Select two of the discussion questions and analyze the case study using project management principles. Apply...

Select two of the discussion questions and analyze the case study using project management principles. Apply your knowledge of project management to the facts presented in the case study to describe how you would proceed. We only need to answer one of the questions.

A thorough answer will probably require 300 to 500 words for each question.  

Feel free to use text bullets, tables, or graphics to summarize your points.


Q1: Make or Buy decision – Describe the make or buy decision in the case study and the pros and cons associated with each option. What would you have done? Why?

Q2: Risk – What were the key risks in this project? How were they mitigated? What additional actions would you have taken as project manager to mitigate these risks?

Q3: Earned Value – At the Alpha Review in November, how far along was the project? How could you have salami sliced the project differently to recognize revenue earlier? Feel free to include graphics or sketches with your answer to illustrate the situation as you see it.

Q4: Requirements Analysis – How would you evaluate the establishment of the requirements and schedule for the project? What problems can you see and how would you address these if you were the project manager?

Q5: Team Management – What problems emerged with the team? How would you have persuaded or coerced team members to complete their sections earlier? How would you control for quality?

Case Study

Online Training Module – Antiterrorism Awareness


It was 3:00 p.m. on Friday, May 5, 2017 when Mr. Hassan Adedayo hung up from his conversation with his long-time U.S. Department of Defense client. They were both relieved they had finally initiated this new project to provide antiterrorism training modules for DoD dependents. As Mr. Adedayo considered the many challenges ahead for the team, he reflected on the nine-month long struggle with this client to hammer out the scope and requirements and finally win approval for this project.

Although Mr. Adedayo had served as project manager for years, he was preoccupied by the risks he had taken on by involving other sections of his company in this project. They had earned their role as a trusted advisor to this client by delivering high quality work for their DoD client, Ms. Rebecca Allen, over the past ten years. But the work that earned their reputation was performed by a team of hand-picked, high-caliber professionals who reported directly to Mr. Adedayo. Now, he would have to depend on other teams, with their own leaders and managers. Did he do the right thing by essentially “subcontracting to other groups within his own company, Gargantuan Computing Services (GCS)?
Or, should he have turned to the small business community and hired vendors who were “chomping at the bit” for this work, but over whom he would presumably have less control? Did they work hard enough at defining the requirements and the scope of the project? Or was that a lurking risk that would explode on them later.

And finally, the risk that probably caused the most concern, was how he could ensure the professionals from the other parts of the company would share his team’s commitment to quality and deliver on schedule. Then he remembered that the team owed this project to Collin Eng’s conversation with the client, six months prior.

Initial Conversation

Mr. Collin Eng had accompanied the Safe Schools team on a regular client visit in November 2016.
Mr. Eng explained to the client that his team of web developers could solve her challenge by building a web site to accompany the new online training module. “That would keep it evergreen” explained Eng.

Ms. Allen liked that idea and adopted the word “evergreen.” She had a very bad previous experience when her office hired a least price, technically acceptable contractor to develop the original training video. Technology had moved on since then, and now they needed a module that would be interactive and present well on projectors around the world. Their 83,000 students were located on military bases in Japan, Korea, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Bahrain, and various other parts of the world, including the Southeastern United States.


Mr. Adedayo had explained that because Gargantuan Computing Services served several similar government clients, they could tap into the company’s Multi-Media Center of Excellence and access experts who wrote scripts and developed videos for other federal agencies. The Safe Schools team would provide the subject matter expertise, but GCS people who produced professional quality films all the time would coordinate the actors and produce the videos for the course module.

When Ms. Allen visited the GCS studio and facilities in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, she came away impressed. She started working on the procurement paperwork to issue a contract modification on the existing GCS fixed price contract.


The needs assessment with stakeholders had been underway for years. Counselors, principals and educators, from elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools had suggested they needed an updated training module for years. “Students are ignoring vital security messages, because the actors’ clothes had gone out of fashion,” remarked one counselor in Germany.

The team also needed to ensure the training was delivered in an age-appropriate manner to students of different maturity levels – from elementary students – 5th graders and 6th graders, up through seniors in high school. Finally, the Statement of Work that resulted from a months long requirements definition process wound up stating: provide instruction on what to do if kidnapped by terrorists, but do not make it scary.

Intra-Company Coordination

Mr. Adedayo deeply respected his supervisor, a GCS director named Darius Inglimo, who explained to him the advantage of working with teams from within the same company. “The company recognizes all the revenue, plus we own all the materials developed and learn from the process,” Inglimo explained. “If you hired a small business from outside the company, they would own the intellectual property and could compete with us for future business with this client.”

“Yes,” agreed Adedayo, “but my contract with this client is fixed-priced, and the Intra-Company agreements are time and materials. If our colleagues go over budget, we cannot ask the client to pay more money. That is not their problem.”

Mr. Inglimo acknowledged the risk and suggested they consult his business analyst, Ms. Palistha Khan. Ms. Khan had an answer: Management Reserve and Contingency Reserve.

“We have to create a budget that allows for some overrun. We will build that into the project within the narrow variances tolerated by the contract and the relevant regulations,” she answered. She showed Adedayo how to do that in his rough spreadsheet that he was using to plan schedule and budget. “And although you’re the project manager, and it’s not my area of expertise, I suggest you do the same thing, with the schedule,” she added.

They collected cost estimates from both of the intra-company teams: the web developers and the Multi-Media Center of Excellence. Mr. Adedayo had a tough time contacting the person identified as the project manager for the Web developers, but he finally visited her in person and found she worked three floors above him on the sixth floor of his own building. Turned out there was a perfectly logical explanation for the delay – Ms. Amina Talbert was in love! And she shared that she was preparing to fly to Guatemala to meet her betrothed and formalize their new life together.

Three months into the project

By August of 2017, Mr. Adedayo was glad that they had built the extra time into the schedule and included additional funding in the budget. But the project did not seem to be making progress, and time was slipping away.

They had begun by trading scripts and ideas with the Multi-Media Center of Excellence. The editor from the Safe Schools content team had to suggest basic features such as a “narrative arc” and some conflict between characters to keep the video interesting. They were beginning to wonder when the center would reveal it’s “excellence,” when the center announced they had hired child actors from the New York and New Jersey area and would commence filming in their studio using “B-roll” footage as a backdrop.

Meanwhile, Mr. Adedayo could not convince the website developers to do anything. They were busy on other projects and kept “slow-rolling” him each time he asked. Mr. Adedayo could not elicit a reply to his emails from Ms. Talbert and finally learned from Mr. Eng that she had left the company and moved to Guatemala. He was astounded. This was a multimillion dollar group within Gargantuan Computer Services, but it seemed like there was no adult supervision.

Only much later would Mr. Adedayo learn that the group felt that they did all the work to help market the client and then only received a sliver of the project funding. They expected to earn 33% of the project funding because they felt they were contributing 1/3 of the work. In reality, the budget allocation called for 12% of project funding to go to that group because the majority of the work was performed by two technical experts. Meanwhile at the multi-media center of excellence more than
20 people were performing several tasks such as creating scripts, directing, acting, managing actors, and using green screen technology to make it look like the child actors were in Italy, Japan, and Turkey.

Turned out the delay with the web developers did not significantly delay the project. In October 2017, when they finally received the graphic artwork that would determine the branding from the multi-media center, the web developers surged and produced an excellent, interactive website with downloadable tools and interactive features – beyond what the client expected. But they also charged hourly rates and worked right past the funding ceiling established in the intra-company work order. According to the terms of the work order, Mr. Adedayo’s group had to reimburse that team at the agreed upon rates, and they just kept billing. Now that they were finally working and turned “on,” there seemed to be no way to turn them “off.”

Mr. Adedayo occasionally had to visit them in person and participate in meetings to keep them interested in the project because the client liked what they were delivering and requested changes that were clearly within scope, enhanced the offering, but required more time. Unfortunately, the web development experts were once again becoming more deeply involved in other projects.

Alpha Review

Finally, in November 2017, Mr. Muhammad Sarawary, the leader of the Multi-Media Center of Excellence road the Excella Express train down from Philadelphia and joined Mr. Adedayo for a visit to their client. Ms. Allen and her colleagues had been coached since the start of the project that if they had concerns, the earlier they mentioned them, the easier it would be to incorporate changes into the modules.

Ms. Allen and her team of government security experts had understood and complied with that ground rule. For example, government subject matter experts had suggested very specific wording for sections of the script so that it would comply with government regulations and doctrine.

As improbable as it sounded, the team managed to make government criteria for Force Protection Condition (FPCON) Bravo, FPCON Charlie, and FPCON Delta tumble out of teenagers’ mouths in a convincing manner. The Multi-Media Center almost succeeded in creating interesting videos using a mix of quiz show games, skits, and b-roll footage from overseas scenes.

Now, during the technical review of the final product known as the Alpha Review, Ms. Allen did notice some substantial flaws that needed to be addressed. Mr. Sarwary said just the wrong thing. Instead of sounding deferential and diplomatically explaining what could and could not be done, he was just a bit too abrupt.

Mr. Adedayo missed it during the meeting, but his loyal editor caught a micro expression cross the client’s face and mentioned it to Mr. Adedayo the following day. Mr. Adedayo called the client the immediately and managed to limit damage to the relationship. But he fixed the communication flaw by banning Mr. Sarwary from future client meetings and mandating that he, Mr. Adedayo, would present the deliverables. Mr. Adedayo also authorized expenditure of additional contingency reserves so the additional work could be completed. But the client relationship damage was done and Mr. Sarwary was not invited to future meetings.

Meanwhile, the clock kept ticking. A project that was supposed to be completed by January 2018 began spilling into February 2018. Mr. Sarwary left the company! The entire Multi-Media Center of Excellence was disbanded.

Mr. Adedayo was forced to work with loyal employees who continued to help finish the project simply out of loyalty to GCS and because they liked the cause – teaching students how to protect themselves and what to do in a crisis. At one point, to make the delivery of the modules happen on schedule, Mr. Adedayo drove North from Virginia while the last responsive member of the Multi-Media Center drove South from New Jersey to hand off the modules in Delaware. It worked and kept the project on schedule.

Bravo Review

By Bravo Review, Mr. Adedayo and his GCS team were holding their breath as Ms. Allen and her colleagues reviewed the final version of the modules. A few more minor requests to the Web site were not only doable, they were great suggestions, and enhanced the usability of the training and contributed to deeper involvement among students.


Mr. Inglimo called Mr. Adedayo and told him to gather his team. As part of GCS’s commitment to quality standards specified in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9000 quality certification series, GCS teams conducted thorough lessons learned reviews regarding every project.

Director Inglimo also noted that although the project was profitable overall, and had a respectable ROI, the funding had been delayed so long due to the Fixed Priced arrangement, that interest costs had forced the business analyst to report the project “in the red” for months, meaning it showed negative profitability each time it was reviewed internally by company leaders. In the future, they would have to use Earned Value Management and “salami slice” projects into phases so they could receive some payment from the client as milestones were achieved at the end of each of the phases. That was the approach needed to make projects “pay as they go” on fixed priced contracts.

Mr. Adedayo mapped out the agenda for the lessons learned review and considered what the team had learned.

Would they have been better off hiring outside vendors?

They did eventually deliver the project, and the client requested future business with the team, but was the risk justified?

Despite hammering out requirements with the client for months, in the end, it seemed that they needed to keep making adjustments until clients were personally satisfied, before the clients would provide a final written approval to authorize payment.

Finally, how could one predict that one project manager would leave for Guatemala, and another would leave the company and the company would disband the entire Multi-Media Center of Excellence team. What would they do if the client needed future projects that required similar capabilities?

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Answer #1

Answer 2) Project Risk is one of those exciting topics that everyone has an opinion about. Risk management is about maximizing your chances of project success by identifying risks early on and planning how to manage them. The following examples of risks will get you started down the path of risk identification.

Executive Support

1. Executives fail to support project
The project team may lack the authority to achieve project objectives. In such cases, executive management support is fundamental to project success. When this doesn't materialize the project fails.

2. Executives become disengaged with project
Executive management disregards project communications and meetings.

3. Conflict between executive stakeholders disrupts project
Members of executive management are combative to the project or there is a disagreement over project issues at the executive level.

4. Executive turnover disrupts project
A key executive leaves the company, the resulting disruption becomes a project issue.


5. Scope is ill defined
The general risk of an error or omission in scope definition.

6. Scope creep inflates scope
Uncontrolled changes and continuous growth of scope.

7. Gold plating inflates scope
The project team add their own product features that aren't in requirements or change requests.

8. Estimates are inaccurate
Inaccurate estimates is a common project risk.

9. Dependencies are inaccurate
Dependencies dramatically impact the project schedule and costs.

10. Activities are missing from scope
Required activities are missing from scope definition.

Cost Management

11. Cost forecasts are inaccurate
Inaccurate cost estimates and forecasts.

12. Exchange rate variability
When costs are incurred in foreign currencies exchange rates can have a dramatic impact.

Change Management

13. Change management overload
A large number of change requests dramatically raises the complexity of the project and distracts key resources.

14. Stakeholder conflict over proposed changes
Change requests may be the source of stakeholder conflict.

15. Perceptions that a project failed because of changes
Large numbers of high priority change requests may lead to the perception that the project has failed. When the schedule and budget are continually extended — stakeholders may feel the project missed its original targets.

16. Lack of a change management system
Identify any lack of critical tools as a risk.

17. Lack of a change management process
Change management at the organizational or departmental level is critical to project success. Otherwise, the project will have limited visibility into changes that impact the project.

18. Lack of a change control board
A change control board is essential to managing change for large projects.

19. Inaccurate change priorities
When non-essential changes are prioritized impacting critical schedules.

20. Low quality of change requests
Change requests that are low quality (e.g. ambiguous).

21. Change request conflicts with requirements
Change requests that make no sense in the context of the requirements.

22. Stakeholders become disengaged
When stakeholders ignore project communications.

23. Stakeholders have inaccurate expectations
Stakeholders develop inaccurate expectations (believe that the project will achieve something not in the requirements, plan, etc).

24. Stakeholder turnover
Stakeholder turnover can lead to project disruptions.

25. Stakeholders fail to support project
When stakeholders have a negative attitude towards the project and wish to see it fail.

26. Stakeholder conflict
Disagreement between stakeholders over project issues.

27. Process inputs are low quality
Inputs from stakeholders that are low quality (e.g. business case, requirements, change requests).

28. No response to RFP
The risk that there is limited response to an RFP. This occurs when the RFP terms are unacceptable to vendors or if your firm has a bad reputation amongst vendors.

29. Low quality responses to RFP
Half hearted responses to your RFP that are unusable.

30. Failure to negotiation a reasonable price for contracts
Inability to negotiate a reasonable price for contracts. This occurs when the requirements or contract terms make vendors nervous.

Together these 5 risk management process steps combine to deliver a simple and effective risk management process.

  • Step 1: Identify the Risk. ...
  • Step 2: Analyze the risk. ...
  • Step 3: Evaluate or Rank the Risk. ...
  • Step 4: Treat the Risk. ...
  • Step 5: Monitor and Review the risk

Answer 4) Project requirements are conditions or tasks that must be completed to ensure the success or completion of the project. They provide a clear picture of the work that needs to be done. They're meant to align the project's resources with the objectives of the organization.

Typically, requirements gathering (or “requirements elicitation”) refers specifically to the practice of defining software requirements, but really every project has requirements, from a new customer support platform to a remodeled kitchen. At its core, this is the process of understanding what you’re supposed to be building, and why you’re building it.

This process often involves a set of activities including:

  • Requirements elicitation: getting business requirements from relevant stakeholders to understand user needs;

  • Requirements documentation: codifying that information in the form of user stories and feature specifications so they are accessible to the project team;

  • Requirements understanding: making sure everyone’s on the same page about what the heck you’re all trying to build.

Depending on your project methodology, you may do this step at the beginning during a Discovery phase, you may do it during the project within each sprint or build cycle, or you may skip it altogether and hope for the best. That last option is a simple way to sabotage your project and guarantee a lot of late nights and awkward status meetings.

Below is a five-step guide to conducting your own business requirements analysis.

1. Identify Key Stakeholders

Identify the key people who will be affected by the project. Start by clarifying exactly who the project's sponsor is. This may be an internal or external client. Either way, it is essential that you know who has the final say on what will be included in the project's scope, and what won't.

Then, identify who will use the solution, product, or service. These are your end-users. Your project is intended to meet their needs, so you must consider their inputs.

. 2) Capture Stakeholder Requirements

Ask each of these key stakeholders, or groups of stakeholders, for their requirements from the new product or service. What do they want and expect from this project?

You can use several methods to understand and capture these requirements. Here, we give you four techniques:

  • Technique 1: Using stakeholder interviews

    Talk with each stakeholder or end-user individually. This allows you to understand each person's specific views and needs.

  • Technique 2: Using joint interviews or focus groups

    Conduct group workshops. This helps you understand how information flows between different divisions or departments, and ensure that hand-overs will be managed smoothly

  • 3) Categorize Requirements - To make analysis easier, consider grouping the requirements into these four categories:Functional Requirements – These define how a product/service/solution should function from the end-user's perspective. They describe the features and functions with which the end-user will interact directly.Operational Requirements – These define operations that must be carried out in the background to keep the product or process functioning over a period of time.Technical Requirements – These define the technical issues that must be considered to successfully implement the process or create the product.

  • 4. Interpret and Record Requirements

    Once you have gathered and categorized all of the requirements, determine which requirements are achievable, and how the system or product can deliver them.

  • Transitional Requirements – These are the steps needed to implement the new product or process smoothly.
  • To interpret the requirements, do the following:

  • Define requirements precisely – Ensure that the requirements are:
    • Not ambiguous or vague.
    • Clearly worded.
    • Sufficiently detailed so that everything is known. (Project over-runs and problems usually come from unknowns that were not identified, or sufficiently well-analyzed.)
    • Related to the business needs.
    • Listed in sufficient detail to create a working system or product design.
  • Prioritize requirements – Although many requirements are important, some are more important than others, and budgets are usually limited. Therefore, identify which requirements are the most critical, and which are "nice-to-haves".
  • Analyze the impact of change – carry out an Impact Analysis  to make sure that you understand fully the consequences your project will have for existing processes, products and people.
  • Resolve conflicting issues – Sit down with the key stakeholders and resolve any conflicting requirements issues. You may find Scenario Analysis  helpful in doing this, as it will allow all those involved to explore how the proposed project would work in different possible "futures".
  • Analyze feasibility – Determine how reliable and easy-to-use the new product or system will be. A detailed analysis can help identify any major problems.
  • Once everything is analyzed, present your key results and a detailed report of the business needs. This should be a written document.

    Circulate this document among the key stakeholders, end-users, and development teams, with a realistic deadline for feedback. This can help resolve any remaining stakeholder conflicts, and can form part of a "contract" or agreement between you and the stakeholders.

    5. Sign Off

    Finally, make sure you get the signed agreement of key stakeholders, or representatives of key stakeholder groups, saying that the requirements as presented precisely reflect their needs. This formal commitment will play an important part in ensuring that the project does not suffer from scope creep  later on.

  1. Technique 1: Using stakeholder interviews. Talk with each stakeholder or end-user individually. ...
  2. Technique 2: Using joint interviews or focus groups. Conduct group workshops. ...
  3. Technique 3: Using "use cases" ...
  4. Technique 4: Building prototypes.
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