The shortcomings of the WOODY 2000 Project

I. Abstract

The present paper considers the case study of WOODY 2000 Project. The paper examines the information about the course of the project and analyzes shortcomings of the project implementation. After thorough consideration of the issue it is possible to conclude that the reasons for poor results of the seemingly beneficial project are the poor project planning, insufficient project course direction and the lack of project accuracy.

II. Introduction

The case study of Woody 2000 Project enables to consider the major problems that can emerge during any project implementation since the shortcomings of the Custom Woodworking Company project management are quite common. By all means, the decision to start the company’s expansion increasing its production capacity due to adding a quarter of the existing plant area was a very good idea which could contribute to the development of the company and rise in profits (Wideman, 2010).

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However, the faults of the project implementation alongside with the decline in the construction activity in the region led to considerable funds losses. Thus, the faults of Woody 2000 Project were, on the one hand, poor planning process and the lack of proficiency in project management, and, on the other, improper communication among key people in project implementation (project managers, top management of the company’s shareholders) and other employees.

III. Methodology

In order to analyze the project’s downsides and come to the correct conclusions it is necessary to use mix-model research method which comprises quantitative and qualitative research methods which can lead to deeper understanding of the problem (Saunders et al., 2009).

Thus, it is necessary to consider the available information on the process of the project implementation on every level: initial level, planning, schedule, costs, control, outcomes. After examining these data it will be possible to come to certain conclusions about the shortcomings of the project and suggest some recommendations to avoid similar problems in future.

IV. Results

After considering the case study of the Woody Project, it is possible to summarize the entire project as follows. The development of the Custom Woodworking Company and mini-boom in construction led to the understanding of the necessity of expansion, which was suggested by the Vice President of sales and Vice President of Production to the company’s director (Wideman, 2010).

In 1989 the company decided to start the expansion process. Initially, it was suggested to obtain new areas for the construction of new plant, but later it was decided to expand the existing floor areas’ expansion which was more effective.

WOODY decided to use the services of IED company which initially submitted quote for $17m, however, the total cost of the project reached $20m. The examining of the case study leads to the conclusion that the project plan was poorly worked out; there were no strict deadlines for different stages and for the control.

Moreover, the process of the commissioning of the plant and the first production was not thought over. The planning was done without addressing production workers so that there were no delays. As the company’s project manager, who was to assist in the project implementation, a mechanical engineer, Leadbetter, was appointed.

Besides, the company had to face some problems concerning documentation: IED did not obtain the necessary building occupation certificate. However, the lack of project management skills led to delays in several weeks which caused additional expenditures and several contracts cancellation. The company had to launch quite expensive advertising campaign to regain the clients’ loyalty, but it was not very effective.

V. Discussion and Conclusion

The Custom Woodworking Company made a far-seeing decision to expand their production capacity. Such expansion of the company premises, modernization of equipment and offices met the requirements of the commercial construction mini-boom (Heldman, 2003).

The expansion could be beneficial for the company development. However, improper planning and implementation of the project led to unreasonable expenditures which could and should have been avoided. Admittedly, the main shortcoming of the project under consideration was poor planning, inappropriate concept phase.

One of the major negligence in the planning was poor cost estimation. The budget was not discussed enough; there was almost no debate on it. Besides, the precise budget was a kind of a secret. However, the sufficient discussion of the costs associated with the project can enable project planners to work out the necessary budget for the project (Garrett, 2008.). It is necessary to point out that poor planning process can be explained by the lack of communication within the company.

First of all, the project was worked out without addressing to the plant employees. Later on the company’s staff expressed their viewpoints about the shortcomings of the project; of course, this was after project proved to be unsuccessful. In this respect, it is necessary to point out that transparency in project planning can increase the feedback of the staff which can lead to the improvements in the project (since various fruitful ideas can be suggested).

Moreover, as Phillips et al. (2002) put it employees are more eager to implement the project when they are involved in the project and feel responsibility for its successful completion. It goes without saying that the choice of project manager who was responsible for the expansion process implementation was rather thoughtless. A person who did not have experience and project management skills was unlikely to run such a serious project which is entirely proved by the Woody’s case.

The unprofessional project implementation can be also illustrated by the absence of amendments in the plan after several changes during the project. Admittedly, it is essential to reconsider the initial plan if some changes are made (Havila & Salmi, 2008). Thus, such inflexibility of the plan caused delays and additional expenditures.

As far as the project running is concerned it is important to mention that the lack of professionalism in project management also caused the situation when the two people responsible for the project were on vacation and several decisions which were not approved by any of the project managers were made. This led to several weeks delay and some other problems.

It is also necessary to add that the plan did not presuppose the timelines for the owner’s inspections. In fact, the owner’s control could have been beneficial for the project implementation since a lot of issues could have been raised and solved. For instance, it was possible to avoid numerous problems concerning documentation, one of which was the absence of building occupation certificate. Besides, definite timelines for inspection could have made IED company to be more responsible.

Thus, the reasons stated above led to the company’s expenditures, loss of customers’ loyalty and, as a result, decline in production. The case study of WOODY expansion project is a good illustration of improper project management and common mistakes which can be and should be avoided.

After examining the case study, it is possible to gather that the main reasons for the WOODY 2000 Project is the poor project planning, insufficient project course direction and the lack of project accuracy. In the first place, the company should have addressed professionals on the stage of planning.

Professional project management could have made the necessary changes in the existing plan. Such plan would have contained the necessary deadlines for every level of the project implementation, appropriate timelines for the owner’s inspections, acceptance of the constructed buildings, production, testing and dry-running. Besides, such plan would have foreseen possible delays and problems and suggested the deadlines accordingly.

As far as the project budgeting is concerned, it is possible to assume that it should have been discussed more carefully. This could have diminished the additional expenditures. Apart from thoughtful plan, the company should have acted in accordingly. Admittedly, an experienced project manager should have been appointed to run the project course.

Moreover, the project manager should have made the necessary amendments in the plan when some changes occurred. Moreover, the lack of owner’s control contributed to occurrence of numerous problems which were made by an oversight. Thus, it is possible to conclude that if the company paid more attention to the project management many of the problems could have been avoided.

Reference

Garrett, G.A. (2008). Cost Estimating and Contract Pricing: Tools Techniques and Best Practices. Sydney: CCH Incorporate.

Havila, Virpi & Salmi, Asta. (2008). Managing Project Ending. London: Taylor & Francis.

Heldman, K. (2003). Project Management Jumpstart. San Francisco, CA: SYBEX.

Phillips, Jack J., Bothell, Timothy W., & Snead G. Lynne. (2002). The Project Management Scorecard: Measuring the Success of Project Management Solutions. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods for Business Students. Harlow: Pearson Education.

Wideman, R. M. (2010). Project Management Case Study: The Custom Woodworking Company-Woody 2000 Project. Project Management Wisdom. Retrieved from http://www.maxwideman.com/papers/woody2000/intro.htm

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