4) empathy, and (5) social skill.  In this case, it appears that Kathy, though possessing strong motivation and, to some degree, self-regulation, is singularly lacking in empathy and social skills.  Further, it could be argued that she is doing a poor job with self-awareness as well, as she does not understand how her own behaviors contributed to these problems.

Questions

1. Discuss how Kathy lacked sufficient emotional intelligence to be effective in her new project manager assignment.

2. Of the various dimensions of emotional intelligence, which dimension(s) did she appear to lack most?  What evidence can you cite to support this contention?

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