Setting Up to Fail: The Case of Midwest MBA

Setting Up to Fail: The Case of Midwest MBA

Andrew Urbaczewski (Indiana University, USA) and Jo Ellen Moore (Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, USA)
Copyright: © 1999 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-56-8.ch013


A mantra of experienced project managers is “failing to plan = planning to fail.” In the case of Midwest MBA, a user group is not satisfied with the progress made by the central computing staff on the development of a much-needed information system. In a well-intentioned effort to help the users, the IS staff of the end user area (who had been acting in a liaison role between the user area and central computing) decided to take on the completion of the system. However, the resources needed to absorb this additional project were never accurately estimated, obtained, or allocated. Moreover, tasks and target dates were never firmly established. Although the decision to take on the completion of the system was a noble one, the IS staff ended up providing a demonstration of the project manager mantra. Not only was the system not completed, but the IS staff’s regular duties suffered as well. Animosity between the IS staff and users became rampant and both parties considered the system to be a failure. Put simply, the IS staff was not dealing in reality. And, as a result, they set themselves up to fail. This case is based on actual events in a real organization. We have, however, changed the identities of the parties involved and other key information to preserve anonymity.

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